Last Updated: 16 May 2017
Current status: closed for the week, reopening Monday night UTC, May 22.
To make sure that the volume of submissions doesn't get out of hand, we're following a weekly schedule:
- We'll always reopen every Monday night UTC when the new issue is published.
- When we're open, there will be no daily cap.
- During the week, if and when the queue begins to significantly outstrip the reading, we'll close for the week to give ourselves room to catch up.
- This page will always clearly indicate whether we're closed and if so, when we'll be reopening.
- Vajra Chandrasekera
- Lila Garrott
- Catherine Krahe
- An Owomoyela
Guidelines at a Glance
- Speculative fiction, broadly defined.
- Up to 10,000 words (under 5000 preferred).
- Submitted through our Moksha submissions system—no email or postal submissions.
- No simultaneous or multiple submissions; no re-submissions. Please wait 7 days after receiving a rejection before you submit again.
- Please send only RTF, DOC or DOCX files and try to stick to standard manuscript format as much as possible.
- Previously unpublished in English—we buy first English rights, including audio.
- Special note on translations: our quarterly sister magazine Samovar specializes in translations and offers a better pay rate of 12¢/word USD split between author and translator: we encourage you to submit all translations there directly. Translations submitted to either magazine will always be considered for both magazines: first for Samovar and second for Strange Horizons. If you're sending us a translation and don't want it forwarded to Samovar, please let us know in your cover letter and we will consider it only for Strange Horizons.
- Payment of 8¢/word USD, within 60 days of contract.
If you have any questions, write to email@example.com with the word QUERY: at the beginning of your subject line.
Everything else on this page is intended to clarify, explain, or provide insight into the above guidelines. If you've submitted to us before or feel confident that your story meets our guidelines, feel free to skip the rest of this page. If you're uncertain on any point, you'll find more detailed discussion below.
What We Want and What We Don't Want
We want good speculative fiction. If your story doesn't have a speculative element, or strong speculative-fiction sensibilities, it's probably not for us.
Some particular things we love, or are interested in:
- Fiction from or about diverse perspectives and traditionally under-represented groups, settings, and cultures, written from a non-exoticizing and well-researched position.
- Unusual yet readable styles and inventive structures and narratives.
- Stories that address political issues in complex and nuanced ways, resisting oversimplification.
- Hypertext fiction. If you have a work of hyperfiction you think might be a good fit for Strange Horizons, please query us to discuss how to submit it.
Things which are fine:
- Profanity is fine. Use whatever words are appropriate for your story.
- Sex or violence in a story should be artistically justified; no excessive gore.
- We welcome submissions from anywhere in the world, and British spellings are fine.
- We will consider stories which have previously appeared in another language, but have never been published in English.
- We welcome all subgenres and forms of speculative fiction.
Things we won't consider:
- Stories above 10,000 words, including serialized novels or novellas.
- Partial or incomplete stories. Please don't send us part of a story and ask us to request the rest of it if we're interested.
- Unsolicited reprints of works previously published in English.
- Stories previously submitted to Strange Horizons, even if they have been revised.
- Multiple stories at once from the same author.
- Submissions sent to us and another venue simultaneously.
- Poetry or nonfiction; we're the wrong department for those.
Pay Rates and Lengths
We prefer stories under 5,000 words, but we consider stories up to 10,000 words. Note, however, that the longer the story is, the less likely we are to be interested. Our wordcount limit is not absolutely inflexible, but we can't consider stories much over the limit, not even as serials. However, we have no minimum wordcount requirement; we consider short-short stories. We determine story length by taking the word-processor wordcount and rounding up to the next highest 100 words.
We pay 8¢/word (USD), with a minimum payment of $60. SFWA officially considers us a professional market. We pay by check or PayPal, according to the author's preference.
We buy first-printing world exclusive English-language rights (including audio rights) for six (6) months. After that period, you are free to republish the story elsewhere. We hope you'll allow us to leave the story in our archives indefinitely after it's rotated off the main table of contents, but you have the right to remove your story from the archives at any time after one (1) year.
How to Submit
Check the top of this page to see if we're open to submissions, and if we're open, upload a file using our submission gateway. In order to track stories correctly, we can only consider stories submitted through that form—no email or paper mail submissions.
Your cover letter can be minimal: generally, these should be short and list just a few of your most recent or most relevant publications or workshops. If you've got life experience relevant to your story (e.g. your story takes place on a submarine, and you served on a submarine), please do mention that. Cover letters shouldn't include plot synopses or pitches. If you are still concerned, please take a look at our sample cover letters page.
If you're having trouble submitting, or have any other questions, please send an e-mail with a subject line of "QUERY: Your Question Topic" to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Response Time and Response Status
We usually respond within a few weeks, but if you haven't heard from us within 40 days, please query immediately. You won't be rushing us along—most likely, we have responded, but the email's gone astray.
We send an autoresponder message in response to every submission we receive. If you haven't received an autoresponse within 24 hours after submitting, please query immediately. Missing an autoresponse usually means we have an incorrect email address for you, and won't be able to contact you when we make a decision on your fiction.
After you submit a story, we strongly prefer you don't withdraw it. If you withdraw a story, we won't consider any version of that story in the future. However, if you do need to withdraw a story, please send an e-mail telling us that you need to withdraw, and let us know why.
How to Contact Us
To contact us for any reason, write to email@example.com with the word QUERY: at the beginning of your subject line. Add a few words to the subject line to indicate what you're querying about.
Strange and Interesting Miscellany
None of this is required reading, but if you're curious about how we do things, you may find the following links interesting:
- Stories we see too often: This list was made by the previous editing team, and has since been reposted and referenced by various people who've found it useful. Though there is some good advice here, we offer it as a curio rather than as a prescription.
- Why we don't want authors to withdraw stories: This is a post by previous senior fiction editor, Jed Hartman. We agree with his reasoning.