Author: Stuart Conover

Taking Submissions: The First Line – Winter 2020

Deadline: November 1st, 2020
Payment: $25.00 – $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 – $10.00 for poetry
Theme: Story must begin with:

Loud music filled the room, making it hard to hear anything else.
Due date: November 1, 2020

We love that writers around the world are inspired by our first lines, and we know that not every story will be sent to us. However, we ask that you do not submit stories starting with our first lines to other journals (or post them online on public sites) until we’ve notified you as to our decision (usually three to four weeks after the deadline). When the entire premise of the publication revolves around one sentence, we don’t want it to look as if we stole that sentence from another writer. If you have questions, feel free to drop us a line.

Also, we understand that writers may add our first line to a story they are currently working on or have already completed, and that’s cool. But please do not add our first line to a previously published story and submit it to us. We do not accept previously published stories, even if they have been repurposed for our first lines.

One more thing while I’ve got you here: Writers compete against one another for magazine space, so, technically, every literary magazine is running a contest. There are, however, literary magazines that run traditional contests, where they charge entry fees and rank the winners. We do not – nor will we ever – charge a submission fee, nor do we rank our stories in order of importance. Occasionally, we run contests to help come up with new first lines, or we run fun, gimmicky competitions for free stuff, but the actual journal is not a contest in the traditional sense.

Fiction: All stories must be written with the first line provided. The line cannot be altered in any way, unless otherwise noted by the editors. The story should be between 300 and 5,000 words (this is more like a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule; going over or under the word count won’t get your story tossed from the slush pile). The sentences can be found on the home page of The First Line’s Web site, as well as in the prior issue. Note: We are open to all genres. We try to make TFL as eclectic as possible.

Non-Fiction: 500-800 word critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work.

All Stories: Writers should include a two- to three-sentence biography of themselves that will appear in the magazine should their story run.

Multiple Submissions: We don’t mind if you want to submit multiple stories for the same issue. However, it is unlikely we will use more than one of your stories in the same issue.

Four-Part Stories: If you think you are up to the challenge, you can write a four-part story that uses the spring, summer, fall, and winter sentences. However, all the parts must be submitted at once (a single e-mail or snail mail) before the February 1st deadline. (If selected, each part will be published in its respective issue.)

Submissions: We prefer you send manuscripts via e-mail to submission (@) thefirstline (dot) com. We accept stories in MS Word or Word Perfect format (we prefer attachments). Please do not send pdf versions of your story or links to Google docs. Make sure your name and contact information, as well as your bio, are part of the attachment. Stories also can be sent to The First Line‘s post office box. No manuscripts will be returned without an accompanying SASE with sufficient return postage. Here is the submission schedule for 2020:

Ravi had just worked a double shift and was having trouble keeping his eyes open.
Due date: February 1, 2020

The door was locked.
Due date: May 1, 2020

The Simmons public library was a melting pot of the haves and have-nots, a mixture of homeless people and the wealthy older residents of the nearby neighborhood.
Due date: August 1, 2020

Loud music filled the room, making it hard to hear anything else.
Due date: November 1, 2020

Notification: We don’t make decisions about stories until after each issue closes. We typically send notices out within three to four weeks after the issue’s deadline to everyone who submitted a story. You can also check the home page of the website as we will indicate each issue’s production status there.

Payment: We pay on publication: $25.00 – $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 – $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction (all U.S. dollars). We also send you a copy of the issue in which your piece appears. You’ll receive your money and issue at the same time.

Note to our international writers: Postage cost for sending author copies overseas is becoming outrageous, so we are reducing international author payment by the amount it would cost to send one author copy overseas. However, if you would like to receive an electronic version of the issue (PDF) instead of a hard copy, author payment will not change.

Via: The First Line.

Taking Submissions: Strangely Funny VIII

Deadline: August 31st, 2020
Payment: $5, royalties, and a contributors copy
Theme: A story that must be funny and have supernatural/paranormal elements.

This annual collection of funny paranormal stories is the press’ flagship series. Your tale must be funny and have supernatural/paranormal elements. Examples of stories from previous collections: Homicide is summoned to a halfway house for the undead, a finger transplant from a serial killer leads to hilarious consequences, a mummy regrets hiring a cheap embalmer. Lovecraft humor is welcome; shaggy dog stories are not.

