An Annotated List of Dream Markets for Speculative Short Fiction

Something I didn’t expect when I started my #sfstoryoftheday Twitter project was that people might start messaging me to ask for advice regarding where they should submit their stories, essays, and poems. For the most part, this is not advice I can give (if I’ve read your story, maybe I’ll have an idea–but I simply do not have time or energy to read the stories of every stranger who asks, no matter how much I might like to be of help). What I can offer is a list of the markets to which I am most motivated to submit my own work. If you are actively submitting speculative short stories and looking for market ideas, I hope that reading this list might point you in a helpful direction.

A note: because this is my own personal list of markets for short form writing (mostly fiction, though some publish nonfiction and poetry as well), it does not adhere to any particular set of themes or genres EXCEPT that none of the markets on the list charge fees for regular, non-contest submissions AND that all of them pay at least a token rate. The list will be continually updated as I find the time to annotate my aspirations.

Apex

Apex is one of my absolute favourite magazines to read, and perhaps currently my most-dreamed-of market. Their tagline (“strange. surreal. shocking. beautiful.”) tidily summarizes most of what I aspire to in storytelling; if I can write a story that Apex will publish, I think I will feel more confident that my work is living up to my own expectations.

Apparition Literature

Apparition publishes such strange and lovely stories! Their team seems to like work that I can only describe as “haunting”, and leaving my readers feeling haunted is something to which I most definitely aspire.

Augur

Augur is another of my ultimate dream publications. A lot of what I write inhabits the liminal space between the rather arbitrary boundaries often drawn between literary and speculative fiction, and that’s exactly where Augur lives. I think they’re one of the most consistently interesting magazines both in Canada and in the larger world of speculative publishing.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Beneath Ceaseless Skies is one of the best-ever places to look for fantasy stories set in secondary worlds. They are particularly notable as a place to submit in that most (all?) submissions receive a personal response with some notes from the reading team. These notes may well be helpful, particularly for newer writers, in determining what sort of further edits the story might need to become strong enough to place at another market (obviously this may vary, but personal rejections are nice regardless).

Dark Matter Magazine

Dark Matter publishes dark science fiction and horror, which covers a lot of what I write these days. I don’t know how not to go dark when I’m making up stories, and, based on the issues I’ve read so far, this publication’s editorial team seems to appreciate my kind of darkness. They’re a newer player in the SFFH publishing world, but I truly hope they are here to stay.

Fantasy

Fantasy! Oh, Fantasy. You are one of my greatest fantasies. Seriously, the work this magazine publishes is as good as contemporary fantasy fiction gets (i.e., extremely good).

khōréō

khōréō is both another of my favourite magazines as a reader and another of my most-dreamed-of markets. Their editorial team has flawless taste in speculative fiction, and, as someone who is both an immigrant and a product of several diasporas, their themes and ideals hold personal meaning and relevance for me.

Nightmare

Nightmare recently helped turn me–a lifelong coward too afraid of every shadow and scratching sound to willingly expose myself to scary stuff–into a horror reader (and an aspiring horror writer). Every story they publish is a total knockout, and I also just really want to be published by an editor and writer I admire as much as I do Wendy N. Wagner.

Reckoning

I was raised in a family of organic farmers and biologists; as such, issues pertaining to climate, environment, and justice have always been present in my awareness. Reckoning’s focus on environmental justice is so very relevant to so many of my thoughts, hopes, and fears, and reading the work they publish is part of what has inspired me to grapple with those issues in some of my own work.

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