2. I race through Submittable. It’s a sloppy hunt, but I do my best to include EVERYTHING out in the world that meets my criteria
3. I order all the open calls by due date for an easy calendar style view, next I provide a word count so writers can best decide if they can create something that length in the time allotted. Then I the story’s theme, if there is a response timeline, I add that, and I close with the pay.
4. I only include publications that include $.01 word pay out or a royalty pay out.
5. I stick open calls I believe will interest my writers’ group. Poetry, venues looking for the writers to represent a subgroup other than white male (though I do sometimes include women, queer, disabled calls as we have group members who qualify), some genre requests, and erotica calls are omitted.
That’s it. Over this year, it became an organized system I’m proud of, but it does take a long time to find the information and copy it all into the blog. Hours across days go into what looks like a very simple post. I hope it helps people and while you’re here go look at my December Round Up to see if anything appeals.
Enough about me, I want to hear from you.
Are there other elements or organizations I should include? Do you like how I organize the calls and the information necessary to submit? How do you decide who to submit to? Do you submit to publications that pay less than $.01 a word and if so tell me a little about why/what you believe you gain.
Once Upon a Future Time: up to 15,000 words a scifi story that incorporates a fairy tale or folklore. ALL AUTHORS RECEIVE FEEDBACK on their writing. pay is $50 and royalties plus a copy of the book
Arsenika: up to 1,000 words all flash and micro flash or poetry. They respond in 14 days of submission pay is $60 for flash and $30 for poetry
Matter Press: ???words suggests short? looking for anything that deals with the idea of compression. Response time is 1-3 days and the pay is $50
Smoking Gun Press: 1,200-6,000 words “We welcome stories involving all types of supernatural beings… witches, zombies, vampires, ghosts, werewolves and other were-creatures, demons, and anything else we’ve left out! Mixing and matching of different types of beings in the same story is acceptable” all genres are acceptable pay is $20 and a copy of the anthology
Iridium Press: up to 5,000 words any story so long as it has QUILTBAG+ content pay is $.03 a word.
Belanger Books: 5,000-10,000 words “this collection will feature all new traditional Sherlock Holmes adventures with a science-fiction edge. Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Steampunk will feature Holmes in a futuristic Victorian setting. See him deal with airship pirates and steam powered robots. Maybe he’ll even deal with a time traveler or with alien invaders. ” pay is royalties
Selene Quarterly Magazine: up to 100 words between 101-1,000 words 1,001-1,500 words 3,000-7,500 words “Selene Quarterly Magazine publishes quality fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art that dwells in the shadows. SQM desires stories and poetry that are thrilling, reflective, and imaginative.” pay scale varies for length but all are at least $.01 a word
Ulthar Press: 2,000-5,000 words ” looking for strange, gothic, and fantastic fiction in the manner of E.T.A. Hoffmann between 2,000 – 5,000 words in length. Stories that merely graft his characters into a new story will not be accepted.” response time is 60 days and the pay is $.02 a word
Thuggish Itch: 1,000-4,000 words theme is theme park looking for horror, scifi, and speculative works. pay is $5.00 under 2,000 words and $10 over 2,000 *to make this ‘worth it’ you need to write a 500 word pieceD
Space Opera Libretti: 2,000-7,000 words “The short version of what we want: Silly, diverse sci-fi that involves music. If it’s actually about operas in space, all the better!” pay is $.06 a word
Inkling Press: up to 5,000 words “The first anthology released by Inklings Press was Tales From The Tavern – a short collection of five fantasy stories by some of the early, happy crew that thought it was time to have a go. You can still read that – it’s collected in the Tales From The Tower anthology that rounds up the first year of Inklings Press.” flat $50 pay
Vex Me No More: up to 5,000 words “We want your witch stories! Though they do not necessarily have to be female-centric, they do need to be tales of powerful, unique beings. Remember, this is a horror anthology, so while you can have elements of other genres, we want to be scared.” pay os $.02 a word
