Taking Submissions: The First Line – Spring 2019

Deadline: February 1st, 2019
Payment: $25.00 – $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 – $10.00 for poetry and a Contributor’s Copy

To celebrate twenty years of publication, we’re going to revisit the past. There are no new first lines for 2019. Each issue will be comprised of original works based on past first lines.

Were you inspired by the fall 2008 first line (Roy owned the only drive-thru funeral business in Maine.) but didn’t see the sentence until 2015? Or maybe you started writing a story for the spring 2005 issue (Life would be so much easier if I were a cartoon character.) but you never got around to submitting it. Or maybe you sent us a story that just missed the cut and you reworked it and want to try us again. Well, now is your chance to make up for missed opportunities.

The following is the schedule/list of first lines for the 2019 issues (click the season to see the entire list of first lines for each issue):

Spring 2019
All submissions must begin with one first line from Volume 1, Issue 1 to Volume 5, Issue 4.
Due date: February 1, 2019

All submissions must begin with one first line from
Volume 1, Issue 1 to Volume 5, Issue 4:

Vol. 1, Iss. 1: Just like his fifth grade teacher, Mr. Young, had always told him, Brian put on his thinking cap.
Vol. 1, Iss. 2: The rules are clearly spelled out in the brochure.
Vol. 1, Iss. 3: “Well, there’s ten minutes of my life I’ll never get back.”
Vol. 1, Iss. 4: As the curtain rose, the scenario began to play itself out.
Vol. 2, Iss. 1: The picture told the entire story.
Vol. 2, Iss. 2: The person on the train kept saying, “I believe,” over and over and over.
Vol. 2, Iss. 3: My father and I left on a Thursday.
Vol. 2, Iss. 4: I remember the radio was playing the best song.
Vol. 2, Iss. 5: Whitney Heather Yates knew she was in trouble from the moment she learned how to spell her name.
Vol. 2, Iss. 6: It sounded like she said, “Every day when I get home, I find a naked body in the bed.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 1: “It was the only thing he couldn’t do for her.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 2: The party was only the beginning of what would happen tonight.
Vol. 3, Iss. 3: Hal couldn’t sleep.
Vol. 3, Iss. 4: “Step this way as our tour of Earth continues.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 5: “Please state your name for the court.”
Vol. 3, Iss. 6: “How did you end up with a nickname like that?”
Vol. 4, Iss. 1: The first thing I saw when I woke was Chris’ face.
Vol. 4, Iss. 2: “The incident on the island is the stuff of legend, but let me tell you the real story.”
Vol. 4, Iss. 3: Jimmy Hanson was a sallow man who enjoyed little in life save for his _________. [Fill in the blank.]
Vol. 4, Iss. 4: I can’t believe I just heard that.
Vol. 5, Iss. 1: Paul Fischer was a graduate student studying biochemistry at Emory when he met my mother.
Vol. 5, Iss. 2: The view from up here is incredible and makes me feel _________. [Fill in the blank]
Vol. 5, Iss. 3: “So, all of it was just a lie?”
Vol. 5, Iss. 4: I opened my e-mail with a mix of apprehension and excitement.

A few notes:

  1. Don’t just resubmit a story we’ve already rejected. We will know. We have every story submitted to us on file and why we rejected it.
  2. 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.
  3. However, if you used one of our past first lines for a story that was published in another journal or magazine, write and tell us about it.

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).

Poetry: All poems must be written with the first line provided. The sentence can be broken across lines, but the punctuation cannot be altered or dropped. Poem length is up to the poet.

All Submissions: 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 or poems for the same 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 you tell us what issue you are submitting to in the email Subject Line. 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.

Notification: We don’t make decisions about stories until after each issue closes. We typically send notices out within two to three weeks after the issue’s deadline to everyone who submitted a story. You can also check the home page of the Web site 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: StoryHack

Deadline: January 1st, 2019
Payment: $0.01 / word

Submissions are currently open until about noon Mountain Time on January 1st, 2019.

Link to the new submission system is below, in the hopes that you will actually read some of the submission guidelines.

What I’m Looking For

To steal a joke, StoryHack Magazine publishes both kinds of fiction – action and adventure.

To be more clear, by action I mean that there should be characters actively engaged with an antagonist who represents imminent physical danger. Fistfights, car chases, vine swinging (alligators or spikes below), jungle insects, all that. But the protagonist must have an active role in the plot, rather than just having stuff happen at him/her.

