Submission Guidelines

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Syntax & Salt publishes up to 13 speculative fiction pieces a season. We are open to general submissions year round, with the following publication dates in 2017:

  • January 21 – Issue 1:2017 (be sure to submit by 12/30!)
  • March 20 – Staff Issue

  • June 21 – Issue 2:2017

  • September 22 – Issue 3:2017

  • December 21 – Issue 4:2017

Here is how you win our hearts and minds:

  • Speculative fiction with a literary bent (please see our Read This page for ideas on what we tend to like.)
  • Science Fiction that doesn’t blame technology for the fall of humanity
  • Fantasy that takes advantage of the genre and eschews easy tropes
  • Diverse, thoughtful cast of characters (i.e. not everyone is a white dude, except that one group of downtrodden women in a village who was attacked by Orcs.)
  • Stories that take up 3500 words or less
  • Edited, polished manuscripts
  • Old stories told in a new way
  • New stories told in an old way
  • Sad endings that don’t rely on gimmicks or shock value
  • Happy endings that hurt a little bit
  • Beautiful prose and well developed plot

Thank you, but no thank you to:

  • Violence for the sake of violence
  • Damsels in Distress™
  • Superior elves, grumbling dwarves or any sort of Tolkien regurgitation
  • Robots who want to destroy of all of humanity because it’s logical and we can’t stop them anyway because somehow no one remembers how to program the damn things anymore.
  • Mermaids – we receive far too many mermaid stories.
  • Fairy tale fan fiction – we’d rather you just make your own fairy tale up out of the ether, if we’re honest.
  • Zombies, vampires, werewolves, etc. Not our thing.
  • Cultural fetishism and appropriation
  • Any fantasy story where women are subjugated because it’s “historically accurate to humanity.” This is not historical fiction.
  • Redheaded Strong Female Characters with green eyes who are catlike. No. Don’t do it.
  • We’re good with profanity, but it needs to fit the story
  • Poetry – the thing is, we love it, but we’re not there yet
  • Rape stories are vital stories. 1 in 4 women report being raped, and men are often silent victims of assault. However, many of the rape stories we’ve read in our careers as writers and slushers and editors do not explore the nuances of character available, and use the act of rape for shock value or to create a victimized character who can be saved.

Here’s how you submit:

  • We read blind. All submissions must be completely absent of identifying information or they will be rejected without being read.
  • For the sake of formatting, we do prefer standard manuscript formatting. You can find an example here. Remember to remove ALL identifying information from your submission manuscript.
  • That does mean Times New Roman or Courier, 12pt., double-spaced. We won’t probably reject you out right for deviations, unless you submit in comic sans — that’s just not ok. Real talk, double-spacing makes life a lot easier for our readers. Be nice to our readers.
  • We are indifferent to cover letters — if you send one, we just want to know what you’re submitting, and the length of your submission. A brief third person bio can be included, or we’ll ask for one upon acceptance.
  • One submission at a time please, and give us 24 hours after we’ve sent you a response to submit again. You are welcome to submit four times in a year.
  • We will respond within 90 days of submission letting you know if your piece has been accepted, held over, or if we’ve decided to pass. Please do not query until that time has passed.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please note in your cover letter if your piece is a simultaneous submission, and if it is accepted elsewhere, please notify us immediately.
  • Use the Submittable link below.
  • Don’t forget: remove all identifying information – our staff blind reads submissions.

Legal Things:

  • Syntax & Salt pays $10USD by PayPal for each story, regardless of length, with the exception of one Editor’s Choice story per issue, which will garner a $25USD payment via PayPal. Payment is guaranteed within 10 business days of the current issue going live.
  • Syntax & Salt supports and welcomes stories by and about individuals of all ages, classes, disabilities, ethnicities, genders, nationalities, races, religions, and sexual orientations.
  • Syntax & Salt purchases first worldwide English-language serial and electronic rights. Each story we purchase will be published on syntaxandsalt.com in an electronic quarterly issue. We may also excerpt stories  for promotional purposes. The author retains all other rights.

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