Story length should be 2000-5000 words. If you sub something longer or shorter, it better be really funny. The submission window is August 1st – August 31st, 2020. Please do not sub sooner. Publication of SF VIII will take place in April/May 2021. 

Send your submissions to [email protected] with “Strangely Funny” in the subject line. If we buy your story, you will receive a free print copy of the book and a $5 USD advance on royalties. For further information on royalties and publishing rights, please go to our Submission Guidelines page.

Via: Mystery and Horror LLC.

Taking Submissions: Water: Selkies, Sirens and Sea Monsters

Deadline: September 30th, 2020
Payment: $50 CDN and a contributor’s copy for fiction, $20 for poetry
Theme: magical beings associated with water

Water is the most yielding of all elements, changing to fit its container, whether that be a thimble or a lake bed. At the same time, anyone who has ever watched the unrelenting progression of a tsunami understands its raw power. It is the tranquil azure of a tropical sea, the tumultuous waves and whitecaps of an ocean embroiled, or the insidious progression of overflowing from a riverbed and encroaching on people’s homes. As many faces as water may wear, the creatures within and associated with it have even more.

For this, the fourth and final anthology in this series, I’m looking for stories about shapeshifting selkies, deceptively beautiful sirens, all the monsters of the deep and any other magical water creature you can imagine—water dragons, naiads, kappa, kelpies… If it’s a magical being associated with water, I want to read about it.

I welcome submissions from writers of all backgrounds (including, but not limited to, race, color, religion, gender/gender expression, age, disability, and national origin), and am always looking for submissions with diverse characters.

Rights and compensation:

$50 CDN flat fee and a paperback copy of the anthology for stories.
$20 CDN flat fee and a paperback copy of the anthology for poems.

In exchange we are seeking first world rights in English and exclusive right to publish in print and electronic format for six months after publication date, after which publisher retains nonexclusive right to continue to publish for the life of the anthology.

Open submission period: August 1, 2020 — September 30, 2020

Length: Under 7,500 words

Publisher: Tyche Books

No simultaneous or multiple submissions.

No reprints.

Canadian spelling please.

Submit here:  (link won’t work properly until August 1st)

Via: Rhonda Parrish’s Patreon.

Taking Submissions: The Wire’s Dream Magazine

Deadline: September 2nd, 2020
Payment: $5
Theme: Stories that expand our shared narratives of experience by recognizing and giving value to our greatest resource — each other

TWD Magazine accepts original, unseen creative work in the following categories:

  • Fiction
  • Creative Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Art
  • Photography
  • Combined Work

Work must be original and unseen. Please do not send work that has already been published or is pending publication. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. There is no creative limitation on the style of work submitted. There are no fees for submission. No work submitted by a third-party (i.e. a public relations firm) on a contributor’s behalf will be considered without an authorized release affidavit signed by the represented party. No exceptions.

NEW: Accepted Contributors will receive a $5 payment for their work. A max of 2 Contributors per category will be featured.

General Guidelines

Submission Period:
January 1st to March 1st (Summer Issue)
Reading Period: March 2nd to April 30th
Tentative Digital Magazine Release: June 30th**

July 1st to September 1st (Winter Issue)
Reading Period: September 2nd to October 30th
Tentative Digital Magazine Release: December 31st**

**Dates are subject to change due to volume of submissions received; may be delayed by a week or two.

Cover Letter
Subject: Name of Category, Your Full Name (Or Pen Name)

Body: Brief introduction, short bio (300 words max) with publication links (if applicable). No bio picture. Please indicate if your submission is simultaneous and at what date it was first submitted elsewhere.

PayPal to Accept $5 Payment: If work is accepted, please be prepared to provide a valid PayPal email address where you would like to receive your payment. Until further notice, only electronic payments via PayPal will be made; no paper checks will be issued.

Complimentary Close: Your full name declares that your submission adheres to TWD Magazine submission guidelines.
Attachments: Please read specific category guidelines.

Specific Category Guidelines

1 – 2 pieces per submission
300 – 1500 words each
Word document (.doc, .docx) or PDF only

Creative Nonfiction
1 piece per submission
500 – 2500 words
Word document (.doc, .docx) or PDF only

1 – 3 poems per submission
Each poem must be no longer than 2 pages
Word document (.doc, .docx) or PDF only

1 – 3 high quality images per submission
Please provide a 300 word project intent
Resolution 150 or higher
PNG only

1 – 3 high quality images per submission
Please provide a 300 word project intent
Resolution 150 or higher
JPG or PNG only

Combined Works
Works that are primarily visual, follow guidelines for Art or Photography
Works that are primarily text based, follow guidelines for Fiction

Electronic Agreement

All submissions are considered and read in the order in which they are received. By submitting, you authenticate that your work is your own. You also give the editor permission to use your work for future print, creative, and/or promotional purposes. NOTE: TWD Magazine works to promote YOU, the creator. Your voice and perspective are valued here.