By adventure, I mean the character does awesome things (is proactive) in a exotic (not mundane) situation. Heroics often enter in. The protagonist can be in a cool time period, a fantasy world, or have a bizarre profession, something about his/her situation should transport me, the reader, out of the mundane world. After reading, I should be able to say a main character “had an adventure.”

I’m open to any genre, as long as there’s action and adventure. And I’m serious when I say any genre. Space opera, spy thriller, sword & sorcery, lost world, high-seas swashbuckling, occult detective, treasure hunt / explorer, western, technothriller, you’re limited only by your imagination. As to style, think Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, A. Merritt, Leigh Brackett, Doc E. E. Smith, Kenneth Robinson. Think fun and energetic. I’m not partial to mopey emo fiction.

You should know that StoryHack will not be publishing erotica or extreme gore. Also, I’m not likely to accept a story that has tons of cursing.

A little humor is good, but I’m not looking for farce or screwball comedy. More Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, less Rowan Atkinson as Mr. Bean.

Also, if you want an edge, right now I’m liking stories set in the modern era. Think action thrillers or urban fantasy.

Length-wise I’m looking for short stories and novelettes. 2,000 – 17,500 words. The sweet spot for me right now is probably 9-10k-ish. Want some tips on writing? Check out my reprints of Pulp-era writing advice. Also, Lester Dent 4 ever, people.

I’m seeking as-yet unpublished works.

Payment

I’ll pay $0.01 / word for worldwide 1st print and ebook rights with 4 months exclusivity. I can pay via check or paypal. I’ll make a sample contract available if you ask nicely.

Formatting / Sending

I’ve loosened up the formatting requirements a bit. Of course, standard short story format is fine, but not necessary.

  • Permitted file formats are doc, docx, odt, rtf, even txt or plain text with markdown.
  • Go ahead and put italics in italics if you’d like.
  • Put your name & contact information at the top of the file.
  • No need to push the approximate word count over to the right.
  • Keep your fonts to standard ones that are easy to read – Times/Times new Roman or Courier/Courier new.
  • Double space helps tremendously with the editing readability as do sensible margins. If the formatting is crazy, I may reject the story on that alone.

Submissions are now handled ONLY through the new submission system. Don’t email them where you did before. I know you’re creative, but please follow the instructions.

Other Stuff

Stories simultaneously submitted elsewhere are fine.

Multiple stories submitted at once, no. Wait until you get a response on the one before sending another. If you break this rule, I will reject them all without reading them.

Thanks

That about wraps up everything I can think of. If you have any questions, let me know.

Via: StoryHack.

Ongoing Submissions: Funny Times

Payment: $60
Note: As the name suggests, this is a humor magazine so be sure to read the guidelines. Speculative fiction “can” be humrous so I felt I would throw this one out there for anyone who has a sense of humor out there. I’m not funny so can’t submit to this one.

So they tell you you’re funny, huh? Great! That’s exactly what we’re looking for!

Here are a few things you should know to submit your funny cartoons and stories to Funny Times:

Our print publication pokes fun at politics, news, relationships, food, technology, pets, work, death, environmental issues, business, religion (yes, even religion) and the human condition in general. Not much is off limits, so do your best to make us laugh. Plus we’re advertising free, so whatever we like, we use.

Cartoons should be hard-copy printouts of high-res images (please don’t send your originals … we’re awfully clumsy with our coffee). We accept both single and multi-panel formats, color and black & white, though reproduction is nearly always in black and white.

Stories — the funniest you have ever written — should be about 500-700 words. Don’t send us things that aren’t funny. We won’t publish them.

There is a lead-time of several months because of our editorial calendar, meaning, i.e., December holiday material should be mailed for consideration in September. Please include a SASE for return of your material and/or our response. We do not accept electronic submissions of any type, nor can we reply to you in any way other than your SASE. We’re old school and unapologetic about it. We buy one-time reproduction rights and do not require exclusives; your work is ultimately yours to keep. We pay upon publication, not acceptance, and the rates are $25-$40 per cartoon based on reproduction size and $60 each for story. You’ll even get a complimentary subscription to Funny Times and some serious bragging rights.

