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Taking Submissions: Sword and Laser

August 15, 2013


Deadline: August 15th 2013
Payment: $200
NOTE: This isn’t a primarily horror anthology but if it fits in their guidelines it’d be worth a shot

We’ve been talking about it forever but now it’s here. The submission process for the first Sword and Laser anthology. If you’re writer in either the sword and or laser genre or somewhere close to being related, this is your chance to be involved.


Anybody can submit a story to the first Sword and Laser Anthology. We have two eligibility requirements: your story must be written in English, and you (or your legal guardian, if you’re a minor) must be willing and able to sign a contract if the story is accepted.

Submissions will be accepted from March 1 – May 15, 2013. We expect to make our final selections by August 15, 2013.

We pay $200 (US) upon acceptance.

We recommend a length of 1,500 – 7,500 words. We may choose to print shorter or longer stories in some cases, but this should be your target word count.

If your submission is accepted we will buy the following rights:

• World anthology rights in English and translation

• Audio and ebook anthology rights

World anthology rights and audio/ebook anthology rights are specific to anthologies. These are non-exclusive licenses allowing us to use your story in an anthology only. Specifying “in translation” allows us to request that your work be included in any potential foreign editions as well.

You retain all other print rights. So you’re free to also sell your story to magazines, or websites, or podcasts, or as an individual short story (say, on Kindle), or in a collection of your own work, or even sell it to another anthology after our book has been out for a while. It’s your story, and you keep it, we just ask that we get to be first to print it.

Additionally, we expect to release a Creative Commons edition of the book. It’s not required but if you have strong feeling about it, please let us know upfront.

We only accept email submissions. You can either paste your story into the body of your email message or send an attachment. For attachments, please use Microsoft Word (DOC), Rich Text Format (RTF), or Plain Text (TXT) formats only. Any word processor should be able to save a file as at least one of those formats.

Send your story to anthology at swordandlaser dot com. Please use the following subject line when submitting…


So if your name is Nick Scalzi and if your story is called “YOUNG MAN’S FIGHT” then the subject line of your email should read…


Please follow this format, so your submission does not get overlooked!

Next, in the body of your email, please include the following:

• Title: The title of your story

• Pen name: How you want your name to appear in print

• Word count: The count of the words.

• Real name: This is the name that will go on the contract. So no pseudonyms or nicknames

• Email address

• Phone number

• Short biography: This is your chance to tell us A LITTLE about yourself and your writing experience.

All of this information is REQUIRED. You cannot omit any part of this information. You can keep the bio very short of course, that’s up for interpretation but every other piece of information has to be there or your submission will be rejected.

In return we promise not to share any of your personal information with ANYBODY, and we will only use your contact information to tell you whether your story was accepted, and then once to tell you when the book is finished. We will always try to contact you via email first. We will only use the phone number if we need to get in touch with you and email doesn’t work.

If your story is accepted we’ll ask you to confirm all your information, and we’ll also give you a chance to write a new short biography for publication in the book.

Finally, we ask that each writer limit themselves to 3 submissions. We also require only previously unpublished work, and no simultaneous submissions. That means when you submit to us, you haven’t submitted the story to anyone else.


Sword and Laser’s first anthology is intended to be a celebration of scifi and fantasy fiction.

What are we looking for in a story? Diversity. Not helpful? OK. Here are some better guidelines.

• Interesting characters. They can be evil or nice or mean or stupid, but they should be worth spending time reading about.

•Original settings, point-of-view, and voice. Not necessarily within your story, although that’s important too. But we want lots of different kinds of stories in the anthology. Hard for you to manage when you’re not reading all the other stories, but suffice to say if you’ve seen a story like yours before, it’s less likely to get chosen.

• Unique experience. We’re not going to ask you to ‘write what you know’ and also expect stories about aliens and dragons… form most of you… but situations and reactions drawn from your unique experiences that expose us to something new, will definitely be a plus.

• Stuff happening. Believe it or not, some people write stories where nothing happens. Please don’t be one of those people. Have a central, compelling idea or conflict. We want exciting ideas and character growth. At least a little.

• Love, laughs, fights, philosophy, insight are all also welcome.

• It needs to be in the genres of science fiction and fantasy. We define this pretty loosely of course. Not every story has to have spaceships or castles. We hope they don’t! But the farther you stray from the center of the sword or laser styles, the less likely we’ll want the story.

• That said, you’re not restricted in how you tell your tale. All styles, all settings, and all tones are welcome. Write the very best story you can, and do your best to surprise us with a new take on the genre!


As we mentioned above, the more your story is like a story that already exists, the less likely it will be good for the anthology. Here are some examples of really worn out tropes that should be avoided unless you’re clever enough to set them on their head or twist them enough to breathe new life into them. But you’d have to be darned clever, so best to just steer clear.

• It was all a dream. Especially a prophetic dream.

• The chosen one living in obscurity.

• WE are the aliens! Oh noes!

• The robots are rebelling against us. Or, can we trust the robots?

• This was the plot of that Movie/TV series you saw. Wizard asks to share in an adventure? Serial killer crowdsources his killings? Space cowboy leads intrepid gang against the Alliance? Fairy tales are real? Done done and done.

One final note. The Sword and Laser anthology will be meant for adults. That means it might contain things that some people find disagreeable, disturbing, or offensive. We’re not making an “adult” book. It’s not the point to be shocking. But people curse and have sex and get violent sometimes and we expect some characters in these stories might too.

That’s OK, but we will have a line and it’s the classic we know it when we see it. If you go over our line that doesn’t mean you or your story is bad, it’s just not right for our comfort zone.

Pretty much we’ll apply the community standards we’ve picked up from our audience. If we think your handling of a subject is likely to be considered disagreeable, disturbing, or offensive by most adults in our audience, then we will be less likely to accept it.

And that’s it! Sorry for all the warnings and such, but we want everybody to be clear as possible about what to expect. Now go have some fun writing!! Hope to hear from you soon!

If you have any questions…

You can leave a comment below, and we’ll respond! Or, feel free to email us feedback at swordandlaser dot com. We’ll be happy to help!

[via: Sword and Laser.]


August 15, 2013