We want

  • beautiful writing showing
  • engaging characters in
  • science fiction or fantasy settings.

Hints

Minutiae

  • Length: 1 – 10,000 words, firm. We prefer 1,000-6,000. Prose only; no poetry.
  • Reprints: No.
  • Simultaneous: Yes.
  • Multiple: No.
  • Serial: No serials or excerpts unless they function as complete standalone stories.
  • Format: Use our template, an anonymized version of William Shunn’s, or something similar. ODT, DOC, DOCX. (We’ve stopped accepting RTF due to frequent problems.)
  • No names: We don’t have a perfectly anonymous process (Submittable makes that difficult), but we do what we can. Please ensure that your submission does not show your name, e-mail address, or other identifying information in your document. Submissions that are not anonymized will be rejected, and must wait another week to resubmit.
  • Rewrites: No. We don’t accept revisions unless we specifically solicit them.

Rights and pay

  • We pay: $.01/word, on acceptance, via PayPal.
  • We buy the following rights:
    • worldwide electronic – to post the story on our website – exclusive for 6 months from the date of purchase, non-exclusive for the life of the magazine.
    • non-exclusive print and electronic:
      • to include the story in monthly, quarterly, and annual anthologies covering the period when the story is originally published in our magazine.
      • to include the story in special limited edition issues sent to financial backers.
      • to include the story in a best-of anthology published within the calendar year after the story is originally published in our magazine.
    • non-exclusive audio rights
  • Contract: a sample contract is here.

How we respond

  • Tracking – we aim to respond within a week of submission. You can track our responses on Submission Grinder or Duotrope.
  • Feedback – we give brief, blunt feedback to all who request it.
  • Revision – we’re a demanding market. Most stories we publish have gone through 3-4 rounds of revision.
  • Timing – we try to answer most submissions within 24 hours, though sometimes travel or other obligations slow us down. Stories in our ‘maybe’ pile are generally reviewed on the weekend. Please don’t query until two weeks have passed.

Exemplars

Jack Vance, Roger Zelazny, Patricia McKillip, Richard Llewellyn, Arthur C. Clarke, Richard Adams, A. A. Attanasio, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Sean Stewart, Richard Cowper, Walter M. Miller, Jr., Theodore Sturgeon, Samuel Delany, James Thurber

Art

For cover art guidelines, click here.


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50 Comments

    1. Joanna,

      Thanks. We definitely are looking for art. We’ll try to find a way to make that more evident. For the moment, please look about halfway down the page, or search for ‘art’ to find guidelines and templates.

      Editor
  1. Two questions about submissions here.

    #1- Do you prefer straight or curly quotes?

    #2- Your template has an assortment of fonts. Would you like us to keep those intact, or should the entirety of the document be set to Cambria?

    K
    1. I prefer curly quotes.
      Modify the fonts as you choose, so long as the body of the document is in something standard (cambria, courier, calibri, etc.) and legible (12 pt).

      Editor
  2. The guidelines say not to include your name in the submission body or header. Does this mean in the submission subject and body of the email, or does it include the document itself?

    Thank you.

    Todd
    1. So far, we’ve focused on pure text, though we plan the occasional story with mild illustration. I’d be willing to consider a storybook, but keep in mind the practical limits of web presentation.

      Editor
    1. Not exactly. Submitters will get an immediate automated receipt acknowledgement. Stories we’re considering will receive a ‘hold’ request within a few days. Beyond that, we won’t make decisions until after 30 September, at which point we’ll choose finalists and start working with authors on revisions. So, from today, most submitters would get a preliminary response within two weeks. Finalists will take longer.

      Editor
  3. “Feedback” read as if it was referring to another story, not mine. Criticism included misuse of a word not even in the story. “Narrative arc” a kind of pat default response. If anything, character too engaging. Feedback totally unhelpful.

    Forest A. Ormes
    1. Well, we do our best. I would note that the title you typed in the submission box didn’t match the title of the document you submitted (which is the one we gave feedback on). Maybe the wrong attachment?