Bad Dream Entertainment: 1,500-8,000 words “Bad Dream is now accepting submissions of humorous dark fiction. Editor Brett Reistroffer is looking for original horror fiction with a strong sense of comedy, and most themes, subjects, and settings are welcome but standard genre tropes are definitely discouraged (vampires, zombies, werewolves, etc.). The comedic aspect can be goofy and slapstick or black and morbid, just as long as there are equal amounts of darkness and humor” pay is $.06 a word plus split royalties
Curse the Darkness: 3,000-10,000 words “For our inaugural anthology, Curse the Darkness*, we’re throwing our doors wide open and inviting submissions on the theme of darkness. That could be the absence of light, the presence of evil, or the sinister thoughts of the afflicted. However you choose to interpret the theme, just make sure you leave us afraid to turn out the lights.” pay is $75 flat rate
Alternate Peace: up to 7,500 words “is to feature alternate history stories where the divergence from our timeline comes from some kind of peaceful change to our past. It must explore the consequences of this divergence, not simply introduce the divergence. Stories featuring more interesting historical settings and twists on the consequences of the peaceful divergence from our timeline will receive more attention than those with more standard changes to the course of history. ” response by end of Feb 2019 pay is $.06 a word
Temporally Deactivated: up to 7,5000 words “is to feature stories where the author explores what the phrase “temporally deactivated” could mean with regards to a person, place, or thing. Stories featuring more interesting takes on the twisting of time and how it is integrated into the story will receive more attention than those with more typical twisted time stories. We do NOT want to see stories where “temporal deactivation” means simply death.” response by end of Feb 3019 pay is $.06 a word
Portals: up to 7,5000 words “is to feature science fiction or fantasy stories that contain a portal opening up between two different worlds and the consequences that come from that portal. We are attempting to fill half of the anthology with science fiction stories and half with fantasy stories. ” pay is $.06 a word
Nothing Without Us: 1,000-3,500 words “All works must be fiction—fiction based on lived experiences is welcome. The lead character must be disabled, blind, Deaf, Autistic, neurodiverse, and/or live with mental illness. We do not expect all of these in one character, although we’re sure that character would be amazing. We are accepting fiction in all genres with the exception of hard-core erotica. We are also only interested in previously unpublished works. ” “We welcome writers across the disability, mental illness, developmental disabilities, neurodiversity, blind, and Deaf spectrums. We welcome those who manage invisible and visible disabilities and/or chronic conditions. We welcome those who count spoons! We’re just looking to have an entire work where we elevate the stories written by the folks in our community. We welcome the communities that intersect with the disabled, neurodiverse, mentally ill, blind, and Deaf communities, such as the LGBTQIA2 communities.” pay is $.03 a word
Allegory Online Magazine: up to 5,000 words but between 500-2,000 seems best “We specialize in the Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror genres. We will consider other genres, such as humor or general interest, provided that the work possesses an original, “quirky” slant.” pay is $15
Cafe Irreal: up to 2,000 words “This fiction, which we would describe as irreal, resembles the work of writers such as Franz Kafka, Kobo Abe, Clarice Lispector and Jorge Luis Borges. As a type of fiction it rejects the tendency to portray people and places realistically and the need for a full resolution to the story; instead, it shows us a reality constantly being undermined. Therefore, we’re interested in stories by writers who write about what they don’t know, take us places we couldn’t possibly go, and don’t try to make us care about the characters.” pay is $.01 a word min $2
Crystal Lake Publishing: 500-5,000 words a non themed anthology in the dark fiction genre with fleshed out three dimensional characters pay is $.03 a word
Nexxis Fantasy: up to 15,000 words “Nexxis Fantasy has a twice a year publication. Our goal is to publish an exquisite science fiction anthology filled with the greatest works from across the galaxy.” the upcoming theme is “Lost” pay is $1 per 100 words
To be included in this issue markets must pay at least $.01 a word. Some flat rates only pay that if writers stick to the minimum word count, and royalty pay = all bets are off.
