Submissions – StarShipSofa
Submission Guidelines for StarShipSofa
StarShipSofa is now open for submissions!
What do we want?
In a word: science-fiction. From the soft, social science fiction to the weird pulpy stuff to the vigorous hard SF and YA adventure. We welcome all sub-genres and all variety of punks in all their colours. From high-octane action to quiet philosophical stories, we’re after it all.Science fiction is a rich and diverse genre, push it’s boundaries as far as you can go.
We welcome translations and are very interested in stories that take place/written by authors outside the US/Anglo-sphere, as well as as alternative movements and styles. These include (but not limited to) “non-Western” science fiction, Chinese SF, Soviet speculative fiction, Afro-futurism, etc.
The exception is that the SF element must be the backbone of the story. It cannot be an afterthought, or simple window dressing. It can be subtle, but it has to be the story’s foundation. If you take away the speculative element and the story still stands, then it’s not science-fiction and it is not for us.
We are also not interested in fantasy or supernatural horror stories. Those go to Far Fetched Fables and Tales to Terrify. Genre labels are loose and can bleed together, but if the coal in the story’s engine is magic or supernatural based, we don’t want it. But if there are science-based elements, however soft, then it can be considered. If in doubt, send. We want the best stories from any subgenre, period. Ultimately the best way to get a feel for what we want is to listen to the podcast itself. We favour rich world building, tight prose, complex characters, engaging dialogue and strong pacing, however you define it.
Although we will consider all types of SF, second person is a very tough sell, as are stories that are preachy and didactic in nature. We’re not the place for fanfiction, fetishistic torture-porn or total erotica (more stuff on that below). We don’t take well to gimmicky stories that lack a narrative, and as for yarns about werewolves, zombies, vampires…don’t even get us started. Seriously. It won’t end well.
Fiction should be free to explore any themes it wishes to, and that means going to some very dark places. There are no levels to the amount of violence, themes, sex, swearing, drugs, or otherwise adult themes in our stories. If it’s done right, nothing is taboo. If it’s part of the human experience, then it’s applicable to fiction.
However, we are not an erotica market, and torture-porn is unlikely to impress us. We don’t take well to blatant shock value. Whatever you’re sending, just make sure it’s thematically justified.
Rights and payment
Starting January 2017, StarShipSofa will pay $50 USD flat rate per story. We only require nonexclusive, one time audio rights to play your story. Any acceptances from this point on will be considered a paid publication.
What to send?
We publish both original and reprint fiction on StarShipSofa. We are not biased either way, we love sloppy seconds as much as we love discovering fresh voices.
For reprints, please do not send anything self-published, published at a vanity press. We are especially interested in seeing stories published in print anthologies, or stories not available publicly online. Please mention where the work was originally published in your cover letter. However, we cannot take any stories that have been previously published in audio. If the fine folk at EscapePod, Podcastle, Pseudopod, Far Fetched Fables, Tales to Terrify, or any other podcast, have picked you up, then we can’t use it. This does not include anthologized audio books. If in doubt, query.
Paid story length runs from 2000 words up to 13,000 words.You are welcome to submit flash stories under 2000 words for an extra bonus story, but these are not paid submissions at the current time. You’re better off submitting something that will fill an entire episode.
Multiple and simultaneous submissions
Multiple submissions are not allowed. One submission is allowed until acceptance or rejection before you are eligible to submit another artwork. Any multiple submissions while the initial one is still under review will be ignored. Sim-subs are also allowed, for both original and reprint submissions (as long as they’re not to another podcast), but please tell us if another market gets to you first.
How to send
Please include a bio and the venue where your story was originally published. We will try to respond within thirty days, but we will aim for a much shorter time. Query within sixty. The longer we hold your story, the better your chances. Please do not re-submit rejected stories, argue with rejections letters, and especially do not hurl abuse the staff because we said no to your story. If you do, make it good, because it’ll be the last time you’ll do it here.
To get a feel for what we’re truly after, give our podcast a listen. And if you could support the show, that would be marvelous. Paying you our contributors would be a dream come true. Let’s make that happen. Our Patreon page is here.
Good luck! We look forward to reading your submissions.