CLOSED: Lakeside Circus: Short Fiction And Other Oddities


Payment: Fiction: 2 cents per word, minimum $10 usd, Audio Bonus: Authors whose works are selected for audio publication will receive an additional 1 cent per word, with a minimum of $10 US, payable on publication

Lakeside Circus publishes very short fiction in several formats, as well as non-fiction essays exploring speculative literature and genre.


We want speculative fiction, particularly science fiction (hard, soft, near-future, etc), urban fantasy, magic realism, mad science, and apocalypse tales. Whether prose or poetry, we’re looking for the same kind of almost-weird fiction we publish in our anthologies. We like fiction with layers of meaning; stories that are odd or different without being too strange to understand.  We enjoy interstitial,  genre-bending, and “literary SF/F” writing. Your work has to encapsulate a complete moment; more than a vignette, each submission must have a beginning, middle, and end. Something has to change along the way, but parts of the story can happen off stage. As always, we want beautiful, dark, unusual, and meaningful.

We rarely like sword and sorcery type fantasy, aren’t interested in “slasher” type horror, don’t care for religious themes (which includes demons/the devil) as the sole plot of the story, and please! Do not send us a romance, no matter what setting it is in, as that just wastes your time and ours.

We encourage diversity in publishing: authors are chosen regardless of sex, gender, race or ethnicity. Non-US authors, or authors who usually work in a different genre, are also welcome.

DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME/ADDRESS INFORMATION IN THE SUBMITTED FILE ITSELF. USE THE ONLINE FORM TO SUBMIT YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. We use a blind submissions process and the only way to make that work is if the story/poem doesn’t have your name on it.

Flash: Stories of less than 1,000 words. Must have a beginning, middle, and end, even if some of that happens outside of the story (as long as we can imagine what that is). No vignettes. Submit here

Short Fiction: Stories of 1,001 to 2,500 words. Top word count limit is firmSubmit here

Poetry: Any length. We want lyrical work, lovely word choices; bonus points for interesting forms (hainteny, thanbauk, cobla esparsa, carmen, or villanelle… surprise us!). We’re not big fans of prose poetry–the work has to read like poetry, not a short story with line breaks in it. Speculative elements have to be identifiable, but otherwise the range is anything from hard SF to genre-bending, interstitial, magic realism. Submit here


We are looking for short essays which would appeal to readers of SFF, horror, interstitial, surrealist, and slipstream fiction which has a literary bent. Your writing must be intelligent but clear; assume that our readers are smart and well-read, and don’t talk down to them. At the same time, we don’t want you to render your writing unintelligible by filling it full of sesquipedalian words and obscure references. The goal of this type of writing is communication of ideas, after all.

We want to see discussions of:

  • Literary history as it applies to SFF
  • How SFF writers who influence us now were influenced by non-genre writers
  • Correlation between genre and other branches of literary fiction
  • Relationships with non-genre media and creators
  • SFF poetry themes and forms
  • Anti-colonialism and anti-racism in speculative literature
  • Viewing gender, sexuality, race, disability, and Othering through an SFF lens

… Especially if your topic is one you’ve presented at a genre, literary, or academic conference. Annotations and references expected. If your article could appear on Buzzfeed or Cracked, it’s not for us.

We are not interested in reviews, interviews, or reprints. We publish only original work.

We are open to either finished (written, reviewed, revised, and complete) essays of up to 3,000 words, or pitches for a future essay. Pitches must be under 500 words – please do not send a rough draft of an essay and call it a pitch. If you’d like to convince us to print a longer essay in segments over multiple issues, write up a pitch and send that. Do no submit work of longer than 3,000 words for any reason.

Please use our submissions portal here.


  • No simultaneous submissions.
  • Submit only one work in each category at a time (though, please note, we will only publish one piece by you in each issue, so send your favorite piece first). Do not include multiple works in the same submission.
  • We publish only original works; please, no reprints. (Posted for free on your website is considered “previously published”.)
  • Submissions should be in standard manuscript format.
  • If you’re unclear on what any of this means, please read this post.

Rights Requested

a. The Author hereby grants the Publisher First Worldwide English-language digital rights (permission to include the Work in Lakeside Circus, for digital publication in the English language in all countries throughout the world, in online and ebook formats).

b. The Author hereby grants the Publisher the right to non-exclusively archive the Work online as long as the Publisher maintains the Lakeside Circus website. The Author has the right to request that the Work be removed from the online archive after (12) twelve months from the date of publication on the website, provided that the request is made in writing.

c. The Author agrees not to publish or permit others to publish the Work in any form prior to its publication inLakeside Circus AND for a period of (3) three months after the publication of Lakeside Circus on the website, without the prior written permission of the Publisher. If the Work is selected for a “best of the year” anthology, the Publisher agrees to waive this clause, provided the Author gives the Publisher prior written notice of the selection by such an anthology.

d. The Author hereby grants the Publisher non-exclusive worldwide English Anthology rights to republish the Work or cause the Work to be republished in any book or anthology consisting of material at least 80% of which previously appeared in Lakeside Circus, and which includes works by more than three contributors. Publication in this anthology is not guaranteed, and Works chosen for the anthology will receive additional payment (see below). Authors may withdraw their Work from the anthology if their refusal is given in writing within 30 days of being notified of acceptance in the anthology.

e. All rights not specifically covered by this contract are retained by the Author.

f. Work bought must be published within one year, or all rights revert to the author.


FICTION: Lakeside Circus pays 2 cents per word (fiction or non-fiction), with a minimum of $10 US, payable within 30 days of publication. In addition, Authors will receive a four issue digital subscription to the magazine.

NONFICTION: Lakeside Circus pays 1 cent per word (fiction or non-fiction), with a minimum of $10 US, payable within 30 days of publication. In addition, Authors will receive a four issue digital subscription to the magazine.

AUDIO: Authors whose works are selected for audio publication will receive an additional 1 cent per word, with a minimum of $10 US, payable on publication. Combined with the digital publication payment, that equals 3 cents per word with a $20 minimum payment.

Authors whose works are selected for an anthology will receive an additional payment of $10 US within 30 days of the anthology publication, as well as a print contributor copy.

You can find our entire contract HERE (last update 2/01/2015).

Via: Lake Side Circus.

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