Category Archives: calls for submissions

Open submission calls: January 2023



A new year, a fresh start, renewed ambitions, and so on… January is a great time to send out stories you’ve already written, or to be inspired to write new ones. Below, I’ve gathered some of the most interesting open submission calls for writers I’ve spotted this month. If you have a try at any of these opportunities, best of luck!

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Ghoulish Tales
New magazine that celebrate ‘fun horror that aims to celebrate all things spooky.’ While plenty of horror films are fun, I think it’s trickier to achieve in written fiction, so this is definitely a worthwhile distinction.
Word count: Up to 5000 words
Payment: 7 cents per word
Deadline: 15 February 2023

Horror Library
This is the eighth volume of horror stories from Dark Moon Books. Their criteria makes for an interesting list: ‘Imaginative and/or harrowing adventure; beauty of darkness; horror (edgy or quiet); exploration through fears or discovery; original monsters and/or strange lands; life events turned slightly askew, etc.’
Word count: 1500–5000 words
Payment: 2 cents per word
Deadline: Opens 16 January 2023, closes 30 January 2023

Triangulation: Seven-Day Weekend
The new volume of this longstanding series anthologies will feature fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and speculative horror stories themed around automation. Despite the genre list, the guidelines don’t seem to require that stories are bleak, which is refreshing.
Word count: Up to 5000 words
Payment: 3 cents per word
Deadline: 1 February 2023

Cymera / Shoreline of Infinity Prize for Speculative Short Fiction
Cymera is one of the friendliest and most fun SFF events around. Shoreline of Infinity is one of the most inventive and consistent SF magazines. How could the idea of impressing both of them at the same time not be a good idea? NB it’s open to anyone living in Scotland or who identifies as Scottish ‘by birth or inclination’, which is a lovely phrase.
Word count: Up to 2500 words
Payment: Prize of £150 for the winner plus publication in Shoreline of Infinity, free tickets to two Cymera events for the runners-up
Deadline: 26 March 2023

The First Five Minutes of the Apocalypse
An anthology from Hungry Shadow Press with an excellent theme: ‘the experiences, the points of view, the wild, weird, disgusting, disturbing, beautiful, heartbreaking things that happened at the very beginning of the end of the world.’
Word count: 1500–4000 words
Payment: 3 cents per word
Deadline: Opens 1 February 2023, deadline 28 February 2023

Seers and Sibyls
Another very specific but fascinating theme for this submissions call. In the editors’ own words: ‘We’re looking for stories about the mouthpieces of gods and goddesses. Who interprets their omens, tells their prophecies, sees their visions, and performs their miracles? And to what end?’
Word count: 1500–5000 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 31 January 2023

Monster Lairs
This anthology from Dark Matter will feature dark fantasy and horror (and related hybrids such as fairytale horror, gothic fantasy, supernatural horror, cosmic horror). Editor Anna Madden is seeking ‘decidedly inhuman monsters that have been sought out and challenged, befriended, protected, or stolen from their own grounds, roots exposed like naked bone’. I tell you what – the themes for open submissions this month are pretty amazing, aren’t they?
Word count: 2000–4000 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 30 January 2023, but then until 5 February 2023 for previously unpublished writers, ESL writers, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers, and other marginalized voices

This is a new magazine that will specialise in ‘optimistic and uplifting short science-fiction stories on any subject’. There’s not nearly enough warmth and positivity in most SF, in my opinion, so this is another very welcome theme. It’s also the first open submission call I’ve seen which states explicitly that stories written or assisted by AI are not welcome.
Word count: 1000–6000 words
Payment: 10 cents per word
Deadline: Ongoing, as far as I can tell

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Open submission calls: October 2022

John Lennon typing

Shall we ignore the fact that I didn’t post submissions calls in August or September? Sorry, sorry, and I’ll try to be more reliable in future. Anyway, as always (though not always, clearly), here are some of the most interesting open submission calls for writers I’ve spotted this month. If you have a try at any of these opportunities, good luck!