Speculative City: open word count suggests nothing above 5,500 word count. Looking for a speculative work using the theme “knowledge” has a preference for under represented characters within the genre but accepts all stories. responds in 90 days. pays $20-$75
Shooter:2,000-7,500 words the theme is rivalry “Send us stories, essays, reported narratives and poetry on anything to do with competition, antagonism, warring forces and individual foes. The context might be sports, business, romance, politics, survival; the characters might be students, frenemies, parents, current and former lovers, courtroom opponents. As ever, the theme is open to wide interpretation.” pay $25 a story
Pseudopod: 1,500-6,000 words “We’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy. We publish highly literary stories reminiscent of Poe or Lovecraft as well as vulgar shock-value pulp fiction.” pay is $.06 a word
One Story: 3,000-8,000 words looking for literary fiction that stands on it’s own. 3 month response time. pay $500 and 25 contributor copies
Bikes in Space, the Non Binary Edition: 500-8,000 words on bikes in space scifi/fantasy genre with author and characters with non binary gender expression pay is at least $30 with 5 contributor copies
Lamplight: up to 7,000 words “dark fiction, both short stories and flash fiction. We want your best. But then, doesn’t everyone? No specific sub-genres or themes, just good stories. For inspiration, we suggest “The Twilight Zone”, “The Outer Limits”” pay is $.03 a word
Gehenna& Hinnom Books: 250-3,000 for flash and 3,001-5,000 word short story “We are looking for stories that fit the themes of Weird Fiction and Cosmic Horror. Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy are all welcomed, as long as they fit in the realms of Weird and Cosmic. All stories must also be speculative in some way. What we mean by this is that we don’t want stories based in realism. ” pay is $45 for flash and $55 for short story
Apparition: up to 1,000 words on the theme security pay is $5 flat rate
Nothing’s Sacred: 3,000 words max “The horror within can range from subtle to grotesque, psychological to physical, dark to full out terror so long as it is character driven. Theme wise, Nothing’s Sacred is relatively open outside of distasteful stories of rape, the degradation and/or humiliation of women, and child porn of any kind.”pay is $.05 a word and accepting the magazine’s hypocritical title
Moonlit Dreams/ Moonlit Nightmare: 1,500-10,000 words “short stories that explore the nature of the psyche, the world (or worlds) around us, and that speaks in some way to the theme presented. Stories should be well crafted and flushed out, having elements of a great story that could be told for generations to come. Including such things as romance, intrigue, comedy or drama are all par for the course as far as I’m concerned – the key is to write a story that lingers both in your heart and mind by the time the last page is turned.” pay is $.01 a word
Mickey Finn 20th Century Noir: about 5,000 words under 3,000 is probably too short and over 8,000 will be too long “An annual anthology of hardboiled and noir crime fiction to be released each fall beginning in 2020, Mickey Finnwill pick up where the three-volume Fedora anthology series left off, pushing hard against the boundaries of crime fiction. Contributors will be encouraged to push their work into places short crime fiction doesn’t often go, into a world where the mean streets seem gentrified by comparison and happy endings are the exception rather than the rule.” won’t hear back to Feb 2019 pay is royalties
The Twelfth Planet Press:17,000-40,000 words “We want gritty pieces that challenge the system and punch the patriarchy in the face. We want stories that resist and rebel… and maybe also books that comfort & inspire. For when things are bad out there in the world. We are looking for books that feed the angry soul.” pay is $300 plus royalties
Moonlight a Queer Werewolf Anthology: 1,000-2,000 words “Whether your werewolves are in space, school, or ruffing it in the outdoors, it doesn’t matter to us! We are looking for stories that span genres and tones. Your werewolves may be moody or the life of the party. All that matters is that they are openly queer and that there is an engaging story around them to be told.” pay is $.07 a word
Crannog: under 2,000 words no genre or guidelines pay is $50 per story
Apparition: 1,000-5,000 words on the theme of resistance “Apparition Lit is seeking original, unpublished speculative fiction that meet our quarterly theme. Speculative fiction is weird, almost unclassifiable. It’s fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and literary. We want it all. Send us your strange, misshapen stories.” pay is $.03 a word