Respect & Value

Please consider that all published work must adhere to The Black Lion Journal’s Credo. With this in mind, pieces that are explicitly construed as openly offensive, violent, sexist, racist, hateful, and/or hurtful to any person(s) or group(s) will not be considered and will be deleted.

NOTE: The editor reserves the right to amend and/or modify this page with any updates.

Via: The Black Lion’s Submittable.

Ongoing Submissions: If There’s Anyone Left

Payment: 8 cents per word
Theme: Science fiction and speculative fiction
Note: This market is for marginalized authors, aka, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, members of marginalized genders, and disabled people.

We want science fiction and speculative fiction. So long as it falls into one of these categories, we will happily read it. If other elements are present, that is fine, but it must include science or speculative fiction.

  • No more than 1000 words. This is a firm limit. Please no queries about longer pieces.

  • Pay rate is professional – $0.08 US/word

  • This is for marginalized members of the sci-fi/spec community—this includes people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, members of marginalized genders, and disabled people. If you are not a person of color, LGBTQ+, disabled, or of a marginalized gender, please DO NOT send us your work. Authors of all accepted pieces will have the option to include a short bio in the anthology. We understand the sensitive nature of gender identity and sexual orientation, so if you wish this status to remain unwritten and/or if you prefer to be anonymous, we will print only what you wish to be printed. If you would like your piece published under a pseudonym, please indicate this on your submission. If you would like your pronouns included, please indicate those as well.

  • DO NOT send us anything hateful. No gratuitous violence, torture, rape, or any work that promotes an ideology unbecoming of an inclusive society – no stories supporting racism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, or any other of the many forms of hate.

  • Previously, we had estimated a 6 month turnaround. However, due to unforeseen availability, we hope to have a response to you within 7 days. If you have not heard anything within 7 days, you can assume your story is under strong consideration. Final acceptances will go out sometime after the submission deadline (that is, July 31, 2020).


  • Please prepare your submission according to standard guidelines, which you can find here. No mailed subscriptions. DOC or DOCX formats only.

  • Please submit only one piece per author, one per submission window. If more than one piece is submitted, the remainder will be deleted unread and no rejection notice will be received.

  • Cover letters are optional, but if you choose to include one, keep it short. Please don’t summarize your piece.

  • Please include all contact information in your file, including your PayPal associated e-mail address.

  • All payments will be made through PayPal.

  • E-mail all stories to [email protected] with the following subject line: SUBMISSION: [story title here] AUTHOR [your name here]. Any submissions without this subject heading will not be read.

  • Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please let us know if your story is accepted elsewhere so that we can remove it from consideration.

  • All stories will be published as an eBook and in print in a single volume. All proceeds from the sale of this anthology will be used to fund the next anthology, with the following exceptions: payment of fees to maintain this website. The more money made by this anthology, the more writers we will be able to include in the next anthology.

  • Sample contract can be found here.

  • Submissions will be open (tentatively) until July 31, 2020. Future submission windows will be provided when there are additional anthologies.

  • Submission Grinder is an excellent tool and please feel free to log submissions there.

  • We regret that we will not be able to provide individualized feedback on stories. Please understand that choosing stories is a highly subjective process and just because we do not accept your story does not mean it is not excellent.

  • Any responses to our rejections will be deleted unread.

  • You will not receive a confirmation e-mail.

  • No reprints.

  • No translations.

  • We buy the following rights:

    • worldwide electronic for 6 months from the date of purchase, non-exclusive for the life of the magazine.

    • non-exclusive print and electronic

    • non-exclusive audio rights


By sending us your story you understand and agree that:

  • You are the original creator of the work submitted to us;

  • You are the copyright holder of the work;

  • You are at least 18 years of age;

  • You are not prohibited by any prior agreement from the transfer of non-exclusive electronic and audio rights to the work;

  • All information in the contact and cover sections of your submission is accurate and truthful;

  • If There’s Anyone Left publishes in both text and audio; you are offering both of those one-time and archival rights to us when you send us your story;

  • You accept sole responsibility for any false statements or encumbrances upon rights not disclosed to us. If we buy your story we’ll send you a contract, and you’ll be bound to all of the above.