Game On!
Anthology featuring stories which represent ‘unique science fiction and fantasy takes on games, game playing, and games in culture’. (Note the emphasis on games; anything that classifies as a sport won’t be accepted.) Several notable authors such as Aliette de Bodard and Cat Rambo have already signed up to provide stories.
Word count: Up to 7500 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 31 December 2022

Our Ocean’d Earth
Anthology featuring non-fiction and fiction focused on ‘defending nature and empowering communities’. The editors are seeking stories ‘from a range of perspectives—from marine life researchers to conservationists, free divers to writers with a deep connection to the sea’.
Word count: Ideally 1000–3000 word
Payment: €200
Deadline: 30 October 2022

A Darkness Visible
Anthology from Ontology Books, with a focus on postmodern horror – reference points include Mark Danielewski, Bret Easton Ellis, William Burroughs and Thomas Pynchon.
Word count: 3000–8000 words
Payment: £80
Deadline: 31 October 2022

Come October
One-off anthology from editor C.M. Muller, who’s been responsible for the fantastic Nightscript series. This anthology is dedicated to ‘autumnal horror’.
Word count: 1000-6000 words
Payment: Contributor copy
Deadline: Opens on 31 October 2022, deadline 31 December 2022

ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society’s prestigious annual short story contest.
Word count: Up to 5000 words
Payment: Prizes of £2,000, £1,000 or £500
Deadline: 31 October 2022

FABLE: An Anthology of Horror, Suspense & the Supernatural
Anthology featuring horror, mystery, crime, thriller, and/or suspense stories in which ‘supernatural elements are encouraged’.
Word count: 1000–39,999 words
Payment: 8 cents per word for the first 1000 words, then 1 cent per word after that
Deadline: 30 November 2022

Under the Stairs: An Anthology of Homebound Horror
Anthology seeking ‘horrific stories about what happens when one’s sense of home is lost’.
Word count: Up to 3000 words
Payment: 3 cents per word
Deadline: 31 October 2022

Grendel Press is planning a series of themed anthologies, the first of which concerns ‘a condition or phenomenon involving distorted memory or confusions of fact and fantasy, such as confabulation or déjà vu’.
Word count: 3000-7000 words
Payment: 5 cents per word
Deadline: Open until the anthology is filled

Frivolous Comma
Website featuring SFF/horror stories ‘from or about diverse perspectives and traditionally under-represented groups, settings, and cultures, written from a non-exoticizing and well-researched position, and dealing with transition & intersectionality.’
Word count: 1000–4000 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: Open until 300 submissions have been received

This World Belongs to Us: An Anthology of Horror Stories about Bugs
A fairly self-explanatory theme, though the editors elaborate with some examples: ‘Bugs as ill omens, bugs burrowing into bodies or thoughts, bugs taking over your town, giant bugs eating your friends, bugs giving you the side-eye at the supermarket’.
Word count: 500–5000 words
Payment: 5 cents per word
Deadline: 30 November 2022

Open submission calls: June 2022

Uncle Travelling Matt

Once again, I’ve trawled the web for SFF/horror open submission calls so you don’t have to. It’s a compulsion, I guess. Good luck if you decide to pursue any of these opportunities!

Monstrous Futures
This anthology to be published by Dark Matter Ink follows a previous volume, Human Monsters. This volume will feature Black Mirror-esque ‘dark sci-fi with an emphasis on exploring our connection with technology and one another through speculative concepts and backdrops’.
Word count: 2000–4000 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 30 June 2022

The well-respected publisher of SF novels is allowing unagented novel submissions throughout June. Such a great opportunity for up-and-coming writers!
Word count: Full novel MS, plus synopsis and bio
Payment: TBD
Deadline: 30 June 2022

Seize the Press
This new online zine is looking for ‘dark, transgressive speculative fiction. bleak sci-fi, dark fantasy and horror’. All the fun stuff.
Word count: Up to 2000 words
Payment: 6 pence per word
Deadline: Always open, it seems

Dangerous Waters: Deadly Women of the Sea
Horror and dark fantasy anthology to be published by Brigids Gate Press, centred around ‘malevolent mermaids, sinister sirens, scary selkies, spirits, and other deadly and dangerous women of the sea’.
Word count: 500–3500 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 30 June 2022

Fusion Fragment
Another online zine, this one twelve issues into its run and centred around ‘science fiction or SF-tinged literary fiction’.
Word count: 2000 to 15,000 words
Payment: 3.5 cents (CAD) per word
Deadline: Open 10–12 June 2022

Orion’s Belt
This online magazine seeks stories with ‘significant speculative elements’.
Word count: Up to 1200 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 1 September 2022

Apparition Lit
Quarterly magazine currently accepting speculative flash fiction based on a specific visual prompt which changes each month.
Word count: Up to 1000 words
Payment: $30
Deadline: Current call ends on 14 June 2022

Open Submission Calls: May 2022

It’s that time again… Here are some of the most tantalising open submission calls I’ve spotted this month. If you decide to go after any of these opportunities, good luck!

