Open submission calls: January 2023

A new year, a fresh start, renewed ambitions, and so on… January is a great time to send out stories you’ve already written, or to be inspired to write new ones. Below, I’ve gathered some of the most interesting open submission calls for writers I’ve spotted this month. If you have a try at any of these opportunities, best of luck!

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Ghoulish Tales
New magazine that celebrate ‘fun horror that aims to celebrate all things spooky.’ While plenty of horror films are fun, I think it’s trickier to achieve in written fiction, so this is definitely a worthwhile distinction.
Word count: Up to 5000 words
Payment: 7 cents per word
Deadline: 15 February 2023

Horror Library
This is the eighth volume of horror stories from Dark Moon Books. Their criteria makes for an interesting list: ‘Imaginative and/or harrowing adventure; beauty of darkness; horror (edgy or quiet); exploration through fears or discovery; original monsters and/or strange lands; life events turned slightly askew, etc.’
Word count: 1500–5000 words
Payment: 2 cents per word
Deadline: Opens 16 January 2023, closes 30 January 2023

Triangulation: Seven-Day Weekend
The new volume of this longstanding series anthologies will feature fantasy, science fiction, weird fiction, and speculative horror stories themed around automation. Despite the genre list, the guidelines don’t seem to require that stories are bleak, which is refreshing.
Word count: Up to 5000 words
Payment: 3 cents per word
Deadline: 1 February 2023

Cymera / Shoreline of Infinity Prize for Speculative Short Fiction
Cymera is one of the friendliest and most fun SFF events around. Shoreline of Infinity is one of the most inventive and consistent SF magazines. How could the idea of impressing both of them at the same time not be a good idea? NB it’s open to anyone living in Scotland or who identifies as Scottish ‘by birth or inclination’, which is a lovely phrase.
Word count: Up to 2500 words
Payment: Prize of £150 for the winner plus publication in Shoreline of Infinity, free tickets to two Cymera events for the runners-up
Deadline: 26 March 2023

The First Five Minutes of the Apocalypse
An anthology from Hungry Shadow Press with an excellent theme: ‘the experiences, the points of view, the wild, weird, disgusting, disturbing, beautiful, heartbreaking things that happened at the very beginning of the end of the world.’
Word count: 1500–4000 words
Payment: 3 cents per word
Deadline: Opens 1 February 2023, deadline 28 February 2023

Seers and Sibyls
Another very specific but fascinating theme for this submissions call. In the editors’ own words: ‘We’re looking for stories about the mouthpieces of gods and goddesses. Who interprets their omens, tells their prophecies, sees their visions, and performs their miracles? And to what end?’
Word count: 1500–5000 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 31 January 2023

Monster Lairs
This anthology from Dark Matter will feature dark fantasy and horror (and related hybrids such as fairytale horror, gothic fantasy, supernatural horror, cosmic horror). Editor Anna Madden is seeking ‘decidedly inhuman monsters that have been sought out and challenged, befriended, protected, or stolen from their own grounds, roots exposed like naked bone’. I tell you what – the themes for open submissions this month are pretty amazing, aren’t they?
Word count: 2000–4000 words
Payment: 8 cents per word
Deadline: 30 January 2023, but then until 5 February 2023 for previously unpublished writers, ESL writers, BIPOC and LGBTQ+ writers, and other marginalized voices

This is a new magazine that will specialise in ‘optimistic and uplifting short science-fiction stories on any subject’. There’s not nearly enough warmth and positivity in most SF, in my opinion, so this is another very welcome theme. It’s also the first open submission call I’ve seen which states explicitly that stories written or assisted by AI are not welcome.
Word count: 1000–6000 words
Payment: 10 cents per word
Deadline: Ongoing, as far as I can tell

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