      Editor
  4. I appreciate your comments. Other magazines that have provided good feedback are The Colored Lens, Allegory, Fabula Argentea, Kzine, and Cast of Wonders. I almost always rewrite after getting comments, and have been successful getting the rewritten stories published. So it’s really helpful!

    Peri Fletcher
  5. I don’t think I have a lot of curse words in my story. But, will you accept it with such language? I’m assuming this isn’t something for young children, but I don’t know if you have a preferred age demographic. I can very easily edit out the curse words. But, the character speaks like I do so sometimes there’s a bit of foul language.

    Sera
  6. Thank you for your quick review of my entry. I’m sorry it wasn’t up to snuff. How long must I wait before trying again? As in, would I be able to try for your next issue? I’ll put extra effort into the next story, focusing on the areas in which my previous attempt was lax.

    C.S.R.
  7. Would a story that has been previously published but edited/partly rewritten since then still be covered by the ‘no reprints’ rule? I have a story that was published last year in an anthology by my local writing group but I’m reworking it at the moment. I think it would fit the tone of your publication so was wondering if it is worth submitting to you.

    Carl
  8. My short story has some violence. there is a reason as it leads to the final statement.

    Is violence a deal breaker? It is not gore violence, (ex. “the blood spurted from his vein and splattered on the wall”). More like (ex. She shot him in the throat)

    John F.
  9. Hi, do you accept submissions of translated stories? I’ve translated a science fiction/fantasy 19th-century French story. It’s in the public domain. Thanks.

    Trish Worth
  10. You mention that the stories you publish have usually undergone 3 to 4 revisions. Can you think of any favorite resources teaching revision that might lead to a story you’d want to publish?

    Jason
    1. Jason,

      That’s a good question. There are many resources available for improving writing skills, but I don’t specifically recommend any one on how to revise. However, there are a few things you could consider on how to improve your writing.

      • Read – the best thing you can do is read a lot in the genre you want to write in. Understand the tropes, learn what’s new, classic, or overdone, know who does what most effectively. Mostly, though, reading good books – in any genre – is the best way to learn good writing. Good writing, I’d note is subject to taste – read writers you like, not just those who are lauded.
      • Write – there’s no substitute for practice. The more you write, the better you get. It’s a slow process – magic fixes. But if you don’t do it, it won’t work at all.
      • Critique – join up to some sort of critiquing group. It doesn’t matter which end you’re at. If you’re a slushreader reading dozens or hundreds of stories for a magazine, you’ll quickly begin to see patterns, and to spot writing that just doesn’t work. Use that critical experience on your own work – how would a slushreader read your story if they didn’t know what you meant to say. Alternatively, join a writing group of some kind – a group of friends or acquaintances in person, an online group like OWW, a writing workshop at a convention, etc. Generally these will require you both to to critique others – constructively! – and to listen to criticism. As a side note, learn to take criticism well. You don’t have to agree with it, but don’t take it personally, no matter how rude it may seem.
      • Gene Wolfe – I like one of Gene Wolfe’s suggestions: find a short story by an author you admire, and rewrite it in your own words. What choices did you make that were different than the author’s? Why? One excellent resource for this is Metaphorosis’ own anthology, Reading 5X5, in which five talented writers each write a story from the same brief. The Writers’ Edition includes the briefs as well as notes from each author on how they wrote their story. I recommend writing your own story from each brief before reading the other authors’ work. This is a great way to examine your own style and see how it might be improved.
      • Finally – on revision itself. Follow the editor’s advice where it makes sense to you. If they’re taking the story in a direction you don’t like, don’t do it. You may not sell the story to them, but you’ll sell it elsewhere. If you do like their advice follow it. If they say the piece needs substantial cutting, don’t delete a handful of words here and there – cut substantially. I can tell you that the first thing that I do with any revision is to auto-compare it to the last version, or last markup I sent back. If the documents are substantially the same, and I asked for more, chances are the revision process isn’t going to work. More detail about the process is here: https://magazine.metaphorosis.com/guidelines/editorial-process/

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