Short Story Submission Guidelines
If you're planning to submit short stories to The Fiction Desk, please read the following guidelines.
- How to submit short stories
- What we're looking for
- Word count
- How much we pay
- When to submit
- International submissions and translations
- File formats
- Submission fee
- Multiple and simultaneous submissions
- Our response times
All short story submissions should be made through our online submission form. This helps us keep track of the submissions we receive as efficiently as possible. Please don't post us anything, as it won't reach the right people.
We are open for general short story submissions throughout the year, and run a series of themed submission calls, including an annual ghost story call. To find out what's happening at the moment, please see the sidebar to the left.
The Fiction Desk anthologies contain a range of short stories from both new and established authors. We strongly recommend reading one of our anthologies before submitting: every publisher has different tastes, and if you take the time to discover what we publish, you'll find it much easier to decide what to send us. Our latest anthology, And Nothing Remains, is a great place to start. Find out more, or get your own copy, here.
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 structure, or if the protagonist is a writer who's writing a short story 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, or anything with illustrations or photographs.
We are able to consider stories that are between 1,000 and 20,000 words in length; please do not send anything longer or shorter than this. (Most of the stories we publish are between about 2,000 and 7,000 words.)
We pay £20 per thousand words for stories we publish (eg £80 for a 4,000 word story, or £120 for a 6,000 word story). Contributors also receive two complimentary paperback copies. The stories we publish 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.
We are currently open for general short story submissions, and there's no deadline for those. (When we've finished work on one short story anthology, we move straight on to the next.) So there's no need to rush: just send us your story when you feel it's ready. Themed calls have their own deadlines, so check the relevant details before submitting.
To stay updated with our calls for submissions, please sign up for our email newsletter using the box at the top of this page.
Although we're based in the UK, we accept short story submissions from authors all over the English-speaking world. (If submitting a translation, please make a note in the synopsis field of who is making the submission, and who owns the rights to both the story and the translation.)
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 as part of the anthology. We don't ask for website/online rights, or place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusivity period.
If possible, please submit your short story in .docx, .doc, or .odt format. (At a pinch, we can also use .rtf files. However, please avoid Microsoft Works or Apple Pages documents as we aren't always able to open these. Read more about file formats on our blog.)
We charge a £3 submission fee for each story submitted to us. This helps with our running costs (we do not receive any external funding), and allows us to devote more time and attention to the submissions we receive. It also enables us to work a little faster: we aim to respond to all submissions within two weeks. Our form now includes an option to purchase one of our anthologies instead of paying the fee. Payment can be made at the time of submission, via credit card or PayPal.
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!
We aim to reply to all submissions within two weeks, although we will sometimes go slightly over this during busy periods or holidays.
If you're waiting for a reply from us, please keep an eye on your junk mail folder, as our replies do sometimes make their way there. If you submitted more than three weeks ago, and have not heard back from us, please check your junk mail folder again. If there's nothing there, email us: . It would be very helpful if you could include your submission code (the number you received when you fired off the submission).