Podcastle: up to 6,000 words “looking for fantasy stories. We’re open to all the sub-genres of fantasy, from magical realism to urban fantasy to slipstream to high fantasy, and everything in between. Fantastical or non-real content should be meaningful to the story.” pay is $.06 a word
Martian Migraine Press Monstrous Outlines: 1,500-7,000 words “an anthology of horror and weird fiction with a focus on the theme of camouflage: people, entities, monsters, gods, even concepts, that masquerade as things other than themselves. Predators in plain sight, deities on their down time, sublime extra-dimensional terrors slumming in 4D. We want to see stories of exceptionally well done camouflage, all the more baffling and frightening for its seamless nature. We want to see stories of seeming where the hidden thing is poorly hidden for a number of reasons: perhaps there are layers to its camouflage, or perhaps it doesn’t care how well it hides. Imagine the moment when the perfectly hidden thing reveals itself. When the poorly hidden thing reveals itself. We’re also interested in duplicates, doppelgangers, and shapeshifters.” pay is $.03 a word
Remnants: word count varies a post apocalypse shared world story/series go to the site for details. Pay: royalties
2100 A Health Odyssey: “give us your best 3,000-word short story that challenges today’s assumptions about the future of health care in the U.S. We’re offering a first prize of $10,000, second prize of $5,000 and other prizes for runners up and current employees, students and alumni of Jefferson.“
When I queried agents over my novel Follow Me: Tatter Veils, I got one personal rejection. The agent (and I apologize as I can’t find the email to name him) told me a major stumbling block I might encounter in pitching my novel is that I suggested it for multiple genres.
My mind makes connections. If someone followed my thought process, it’s like one of those mind maps except almost everything connections to each other some way. In all my work pulling together this massive 75,000 word work, I’d never thought opening it up as a genre crossover would limit my ability to market.
Since then, I describe Follow Me: Tattered Veils as an Urban Fantasy. It fits considering the book happens in present day world and introduces magical/mythic elements into an otherwise mundane setting.
Except, it also doesn’t fit. Follow Me: Tattered Veils is at its heart a book about obsession and stalking. The protagonist, Roxi, is living her daily life when Gerry, an ancient unpredictable fae being, deigns to take notice of her. From there, it’s a cat-and-mouse game of near brushes and tense attempts from Gerry to lure Roxi into his world. The novel culminates in a chase through faery land where Roxi must either save her friends and escape this dangerous world or surrender her autonomy to Gerry.
Could be Magical Realism. I use the concept of fae glamour to make these otherworldly beings hide in plain sight. I suggest this idea of two realities, the one we know and this other layer waiting underneath that Gerry, Roxi, and others work with. It isn’t the traditional secret society type deal, more like an alternative experience of reality.
But, I think Magical Realism has more magic integrated that’s just a shoulder shrug. Everyone knows about it, accepts it, and moves on. My magic systems imply they are real like Christianity and like Christianity, few people have or seek a genuine experience.
My colleague Lionel Green, suggested the back was “terrifying” and he read straight through that part “non stop”. It makes me wonder, is my work horror? There are both the real world and fantasy elements of the book that are horrifying.
In my heart, the book is a lot more about how a woman experiences the male gaze. In that way, I think Follow Me: Tattered Veils might be women’s fiction. The men who have read the book suggest that they “enjoyed reading it. Good on its own, but I’d never buy this book based on the description.” Does this feedback mean I’m marketing the book badly for both genders or is the work intended for a female audience?
This sort of bullshit was why I wanted an agent. Don’t they help you find and speak to an audience? What do they do? Because I had the idea, wrote it, edited it, and submitted it. So I’m just wondering when someone else comes in to help or if publishing is a solo journey.
Alas, I need to choose the genre too. Is there any part of publishing that isn’t a struggle?
Does anyone else have trouble identifying their genre? Do you think being in the right genre is core to success? Have you written anything that someone has labeled a cross over?
What about summarizing long works or picking which elements are most paramount? I am so invested in Follow Me: Tattered Veils, sometimes it’s hard for me to know what’s important. Any tips or tricks? Do I Google search what’s hot and sell it that way?
