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There Was Once a Place.

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Short Story Submission Guidelines

The following guidelines are for general submission for publication in our anthology series. For competition guidelines, see menu on the left.

How to submit

At the moment, we're only accepting submissions through our online submission form. This helps us keep track of all of the submissions as efficiently as possible. Please don't post us anything, as it won't reach the right people.

What we're looking for

The best way to get a really good answer to this question is to try reading us. If you have a Kindle, iPad, or other ebook reader, you can now download our first anthology completely free. Click here to get your copy.

One other thing to note is that we're looking for stories about people and places, rather than about writing itself. If the most important thing about your story is its quirky narrative technique, or if the character is a writer who's writing about the challenges of writing a short story about the challenges of being a writer, then it may not be for us.

Please note that we do not consider novel excerpts.

There's no deadline

When we've finished work on each short story anthology, we move straight on to the next. So there's no need to rush: just send us your work when you feel it's ready.

International submissions

Although we're based in the UK, we accept submissions from authors all over the English-speaking world.

Rights

We ask for first serial rights on any story we publish. This means that the story should not have appeared anywhere else, either in print or online. (This includes publication on an author's own website.) When we publish a story, we ask for a brief period of exclusivity (usually six months), and the right to keep the story in print. We don't ask for website rights, or place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusivity period.

Word count

We prefer to see stories that are between 2,000 and about 20,000 words in length. Most of the stories we publish are between about 2,000 and 7,000 words. Authors of very short stories might want to look at our flash fiction competition, which is run annually.

Payment

We pay £15 per thousand words for stories we publish. (eg, £75 for a 5,000 word story, etc.) Contributors get two complimentary copies. Stories published are also eligible to enter the Writer's Award, a cash prize of £100 for the best story in each volume, as judged by the contributors.

Voluntary submission fee

It's free to submit stories to The Fiction Desk, but we do have a voluntary £2 submission fee. This helps with our running costs; if you choose to pay it, we'll speed up response time on your submission so that you hear back from us within two weeks. Payment can be made at the time of submission, via credit card or PayPal.

Multiple and simultaneous submissions

It's fine to send us more than one story at a time. In fact, we prefer to see two. Please don't send more than three, though, and please send them through the form one at a time, and not together in one document.

We do understand if you want to submit to more than one magazine at a time. However, please let us know if a story you've submitted to us has been accepted elsewhere!

Our response times

We aim to reply to all submissions within three months. You can speed it up to two weeks by paying our voluntary £2 submission fee (see above).

If you submitted less than three months ago, please just sit tight and wait. Chances are that we just haven't got to your submission yet. If it was more than three months ago, first check your junk mail folder, in case our reply wound up there. If you still haven't heard from us after three months, email us: . It would be very helpful if you could include your submission code (the number you received when you fired off the submission).