Orca accepts submissions of short fiction.
We are open to any topic, as long as it’s written in a literary style. We are open to all writers, without prejudice or preference. The language of a story is very important to us—we like it to be intelligent and erudite. We prefer work that is high concept: imaginative, thoughtful, even speculative, open to possibilities. Give us deep, diverse characters. Blend genres. Connect seemingly disparate ideas. Keep it entertaining, but make us think.
Originality will help your submission. If your story regards a topic that’s been published a lot (grandpa’s dementia comes to mind), it’s probably not for us.
We love flash, and short stories, and not-so-short stories, and we accept submissions up to 8000 words. We don’t mark down based on length. An 8000-word story has the same chance at publication as a 500-word flash fiction. For anything longer, you’re welcome to query.
We abhor polemics, or anything that even hints at a polemic. Fiction is an exploration, not a screed. Fiction asks questions (the right questions, as Chekhov said), and is not about providing a single or simple answer. In good fiction, answers are complex and often ambiguous. Good fiction allows readers to discern their own truth.
Orca is fee free for the first 100 submissions each month. After that, Submittable charges us, so we have to charge. If we make a little profit from that, we’ll return it to our published writers and photographers as a stipend.
Terms and Conditions
Unpublished fiction only: Up to 3 flash fictions of less than 1000 words each in one document, or 1 short story up to 8000 words. Please use a readable serif font in 12 points. Double space. Indent paragraphs. Minimum one inch margins. Author name and email, and a word count on the top of the first page. Start the story about halfway down the first page, with the title and byline centered above it. Title and page numbers on subsequent pages in the header. Via our Submittable portal only. No email or postal submissions please. Submissions that do not follow these instructions will be discarded unread.
Please submit only once per issue. Authors whom we have published should wait one year before submitting again.
Fee-free Submissions: We’ll respond at the end of the submission period.
Paid Submissions: We’ll respond as soon as we can, usually within a month.
If the story is not for us, you’ll get a form rejection (it’s a nice one, though). If we thought the story had merit, but it didn’t make the cut, we’ll probably write a personal note. We hold up to two dozen stories until the final editorial decisions are made. Feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask if you haven’t heard from us by the deadlines above.
Should you need to withdraw a full submission, please do so using your Submittable account. If you are only withdrawing a part of your submission (such as a single flash piece from a multi-story document), email us at email@example.com and let us know.
Payment for publication in Orca is $25, plus one contributor’s copy. We are working to increase the monetary amount. We prefer to pay via PayPal, so it helps if you have an account.
Upon acceptance, Orca requests first North American Serial Rights and First Digital Publication Rights. All rights revert to the author upon publication.
See here for more information and to submit.