Ongoing Submissions: Bards and Sages Quarterly

Payment: $30 for original work, $15 for reprints
Theme: Fantasy
Note: Reprints Accepted.

This is a quarterly journal of speculative fiction. We are interested in all speculative genres (horror, fantasy, science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, magical realism, etc) up to 5,000 words in length.

Payment details (effective for 2020):

Original, unpublished short stories up to 5000 words: $30 for non-exclusive, perpetual rights to publish the story in the assigned issue.

Previously published short stories up to 5000 words: $15 for the non-exclusive, perpetual right to publish the story in the assigned issue.

Cover Art: $30 plus one print copy of the issue for non-exclusive, perpetual rights to publish the art in the assigned issue.

Send Submissions to

[email protected]

General Guidelines for All Projects

All submissions must be electronic only. We do not accept hard copies of submissions.

Simultaneous submissions are fine with us. No need to point it out. Just let us know if it is accepted elsewhere so we can remove the story from the queue if needed. Use the email address [email protected] to withdraw a submission. 

Multiple submissions are fine, too. Each submission, however, must be a separate email. Also, please use a little common sense. Sending us a dozen stories at once probably isn’t helpful, particularly if you have never submitted to us before and don’t yet have a “feel” for the type of stuff we accept. 

Stories must be complete, stand-alone stories. We will consider stories that are part of an existing setting (for example, a “prequel” story that ties into an author’s novel) but the story must be self-contained and have a clear conclusion. No “cliffhanger” stories.

The subject line of the submission should indicate the name of the publication you are submitting for and the title of the story. Examples:

Bards and Sages Quarterly: Title of My Story

The Society of Misfit Stories: Title of My Story

This is very important to make sure that your story is processed correctly. I get hundreds of emails A DAY regarding everything from legitimate business correspondence to not-so-legitimate SPAM. So that I can get your story routed to the correct reviewer, please make sure that the project and name of your story are in the subject line.

Bards and Sages Quarterly can be abbreviated to BASQ and The Society of Misfit Stories can be abbreviated to TSMS to accommodate long story titles. Best Indie Speculative Fiction can be abbreviated 

Body of the email. Please include the following information:

  • Author Name
  • Title of Story
  • Primary Genre of the story
  • Estimated word count
  • A short summary or blurb about the story
  • If the story has been previously published, please include publishing information
  • If you would like to get a copy of the reviewer’s scorecard and comments, you must explicitly state such. We do not automatically send out this information. If you don’t request feedback, you will get a generic response if the story is rejected.

The above information is extremely helpful to reviewers for managing their workloads. There is no need to include an author bio or a list of previous publishing credits. Such information will be stripped from the email before it is forwarded to the reviewer. If we accept the story for publication, we will request such information then.

The title of the story and your author name should appear on the first page of the story only. There is no reason for it to appear on additional pages. It is a digital file. The pages are not going to get separated.

Do not submit stories in the body of the email, even for flash fiction. 

All stories should be submitted in Word doc, docx, or rtf formats only. We work in Microsoft Word. Most of the major word processing programs can output your file to one of these formats without issue. You will receive an automatic rejection if you send us a PDF, a zip file, or a link to download your submission from a third-party site.

Do not use headers, footers, or watermarks. These are the types of things that have to be stripped from a file before it can be converted for publication. Do not bother adding page numbers.

Do not use custom fonts or custom icons. Many of these are copyright protected by their creators and even if we wanted to use them because they are so cool we legally can’t. Limit your font choices to basic fonts like Arial, Garamond, and Times New Roman. If your story is accepted for publication, we will be formatting it to match the style we intend to use for the entire project. We aren’t going to use the individual fonts authors may embed in their files.

Do not use Headings for body text. Don’t use Headings at all. We’ll just have to remove them if the story is accepted.

Do not tab at the beginning of a paragraph. In fact, break the tab key on your keyboard right now. Kill it with fire. No key causes more drama with epub formatting than the tab key because tabbing can interfere with text autoflow functions in ereaders. Use your word processing program’s paragraph style options to set your paragraphs to indent the first line.

Do not use “typesetter” marks. Nobody is manually setting type. If you want something in bold, put it in bold. Don’t type *asterisks* around a word to indicate bold or _underscores_ for something that should be in italics. Just use bold and italics. These errant marks have to be stripped from a file before it can be converted to other formats.

Single space only. You can use your word processing software’s style options to set the line spacing to single space. There is no reason to double space. This is a holdover from the days of hard copies being manually written on by editors.  Everything is being done digitally.

Use American English for spelling and punctuation. We are a U.S.-based publisher and the majority of our business comes from U.S. consumers. Most word processing programs allow you to set the proofreading language of the document.

While I don’t expect authors overseas to follow the Chicago Manual of Style to the letter (we do edit and proofread, after all), there are a few basics that will make our lives much easier.

  • Collective nouns: In American English, collective nouns like team, group, band, etc are treated as singular words. Example: The team is scheduled to play Friday.
  • American spelling generally drops the “u” from words like labour (labor), colour (color), and honour (honor).
  • Words that end in ise  in British English usually end in –ize in American English. Realise (realize), finalise (finalize), organize (organize).
  • Honorifics and titles include a period at the end in American English (Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc)
  • American English uses double quotes for quotes, not single quotes.

The one exception to the above guideline is if your story is actually set in the U.K. We won’t Americanize your story set in London! 

If you need additional help formatting your story and you use Microsoft Word, you can reference this guide we created to help you.

For more information on how we grade stories, please review our Scorecard.

Additional Recommendations:

These are recommendations and not required, but they do make our lives easier.

Scene breaks: Because so many authors do their own thing with this, it isn’t always clear in a story where there is supposed to be a scene break. We suggest that you use * * *, centered, with a blank line above and a blank line below the asterisks. 

Use scene breaks instead of chapters for short stories: in the majority of cases, we are going to suggest during the editing process to get rid of chapter breaks in anything less than 10,000 words anyway. In shorter works, scene breaks are much smoother transitions that full chapter breaks. 

Additional information:

Unless otherwise noted on a project, we are requesting a non-exclusive, perpetual rights to publish your story in the project. Once a project is published, it remains available for sale forever. We won’t unpublish a work to remove a story just because you decide nine months down the road to self-publish it exclusively with Amazon. Please keep this in mind when submitting work.

Payments are always made upon publication unless otherwise noted.

We pay by either Paypal or Google Wallet. If you have neither and request a paper check, please note that we will not be responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen checks. 

Via: Bards And Sages Quarterly.

Stuart Conover

Stuart Conover is a father, husband, published author, blogger, geek, entrepreneur, horror fanatic, and runs a few websites including Horror Tree!

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