19 Themed Calls for Submissions

Written by S. Kalekar

There are themed submission calls for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themes are urban crime, American gothic, breaking with tradition, winter holidays, coffee and furries, occult detectives, steam and lace (steampunk), games, stories expanding on H G Wells’ War of the Worlds, children’s fiction, fantasy stories featuring mental health and magic, LGBTQ romance featuring cowboys and rodeos, horror, alien life, and work by immigrant and refugee writers. Most of these pay for submissions, from token to pro rates, and some markets are also open for unthemed works. Also see this list of themed submissions (scroll down) – some deadlines are coming up.

Flame Tree Publishing: Urban Crime
Stories for this anthology will have “gritty murders on the streets of London and Paris, horrors in dark alleys, as well as many more scenes from urban crime that elicit a dark curiosity. Think classic authors such as Edgar Wallace and E.W. Hornung.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 14 October 2018
Length: 2,000-4,000 words, can read slightly outside this range
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: American Gothic
Their guidelines say, “With handsome young men who never grow old, and the strangest of relatives appearing from dark corridors and long shadows, the frenzied imagination of the American Gothic is a fertile theme for this new anthology in the Gothic fantasy short story series.” They also accept reprints.
Deadline: 14 October 2018
Length: 2,000-4,000 words, can read slightly outside this range
Pay: $0.06/word
Details here.

Tin House: Horror
For the ‘Horror’ issue their guidelines say, “From the mundane frights of everyday life to the truly macabre, if it makes your hair stand on end, we want to hear about it. Send us your scariest stories, eeriest essays, and most petrifying poetry!” They are also reading for unthemed issues during this submission period.
Deadline: 15 October 2018
Length: Up to 10,000 words for prose, up to 5 poems
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

Heart and Humanity: Breaking With Tradition
This UK-based platform accepts work from “new and diverse voices on the topics of love, sex, relationships, dating, mental health, art and life. All perspectives are welcome as we believe in humanity as one heart, many stories.” They want poetry, nonfiction and even fiction for this call. Their guidelines say, “Tell us about a time in your life when you chose the road less traveled; when you rebelled against family, religion, education (or even common sense!), how did your journey change?” It can be as small as changing a family holiday ritual, or as large as deciding to change your life, against societal norms. They can pay for some pieces in a month. To be eligible for the paid pieces for this theme, writers must submit by mid-October.
Deadline: 15 October 2018 (to be eligible for paid work)
Length: Pieces above or below 1,200 words; 1-2 poems
Pay: $15-25; “We will reserve the right to offer more or less based on length and need for edits.”
Details here and here.

Tell-Tale Press: Winter Holidays
They are looking for fantasy, horror, mystery and science fiction on this theme. This theme includes Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, New Year’s, Winter Solstice, Chinese New Year, and any other winter holidays.
Deadline: 15 October 2018
Length: 500-5,000 words
Pay: $5-25
Details here.

Riddled With Arrows: Objects & Artefacts
This magazine only publishes writing about writing – all submissions should touch on writing as well as on the tangible theme. They are open to all genres and styles of writing in fiction. They also publish poetry, hard-to-classify pieces, and nonfiction. For their ‘Objects & Artefacts’ theme, they want work that explores the physical manifestations of the written world: books, paper, letters, writing implements, stone tablets, engraved jewelry, illuminated manuscripts, gravestone etchings, writing on skin, holy texts, ancient scrolls, etc. They also want submissions that incorporate physical written objects (found poems, epistolary fiction, collage, paper art, etc.).
Deadline: 18 October 2018
Length: Up to 1500 words, up to two poems
Pay: $0.03/word for prose, up to $25, for poetry or prose
Details here.

Litro Magazine: Freedom
They are accepting fiction and nonfiction on the theme of ‘Freedom’ for their print magazine. Their guidelines say, “How free are we, anyway? How free will we be for how much longer? Philosophically, are we subservient to the laws of physics – is free will an illusion? – politically and socially, can we do what we like, or are we chained by higher powers that would restrict us ever further? An issue of and about freedom, while we’ve still got it – submit whatever you like: use your freedom of speech.” They also have other online platforms, apart from the print magazine.
Deadline: 18 October 2018
Length: Up to 4,000 words
Pay: Unpaid
Details here.

Occult Detective Quarterly
They publish stories based on intrepid investigators who explore the weird, exotic and bizarre. “These are the people who explore the darkness, both within and beyond, often to their own peril and the expense of their very lives and sanity. … We are looking for well-written stories featuring those who are investigating the strange and unusual. They do not have to be set in Victorian or Edwardian London (although they can be). We are eager to read stories featuring a diverse range of characters, cultures and periods. You may cheerfully pursue established Lovecraftian, Pulp or Dystopian themes, for example, but a fresh twist on the classics is always more likely to catch our eye. We do like stories with unusual protagonists, or with less common settings, and we have an appetite for the weird
tale as long as it fits the overall concept.” They accept reprints, articles on any aspect of occult detectives, reviews, and artwork.
Deadline: 31 October 2018
Length: 3,000-5,500 words for fiction, 3,000-5,000 words for nonfiction
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

Pockets: All Creatures Great and Small
This is a Christian publication for children aged 6-12. They publish fiction, scripture stories, puzzles and games, as well as activities. Topics under the ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ theme could include “responsible stewardship for pets, care for the earth that we and animals are dependent upon, appreciation of and respect for wildlife, and lessons we can learn from animals.” They do not publish stories that give animals human-like characteristics. They have other themes too, with later deadlines.
Deadline: 1 November 2018
Length: 600-1,000 words for fiction and scripture stories; 400-1,000 words for non-fiction
Pay: $0.14/word for stories and articles; $25 and up for poetry, activities, games and recipes
Details here.

