Ongoing Submissions: The Common Tongue Magazine

Payment: 3 cents per word
Theme: Dark High Fantasy

Fiction Guidelines

WORD LIMIT 600-6,000 words. No exceptions. We are more likely to accept smaller works than longer, unless the latter is rather exceptional in quality
PAY RATE 3¢ per word. Payment via PayPal or Stripe
GENRE Dark High Fantasy (What is high fantasy?)
LANGUAGES English, Spanish (We accept stories from around the world, but translations are encouraged)
RIGHTS First world electronic rights (text and audio), first print rights, and non-exclusive single use anthology rights for our annual The Common Tongue Magazine anthology. Copyright for work set in our Shared World

We are interested in fantasy with a dark theme. We accept both works set in our Athuruin Shared Universe as well as original work in an original setting. Our shared universe manifesto can be found here.

Submissions must adhere to the following guidelines to be considered for publication:

  • Cover Letter: Please include a cover letter in the submissions manager’s “Comments” field when submitting your work. Submissions without this information could be overlooked. See our FAQ for more info on what should be included in a cover letter to a publisher.
  • Format: Submissions must be in Microsoft Word (.docx) format. This is because we handle a full editing process for all our successful submissions, and we do this best through Microsoft Word. Please adhere to standard manuscript formatting for your submission. See our article for more information.
  • Type: Must be a short story or poem manuscript. We do not accept comics, picture books, graphic novels, or anything beyond text-based submissions.
  • Tonality: The tone of our setting is dark, and therefore we value submissions that hold true to this sense of foreboding mystery, danger, gore, and cruel truth. While we appreciate uplifting, optimistic tones and will consider them when reviewing your submission, please be aware of our guidelines toward accepting high fantasy, grimlight, epic fantasy, and mundane fantasy manuscripts.
  • Genre: We only accept submissions that are high fantasy with a dark tone. We are aware of the many sub-genres of fantasy, however, and consider many varied versions, such as dark fantasy (Blizzard’s Diablo, folk-fantasy with dark elements like Andrzej Sapkowski’s The WitcherSteven Erikson’s Gardens of the MoonGlen Cook’s The White Rose), grimdark fantasy (Mark Lawrence’s Emperor of ThornsSteven Erikson’s The Crippled God), sword & sorcery “pulp fiction” fantasy (Robert E. Howard’s ConanCharles R. Saunders’ Imaro).
    • We do not accept low fantasy (A.K.A. urban fantasy, magic realism, contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy), young adult fantasy, children’s books, fables, fairytales, or superhero fiction.
    • We aim to represent writers of different cultures and backgrounds, and that is why submissions that apply less-represented cultural motifs (Indian, Filipino, Slovakian, African, Indigenous American, etc…) are more likely to be accepted and published.
    • We accept epic fantasy in only a few special instances, and they must still retain a dark tone despite their scope (i.e. dark epic fantasy).
    • Hint: Often the first things we do are skim the manuscripts for anything that would give it away as “off-genre” and are most certainly a disqualification. Some of these things include: cell phones or electronics, cars, couches, houses, apartments, radios, ballpoint pens, TVs, showers, flashlights, watches, sandwiches, teddy bears, raincoats, Earthly location names and settings, real languages (if the characters speak a variation of Tamil or Farsi, for example, it is fine. But no references to the actual language names themselves), modern colloquial terminology and jargon, teenagers (including the word itself).
  • Canon: Submissions must adhere to our setting as close as possible, but writer interpretation is accepted and accounted for. OR…
  • Original works: If the work is not set in one of our shared universes, then we want work that has not been published elsewhere. That means the work must be in a universe that you have created. We prefer stories that are as original as possible, particularly in the conflicts and characters. We are unlikely to enjoy stories featuring elements we have seen repeatedly, like characters meeting in a tavern, or a villain with a motivation to take over the world. We enjoy stories that are layered, especially with time.
  • Extreme Content: We do not encourage the extraneous use of sex and violence. Instead, we condone a code of extreme content penmanship coined “Graphic but Meaningful”: if the extreme sex and violence has a deeper meaning in the story aside from wanton and tasteless elements, then we will consider it. This magazine is not aimed to the advanced literary adult (sensual erotica novels) audience, and therefore must incorporate semi-appropriate themes in the story.
  • Novel Excerpts or Serials: We are NOT interested in novel excerpts or serials–we only want self-standing stories.
  • Reprints: We publish only originals (stories that have never previously appeared anywhere in print or online). We do NOT consider reprints (stories that have previously appeared anywhere in print or online, including on a personal website or blog, or self-published on Kindle, or as Patreon or Kickstarter rewards). For stories not set in our Athuruin Shared Universe or one of our other share universes, we buy First Serial rights–the right to be the first place to ever publish that story. If the story has already appeared in print or online, or been given to readers in exchange for a donation or patronage, the story has already been published and we can’t be the first place to ever publish it.
  • Multiple Simultaneous Submissions (more than one story submitted at a time): We do NOT accept these. Please wait until you have received a reply to your submission before sending another. Considering two submissions simultaneously puts you at an unfair advantage and puts more work on our editors.
  • Plagiarism. We do not tolerate plagiarism, and any plagiarism will be met with a ban from publication, and in some cases, a claim to the copyright holder (it has happened before).
  • All Writers: We welcome submissions from all writers, of all nations, nationalities, ethnicities, backgrounds, faiths, genders, orientations, identities, experiences. We’re looking for great stories, by anyone and everyone. We welcome submissions from new and unpublished writers.

Via: The Common Tongue Magazine.

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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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