The Finger– Either 2 flash at 5oo or 2 flash at 2,500 or 1 flash at 5,000 “take us someplace we haven’t been before”
Third Flatiron-Up to 3,000 words Galileo’s Theme Park” – Space opera, SF, physics. The great Italian scientist is famous for standing up for science in the face of the Inquisition, doing his best work while under house arrest. He also brought us our first views of Jupiter’s moons by combining a convex lens with a concave one to invent a high quality telescope. We invite you to take us on a journey to the lands beyond Earth revealed to us by Galileo and other space scientists. Suggested reading: “The Old Astronomer” by Sarah Williams” pays $.06 word
Visions– Up to 5,000 words “The first issue will centre on the concept of home in the broadest sense, from the physical structure to the social construct. For instance, we hope the stories will revisit what the notion of home is – a house, a planet, a device? – and what it means to feel at home or homesick. What do we mean by home? How does the concept of home adapts as the world around us changes at a radical pace?” $.06 a word
Future Visions-2,000-7,000 words “The Future Visions Anthologies is a science fiction anthology series, aiming to deliver excellent and diverse short story collections on a quarterly basis. In the tradition of great television anthology series such as The Twilight Zone, and Black Mirror, the Future Visions Anthologies will broadly explore all genres and traditions of science fiction and speculative fiction, seeking in each story to explore deeply themes that are relevant to a modern audience”
Circlet-2,500-8,500 words “Here’s your chance to talk about romance for the characters uninterested in sex. Give me your space pilots in serious relationships with their sentient ships. Think about how an incubus would patiently court a demi-sexual. Maybe you have a regency fantasy where only a virgin can wield the talisman, and thank goodness we’ve got an adult countess who can step up.” $25 for eprint and another $25 if print published
Iridium Magazine– ANYTHING with queer non conforming characters up to 5,000 words
Electric Spec– “We consider any story between 250 and 7000 words with speculative fiction elements. We prefer science fiction, fantasy, and the macabre, but we’re willing to push the limits of traditional forms of these genres.” $20 flat rate
Fantasia Divinity- 500-10,500 words. “Spring is a time for growth and rebirth. Beauty is everywhere as the world awakens and comes back to life. We are looking for stories that capture the essence of this beautiful time. What makes the flowers bloom? Why does love permeate the air? Be it nymphs, fairies, gods or goddesses, or even something far more sinister, we want to know. “
Dead Man Tome– “Genre and theme: Horror, Dark fiction, bizarro framed around conspiracies whether it be UFOs, JFK, 9/11, or Las Vegas. All conspiracies are fair game. Have fun.”
Unverving– “Haunted are These Houses is an anthology of Gothic fiction and poetry due out in September 2018, edited by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Eddie Generous.” 400-6,000 words firm pays $.01 a word
Hellbound Book Publishing-5K-15K words “Shlock Horror An anthology of short stories based upon/inspired by and in loving homage to all of those great gorefest movies and books of the 1980’s (doesn’t need to be set in that era!), the golden age when horror well and truly came kicking, screaming and spraying blood, gore & body parts out from the shadows...”
The Geeky Press– “This collection isn’t meant to advocate a position. We aren’t looking for manifestos. We aren’t looking for academic papers. Instead, we want well-told stories, personal narratives, essays, and reflections in fiction, scriptwriting, and poetry from people who come from diverse backgrounds and want to share their American story”
Fiends in the Furrows– 5,000-10,000 words “Folk Horror has emerged from the shadows of the late 1960s and early 1970s into a haunting subgenre of horror, fusing atmospheric and horrifying elements of cults, pagan sex, and human sacrifice. In the world of Folk Horror, the laws of God and Man are stripped away by secretive, provincial, surreal, and occult ritualism that subverts the established order in favor of a monstrous, all-consuming, elemental force of ancient evil.”
Apex Magazine– 1,500-5,000 words pays $.06 a word “This summer, award-winning author and editor Sheree Renée Thomas (“Aunt Dissy’s Policy Dream Book,” Apex Magazine, Volume 95 April 2017 and Volume 101 October 2017, Sleeping Under the Tree of Life, Shotgun Lullabies, and the Dark Matter anthologies) willguest edit a special Zodiac-themed issue. Sheree seeks short stories that explore the heavenly cosmos and unveil mysteries, tales that reimagine Zodiacal archetypes and/or throw them on their heads.”