Spring Song Press: Steam and Lace (Steampunk) Anthology
Stories must address the ‘Steam and Lace’ steampunk theme in some way, and must have a speculative element. They want clever, heroic characters, and fantasy, rather than straight science fiction. They strongly prefer “clean” noblebright stories. Their guidelines say, “In steampunk, magic and steam-powered technology combine in a setting that offers both possibility and danger. Victorian-inspired and European settings are the most common, but we’re open to stories set in other steampunk settings as well, real or fantastic. The steampunk setting must be apparent in the story, but the story does not have to depend upon the steampunk elements.”
Deadline: 1 November 2018
Length: 1,000-10,000 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

Unlocking the Magic: A Fantasy Anthology
The guidelines say, “In fantasy, we read about how people with mental illness are more susceptible to magic, closer to breaks in reality, more likely to be able to see the unseen. These stereotypes are harmful and contribute to keeping people from seeing the good in getting help, taking their meds, or talking to someone.

This anthology is about changing the narrative and telling stories of strength and perseverance, of getting help despite the darkness. Not the myth that getting help will kill creativity and magic. … I want stories that show what can be accomplished when we take care of ourselves and seek help. … I want to read realistic portrayals of mental illness in magical worlds.” Urban Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Steampunk, and other genres of fantasy are all encouraged – the editor wants noblebright, not grimdark work. No science fiction or horror, though horror elements may be present. Translations are welcome.
Deadline: 1 November 2018
Length: 3,000-6,000 words
Pay: $300/story + royalties
Details here.

The Puritan: What Does It Mean to Be a Muslim Writer? – Special Issue Poetry
The magazine will publish a special supplementary issue on the above topic. They want poetry submissions in English from both established and emerging writers who identify as Muslim, and translations into English. Their guidelines say, “We seek poetry whose focus on craft makes a compelling stand against the monolith of identity, whether chosen or inherited, illuminating and enriching a wide range of subjects and forms.” They are also currently accepting unthemed fiction and poetry for their winter issue, with a later deadline, and can only accept a certain number of fee-free submissions a month.
Deadline: 1 November 2018
Length: Up to 4 poems for regular issues, unspecified for special issue
Pay: $20-100 for regular submissions; unspecified for this call
Details here.

Goal Publications: The Daily Grind – A Coffee Anthology
Goal Publications publishes furry fiction. For ‘The Daily Grind’ anthology, which is about coffee, their guidelines say, “While your story may have a central theme that does not directly involve coffee, coffee must share the spotlight.” Human characters are allowed, and can even be main characters. Stories must utilize the anthropomorphism of the furry characters to their full extent. See guidelines for further details on the theme, and suggestions on the kind of work they are looking for.
Deadline: 14 November 2018
Length: 3,000-12,000 words
Pay: $0.0075/word
Details here (scroll down).

Creative Nonfiction: Games
They are doing a special issue in partnership with the Center for Games & Impact at Arizona State University. Their guidelines say, “We’re looking for stories that illuminate the great variety of ways in which games have affected the lives of diverse individuals and communities—offering opportunities to fail forward within a safe context, play with possible selves and futures, collaborate with people from different backgrounds, develop professional or other skills, become protagonists in simulated worlds, or collaborate with others on solutions to real-world problems.” There is no fee for mailed submissions, though online submissions are charged. This is a paying market, though the pay is undisclosed.
Deadline: 19 November 2018 (postmarked)
Length: Up to 4,000 words
Pay: Unspecified
Details here.

The Bare Life Review: Immigrant and refugee authors
They are open for submissions for their second issue. The magazine publishes work by immigrant and refugee authors – from foreign-born authors living in the US, and writers living abroad who currently hold refugee and/or asylum-seeker status. They accept fiction, non-fiction, and poetry – the work may, but need not, deal explicitly with issues of immigration, exile, or refuge. They welcome translations. American-born translators may submit work by eligible writers, but in such cases payment must be issued to the author.
Deadline: 30 November 2018
Length: Fiction up to 8,000 words; non-fiction up to 6,000 words; 3-5 poems, up to 10 pages in total
Pay: $750 for full-length prose pieces, $300 for accepted poems or shorter prose
Details here.

18th Wall Productions: War of the Worlds – Absolute War
They want short stories expanding on H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. They’re seeking to show the entire world’s response to the Invasion. They have detailed guidelines about what they do and do not want in the stories.

Deadline: 20 January 2019
Length: 4,000-20,000 words
Pay: Royalties
Details here.

Future Science Fiction Digest
This magazine is currently open to translations of science fiction (no fantasy or horror) stories – the author or authorized translator may submit fiction that has been previously published in a source language, but not in English. They are also open to SF written by authors for whom English is not their first language and who reside outside of primarily English-speaking countries. For translations, the pay is split between the author and translator.
Deadline: Open now
Length: 500-10,000 words
Pay: $0.10/word
Details here.

Primodal: Stories about alien life
They are looking for thoughtful, intelligent stories about alien life that has biology and evolution at its core. These could be plausible first contact stories, or invasion/infestation stories, or even stories about fatal misunderstanding between species. They also accept articles.
Deadline: Rolling
Length: 1,000-16,000 words for fiction; 1,000-2,000 words for articles
Pay: $0.01/word for fiction; $20 for articles
Details here.

Totally Entwined Group: Pride Publishing – Cowboys and Westerns
For this call, they want LGBTIQ romance stories featuring rodeos and ranchers, cowboys and clowns. They also welcome series and serials, and have other themed and unthemed calls for Totally Bound (romance and erotic romance) and Pride (LGBTQ romance) imprints.
Deadline: Rolling
Length: 10,000-100,000 words
Pay: Royalties
Details here (scroll down).