Writer’s Guide

Please read all the guidelines before submitting. And keep in mind that you must send a query letter, and be invited to send us a manuscript, before you send one. Manuscripts sent in without that step won’t even be looked at. Why? Two reasons:

1. We don’t want to waste your time. So tell us what you have before you send it, and we’ll tell you if we’d like to look at it.
2. Malicious attacks. We want submissions as Word documents. (yes, you can use Open Office if you don’t have Word.) So any Word documents which come in as attachments, or that aren’t in .rtf format, that we didn’t ask for will not be opened. Why? Macro-virus attacks and other nastiness. And yes, please, we do need files in .rtf format, not .doc, .docx, or something else.

Query letter instructions at the bottom of this guide. Don’t stress.

Response time:
Queries and submissions can expect an acknowledgement of receipt the same day. If you don’t get that acknowledgement within three days of sending it, assume email gremlins and send it again.
Once you send us a submission, please give us at least a week to read it. If you don’t hear back from us within a week, feel free to email and request a status update. This is your work we’re talking about, and you have a right to know what its status is. Never assume that because you haven’t heard anything we loved it or we hated it. Assume, instead, that life gets in the way at times and that we might need to be prodded.

What we want:
We are looking for speculative fiction and speculative poetry. We are not interested in non-fiction, classical poetry, or anything else that isn’t covered under speculative – however, since that’s a pretty broad area, if you’re not sure whether your submission qualifies as speculative or not, write and ask. We’ll be happy to let you know if it’ll fit the magazine or not.

A Word About Prose Poetry:
We might accept something you call prose poetry for the poetry category,  but before we do, you will have to explain to us how it is any different than standard prose. You will have to point out the poetic elements, and prove that it isn’t really just a short story trying to get into the wrong category. If you can’t do that, then submit your piece as a story, not as poetry.

What we will not accept under any circumstances:
Content rated “PG 13” or above.
Blood, guts, gore, or slasher horror.
Occult themed material – i.e. no witches, vampires, zombies and so on.
Religious material pretending to be fiction.
Gratuitous Sexuality.
Cursing and Obscene Language.
Anything that the market is currently saturated with.

Word Count and Line Limits:
Free-verse poems
We do not accept anything with less than 3 lines or more than 30 lines, unless it is a structured poem.

Structured Poems
We require that the poet state what form is used, and provide the structure rules if the form is uncommon.

Minimum word count – 1 (but boy that better be one really good word!)
Maximum word count – 1500

RPG and game based stories:
We do accept these; however your submission may not violate the game’s copy written, or trademarked, content. As an example, you might have a character running around in one of the popular online multiplayer games. You might want to write a story about your character’s adventures. That, in itself, is fine. But before you mention the game world, or use the names of any of its creatures or characters belonging to other players, you must first get permission from the gaming company and the other players. It’s usually easier if you create your own world to set your story in.

Reprints/previously published:
Yes, please.
But keep this in mind.
We accept previously published work as long as you have the rights and can provide proof if necessary.

Simultaneous Submissions:
We do not accept simultaneous submissions. If you have sent your work out to another publisher, please wait until they have made a decision before sending us your manuscript. If you feel you can’t wait on the other publisher any longer, then contact them and withdraw you work before sending it to us.

Multiple submissions to us:
We’re more than happy to have you send us several stories or poems at the same time.

Query Letter Instructions:
Query letters are a frightening beast for a lot of authors, so we’re going to make this easy on you. We want your query letter to contain your name and a description of what you’d like to submit.

Don’t go to a lot of trouble trying to write the perfect elevator pitch or boil your story down into five sentences. Just tell us what it’s about. Make it simple. Pretend you’re writing to a friend and don’t worry so much. We’re not judging your ability as an author on your query letter, we just want to know if your work sounds like something that would fit what we publish.
Please do not include a bio or a list of your publication credits with the query letter. If we accept your submission, we’ll ask you for a bio then.
Please make sure your contact information is correct and that your email spam filters will not prevent our communications from reaching your inbox. We try to send acknowledgements within three days of receiving your submission. We will make every possible effort to contact you; however, life and internet gremlins happen to everyone. If you have not heard from us within three days, assume we didn’t receive your email and contact us by posting in our online forum. We do have an email gremlin catcher on staff, but the sneaky things sometimes get past him anyway.

Payment terms:
We’d love to be able to pay for submissions, but at the moment, paying the rent is a little bit more critical. At least to us. So for now, we can’t.
Any content selected for the occasional Best Of print issues will be paid for. All authors of selected stories or poems will be contacted at that time to discuss terms before their story or poem is included in the Best Of. Best Of issues will appear no more often than once a year and may not occur every year.

For submissions, more information, or to send queries, contact us at cwizprod@gmail.com