Science Fiction Debuts Prize
I normally post only about short story submissions, but this is a terrific opportunity for any up-and-coming SF novelists. To coincide with its forthcoming Science Fiction exhibition, the Science Museum has partnered with Hodder & Stoughton to launch a new writing prize for unpublished writers who aren’t yet represented by a literary agent.
Word count: Submit 10,000 words of a novel, plus synopsis
Payment: First prize is £4000, plus a full critique of your work, plus a Hodderscape mentoring programme, plus introduction to three agents. Other prizes for runners up.
Deadline: Open 4 June–30 September 2022

Dracula Beyond Stoker
New journal entirely dedicated to Dracula-themed fiction. The first issue will (naturally enough) be themed around the character of Dracula himself, with the second issue revolving around Renfield.
Word count: 1500–5000 words
Payment: 5 cents per word
Deadline: 15 June 2022 (for first issue)

Campfire Macabre: Volume 2
Cemetery Gates Media seeks flash horror fiction for the second volume in its Campfire Macabre series. Stories must match one theme from the following: ‘When We Were Getting High’, ‘My Last Trick ‘r Treat’, ‘Body Grotesquerie’, ‘Ominous Visitors From Deep Space’ or ‘Out in the Fields, Forests, and Lakes’.
Word count: 500–1500 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: Open 1 June–15 August 2022

The Dread Machine
This newish magazine seeks futuristic dark fiction, speculative fiction, cyberpunk, slipstream, and science fiction.
Word count: Up to 5,500 words
Payment: 5 cents per word
Deadline: No deadline

The Consultations of Sherlock Holmes
Belanger Books is putting together an anthology of traditional Sherlock Holmes stories that demonstrate Holmes’s skills as “consulting detective” – that is, stories in which he solves the case without leaving Baker Street.
Word count: 5,000–10,000 words
Payment: $100 or $50 plus a percentage of the Kickstarter project profits (whichever is greater)
Deadline: 15 September 2022

Open Submission Calls: April 2022

Linus writing

This post comes hot on the heels of the previous list of open submissions, as that one barely sneaked into March. Anyway, here are the most interesting current and upcoming calls for fiction submissions that I’ve spotted recently.  Good luck!

Luna Press
This excellent small press is seeking speculative, SF/F or dark fantasy novellas. But be quick about it – they’re only open this weekend!
Word count: Between 20,000 and 40,000 words
Payment: Not stated
Deadline: Open 8–9 April 2022

The Other Stories
Podcast seeking stories on particular themes: the next three are Octopuses, Ageing, Faeries.
Word count: No limits stated
Payment: £15 per story
Deadline: 15 April 2022 (Octopuses), 1 May 2022 (Ageing), 15 May 2022 (Faeries)

The Fiends in the Furrows III: Final Harvest
Nosetouch Press is looking for folk horror stories for the third (and apparently final) volume of the popular anthology series.
Word count: 3500–7000 words
Payment: 6 cents per word
Deadline: Open 1 May–31 July 2022

IZ Digital
Celebrated British SF/F magazine Interzone is launching a new digital imprint.
Word count: Up to 7000 words
Payment: 1.5 euro cents per word
Deadline: Always open, as far as I can tell

Space Fantasy
New online magazine seeking flash fiction adhering to the title theme, Is There Anybody Out There? They go on to say they mean ‘stories about unexpected encounters in isolated places’.
Word count: Up to 1250 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: Open May 1–30 2022

Open submission calls: March 2022

Buster Keaton typing

Since I started out writing a decade ago, I’ve treated the submission (and rejection!) process for short stories as an important part of the gig. I still find myself scouring submissions calls almost daily, even though I respond to fewer of them each year (mainly because I’m writing fewer short stories and more novels). I thought I’d turn this habitual activity into something useful, and post the most interesting submission calls here. Good idea? Yes, I think so.

I should make clear that I’m not directly affiliated with any of these venues. These are simply the opportunities that have caught my eye.

