Writer’s Guide

Please read all the guidelines before submitting.

And please – do not send your manuscript to us double-spaced. We’re not editing by hand, we’re using the computer. We don’t need blank lines to write on. We don’t need mono-spaced fonts in order to get a word count. Don’t go to a lot of trouble to follow all the old manuscript guidelines.

Please keep in mind that, if we don’t know you, 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 .rtf format documents. Any documents that aren’t in .rtf format, or that we didn’t ask for, will not be opened.

Query letter instructions at the bottom of this guide. it’s not hard, don’t stress.

Response time:
Queries and submissions can expect an acknowledgement of receipt the same day. However, email gremlenis abound, so if you don’t get that acknowledgement within three days of sending it, please email and ask why.

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, 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, or anything other than the fact that life gets in the way at times, email glitches at times, and that we might need to be prodded.

What we want:
We are looking for speculative fiction and speculative poetry. 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. As a hint, though, we don’t define speculative just as ‘I’m speculating what might happen if…” (like… i wonder what would happen if my son had married that girl instead of this one). We do require some sort of standard spec category and trope – fantasy, sci-fi, weird western, folk tale, myth, so on.

A Word About Prose Poetry:
We have never, ever seen something called prose poetry that didn’t look like, and read like, regular fiction. However, it could happen. So:

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 what everyone else calls a story. 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. We reserve the right to argue with you, and if unconvinced, the right to either return it or accept it as a story rather than poetry. You, of course, have the right to take it back and tell us never mind.

What we will not accept under any circumstances:
Fan-fiction.
Content rated “PG 13” or above.
Blood, guts, gore, or slasher horror.
Occult themed material – i.e. no ghosts, witches, vampires, zombies and so on. (ghosts in the machine are perfectly fine)
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 normally do not accept anything with less than 3 lines or more than 300 lines. HOWEVER, there are exceptions, so you’re welcome to send us stuff outside the guidelines, we might want it.

Structured Poems
We require that the poet state what form is used, and provide the structure rules if the form is uncommon. If you created the form, we’d also like (if your poem is published) to publish the rules so that others can try it out.

Prose
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 – and can not be fan fiction. 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). Other than that, we really want to see what you have. And we don’t care how long ago it was published. In fact, the older it is, the better it might be as the current audience probably hasn’t read it – and those that have will enjoy the trip down memory lane. If it’s not in digital form, send us a scan of the pages. If we like it, we’ll be more than happy to help transcribe it into digital form if you like.

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. It’s just common courtesy, really. They were there first.

Multiple submissions to us:
We’re more than happy to have you send us several stories or poems at the same time. However, please limit that to no more than 5 stories, or 15 poems, at a time.

Query Letter Instructions:
This applies to first time submitters only: 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. And we do NOT want your bio. We don’t want to know who you are and what you’ve published – because we don’t want that to influence us when reading your work. Once we’ve accepted something, we know you and you don’t need to query.

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 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.
However:
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