Read Short Fiction is dedicated to publishing quality stories of almost all genres (we don’t publish erotica, and, as we are seeking stories designed for a large audience, we will rarely publish work that is too experimental). Word lengths should be between 1,500 and 4,000 words. We do not open attachments. Please submit your work as text pasted into the body of an email with the following subject line: “Submission: [Genre]: [Title]: [Author Last Name]“ So, if your name is Joe Smith and you have a mainstream fiction story called “Her Wooden Chair,” your subject line should be “Submission: Mainstream: Her Wooden Chair: Smith”. Please use the genres as-categorized on our site (Literary, Mainstream, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Romance, Historical, Action/Adventure, Western). We love humorous stories, but humor is really a tone of one of the primary genres.
Please include a brief bio at the start of your emailed submission, and please paste your story into the body of your email. Please also provide a personal website or other contact information, which will be included in published stories.
As we publish an image with each story, if you have a royalty-free image that ties in with your story that you’d like to suggest, please feel free to attach it to your submission and indicate that the image is cleared for copyright.
Submissions should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simultaneous submissions are acceptable (we’re writers, too), but please notify us immediately at the above address of an acceptance elsewhere. Please have only one story under consideration with us at a time.
We’ve updated our submission guidelines in 2013. We now publish only original fiction. We are contracting for First Worldwide Electronic Rights to your story for one year from publication, along with the right to archive the story on our site indefinitely. (We do have an author-requested take-down policy after two years from publication in the sole event that you are producing a collection of exclusively your own work and you believe the public presence of your story on Read Short Fiction would harm your sales.) As syndication is one way to get short fiction into the limelight, we are also contracting for the right to include your story in syndication feeds such as RSS (your story will always remain attributed to you). As of 1/1/2013, we no longer accept reprints.
Please note that we may take as long as six to nine months to respond to your piece; we are selective and spend a great deal of time deliberating. If this is too long a time for you to wait, then consider submitting to other markets with shorter wait times. If you wish to query to ensure that we received your piece or inquire about its status, you may do so after six months have passed. If you need to withdraw, you may contact us at any time after you’ve submitted. Send either query or withdrawal to email@example.com.
For stories accepted after 1/1/2013, we compensate at the professional rate of 5 cents per word, with a cap of $150 per story (first 3,000 words). The cap is created to financially manage the journal as well as encourage stories of no longer than 3,000 words, as we believe compelling, gripping short fiction is not only possible but maximized at lengths of no longer than 3,000 words. If you need the additional 1,000 words up until our acceptance maximum of 4,000 words, by all means take them. Payment is made upon publication.
We don’t have set reading periods and we are always open for submissions, so please submit whenever you’d like. We encourage all authors to report submissions and response times at Duotrope’s Digest. Our publishing schedule is variable, with a goal of publishing one story per month.
Prior to our submissions policy revision in 2013, we previously ran paid Facebook ads for published stories. We are no longer running these ads, due to 1.) revisions of Facebook pricing schemes that make it no longer practical and 2.) a desire to compensate authors. As our mission is still to bring short fiction to a wider audience, we may seek promotion mechanisms, including paid advertisements, on a case-by-case basis.