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Taking Submissions: Hearth Stories 2024 Spring Window (Early Listing)

March 31

Submission Window: March 1st–31st, 2024
Payment: 1¢ per word for accepted stories (with a minimum of $20 regardless of length).
Theme: Speculative fiction that explores connection, family, relationships, comfort, and the natural world.

Reading periods/When to send

Submissions will be open as follows:

  • March 1st–31st (closing at 10pm PST on the 31st), for a June release
  • September 1st–30th (closing at 10pm PST on the 30th), for a December release

What to send

Hearth Stories publishes speculative fiction slice-of-life stories with a focus on connection, family, relationships, comfort, and the natural world.

We accept works from 1,000 words up to 10,000. However, the ideal length may be something in the 1,500-3,500 word range. We do not currently accept poetry, non-fiction, or non-speculative work (there needs to be a fantasy or science fiction element present in the work).

Some things we like:

  • Cozy, sweet, cute, kind, hopeful stories
  • Caregiving, parenting, friendship, relationship, and partnership stories
  • Rural/pastoral life and less technologically advanced settings
  • Works that take place in nature
  • Stories involving food and cooking (we are vegan; stories that feature animal products will result in a pass or a request for removal of the animal products)
  • Stories involving hermits, issolated places, or wandering in the woods
  • Bonus points for stories backed by vegan, anarchist, eco-conscious, and anti-capitalist themes (while still fitting the above)

You may notice that none of those things have anything to do with science fiction or fantasy. We would like speculative stories with the above themes and settings. We are very into slice of life stories, the ruralism of Richard Jefferies (ruralism in general, extending to so-called “cottagecore”), and stories in general that take place in wooded places. We like witches and magic, new world stories (usually terraformed planets), alien worlds, and the small adventures of daily life. We accept simultaneous submissions (but we do not accept multiple submissions at the same time, unless specifically requested).


What not to send

Please review the what to send section, as it is a better guiding light for what we are looking for than a list of negatives. However, there are a few specific things we do not want:

  • Do not send AI generated content (the contract will include this stipulation)
  • Works featuring violence, threat of violence, war, military themes, or combat
  • Graphic sexual content. We accept sexual content up to a point, but PG-13 or so is the best fit
  • Pieces that we have already passed on, unless very significant rewrites have occured
  • High technology settings, or stories that rely on lots of tech. Science fiction settings are great but ones that rely on a lot of technology as a central focus of the story don’t work great for what we are going for
  • Christmas stories. I’m not sure why we get so many of these. We aren’t interested
  • Works that are more or less straight retellings/adaptations of traditional stories (fables, fairy tales, legends, world mythology). That said, feel free to use witches, ghosts, vampires, faeries, etc in your stories
  • Reprints or translations

Pay scale

Authors deserve to be paid for their work, even by a magazine that professes itself to be non-commercial. As such we offer 1¢ per word for accepted stories (with a minimum of $20 regardless of length). We would love to be able to offer more, but we are not bringing in any money to offset the cost and the given amounts are what we, as individuals, can bear financially to support authors while continuing to release the magazine.

How to format your submission

We do not accept hard-copy manuscripts. As such, you will be sending a digital file. Here are our preferences in that regard:

  • Please include, at a minimum, your e-mail address and the word count on the manuscript
  • Send the file as: rtf, doc, docx, odt, or md
  • Use any font and font size you like (we will adjust to our preferences anyway)

Where to send

Write to us at [email protected] with the word “Submission” somewhere in the subject line (submissions lacking this will be deleted unread). Attach your work, formatted as described above, to the e-mail. We do not accept links to files, including but not limited to google docs, nor do we accept pdf files. Please include a short cover letter in the e-mail body with the work title, the work length, and either a bio or short message about yourself. Do not summarize the story in the e-mail.

What next?

We will e-mail you to confirm that we have received your piece. We will also be in touch by e-mail to let you know if we are passing on your piece, moving your piece to a further reading round, or interested in accepting your piece for publicaion. Unfortunately, we will no longer be maintaining a checkable reading queue. If you do not get an e-mail confirmation that we received your story within two weeks of sending (or the final day of the reading period): please reach out and check with us.

We do ask that you notify us if you have placed your submission elsewhere under a contract that would prevent it from being featured in Hearth Stories. In such a case, please include the word “WITHDRAWN” in the subject line.

If your submission is deemed a good fit, an offer e-mail will be sent out. Then suggested edits may be worked through, contract will be signed, and payments will be sent. Nice and simple. Then, at the appointed time, the issue containing your work will be released. Your name (as author of the work), the story, a copyright notice assigned to you (as author of the given work), and an author bio will all be included in the issue.

Feel free to reach out after 45 days if you have not heard anything from us. It is possible something went wrong and got lost in the shuffle in some way.

Via: Hearth Stories.


March 31


Hearth Stories
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Hearth Stories
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