Science Fiction & Fantasy

CLARKESWORLD

HUGO AWARD-WINNING SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY MAGAZINE  

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Submission Guidelines

Fiction Guidelines

Clarkesworld Magazine is a Hugo Award-winning science fiction and fantasy magazine that publishes short stories, interviews, articles and audio fiction. Issues are published monthly and available on our website, for purchase in ebook format, and via electronic subscription. Original fiction is also published in an annual trade paperback series from Wyrm Publishing. We are currently open for art, non-fiction and short story submissions.

Fiction Guidelines

Word Limit: 1000-8000 words (preferred length is 4000)
Pay Rate: 10¢ per word for the first 4000 words, 7¢ for each word over 4000
Genres: Science fiction and fantasy
Language: English
Rights: We claim first world electronic rights (text and audio), first print rights (author must be willing to sign 100+ chapbooks), and non-exclusive anthology rights for our annual Clarkesworld anthology.

Stories must be:

  1. Well-written. Language is important. There is no distinction between "style" and "substance" or "story" and "writing."
  2. Convenient for on-screen reading. Very long paragraphs or typographical trickery may work against you.

Science fiction need not be "hard" SF, but rigor is appreciated. Fantasy can be folkloric, medieval, contemporary, surreal, etc. Horror can be supernatural or psychological, so long as it is frightening. There are no barriers as to levels of profanity, gore, or sexuality allowed, but high amounts of profanity, gore, and sexuality are generally used poorly. Be sure to use them well if you do use them.

Though no particular setting, theme, or plot is anathema to us, the following are likely hard sells:

  • stories in which a milquetoast civilian government is depicted as the sole obstacle to either catching some depraved criminal or to an uncomplicated military victory
  • stories in which the words "thou" or "thine" appear
  • talking cats
  • talking swords
  • stories where the climax is dependent on the spilling of intestines
  • stories where FTL travel is as easy as is it on television shows or movies
  • time travel too
  • stories that depend on some vestigial belief in Judeo-Christian mythology in order to be frightening (i.e., Cain and Abel are vampires, the End Times are a' comin', Communion wine turns to Christ's literal blood and it's HIV positive, Satan's gonna getcha, etc.)
  • stories about rapist-murderer-cannibals
  • stories about young kids playing in some field and discovering ANYTHING. (a body, an alien craft, Excalibur, ANYTHING).
  • stories about the stuff we all read in Scientific American three months ago
  • stories where the Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians, or the Spartacist League, etc. take over the world and either save or ruin it
  • your AD&D game
  • "funny" stories that depend on, or even include, puns
  • sexy vampires, wanton werewolves, or lusty pirates
  • zombies or zombie-wannabes
  • stories originally intended for someone's upcoming theme anthology or issue
  • stories where the protagonist is either widely despised or widely admired simply because he or she is just so smart and/or strange
  • stories that take place within an artsy-fartsy bohemia as written by an author who has clearly never experienced one
  • your trunk stories

Fiction Submissions Process

Clarkesworld uses an online submissions system that has been designed to streamline our process and improve communication with authors. We do not accept email or paper submissions. Go here to submit your stories.

Our submissions form asks for your name, email address, cover letter, story title, word count, genre and story. Your cover letter should contain your publishing history (if any) and any other relevant information (e.g, if you send us a lusty pirate story and happen to BE a lusty pirate, mention that). All stories should be in standard manuscript format and can be submitted in either .RTF or .DOC format. No simultaneous submissions. If you have questions, concerns or technical issues, please contact Neil via email.

After you have submitted your story, a tracking number will be displayed and an automated email confirmation containing this information will be sent to you. If you have not received this email within 24 hours, please email us. Your tracking number will allow you to monitor the status of your submission via our website, so please don't lose it. NOTE: Yahoo.com occasionally treats our email as spam, please keep an eye on your spam folder.

Our average response time is under two days, but we occasionally hold submissions for longer periods. We ask that you:

  • don't send queries until after two-weeks have passed. Use your tracking number to check on the status prior to that.
  • don't send revisions to a submission unless they have been requested.
  • don't submit another story for a period of seven days after receiving a rejection.
  • don't re-submit stories that have been rejected. Do not query for permission.
  • don't argue with rejection slips. You're only wasting time.

If you are uncertain about anything above, we recommend following the most conservative interpretation.

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