Via: If There’s Anyone Left.

Taking Submissions: When Robots Dream

Deadline: August 14th, 2020
Payment: contributor’s copy
Theme: “The ultimate collection of robotic art and stories”

When I was young, I spent a summer reading I, Robot by Issac Asimov, and Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K. Dick. Those two books formed the foundation of my fascination with the Science Fiction genre, and with those wonderfully diverse creatures, we call robots. Through the years, I’ve enjoyed the myriad of depictions of robots in books, art, and entertainment. So, when the ArtOrder team sat down to discuss our next themed book – it was no surprise that I pushed heavily for a robot theme.

I want When Robots Dream to be the ultimate collection of robotic art and stories. I’m looking for images and stories that get out of the typical clichés and offer the fans something unique and exciting. 

Jon Schindehette

ArtOrder llc Founding Member

The Jury

When Robots Dream will be a book filled with amazing stories and art! To help us deliver on that promise, we have pulled together a stellar panel of jurors.

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Jean-Pierre is an award-winning French film director, producer, and screenwriter. His films mix elements of fantasy, realism, and science fiction to create idealized realities or to give relevance to mundane situations. A former animator, his movies are marked by quirky, slapstick humor, alongside surrealist visuals.

Jean-Pierre’s work in notable films such as Amélie and City of Lost Children certainly endeared him to us, but his love of robots and sci-fi won us over.

Neil Clarke

Neil is the editor of the Hugo and World Fantasy Award-winning Clarkesworld Magazine and several anthologies, including the Best Science Fiction of the Year series. He has been a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Editor (Short Form) eight times, won the Chesley Award for Best Art Director three times, and received the Solstice Award from SFWA in 2019.

We didn’t think you could find much more street cred for robots and science-fiction that from the man behind Clarkesworld Magazine.

Matt Dixon

Matt is a freelance illustrator and concept artist and creator of the Transmission series of robot artwork

He is a busy freelance illustrator working in the games industry. When he’s not painting angry goblins or weird alien slugs, you might think that he’d like to get away from the computer…but no. When it’s time to relax, nothing soothes his mind and calms his nerves like retreating into the world of my robots.

Whether he is relaxing, or not, his lonely robots tug at our hearts and make our imaginations soar!

Brian Despain

Brian has worked as a professional illustrator, both as an in house artist and as a freelancer for nearly four decades. His many storied career has spanned video games, fine arts, role-playing and collectible card games, galleries and magazines as well as near endless appearances on Pinterest. His clients have ranged from local to international fame and though his current position, dad of three little girls, takes a lion’s share of his time he still tries to get into the studio once in a while.

We felt that anyone that spends his childhood doodling a veritable army of dinosaurs, space ships, demons, and imps – deserved a place on the Jury.

Jon Foster

Illustrator, Sculptor, Teacher, Concept Designer, Painter.

Jons’ works have appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Universal Orlando, Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, Tor Books, Simon and Schuster, Harry S. Abrams Books, Boston Globe, Underwood Books, Knopf, Delacorte, Del Rey Books, Scholastic, Fox Atomic, Little Brown, Nightshade Books, Subterranean Press, HBO, MTV, Sonoma State Park CA.

A little known secret…Jon Schindehette, our fearless founder, gave Jon his first book cover commission! And we’ve always loved his illustration of a forlorn robot as a raven taunts it

What To Submit

Illustration, Drawings, Sculpture, Mixed Media, Digital, etc. – if it can be captured and displayed on a 2d surface. You are welcome to bring it in front of the Jury for consideration. 

Flash Prose, Poetry, Short Fiction, etc. – If you can keep it under 10,000 words, we want to read it!

Whatever the medium, make sure you own it. Don’t be derivative. Don’t emulate. Bring your voice forward and make it resound!

NOTE: If you do not own the copyright for the material – DO NOT submit it unless you can produce a written agreement from the copyright owner giving us permissions to use the image in our products and promotions.

About the Book

The When Robots Dream book will be a full-color, 9 x 12 inch book. The final page count will depend on the number of images and stories accepted, but we are estimating 200-250 pages. 

