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Tor.com Seeking Original Short Fiction

Writing.ie | Resources | Submission Opportunities

This week really is all about opportunity, so we’ve decided to bring you three submission opportunities on the trot – good luck!

Tor.com is a short fiction market edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liz Gorinsky, Ann VanderMeer, Ellen Datlow, and Carl Engle-Laird, with support and reading from Cory Skerry, Bridget Smith, Effie Seiberg, and occasional others. They say:

What we’re looking for: Tor.com welcomes original speculative fiction short stories and poetry. We define “speculative fiction” broadly, including SF, fantasy, horror, alternate history, and related genres. We want our stories to represent the full diversity of speculative fiction, and encourage submissions by writers from underrepresented populations. This includes but is not limited to writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and ability, as well as characters and settings that reflect these experiences.

We’re particularly interested in stories under 12,000 words. We will consider stories that are slightly longer than 12k, but we really must put our foot down at the “novelette” mark—in other words, we will not read anything over 17,500 words. Well, unless you’ve won a bunch of major awards or are some kind of bestseller. Sorry, them’s the breaks.

Novels and Serializations: Sorry, we don’t publish novels or serializations. You can send your novel to our corporate cousins at Tor Books, as long as you follow their submissions guidelines.

What we pay: We pay 25 cents a word for the first 5,000 words, 15 cents a word for the next 5,000, and 10 cents a word after that.

What rights does that give you? Our contract covers the right to publish the story at Tor.com and related electronic endeavors. We also ask for several other rights: translation, audio, and the right (with additional royalties) to include the story in Tor.com-branded anthologies. All rights we acquire are also exclusive for a year and non-exclusive after that.

How to submit: Don’t query us, just send your story. Stories should be submitted through the web portal at http://submissions.tor.com/tororiginals/.

Do you accept multiple submissions? You mean, can you send us five stories to look at at the same time? Please don’t. Send us one, let us respond, and then send another.

Do you accept simultaneous submissions? You mean, can you submit the story to someone else while it’s on submission to us? Please don’t. There are few things editors hate more than falling in love with something and then finding out it’s been sold to someone else. We remember that forever.

What do you mean by “original” fiction? Although we employ common sense in dealing with edge cases (translations, significant expansions, etc.), “original” means “not previously published.” We do reprint stories from time to time, but right now we’re only considering reprints that we solicit ourselves. In other words, all unsolicited submissions must be new stories.

Have you read my story? We reply to everything we’ve finished evaluating, so if you haven’t heard from us, the answer is “probably not.” At this point the vast majority of stories greater than four months old are in our second-look pile, and we respond to almost everything within seven months.

We would really rather that you didn’t query us unless your submission was sent more than nine months ago (in which case, we almost certainly don’t have it) or you genuinely think something has gone awry. You can see the status of your submission through our submissions portal.

You guys are slow. We are, a bit. Tor.com is one of the highest paying speculative fiction markets, and our stories get excellent exposure since everyone gets to read your work for free, so we’re not twiddling our thumbs—we just get a ton of submissions. Response times have improved quite a bit with the expansion of our first reader team, and we now respond to the vast majority of stories within three months. But all of the stories they like must then be read by the senior editorial staff, who are all full-time editors with a lot on our plates. We appreciate your patience while we get to your story.

But I want to know right now. There’s an old saying in publishing: “If you need an answer right now, the answer is no.” If you choose not to submit or decide to withdraw your submission, we’ll be sad, but we’ll understand. Please send us an email with the word “WITHDRAW:” at the beginning of your subject line.

In Summary

We will review speculative fiction under 17,500 words and answer all relevant queries as quickly as possible. As of the posting of these new guidelines, longer submissions and letters that do not relate to short fiction will be deleted without reply.

Finally, thanks for reading our guidelines. We look forward to seeing your stories.


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