Midnight Hour Media– 1,500-8,000 words “We are looking for horror, dark sci-fi, dark speculative fiction, neo-noire, and cyberpunk themes. Please read the general submissions for more details.”
Midnight Hour Media– 1,000-10,000 words “We are looking for holiday related horror, dark sci-fi, dark speculative fiction, neo-noire, and cyberpunk stories. We like stories with Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza themes. Alternatively, they can simply take place during the holidays (like how Die Hard isn’t really about Christmas) or even just involve wintery or snowy settings. Please read the general submissions for more details.”
A little last minute, especially for the mid March deadlines, but I figured I’d offer them anyway.
Cenorot 2,500-6,000 words pays $.06 a word the prompt: “The year is 2025. The planet has been riddled with radiation and in an effort to sustain life the world’s leading scientists have come up with a new procedure to keep humans and animals alive. The success rate was high … until the new creatures began to show signs of rot. Genetically and physically enhanced, these monsters begin to turn on each other and their makers.” On a personal note I really wanted to write something for this and found myself bogged down in the “how” and “why” but I’d LOVE to read this anthology. Hoping to see good things here
Transmundane Press up to 6,000 words story themed with dreams, hallucinations, nightmares, and/or visions pays $5-$20 depending on length
Gehenna & Hinnom Books Their magazine does rolling submissions with one window closing March 15th. Looking for weird and cosmic fiction $30 for flash and $55 for short stories they respond in 30 business days to a query.
Corpus Press Halloween stories 4,000-8,000 words scary, atmospheric, thought provoking, humorous or satirical pays $.03 a word
Pantheon Magazine “What we want: Weird, dark fiction; slipstream; magical realism; horror. Fiction with a touch of mythic quality. We want themes based around transformations—things that are shapeshifting, things that are emerging. Make Ovid’s Metamorphoses contemporary and weird and scary. We want a wide scope of voices, cultures, and perspectives.” 1,000-2,000 words flash pays $.06 a word
Weird Nature Anthology 2,500-10,000 words. The title intrigued me but I couldn’t make heads or tales or what the publisher wanted. Couldn’t even figure out an excerpt to offer.
Paper Dog Books 1,000-5,000 words “We’re looking for works of short speculative fiction that consider the future of the internet, artificial intelligence, the mind, and robots. Give us your optimistic, fantastic, bittersweet stories of fantasy and science fiction” pays $.06 a word and attempts to respond within 60 days
First, few caveats. I did not include any publisher who asked for a reading fee. I also didn’t include grants, contests, or publishing offers that were region locked to an area outside of Northern Alabama.
What I did include were all publishing offers I could find that I thought may have appeal to any current members of our writing group. That said, some of the calls for submissions seems like they may be less stable or professional than other markets. I did try to exclude anything that appeared like an obvious vanity press, but there are some calls here I wouldn’t submit to. Use your own discretion.
Due Feb 15th
Deciduous Tales– “We are looking for horror and dark fiction with well realized characters, a strong voice and literary merit between 1000 and 5000 words. Query first for any story longer than 5000 words.”
Due Feb 16th
Black Button– 2000-6000 words midwestern themed horror and dark fiction. Integrate family dynamics.
Due Feb 28th
Dark House Books– Has 2 calls! one is a 2500-5000 words cozy to cozy-noir stories featuring libraries and librarians the OTHER poetry, flash, short fiction, and creative nonfiction reflecting the theme of sanctuary, refuge, shelter, or asylum, from the perspective of those offering, seeking, denying, or destroying it. From Bangladesh to the city animal shelter, all are welcome, as are all genres.