Submissions should be mailed to:

The Funny Times
C/O The Editors
P.O. BOX 18530
Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

Our website is not a complete reflection of the type of material included in our magazine. Might we suggest you send an 8.5″x11″ SASE with proper return postage (about $1.61 these days) for a sample copy?

Bonus Hints: Don’t overwhelm the editors. Send your top 5-10 cartoons or 3-5 stories. Tell us where you’ve been published before and let us know who else thinks you’re funny (this will not necessarily be held against you). Don’t take rejection too hard; it could be that the third time is the charm and we just didn’t “get” you before then.

Via: Funny Times.

Taking Submissions: Underground Writers Issue #25

Deadline: December 23rd, 2018
Payment: AUD$50

Submissions for issue 25 are now open! The submission period for issue 25 is between Sunday 18th November and Sunday 23rd December, so read our prompt below and get submitting!

Roots

Settle here. Lay your head down amongst the dirt and dust and know your home does not have to flourish to take root. Nestled under the mountain ash, gaze up at the brilliant stars peeking out from behind the leaves. Let the cold breeze soothe your sun kissed skin and send you to sleep.
*
Her toes dug into the rich earth, reaching down, down, down into the soil. Those who had come before called up through the ground and nourished her, passing on their essential elements so that she could live her fullest life in that place, then die and pass them on again to those who would come after. Her canopy stretched high above the surface into the sky, her roots held deep inside the earth, and she breathed the essence of that place, knowing she was one link in the chain that maintained the balance of life in her home. There is no place like it, as Dorothy said, and she felt it in her heart as the roots of her body met the roots of her soul, deep under the earth in the dark, warm, secret places, soil and soul completing each other’s cycle.
*
Charlotte stood in the backyard, watching her dad pack down soil around the freshly planted roses. The sweet smell of their petals permeated towards her as the afternoon breeze blew gently through their suburban front yard, mixing with the deliciously rich smells coming from their kitchen. Inside, her mother was preparing dinner – potato and leek soup – and quietly humming to herself as she went. “I better get these finished before your brother gets here. I don’t want his girlfriend’s parents to think we do things half-assed around here.” he said, wiping sweat off his brow with the back of his gloved hand. “They’re not gonna care, dad.” Charlotte replied, reaching down and sweeping off the dirt he had left on his forehead. “Do you know who her dad is, Charlotte?!” He looked panicked. “He hosts that bloody gardening show on ABC! We need to make a good first impression.” He climbed to his feet and stood, hands triumphantly on his hips and surveyed his hard work. “Marjorie! Come look at the roses!” he beckoned. A plump, middle aged woman trotted down the stairs of the verandah and walked over. “Looks great, Murray.” She paused, her eyes narrowing. “But they’re covered in aphids.”

Submission guidelines:

(more…)

Ongoing Submissions: Who Knocks?

Payment: 1¢ per word to contributors. Maximum $50 for original stories, $25 for reprints.
Note: The publisher also does editing work for a fee (not required to submit this is for external publications) and has an anthology which you must pay to submit to (which are aren’t listing due to that clause.) As neither of these issues directly pertain to the magazine there is no reason we found to hold it against this part of the publication.
Note: Reprints accepted

WHAT WE ARE LOOKING FOR

We accept primarily mystery, weird tales, suspense and horror, 1500-5000 words in length. If you are not sure what category your story falls into feel free to send it anyway. While we prefer original stories, on a limited basis we will accept previously published work. If you are submitting a story that has been published please provide us with where and when it was featured.

WHAT WE DO NOT ACCEPT

Paranormal romance, graphic violence or sex. (A little is fine, but we don’t want any nausea inducing details.) Our preference is for stories done in good taste. Absolutely no cruelty toward children or animals. All stories must be your own original work. We will not tolerate any form of plagiarism.

NON-FICTION

We are open to blog style editorials and articles about the craft of writing or pertaining to the accepted genres. We pay $15 for these articles if they are chosen for inclusion in the magazine, either on our blog page or as a stand-alone article. We will also look at true crime stories, as long as they don’t exceed 5000 words. Compensation for true crime will be the same as payment for fiction stories.

COMPENSATION FOR FICTION

We pay 1¢ per word to contributors. Maximum $50 for original stories, $25 for reprints.

READING FEES

We do not charge a reading fee for consideration in Who Knocks? Magazine. There is a $16 reading fee for stories submitted for consideration in our yearly anthology. If you want your story considered for both the anthology and the magazine please only submit once. You can submit for both venues here. Make sure to indicate in your cover letter that you would like consideration for both. For more information on our anthology click here.

MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS

We do not accept multiple submissions for Who Knocks? magazine. If you receive a rejection from us please wait one week before submitting a new story.

SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS

While we understand that time spent waiting for a response can be frustrating, we do prefer that you refrain from multiple submissions on stories we are reviewing. However, if you have submitted the story elsewhere and it gets picked up please email us right away at [email protected] and withdraw the submission.

FORMATTING

Please see this page for proper formatting guidelines. We accept Microsoft Word files (either .doc or .docx).

ART WORK

We do accept original artwork. Pay scale is $25 per piece if accepted. Please email artwork submissions to [email protected] and put Artwork Submission in the subject line.

RESPONSE TIME

We carefully read each and every story we receive. Our response time can be anywhere from two weeks to two months. If you have not received an answer after 60 days please send us an email at [email protected] and we will check on the status of your submission.

RIGHTS RETAINED BY WHO KNOCKS?

Please see a copy of our sample contract here.

Submit Your Story

Via: Who Knocks?.

Ongoing Submissions: Grasslimb

Payment: $5-$20 per piece for poetry, $10-$70/piece for prose, $15-25/piece for book/music reviews and 2 contributor’s copies.

Grasslimb is published in tabloid format twice per year.


What we are looking for

We invite the submission of poetry, short prose, line art, cartoons, and book and new music reviews. There is no theme; we seek quality art and literature.

We recommend that you purchase a sample issue before submitting. Although general topics are welcome, we’re less likely to select work regarding romance, sex, aging, and children. Fiction in an experimental, avant-garde or surreal mode is often more interesting to us than a traditional story.

When submitting poetry, 4-6 pieces are preferred; line count is not necessary. For artwork, please submit photocopies or electronic versions (if electronic, 600 dpi preferred) only. Prose must include a word count and should not exceed 2500 words; 1000-2000 is best for us. Submissions over 3000 words will be returned unread. Reviews of 500-1000 words are preferred.

Please do not submit work to us more often than once every six months unless you have had work accepted previously to our publication, in which case you are not subject to a limit.

If we have declined your submissions more than ten times, may we kindly suggest your time will be better spent submitting your work elsewhere? We frequently decline submissions not because the work is bad, but because it doesn’t fit our editorial style. Multiple declines suggest your style is simply not our style. We reserve the right to return your submissions unread after ten declines.

Submission instructions and format

General instructions

  • An S.A.S.E. should be enclosed with all paper-mailed submissions. (If it is not enclosed, please provide an e-mail address and note the MS is disposable.)
  • No bio or cover letter is required (we have no bio section)
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine (please warn us!)
  • Previously published fine — let us know original published location

Prose

  • Name and address on front page of prose
  • Provide word count — ideally under 2500 words
  • No staples please
  • US Letter or A4 paper preferred but not required
  • We prefer you submit only one story every six months unless we ask

Poetry

  • Name and addresson each page of poetry
  • No line or word count — we don’t pay by the word
  • US Letter or A4 paper preferred but not required
  • We prefer 4-6 poems per submission

Artwork

  • We can only print black and white or greyscale artwork or photography
  • Sending links to online works is acceptable, but we will no longer review entire web sites — send links to specific pieces you think would suit
  • Sending a lower-res submission is acceptable, but we will require 600dpi for any final accepted work

Where to send

Submissions may be made to [email protected] (plain text, Word, RTF, or Pages) or to:
Valerie Polichar, Editor
Grasslimb
P.O. Box 420816
San Diego, CA 92142
For security reasons, we cannot accept submissions that are made via links/downloads.

Response time

Response time is generally four months. Please query after five months, especially for e-mailed manuscripts — occasionally our spam filters are overenthusiastic.

Payment

Payment is typically $5-$20 per piece for poetry, $10-$70/piece for prose, $15-25/piece for book/music reviews, $15-$25/piece for artwork and cartoons. We reserve the right to pay a higher rate for commissioned work. Payment is on acceptance. Contributors will also receive two complimentary copies of the journal. We pay via check on U.S. funds, Paypal or in U.S. stamps if preferred.

Rights and online publication

In general, we purchase first print serial rights. Selected pieces from the journal are occasionally — and by explicit permission — made available online at this site as samples.

Via: Grasslimb.

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