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The Project: This summer we’re doing a series called “Summer of the Fantastic.” This series will occur in our regularly scheduled first of the month block, but will focus on genre fiction.
What genre are you looking for?: This isn’t for a specific sub genre, but more of a general notice for all genre fiction shorts. Authors that would feel comfortable: Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, Isaac Asimov, Michael Moorcock, John Connelly, Charles Stross and/or David Oppegaard. This isn’t to say we won’t take other kinds of stories, but anything like this will fit in during this summer series. Anything with elements of magic, adventure, fantasy, scifi, or steam punk will feel quite at home.
How will this work? Stories will be released as a part of our regularly scheduled 1st of the month block. It’ll just be stories that have a specific bent towards genre fiction that get the focus for the summer. Like summer block busters, if you will.
What’s the length? Our minimum for individual story length is 5,000 words, and we favor stories under 20,000 words. We are flexible and will consider shorts that are longer, but right now those are the focus. If you have an amazing short, and it exceeds our arbitrary limit, submit it to us, we may find a different media for it, serialize it, or just release it in its entirety. We can do a great many things.
What we pay: We offer a 50% share of the net profit. Some places offer a flat rate, but we felt it was fairer to give you a cut of the total profit, which means you could continue to make money forever.
First Print and Electronic Publishing Rights: It must be stated that when your story is published for the first time that publisher has taken your stories First Print Rights. What this means is that every publication that publishes the story after that has to list where the stories were published. In this case we also take Electronic Publishing Rights. This means that someone else might feel uncomfortable ALSO publishing your story electronically. We don’t take your right to this story, but please bear in mind that lots of publications will not publish pieces that have been published in print, eBook, or on the web, so for all intents and purposes after your work is published by us it can only be marketed as a reprint, which could limit the number of markets that will accept it, and can decrease its value. It is similar to the idea of virginal purity. It is up to you—the author—to decide if publishing your work in print and/or eBook formats and/or on the web, giving up your First Publishing Right for a royalties based payment method is what you want to do. We understand if that isn’t something you’re interested in, but we wanted to alert you.
What rights do we get from you? Our contract states that this story that we are acquiring from you is yours, now and forever. We come from a background of both fiction and open source coding. Open source is cool. We do not require exclusivity. Your story is yours, we publish it for as long as you let us, and we stop publishing it if you find yourself somewhere where they do not let you have it in multiple places.
What about shorts or stories printed elsewhere? (known as a Reprint): If you own the rights and we like it, we will print it. First publishing rights, and Exclusive E-publishing Rights aren’t things we hold as being important criteria. Good writing, original ideas, these are important. Who has published what where is an outdated idea. I mean, look at Norton Anthologies of Fiction, they have tons of republished work, and that doesn’t devalue the writing, does it?
How to submit: Do not send an email asking where to send your story, just send it. Submissions should be emailed to (shorts)(at)(onyxneon.com). Please put “Cifiscape -‘your name’ – ‘story title’” in the subject line to help us make sure we see it. Submissions should be in something closely resembling standard manuscript format and be sent as .doc, .docx, .rtf, or plain-text attachments. Do not copy and paste submissions into the email. We will read every submission that comes in, so say hello, but the content of your story is what is important, not the content of your message.
Should I include a brief summary of the story? Yes, that would be quite helpful.
Should I include an “about the author”? No, it is not required initially, we will get that from you if we select your story for use.
Do you accept multiple submissions? Yes, absolutely, but if you do send multiple stories please send them in separate emails with separate headings so that we make sure we don’t miss any of the submissions. We will read them in the order in which they come in, so please do not expect us to reply immediately with an emphatic “yes.”
Do you accept simultaneous submissions? We will absolutely take a story that you sent to someone else. We would, however, hate to fall in love with your story and not be able to publish it. Obviously we are an open platform, and it is your beautiful work, so it is your choice.
Have you read my story? We reply to everything when we have finished evaluating, and we will let you know if we are going to publish it or not. We hate waiting to hear back from people as much as the next person, so we do not wish that on anyone.
Why are you so slow? We read a lot of stories, and we leave the vault sometimes. We do this because we love it and we want to be able to offer an incredible service to both readers and writers. So with that in mind, we are busy and probably reading your story as you are thinking about writing us. The maximum we will make you wait is three months. Seriously, if you have not heard from us after three months please feel free to send us an angry email with lots of grumpy emoticons and pictures of cats.
Artwork? If you have artwork that relates to your story, and you own the rights to it, or can attain the rights please feel free to send that along with it. It will not sway our opinion if you do not, but if it is good artwork it certainly makes our lives easier. Unfortunately, at this point we cannot pay for artwork, because we have a graphic designer, and don’t need it, so it’s not currently in our budget, but we will cite it appropriately online and in the book itself.
Our ideal submission is between 5,000 and 20,000 words. It should be a geographically focused, future-based story of any genre that is appropriate. Please make it resemble submission formatting (google if you have not done this before). We have a specific thing in mind and we’ll know it when we see it. If it doesn’t fit into our Cifiscape scope, it will still be considered for Onyx Neon Shorts. Please send it to Shorts@onyxneon.com.
Thank you for reading, and we look forward to reading your beautiful, unique, and original shorts.