There’s a long-standing belief that science fiction and fantasy stories aren’t as good as purely literary fare. We want you to prove that mindset wrong (not just wrong, but a steaming pile of griffin dung wrong) with every story you submit. It’s almost like we’re saying, “I do not bite my thumb at you, literary snobs, but I do bite my thumb,” but in a completely polite and non-confrontational way. Basically, we want imaginative stories that are well written, but not full of supercilious floridity.
What We Want
Fiction Vortex only accepts speculative fiction that we can turn into serial/episodic fiction for a Serial Box. We want sci-fi, fantasy, horror, supernatural, alternate history, alternate realities, etc. And this is the most important: WE WANT THE WORLD THAT YOUR STORY COMES FROM.
We want original storyworlds, be it a whole multi-verse or a single city block. Size is only a relative matter–content is where the ju-ju is. You have one short story to give us a glimpse of your world, sort of like a TV pilot.
But that isn’t all.
We want strong characters and stories that explore and explain elements of our world with the employ of the otherworldly. Answer the ordinary with the extraordinary. We want original stories that make people use their imaginations.
Maybe this means hard space pirate sci-fi or sword and sorcery tales that would make Tolkien shed tears of joy. But it also might mean a story about a fairly normal person in Everytown, USA that happens to have a third eye, or a super sniffer, or a ghost for a friend. The possibilities are endless. Well, not endless. If your story has even a whiff of vampire love triangles, we’ll probably laugh at you. (But if you can do it better than anyone else, go for it!)
What We DON’T Want
Fiction Vortex is not a pulpit for preachy stories. While we want stories that address current issues and concerns in the world, we will not accept personal sermons that are vaguely veiled in narrative. This means you, Aunt Berenice. We all have opinions; for instance, we happen to think that the full Windsor knot is infinitely superior to the half Windsor, and that LOLdogs are funnier than LOLcats, but that doesn’t mean we won’t subject you to a story about the Final Battle between the LOLdogs of Windsor against the evil LOLcats of Halfwin. Actually, that sounds kind of cool. But the point is that just like some other things we all have (like weird moles), it’s better to keep opinions to ourselves.
We want Fiction Vortex to appeal to a broad range of ages and personalities, so we will not accept anything containing unnecessary or graphic violence, language, and sexual content. That especially means keeping swearing in check; leave your f-bombs at home. We understand they’re important for emotion and narrative purposes from time to time, but keep it light and sparing. We want strong stories not stories that rely on shock factor.
We will not accept multi-part or partial stories. This does not include separate stories about the same world or same character–we definitely want those! Still, this initial story must stand on its own.
No work that has been officially published through any other press will be excepted. We will be asking first rights. That means even work on your own blog or community site (Wattpad and such) won’t be accepted. However, that only applies to the story you submit to us, not the world it comes from. We want well developed worlds.
Oh, and as for fan fiction. Absolutely no fan fiction. We’re happy if you like to write it, but there are plenty of other venues to post it. Fiction Vortex is the means for you to have your fans write about your world. We are giving you permission to put aside your comfort blanket and step into your own world (preferably clothed).
Fiction Vortex and its staff reserves the right to reject any story for any reason. We also reserve the right to let out evil cackles when doing so.
Length/ Word Limit
There really are no minimum requirements, but we aren’t interested in abstract or experimental pieces. The maximum is 3,500 words. We want authors that pack a punch with their word efficiency.
All stories must be submitted in the body of an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please, no attachments. The email subject line must include the word “SUBMISSION”, all uppercase, followed by the title of your story. Don’t screw this up because the email gremlins get really angry if you do. In the body of the email, tell us what kind of story it is (broad generalization such as mystery sci-fi, or urban fantasy), the word count, and where else you have been published. If you don’t have any publishing credits yet, don’t fret. We like new writers.
All submissions will receive an answer, usually within three to fours weeks of submission. A website submission form is in the works. It’s easier to say than do, much like any of the Harry Potter spells. For now please use the email submission process.
Any deviation from the required format will result in an automatic rejection without any response to you from the Fiction Vortex staff.
We are listed on both Duotrope and The Submissions Grinder, so you can report our responses to your stories. These sites are a writer resource for tracking submissions and researching potential publications. Your submission reports anonymously help improve listings for our site, especially regarding accurate response times. When you receive a rejection or an acceptance notice from us, we ask that you report it on either site (or both!).
Fiction Vortex will pay $300 USD for each issues featured story and $50 USD for the four honorable mentions in each quarterly issue, payable only through PayPal.
That means the featured story will be paid professional rates. Honorable mentions will receive at the least 1.5 cents per word.
As of right now, the only means we have of sending award money to our authors is to a PayPal account. On rare occasions we might be swayed to wire transfers, but we prefer not to have your bank account information.
Each author has the option to donate any winnings back to Fiction Vortex. This is not us begging, okay, maybe it is a little, but what we are really saying is that we appreciate your support. You don’t buy that either? Well, we still give the author the option. Additionally, if we do not receive payment information from the author within 6 months of publication of their story we will count their compensation as a donation.
By publishing your story on Fiction Vortex we will own First Rights to the accepted and published stories. Additional terms and conditions will be in place for the featured story and its author should said author choose to establish a new serial box with Fiction Vortex.
What this means is that we have the right to publish your story on the Fiction Vortex website, corresponding quarterly issue, and the option, at our choice, to pay you to reprint your story in any Fiction Vortex anthology. With that option we will have the right to distribute any of those anthologies anywhere in the world in either print or electronic format.
You will not be able to publish your story as “new” or “first time published” anywhere in the world. However, ninety days after the original Fiction Vortex publish date of your story you are able to have that story appear in any other online format, print magazine and/or anthology. That is unless your story is turned into a serial box–terms and conditions for featured stories will be more exclusive.
Bear in mind that most publications will not publish pieces that have been published in print, eBook, or on the web, so for all intents and purposes after your work is published by us it can only be marketed as a reprint, which severely limits the number of markets that will accept it, and drastically reduces the pay rate it can receive in the future. If you feel that our compensation doesn’t merit giving up your First Publishing Rights, we understand, but please continue to follow us as we hope to change/improve our payment structure as Fiction Vortex grows.
Please always review our submission guidelines on our site and the latest contest rules on the contest page. Secondary and directory sites might have an outdated version of our guidelines.