If This Goes On– up to 5000 words at least 1 generation in the future but further out is preferred and it needs to relate to current political issues $.08/word
Body Parts Magazine– Flash up to 1000 AND short stories up to 8000 words theme is “primal fears” looking for horror, dark fairy tales
“This Book Is Cursed“- Up to 7,500 words the theme is “this book is cursed” includes tombs, theater curses, sports curses random vengeance curses
Hex Gunslinger– 1000-1500 flash, 1001-7499 short story, 7,500-17,499 novellette and 17,500- 40,000 novella speculative, mysterious, and romantic weird western tall tales! Framed as an unearthed secret library years after the civil war, each story should hold the ethos of western expansion beginning in 1803 with the Louisiana Purchase, and ending around the 1850s not necessarily restricted to a North American audience. Do not take manifest destiny as a mantra to live by. Shape a world with all the magic and mystery of the frontier without letting the ugliness of conquest be consumed with fantastic whimsy. We want wide open plains where violence ruled, underground movements brewing with tension, and the Wild Wild West in all it’s beauty and madness. Bring us your stories marking the age of the gold rush, injustice, genocide, mass immigration, transcontinental railroads, vigilante justice, telegraphs, outlaws, gunslingers, slick talkers, setting suns, and the impending civil war that would rip a nation apart. They want Pulp fiction, Weird Western, Cattlepunk, Southern Gothic, Folkloric Monsters, Occult Magick, Slipstream, Cowboys & Aliens, and so on
Baba Yaga Anthology– 7,500-20,000 words. Kate is looking for stories from Baba Yaga’s point of view, or the point of view from those she helps or hurts, or from anyone who might be a protagonist worthy of the Baba Yaga story. You can set the story in the past or present. The story can take place anywhere in the world. It can include romance or action or tragedy or comedy.
Dark Water Syndicate– 5000-8000 words “We are interested in short horror fiction about people who sneak into abandoned, forgotten, shunned, or cursed communities and survive to tell the tale. For example: Centralia, Pennsylvania—the mining town abandoned because of an uncontrollable underground coal fire; Love Canal—the New York neighborhood declared off-limits due to extreme environmental pollution; and Pripyat—the Ukrainian city evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster. The emphasis is on communities—a haunted house or other such localized place is not large enough to qualify. The place or people in your story must be fiction, must be told in 1st person and must be a present day adventure”
Horror Short Story Contest– “Entries must be 2000 words or less, typed in 12 point Times New Roman and include your name, age, and contact information.”
Daily Science Fiction’s name is deceiving. They are an online site that send subscribers a daily short in all varieties of science fiction and fantasy. The short stories are held online in an archive and some are also published in their anthologies. When I first came to the North Alabama Writers’ Group, it was one of the first resources suggested to me. As writers we are encouraged to read others in the genre, stay current, but we are also encouraged to submit, submit, submit! Daily Science Fiction can help an ambitious writer with both those goals.
In my year long relationship with Daily Science Fiction, it has turned into one of the white whales of the North Alabama Writers’ Group. In a state of constant call for submission, but no matter how many of us offer dribbles, quite a few hand crafted for the medium, none of us have been accepted. At the same time, we’re reading what feels like a bunch of garbage. We find ourselves saying “I could do better” or “I have written better”, but we must be missing some quality or reoccurring theme.
In an effort to crack the Drabble code, I’m reading all the stories they send me. Instead of bemoaning the terrible, I thought I’d just offer a monthly round up of what was good and why it worked for me. These are ordered how I received them (excluding one I’ll get to).
“A Villian Considers His Options” by James Beamon—It’s funny and it has an almost meta quality. Love his use of an acronym to name his A.I. This is Beamon’s fifth publication to Daily Science Fiction. I was able to find two previous submissions. One, “17 Amazing Plot Elements… When You See #11, You’ll Be Astounded” was terrible. I’ve yet to read a list from Daily Science Fiction I like, so I’m thinking that even though there’s an obvious market for this type of writing, it’s just never going to be to my tastes. The other “Settling Beef” was excellent. Still sharp and funny like “A Villian Consider’s His Options” but also heavy with a relevant message in today’s world. Of the three, it was the most successful store, though I still prefer “A Villian Considers His Options” best because is was the most amusing. All three show a signature humorous voice and style. Two do so in a way I found successful. Beamon has a Goodreads page that shows he contributes to themed story collections and has one stand alone short story published, all showing high Goodreads ratings.
