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Taking Submissions: Nothing Without Us Too

July 25, 2022 @ 12:00 am

Deadline: January 31st, 2022
Payment: 0.08CAD
Theme: The protagonist must be disabled, Blind, d/Deaf, neurodivergent (such as autistic, having ADHD), and/or they must manage mental illness and/or chronic illness.
Note: Contributors to the first anthology cannot submit to this one.
Note: 75% of this anthology is held for Canadian authors

Submission Guidelines

Anthology: Nothing Without Us Too — Editors: Cait Gordon and Talia C. Johnson

What are we going to do now, Brain?”

“Same thing we did in 2019, Pinky. We’re going to put together an anthology!”

And now it’s official:


Nothing Without Us anthology contributors, please note: While we appreciated everyone whose stories were published in the first anthology, Nothing Without Us, we are not accepting works from you for Nothing Without Us Too. This will allow us to shine the spotlight on more authors.

Who can submit 

We welcome writers across the disability, mental illness, developmental disabilities, neurodiversity, Blind, and d/Deaf spectrums. We welcome those who manage what are known as “invisible” and “visible” disabilities and/or chronic conditions. We welcome those who count spoons!

The lived experiences of those who are disabled, d/Deaf, Blind, Spoonie, neurodivergent, and/or of those who manage mental health are found across all demographics—such as race, culture, financial status, religion, gender, age, and/or sexual orientation. We want to read these stories because diversity is reality, and should be so, even in fantastical or other speculative fiction settings.

Regarding publishing experience, we welcome established, emerging, and brand-new authors! Don’t self-reject. If this is your first time submitting anywhere, that’s fantastic! Whoot!

If you submitted to Nothing Without Us, but we didn’t choose your story, you are welcome to submit something for Nothing Without Us Too! Only authors who were published in Nothing Without Us can’t submit to Nothing Without Us Too.

As we have been given a mandate for this anthology to have at least 75% Canadian content, these submissions will be given priority. We also welcome submissions from anywhere in the world!

Because we have received grants to produce Nothing Without Us Too, the Canadian organization who issued these grants requires that we reach a certain quota of what’s known as Canadian content. (This doesn’t mean the content of the stories has to be Canadian, because you might be writing about space wizards from another galaxy, but rather, it has to do with who we are publishing.) So, we will be asking our authors to identify as from Canada/Turtle Island or as International. We invite all our Indigenous authors to state their citizenship in the way that feels most comfortable and accurate to them. Indigenous authors are also welcome to exempt themselves from the CND/TI and INT requirements—we just ask that you let us know if you are situated within Canadian borders, so we can keep track of what the Canadian granting organizations will acknowledge as part of our quota. (We really appreciate you letting us know, and we thank you in advance for this information.)*

* Many thanks to the folks at Augur magazine for allowing us to use the same/similar wording for this section. Btw, follow them. They are awesome folks. 

What we are seeking 

For the Nothing Without Us Too anthology, we will be seeking original, unpublished short fiction (no reprints, not even if the story had previously appeared on a website or blog) between 500–3500 words, maximum. We won’t accept stories longer than 3500 words, excluding the title. We also won’t be accepting poetry for this anthology.

All works must be fiction—genre fiction (romance, speculative fiction, science fiction, paranormal, mystery, fantasy, and so on) and realistic/literary fiction. We will not be reading submissions in the erotica genre, and we won’t be reading fanfiction.

The protagonist must be disabled, Blind, d/Deaf, neurodivergent (such as autistic, having ADHD), and/or they must manage mental illness and/or chronic illness. Again, we will only be interested in previously unpublished works.

What we are not seeking

Inspiration adult content. There’s already enough of it out there. Examples include but are not limited to: The autistic person who overcomes their autism, presents as a quirky neurotypical, gets the girl, and lives happily ever after. The person who is in an accident, feels life is over, then overcomes it through work, a new love, and so on. These types of stories objectify the person and make their story all about their disability. We seek stories that show how we are people with complex and awesome lives.

We also do not want stories about the fetishization of disabled people, a person being in a relationship out of pity for the disabled person, or a character who solely exists for the benefit of the person without a disability. Really, no inspiration adult content. We won’t hesitate to reject these stories.

We absolutely do not want protagonists who are not disabled and who spend the narrative observing a disabled, d/Deaf, Blind, Spoonie, neurodivergent, and/or mentally ill person. That goes against the purpose of this anthology. To update our motto from last time, “We are still the heroes, not the sidekicks.”

We are not seeking in-depth POV stories from authors who do not have that lived experience. While we will not take part in gatekeeping identities, we will be asking in a cover letter why you believe this story is a fit for our anthology, and why you felt the need to write it.


Our wonderful publisher, Renaissance, will pay 0.08CAD (8 cents in Canadian funds) per word for these stories. Rights purchased: First English-language rights and exclusive anthology rights (print, e-book, and audiobook) for one year from the date of publication, then non-exclusive rights after that time.

How to submit 

Send your submissions by email to [email protected]. We will email an acknowledgement of receipt in 1-5 days.

Cover Letter

Please include a short cover letter in the body of the email with the subject line in this format:

Submission: Title of your Work

(Not literally “Title of your Work” but please insert the name you have given your story. We’re just clarifying because it’s not uncommon for some people to interpret this as being literally what we want.)

In the body of the email, include the following information:

  • Title and word count
  • One or two sentences describing what your story is about.
  • Why you wanted to write this story, and why you believe it’s a good fit for Nothing Without Us Too.
  • A short bio, 3–4 sentences maximum. Remember, it’s okay if you are an unpublished or a newly-published author. Every author was once unpublished or emerging!

Manuscript Format

Please submit your manuscript in either docx or doc format.

Our preference is to receive manuscripts in the William Shunn manuscript style, double spaced, with a font size of 12pt. We also prefer Times New Roman but will accept sans serif fonts such as Arial or Comic Sans.

If you need a screen-reader-friendly template, this page is a bit dated, but it has templates that work in all versions of Microsoft Word: https://www.shunn.net/format/templates.html

Important: This is not an anonymous submission process, so please include your name, address, email, the pronouns you would like us to use (and please keep updated if anything changes, so we use your correct name and pronouns), and a number where we can reach you, on the front page of your manuscript.

Simultaneous submissions

We will consider simultaneous submissions. Please indicate on your cover letter if your work is submitted somewhere else simultaneously, and please notify us right away should the work be accepted elsewhere. And remember that if you story is accepted for Nothing Without Us Too, you cannot have it published anywhere else for one year (see Payment section).

Multiple submissions

Please submit only one story. Should we turn down your story before the submission deadline, please do feel free to send us another story, as long as we receive it by January 31, 2022. Otherwise, please only send one story.

When to submit

Our submission window is from October 1, 2021–January 31, 2022. Again, please send submissions by email to [email protected]. We will send an acknowledgement of receipt e-mail within 1-5 days. Please contact us as soon as possible after that time, if you haven’t received an acknowledgement of receipt email from us.

We won’t be sending acceptances before the submission window closes. Our current goal is to respond to all authors by March 1, 2022.

Another friendly reminder about simultaneous submissions: We just ask that you let us know right away if your work has been accepted for publication elsewhere, so we are aware not to include it in our anthology.

Via: Nothing Without Us.


July 25, 2022
12:00 am