Open Call for Submissions: Summer 2018

As of October 5, 2017 Book Smugglers Publishing is currently open for short stories submissions for publication in 2018.

General information and theme

We’re looking for original English language short stories from all around the world. Our goal is to publish at least four pieces of short fiction–short stories (at least 1,500 words) or novelettes (up to 17,500 words)–unified by a central theme. Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork, commissioned especially for the work.

For the publication period between May and August 2018, the theme is:


AWAKENINGS will be Book Smugglers Publishing’s FIFTH season of short stories, following Fairytale Retellings, First Contact, Superheroes, and Gods & Monsters.

When it comes to Awakenings, anything goes. You, the author, should feel free to take this general theme and interpret it in any way you see fit–from a story about an AI’s first hours of sentience, to magical alternate histories featuring characters discovering how to wield power for the first time, anything goes.

We encourage authors to subvert these sample themes, to expand upon what “awakenings” means, and adapt the prompt to other possible connotations and genres under the Speculative Fiction umbrella.

What We’re Looking For

  • DIVERSITY. We want to read and publish short stories that reflect the diverse world we live in, about and from traditionally underrepresented perspectives–including but not limited to stories by and featuring LGBTQIA characters, people of color, and different gender identities. Following Fireside Fiction’s reports on underrepresented black writers, we especially welcome black writers to submit their stories.
  • Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult audience submissions are welcome. Good speculative fiction is ageless!
  • We are VERY keen on receiving Romance stories – or stories with strong romantic elements.
  • We are VERY keen on receiving Horror stories – or stories with strong horror elements.
  • Creativity & Subversion. We love subversive stories. We want you to challenge the status quo with your characters, story telling technique, and themes.

Guidelines for Submission:

  • We are looking for original speculative fiction, between 1,500 and 17,500 words in length.
  • These SFF offerings must be previously unpublished; we do not accept simultaneous submissions. We accept multiple submissions.
  • Profanity, sex, and other explicit situations are fine as long as they fit within the context of the story.
  • We welcome first-time and never-before-published authors, as well as seasoned veterans. ALL are welcome to submit.
  • Submissions are open now, and will be open through December 31 2017 11:59PM PST. Any submissions received after that date will not be considered.

Payment and Terms

Unlike previous years, this season of short stories is being funded by the generosity of our Kickstarter backers and as such we are happy to announce we have increased our pay rate for 2018! We will be paying $0.08 per word up to $800 (although we welcome stories from a minimum of 1,500 words and up to a maximum of 17,500 words long).

We plan on publishing these short stories for free in their entirety on We also plan on selling these stories in ebook (and possibly limited print editions) at a 50% net royalty, with potential inclusion in future anthologies (royalty to be negotiated). We ask for exclusive rights for one year, and non-exclusive rights following that.

How to Submit

Submissions should be emailed to with the subject line “AWAKENINGS Story Submission.” You may also use the contact form below.

Please attach your full story as a document (.doc, .docx, .rtf). Do not send your story as text in the body of an email; we will ignore any manuscripts that are not attachments.

A cover letter is highly recommended – tell us who you are! – as we would love to learn a little bit about you and the inspiration behind your work (or anything else you think is relevant to your story submission).

We are also including an optional self-identification field in the submissions form. If you would like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background please do so by filling out this field (or if you prefer to email, in your cover letter). This is completely voluntary and not a requirement.

We will reply to all authors who have submitted work with our decision by February 20, 2018.

We are happy to answer any of your questions! Leave a comment or email us (, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

And…that’s it! We hope to be reading your excellent short stories very soon.

Submissions Form