“Winged Fold Only” by Mary E. Load—a fun feel good story with a simple moral. Her bio is just as entertaining as her story, and it gives me a new goal of what I want to aspire to in my own bio.
The BEST part about Mary E. Lowd’s work is that she wrote a sequel to “Winged Folk Only” also published this month in Daily Science Fiction called “Go High” —It was also on my list of good reads. I really like Evben and hope to get more 1000 words on her. This sequel was probably middle of the road for me. Still cute and descriptive but with less of an emotional appeal. What I loved what it’s connection to her earlier story.
Mary. E Lowd was published by Daily Science Fiction a total of 4 times this month, and I enjoyed three of her stories and was on the fence about one of them. In the case of her other two, also connected, stories I wasn’t fond of the first “Queen Doripauli and the Sproutlings”. To me it lacked emotional depth and the action seemed to bland. However, I loved the follow up “Waking up in the Genie Shop”. What can I say, I’m a sucker for those sweet little moments in a story, and “Waking up in the Genie Shop” delivers.
Mary Lowd finished my January Daily Science Fiction experiment strong, but delivering one more wonderful story. “Of Starwhals and Spaceships” is a fun short. It has a childlike innocence and a general wonder for the universe. It delivers on at least four complex thoughts, ones that would take me more than 1000 words to explain, which gives the work depth and almost mystic quality.
I’ve just finished reading “The book of the Unnamed Midwife” by Meg Elison, so when Daily Science Fiction brought me “The Library is Open” by Beth Cato, I had the opening scenes ready to go. A peaceful bubble in the apocalypse where the normal becomes abnormal. I liked how Cato played with tension. Even in humanity’s darkest hour, her short left the reader feeling hopeful.
“Maestro” by Neal A. Cline—is an example of a story that just barely makes my list and it’s for purely personal reasons. First, I love tigers, so much that it caused me to do a lot of research on humanity’s relationship with wild animals and the process of domestication. All of which lead me to believe that owning any wild animal in a pet like capacity will lead to tragedy 98% of the time. Second, this story is about a mind link between human and animal, which I’m fascinated by. Third, Cline brings up modern concerns over conservation of species and whether we can think it’s a success if we can only find some species of animal in a zoo (or in this case genetically modified to provide service for people). Since I wanted to write a long opinion piece regarding what true conservation is and the value of a being outside of human use was, I decided to include this story. “Like” is too strong an word for my feelings, but it did make me react, and that’s valuable.
“Bone White” by Patrick Sullivan is an example of a work trying to blend a lot of working pieces and doing it with partial success. I like the half of the story told in the past, it has a very “Emperor’s new Clothes” feel if the fairy tale included murder and depravity. I love dark fairy tales. The modern part, while possessing a chilling close, generally doesn’t work for me. How come this cloak still exists? Why wasn’t it destroyed or kept closely guarded? It’s too much of a jump for me. Still, a quick search shows Sullivan is new to publication and perhaps new to writing stories (publication =/= story experience). It’s a promising start and I’ll keep an eye out for more.
“The Adjunct Professor’s Alien Girlfriend” by Marge Simon —was borderline for me too. Description wise, there’s some elements about the male/female relationship I found concerning and annoying. It’s further compounded in my mind because the woman is an alien and some of the “visa” description harkens back to “mail order brides”. The sweetness of the ending helped me overlook a host of elements I didn’t appreciate. Like “Maestro” it’s a great conversation starter, but not my favorite.
“Small Sacks of Children” by Andrew Kozma was a work I immediately disliked. I almost skipped it only to find myself completely taken by the end. Have to respect a writer who can instill such immediate emotion and then completely change the feeling in 1000 words.
That’s 10 out of 23 stories or a 43% success rate. Do I think other people should subscribe to Daily Science Fiction and read all the stories—maybe? What I liked, I really liked and introduced me to new writers I want to follow and keep and eye on. It also gave me access to another 24 short stories to look at. Will this help me be more brief in my own writing or open publication paths for me—I don’t know. What I can say was that the process was fun and didn’t take a lot of time. If you’re trying to get back into reading and not sure who to follow or what to pick up, Daily Science Fiction might be just the place to give you some leads.