Currently open to SF/fantasy flash fiction
Word count: up to 1500 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 1 May 2022 at the earliest

Flame Tree Press: Shared Stories anthology
Speculative, fantastic or folkloric stories ‘inspired by stories of the first peoples in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas’ by writers with appropriate heritage
Word count: Ideally 2000–4000 words
Payment: 8 cents/6 pence per word for original stories, 6 cents/4 pence for reprints
Deadline: 11 April 2022

Weird Horror Magazine
Weird horror, obviously
Word count: 500–6000 words
Payment: 1.5 cents per word
Deadline: 31 March 2022

The following calls aren’t open yet, but I figured that mentioning them now will give you a chance to write something to fit the requirements:

Shoreline of Infinity
Science fiction fairy tales for themed issue guest-edited by Teika Bellamy
Word count: up to 6000 words
Payment: £40 per 1000 words
Deadline: Open 4–14 April 2022

Seaside Gothic
‘Seaside gothic literature’
Word count: Up to 1000 words
Payment: 1 pence per word
Deadline: Open 11–17 April 2022

SF/F novellas (‘We want intricate, experimental stories and poems with gorgeous prose, verve, and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs’)
Word count: 17,500–40,000 words
Payment: 10 cents per word
Deadline: Open 1–15 May 2022

Say hello to the new co-editor of the British Fantasy Society’s fiction journal!


I’m pleased to announce that, yes, I’ve just been named as co-editor of the British Fantasy Society fiction journal, Horizons, starting with issue 7. I’ll be working alongside fantasy author and editor with Unbound, Shona Kinsella.

I’m really excited about the new role, and looking forward to reading some excellent genre fiction. We’re already making headway through the submissions inbox, and there’ll be a new call for submissions very soon!

Call for submissions: Upside Down anthology (Apex)

Apex new-banner092512

Apex really are doing their damnedest to keep us writing throughout the winter… Now that their Christmas flash contest has ended, why not have a crack at a story for their new anthology?

The anthology will be edited by Monica Valentinelli and Jaym Gates and is called Upside Down – and it’s a fascinating concept. The idea is to pick an SF/F trope (i.e. an idea that’s seen so regularly in stories as to become a lazy shorthand or even a cliché), then subvert it. A bunch of stories have already been commissioned, so check the list to make sure you don’t tread on anyone’s toes.

You don’t have long, though! The deadline is the end of December. Find out all about the anthology and submissions on the Apex website.

Call for submissions: Harper Voyager Impulse

HV logoIt seems like every publisher’s on the lookout for novel manuscripts at the moment…

This time it’s Harper Voyager Impulse (USA). While the imprint publishes ebooks within all fantasy, science fiction, and horror sub-genres, this submission call is particularly geared around urban fantasy and military science fiction. If you’ve a completed manuscript in that vein, and it’s between 60,000 and 90,000 words in length, why not give it a shot? You’ll have to move quickly though – the submission window closes on 6th Nov!

Head on over.

Call for submissions: Stephen King short story competition

Stephen KingThe Guardian and Hodder have announced a new short story contest which ought to interest any writers of genre fiction…

The maestro of modern horror, Stephen King, will judge the contest and the winning story will be published on the Guardian website. The winner will also get to take part in a Guardian Masterclass run by King’s editor, Philippa Pride.

Stories must be 4000 words or less, previously unpublished, and inspired by the following (admittedly vague) brief by Stephen King:

“There’s something to be said for a shorter, more intense experience. It can be invigorating, sometimes even shocking, like a waltz with a stranger you will never see again, or a kiss in the dark, or a beautiful curio for sale at a street bazaar.”

Get all the details on the Guardian website.

Gollancz unagented submissions window

Guys! Guys! Gollancz UK is opening for non-agented submissions in January!

Submissions will be open from 4th-22nd January 2016. They’re accepting hard copy only, but as long as your postmark checks out as within those dates then you’ll be OK.

They’re interested in seeing SF, fantasy, horror or YA crossover novels, as long as they’re complete and over 80,000 words. You’ll need to send the first 50 pages, a cover letter and a synopsis.

Just scroll down the list of authors on the Gollancz blog, then tell me that this isn’t an incredible opportunity…

You’ll find all the details here.

Call for submissions: Apex’s Christmas Invasion

Apex banner

If you’re a fan of SF, fantasy or horror, then you’re probably also a fan of Apex magazine. And if you write SF, fantasy or horror, then it’s very difficult to imagine a good excuse why you wouldn’t submit a story to their most recent writing contest.

The theme of this year’s annual Apex Christmas flash contest is CHRISTMAS INVASIONS, which ought to conjure up a ton of ideas. And to make things even simpler for you, the word count has to be under 250 words – so today’s lunch break ought to be just about long enough.

The deadline’s 16th Nov 2015. More details on the Apex site.