Ongoing Submissions: Blood Knife

Payment: 9 cents per word for fiction, $60 for articles
Theme: Sci-fi, cyberpunk, fantasy, the future, and/or (preferably and!) radical politics


Do you have good takes on sci-fi, cyberpunk, fantasy, the future, and/or (preferably and!) radical politics? We want you to write for Blood Knife and we want to pay you for your good takes (and good fiction!).


Blood Knife is an online magazine about imagined futuresalternate historiesbloodcyborgs, and radical left politics. We want to explore the collision of the soon-to-be, the never-was, and the now.

Is cyberpunk still relevant? Why do some laser guns shoot green and others red? Are robots comrades? We want to explore all this stuff, and also we want to pay writers fairly without any bullshit.


We currently pay $60 for an 800 word article, with rates prorated beyond that. Most features (curated playlists, etc.) are also paid at a $60 rate. Illustrations and multimedia are paid on an individual basis, but generally in the $60 to $100 range. Our #1 priority is always towards fairly paying our contributors, and we are continuing to raise rates when possible.

In terms of publishing rights, we ask for exclusivity for 90 days from the date of publication and license to keep it on the website in its original form in perpetuity. If you choose to resell it or publish it elsewhere after that window, we just ask for a note that it originally appeared on Blood Knife and a link back to the site, where applicable.

If for whatever reason we decide not to move ahead with publishing a piece once a pitch has been accepted and a full draft has been completed and submitted, we will pay half the initially agreed upon rate and return the rights to the author.


It doesn’t. We’re funded by the generous contributions of our subscribers on Patreon and other donations. Our goal is to be net-neutral every month, meaning 100% of everything we bring in goes to our writers and other contributors and zero of which goes to the publishers or anyone else who isn’t a writer, designer, or some other contributor.

The goal of Blood Knife is to create a self-sustaining thing that will pay out to writers, to fund more content, to pay more writers, to fund more content, to pay more writers to… etc.


Who: Blood Knife was founded by Kurt Schiller and is produced by a volunteer editorial team. We enjoy reading (and writing) about culture, sci-fi, fantasy, and politics, and we wanted to be able to do more of that.

Why: We need more leftist analysis of sci-fi, fantasy, and culture. It also shouldn’t be so damned hard to get paid to write, or to get started writing online. The online media ecosystem sucks and I want to do at least a tiny little bit to change that.


Okay, this is the easy part.

You don’t need any previously published works (although it helps to have some practice in). You don’t need your own website (although we’re happy to link back to it).

You just need to do this:

  1. Come up with an idea for an article. Are robots capitalism? Is THX-1138 a haunting parable about race relations? Did you just see a sci-fi film you think is really good and you want to tell people? Sounds good.
  2. Email your idea to [email protected]. If it’s a good fit, we’ll discuss timing and length. If it’s not, I’ll offer some feedback on how to fix that. (See below for some Tips on Pitching Us.)
  3. Write your article. This is important.
  4. Send in your article. This is even more important!

We’ll publish it and promote it (although we hope you help).

That’s it!


A good pitch will contain a compelling angle about some or all of the following:

  • Science fiction and/or fantasy
  • Horror, blood, guts, ghosts, goblins, specters
  • Futurism, robots, cyborgs, lasers, space demons
  • Analysis of class, race, gender, sexuality, or other aspects of human society
  • Neon-drenched alleyways and smoke-filled spaceships, concrete slick with rain and blood, spooky haunted churchyards and evil castles

Your pitch should consist of the basic angle – e.g., “I want to write about the relationship between fictional cyborgs, IRL bio-hacking, and the gig economy” – and 1-2 paragraphs exploring the issue:

What does Molly Millions have to do with Uber?

When Neuromancer was published in 1984, the gig economy was still decades away. But in the character of Molly Millions – a street-smart “razor girl” who paid for her cutting-edge combat tech by working in a “puppet brothel” – William Gibson deftly anticipated the way that gig jobs not only reconfigure our lives but ask us to mortgage our identities to become better tools of capital.

In this piece, I’ll explore how Gibson’s seminal cyberpunk work prefigured the next 30 years of capitalism and compare the economic systems that preyed on his iconic “street samurai” with modern-day counterparts like Uber’s abortive car financing program and other predatory aspects of the gig economy.

Your pitch should be an original, unique take: if you Google it and ten similar pieces come up, you should probably keep looking.

It should also be original to you: we’re not interested in previously published work. (That said, if you have an existing piece that you think you can significantly rework or expand – especially if it was something you only published personally – we’d love to hear about it.)


Blood Knife publishes a limited amount of short fiction — currently one story every other month (six pieces a year).

Fiction is paid at a rate of 9 cents per word, with a hard limit of 1200 words. We’ll be accepting submissions in limited windows for a specific six month block of issues — before you consider submitting, please familiarize yourself with a couple of our articles (maybe this onethis one, or this one?) and review the guidelines below.

For fiction rights, we ask for exclusivity for six months from the date of publication and license to keep it on the website in its original form in perpetuity. If you choose to resell it or publish it elsewhere after that window, we just ask for a note that it originally appeared in Blood Knife and a link back to the site, if applicable / possible.



  • We have an absolute, 100% hard limit of 1200 words. No reprints.
  • Simultaneous submissions are fine. If you sell the piece somewhere else, we just ask that you let us know.
  • Like everything else in Blood Knife, the main thing we look for in fiction is work that is unlikely to be featured in other publications — whether due to genre, content, stylistic decisions, or some other reason. If you can easily imagine your story appearing in several other magazines, it’s probably not a good fit for us.
  • We place significantly more emphasis on tone and style than on strict genre adherence. We are looking for the decadent, the grotesque, the weird, the alienating, and the agonizing. We are not looking for the gentle, the upbeat, the hopeful, or the comforting.
  • All speculative genres are welcome, but we are especially fond of dark fantasy, gothic fiction, cosmic horror, and cyberpunk. Again, we value tone and style over genre conventions.
  • Sex, violence, and gore are all welcome. Almost anything is welcome, provided it’s well written, unique, and has something to say.
  • Political content is exceptionally welcome, but remember that we are an explicitly leftist, anti-capitalist publication. Stories about hero cops or the need for political compromise are unlikely to go over well.
  • We value interesting fiction, writing, and execution over political statements. A story must work as fiction first and foremost—if it’s mostly just a political statement, it’s not a good fit for us.


We’re currently accepting submissions for our MayJuly, and September issues. Please email your complete manuscript to [email protected] as a Google Doc, Docx file, or plain text in the body of the email. Fiction over 1200 words (not including title) won’t be considered.

Via: Blood Knife.

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