Submission Fees

ArtOrder LLC believes that the money should flow towards the creative and that even the most modest of submission fees can be a financial hardship for some creatives. For that reason, we will not charge any submission fees. For creatives that have the means, we ask you to consider a small donation to the Honorarium Fund that gifts our Jury for their time and energy given in the cause of furthering the arts.


Copyrights and Ownership

ArtOrder LLC believes and celebrates creatives. To that, we do not require forfeiture of any rights to your works. You retain all copyrights and ownership of your works. If selected, you will be required to complete a licensing agreement with ArtOrder that grants us the right to publish your work(s) in the publication and use them in the book’s promotion.

NOTE: If you do not own the copyright for the material – DO NOT submit it unless you can produce a written agreement from the copyright owner giving us permissions to use the image in our products and promotions.

If Selected For Publication

All creatives that are selected for publication will receive the following:

  • Licensing agreement to grant ArtOrder LLC the rights to publish your work(s)
  • A free copy of the book after publication
  • Opportunity to purchase additional books at the wholesale rate
  • Participation in the ArtOrder profit-sharing program which offers creatives a portion of the profits to compensate for the right to publish their work(s)

How to Submit

There are two submission processes:

The process for both is pretty straightforward.

  • Create an account (where applicable)
  • Complete your information
  • Upload your submission
  • You can submit up to 5 works


The deadline to complete your submission is August 14, 2020, at 11:59 PM (Pacific).

NOTE: There will be no submissions accepted after the deadline for any reason. DO NOT wait until the last minute to submit!!

Kickstarter and Publication

ArtOrder bootstraps all of its publications through the Kickstarter process. Our current plans are to launch the Kickstarter in October 2020. The book is currently planned for a February 2021 release.

All dates are subject to change.

For More Information

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out the ArtOrder team at e [email protected]

Via: The Art Order.

Ongoing Submissions: From The Farther Trees

Payment: $10
Theme: All subgenres of fantasy

From the Farther Trees is a bimonthly, print-only magazine of fantasy fiction. We are open to original stories in all subgenres of fantasy, ranging from fairy tales to science fantasy, weird westerns to romantic fantasy, epic fantasy to urban fantasy, swords & sorcery to quiet character studies, and everything in between. Regardless of setting, stories should be centered on character and emotion (though the occasional thrilling adventure is welcome).

Content. No racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, classism, fascism, or graphic gore or sex. What makes modern fantasy great is its diversity of perspectives and its challenge to structures of power. From the Farther Trees exists to amplify the voices of new and diverse writers.

Length. Stories should be between 1000 and 15000 words.

Language. At this time, sadly, we can only consider stories in English. Translations of stories originally published in other languages are welcome. Please include the original publication details for translated stories.

Formatting. Use the standard short story manuscript format.

Submit through email. Email stories as .doc, .docx, or .rtf attachments to [email protected] Make your subject line Story: “[Title]” by [Your Name]. Please allow up to thirty days for a response.

No simultaneous submissions (in other words, do not submit a story here if you’re waiting on a response from another publisher). Only submit one story at a time.

Reprints. If your story was previously published electronically (not in print) and is no longer available online, you may submit it here. Translations of stories previously published in other languages are always welcome. All reprint submissions must make clear that they were previously published, and provide details on when and where they were originally published.

Payment. If your story is accepted for publication, you will be paid $10USD via Venmo or by mail (your choice). You will also receive one contributor’s copy of the issue in which your story appears. All submissions must include a valid mailing address. If you wish to be paid via Venmo, include your payment information as well.

Rights. All rights revert to the author upon publication.

Via: Farther Trees.

Taking Submissions: A Vindication Of Monsters

Deadline: October 1st, 2020
Payment: $50
Theme: Essays on Mary Shelley’s work

I’m inviting 9 authors to contribute 5,000 (max) word essays on Mary Shelley’s work (not limited to Frankenstein), and her life. This can also include others in her life, for example her mother Mary Wollstonecraft, or her husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and how they influenced her work. I am also looking for internal artwork related to the theme (I’m hoping for 5 pieces to accompany the chapters).
Payment will be $50 per essay and per artwork, respectively. This will be a book similar to ‘The Body Horror Book’, in that I will compile and edit each chapter.
Submissions are open, and close October 1st; the book will be published in December. Contributors will receive an ebook and paperback copy. William Shunn manuscript format preferred. Please send any inquiries and submissions to [email protected]
Good luck!

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