Open 1-31 January 2020
Hello! This project is a comfortable two-headed beast at play in the curious and often dark corners of retropunk fiction. That means steampunk, dieselpunk, dreadpunk, bronzepunk, others that haven’t even been invented yet punk … but not atompunk. Sorry, space fans, we draw our line at Sputnik. About 2/3 of rejections are for “bad fit.” We buy nonexclusive rights for fiction, cover & interior art, music & sound effects usage, and narration services.
What we do:
1—Curiosities, a short story collection published two or three times a year, which is available in digital and print on demand formats, and
2—The Gallery of Curiosities, a twice monthly podcast which features stories from the publication. Not every story we buy will make it to an audio podcast release, but we do make good effort to get it there before our rights expire. We started out as a podcast, and went to print later. Audio production is incredibly time intensive.
-We buy original (4 cents/word) and reprint (penny/word) short stories.
-Length up to 7500 words.
-We read blind. Anonymize your manuscript before sending it to email@example.com as a docx, or rtf. Remove headers and/or footers.
-Use the format SUBMISSION: Your Story Title in the title bar of your email or it gets lost.
-Multiple? No more than 3 at a time. Send them in separate emails.
-Simultaneous? Yes. Please be prompt with a withdrawal if sold.
-If accepted, your story will be published in ebook and print-on-demand formats.
-If accepted, we will make a good faith effort to produce your story for podcast before the contract runs out, but no guarantees. The way is fraught with bear traps and wolves.
What we’re looking for:
As an audio venue, we want stories that entertain. We want to be taken on an adventure in a time that never was, be it steampunk, gaslamp, weird tales, dreadpunk, vintage horror, new weird, mad science, fantastic cities (please!), monsters, impossible machines, clockworks, alt-history adventures, surprises, weird westerns, and things that shouldn’t work.
What we don’t want:
Serialized novels. Novel excerpts. Drabbles. Stories longer than 7500 words. Fan fiction. Sherlockians. Vulgar language used as punctuation. Horror stories that spend most of the word count telling us all the mundane little details of the contemporary protag’s lifestyle before getting to it. Cutters. JFK theories. Anything that has been on a podcast within the past 18 months. Stories outside of the “speculative fiction” genres.
What’s a hard sell:
Anything set after World War 2. Horror based in domestic violence or sexual perversion. Anything set after the mid-20th Century. Stories that take place in outer space. Horror stories with contemporary moods or settings. Excessive splatter. Stories longer than 6000 words. Anything set after the 1950s. Stories that make us wonder why they should considered as “speculative fiction”.
4 cents a word USD for original fiction and a penny a word for reprints, with a minimum of $30 USD for stories less than 1000 words.
How do I submit?
Send your story in an email or email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org with SUBMISSION: Your Story Title in the subject line, because that is how I search for things. Always send a new story after a rejection with a new subject line. Continuing a thread is a good way to get the next one lost.
Manuscripts will be sent as docx or rtf attachments that are formatted without headers. Headers have been known to mess up the document when converted. To protect your privacy, put your personal details in the cover letter, not the manuscript. Or just wait until it is asked for. Seriously, don’t volunteer your details on the Internet— it’s where the crazy people live. Make sure all commentary has been removed from your manuscript, as it will (surprise!) persist when I convert it to a Google Document file, which is the format in which we read.
I think long cover letters are unnecessary for this format. I am amused by haiku, and will reciprocate. If the story is a reprint, tell where it has been.
You’ll get a quick reply to let you know it did not get lost, then any identifying information will be stripped from your manuscript before it is logged and sent on to the readers. If you do not get a rejection within a week, then your story made it past first round and went on to the short list.
How do I get paid?
PayPal or SL Lindens.
What about Rights?
We are purchasing non-exclusive audio, print, electronic, and archiving rights to your short story. You retain all other rights. The podcasts will be archived online for perpetual free download under a Creative Commons 4.0 International Attribution NonCommercial No-Derivs license.
Are you going to publish a print magazine or post my story for online reading?
We will not be posting the text of your story where it could be freely available online. Stories are published in Curiosities two or three times a year, which is available in retail print-on-demand and ebook formats. We sort accepted stories by broad themes as suggested by the whims of the slush pile, so you may not automatically get into the next issue. You will get representative contributor copies of the issue that contains your story.
How long will it take to get my story to air?
Audio production is extremely time intensive. Not all stories will make it to broadcast. If we don’t make it happen within 24 months, our rights expire.
Is there a contract?
What is steampunk?
That’s something you’ll have to find your own definition for. And when you find it, own it. For me, it is an artistic protest about the future we got.
My story has already been published. Can I still submit it?
Yes, as long as you are not violating any terms of your previous contract. We do want to know if it is a reprint, and where it has been. Say so in your cover letter.
You rejected my story. Can I submit another one?
Absolutely! We rejected your story, not you. Writing is a game of persistence.
You rejected my story. Can I work on it some more and resubmit it?
Only if we said that we would read it again in the rejection letter.
I have more questions.