It Gets Even Better: Stories of Queer Possibility is an anthology of queer speculative fiction on the theme of positive queer possibility.
Editors: Isabela Oliveira (she/her) and Jed Sabin (they/them)
Deadline: Saturday, February 27th, at 9pm Pacific
Length: We've set the upper limit at 15,000 words to allow for flexibility, but most acceptances are likely to be under 7,000 words. There is no minimum.
Rate: We pay 8 cents per word (USD), plus a pro-rata share of 50% of royalties.
Simultaneous submissions: No, please do not submit an original (non-reprint) story anywhere else while we are considering it.
Multiple submissions: Yes, you may submit up to 3 stories to us at once. There is no limit on total number of submissions as long as there are not more than 3 under consideration at one time.
Reprints: We will consider previously published stories, including those that have been self-published online. Reprints are paid at the same rate as originals. Audio rights must be available.
Identity statements: We do not require or expect authors to disclose their identities to us, and if authors do choose to share their identities, we will not disclose that information to others without permission.
We encourage submissions from authors who have never submitted their fiction to a paid market before, and we've tried to develop these guidelines to be clear to those who aren't familiar with industry norms. Please don't hesitate to submit for fear of doing it wrong, and feel free to contact us here with questions or accessibility requests.
We are looking for completed speculative stories about positive queer possibility, written in English, which do not use intellectual property currently under copyright by someone other than the author. Stories may feature near-future social and political change, far-future imaginings of new societies, alternate universes with completely different systems of gender and relationships, alternate histories proposing better outcomes for true events of the past, creative explorations of queer identity—any kind of speculative fiction that posits queer affirmation and joy.
We define "speculative" broadly as any fiction with elements of reality that notably differ from our own. We welcome all kinds of speculative fiction including science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, alternate history, stories featuring superheroes or supernatural entities... horror may not be a great fit for this anthology, but if you have something you think could work, go for it.
We welcome representation of all kinds of queer identities including trans, nonbinary, genderqueer, agender, intersex, two-spirit, questioning, asexual, aromantic, gay, lesbian, bisexual, pansexual, etc. Your characters may choose not to embrace the term "queer" or other identity labels for themselves, but please submit to us only if you are comfortable with "queer" being used to describe your story.
We also welcome and value other axes of representation including race, ethnicity, nationality, disability, neurodiversity, body size, religion, and age. We do not require or expect authors to disclose their own identities; our budget covers sensitivity reads for stories that focus on identities the editors don't share.
We are unlikely to accept stories featuring major character death, graphic abuse or violence, hate speech, or sexual assault. Profanity and explicit consensual sex are fine.
We do not accept submissions of translations, poetry, nonfiction, or art.
Please submit your story in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format. We prefer Shunn Modern Manuscript Format minus the street address, but don't stress on getting it perfect, especially if you have a disability that makes the Shunn format difficult for you. We won't reject anyone because of formatting! If you don't include pronouns, we will default to "they" in our records; you may also put down "(no pronouns)" if you prefer to avoid pronouns altogether, or include more information in a format like "(they/them, publicly he/him)". If your name differs from your legal name, don't worry about putting the legal one on the manuscript—if your story is accepted, we'll address that at the contract stage.
You may choose to include content notes above the title. Please be sure to include a content note if your story includes animal harm, sexual assault, terminal illness, or parental death in particular.
Cover letters are optional. If you include a cover letter, it should mention the title of the story. It's fine to address the letter to "Editors" or to "Isabela and Jed"; we prefer not to be addressed with honorifics. You can list previous publications and awards if you have them, but we're hoping to include some authors who have never been published before as well as established writers, so don't worry if you don't have a writing resume. You may also choose to provide information about your personal experiences and expertise as they relate to the story. Please do not include a story synopsis or a pitch.
You'll receive an automated confirmation e-mail soon after you submit your story. If you haven't received the e-mail after a few hours and you've checked your spam folder, please contact us, since it may mean we don't have the right e-mail address for you.
We intend to send first-round rejections or hold notices within 30 days of receiving each submission. (A hold notice is a notification that we liked your story and we're keeping it for further consideration.) We may accept a few stories during the open submissions period, but most acceptances and final-round rejections will not be sent until a few weeks after we close, so authors submitting at the beginning of the period should be prepared to wait up to 3 months. We'll tweet at @specqueer about where we're at in the submissions process, and about any delays that come up.
Please do not resubmit a story that has been rejected, even if you've revised it. If we're interested in seeing a revised version, we will explicitly invite you to submit again. Be aware that an invitation to resubmit a revised story is not a guarantee that the revision will be accepted.
We will not divulge your name or other personal details to anyone unless your story is accepted, in which case we'll check with you about the name and pronouns you'd like us to use in the book and on social media.
Some stories under serious consideration may be sent to sensitivity readers before acceptance, if they prominently feature cultural experiences or context we don't have the background to evaluate. If a sensitivity reader gives us feedback that informs a decision to reject, we'll share the feedback with you and give you an opportunity to respond.
For accepted original stories, we buy first English-language rights, but we do not require a period of exclusivity. This means once you sign our contract you can't publish the story anywhere else until we've published it, but after that you don't have to wait to reprint it elsewhere. We pay the initial amount (8 cents per word) within two weeks of contract signature. You will also be paid a pro-rata share of 50% of net earnings, which means that half of the money we make from the book after publishing costs is distributed among the authors based on the wordcount of their stories.
If you have questions that are not answered in these guidelines, or if you come across any issues in the submissions system, feel free to contact us. We look forward to reading your stories!