What is Fireside?

Fireside Fiction Company started in 2012 as a Kickstarter-funded short-story magazine. We began with the goals of finding and publishing great stories regardless of genre, and paying our writers well. Since Nov. 8, 2016, we have a third goal: resisting the global rise of fascism and far-right populism, starting with the current occupant of the White House.

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Fair pay for everyone

Fair pay is a big deal for us. We think creative people should be able to make a living from their work. This is one of our core values.

Fireside pays 12.5 cents per word, well above the 6 cents currently considered to be the minimum professional rate. In fact, we pay better than almost every other SFWA-qualifying market. For illustrations, we pay $400 for a full-color piece.

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Supporting Fireside

Running Fireside isn’t cheap. Most of our revenue goes to pay for our writers and artists. The rest of our revenue goes to site maintenance and other administrative costs.

Support us on Patreon

If you want to help us keep publishing great stories and paying writers well, please consider supporting us on Patreon.
Become a backer

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The Fireside Team

Julia Rios—Fiction Editor

Julia Rios is a writer, editor, podcaster, and narrator. Her fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in several places, including Daily Science Fiction, Apex Magazine, and Goblin Fruit. In addition to being a senior fiction editor for Strange Horizons from 2012 to 2015, she has edited poetry and reprints for Uncanny Magazine and co-edited several anthologies with Alisa Krasnostein, including Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, and the Year’s Best YA Speculative Fiction series. She is a co-host of the Hugo-nominated podcast, The Skiffy and Fanty Show, a general discussion, interview, and movie review show, and Walkthrough, a discussion of exercise and geekery with Amal El-Mohtar and Layla Al-Bedawi. She has narrated stories for Podcastle, Pseudopod, and Cast of Wonders, and poems for the Strange Horizons podcast. As one of the four co-founders of Fuente Collective, she is interested in encouraging creativity and community across multiple genres, cultures, and disciplines.

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry—Managing Editor

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is a half-blind, half-deaf, half-Scandinavian writer and editor from Seattle, Washington. She’s the Guest Editor in Chief of Non-Fiction for Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, a blogger for B&N Scifi, and a game designer. She’s the author of A Place Out of Time and is also included in the Ghost in the Cogs anthology. Her nonfiction has been published at The Boston Globe, Uncanny Magazine, TerribleMinds and other sundry locales. Currently, she lives in New Jersey with her delightfully quirky husband, a hound dog, two cats, and a grandfather clock that chimes when it feels like it. You can find Elsa on Twitter @snarkbat.

Pablo Defendini—Publisher

Pablo Defendini is a designer and developer for hire, with a focus on editorial design for digital media. He helped launch Tor.com, before moving on to work for companies that sit in the overlap between publishing and technology, like Open Road Media and O’Reilly. Pablo was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico, lives in New York City, and works with people all over the world.

Brian White—Founding Editor

Brian started Fireside in 2012 with a Kickstarter and a whole lot of love. Over the next five years as editor and publisher – with the help of his amazing team and of Lauren, his wife and partner in crime – he expanded Fireside from a one-off magazine to a monthly publication to its current form, a site with weekly fiction and occasional nonfiction. Fireside published 150 stories under his tenure, as well as five novels and one novella. He is deeply proud to have had a part in bringing those stories into the world. He was gratified to have proved that writers can be paid more for their work than the industry accepted, and perhaps most proud of the #BlackSpecFic report that Fireside published in 2016. He stepped down as editor and publisher in the summer of 2017, but he remains an equity partner in the company, as well as an editor for special projects, serials, and books.

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Submissions Guidelines

Fireside is closed to submissions.

Fireside will be open to submissions for several one-week periods in 2017. We accept flash fiction of up to 1,000 words, and short stories from 1,000 to 4,000 words.

Here’s our schedule for the remainder of the year (subject to change):

  • September 17-23
  • November 5-11

Fireside is only able to publish and pay for our fantastic stories with the support of our Patreon backers. As our support grows, we’ll be able to publish more stories and longer stories, and raise our already leading pay rates even higher. Please consider supporting us on Patreon.

The rules

So, you’ve got a story to tell? We want to hear it. Probably.

(Please read all our guidelines before submitting. Seriously.)

Boy, are we mean. Believe us, though, all these rules are based on actual problems we have encountered in previous submissions periods. We get thousands of submissions and have a small staff, so please don’t make our lives harder.

Fireside accepts original, previously unpublished submissions of short fiction, of any genre, up to 4,000 words. That’s a hard limit, so please don’t ask if your 4,015-word story is OK. It’s not. We do not accept unsolicited submissions of novels, comics, poetry, art, photography, or anything other than short stories of up to 4,000 words. Again, don’t ask. Don’t query. Just don’t.

If you submit a novel or anything way over the word count limits, we’ll probably not want to work with you in the future, and we’ll make a note of that.

Under our new, more frequent submissions schedule, you can only submit one story per submissions period. If you get a rejection, you can’t submit again during that period.

We don’t accept submissions that are currently submitted elsewhere (known as simultaneous submissions). We don’t accept submissions that you have published yourself, be it on your blog, via Patreon, or anywhere else.

If we’ve rejected a story previously, don’t submit it again unless we’ve asked you to, even if it’s been heavily revised. If you do submit it, we’ll reject it unread. We are paying attention.

You can ONLY submit stories through Submittable. If you email anyone on our staff a story, it will be deleted unread.

OK? Great! On to the fun stuff!

Payment & rights

Fireside pays 12.5 cents per word, with payment on completion of edits (which generally happen about a month before publication). We buy first world publication rights and six-month exclusivity, as well as the right to reprint the story once, non-exclusively, in a Fireside anthology. You can see exactly what rights are acquired by reading our contract boilerplate for stories. You can see our contract boilerplate for illustrations, as well.

Fireside pays in U.S. dollars, and can send payments to most places in the world, using the recipient’s preferred payout method (within reason).

What we’re looking for

The best way to get an idea of what we love is to read stories we’ve already published. In general though, Fireside loves great storytelling, meaning stories that go somewhere, that keep people reading to find out what happens next.

We’re not looking for character studies or metafiction or hallucinatory visions. (We like those things; it’s just not what we publish in Fireside.)

We really do mean any genre, too. Fireside has a heavy tilt toward speculative fiction, but some of our favorite stories have been completely non-genre. (Sell It Like Death is just one example.)

We want to hear the stories only you can tell. We love stories that reflect writers’ backgrounds, especially those of traditionally marginalized communities (sometimes referred to as Own Voices stories). This is NOT at all to say if you are a writer from a marginalized community that your submission has to be Own Voices.

We are committed to being inclusive of all the wonderful differences in our world, both in terms of who we publish and the subjects of the stories. Please don’t self-reject. (But if you’re a white writer you better be sure you’ve done your research and aren’t just throwing a brown face on a white character. Or whatever the equivalent is for the kind of character you are writing outside of your experience of privilige.)

Speaking of which:


Inclusivity. Diversity. Decolonization. There are a lot of ways people are talking about breaking the white-male dominance of publishing. We tend to like inclusivity as a mission statement, but however you phrase it, Fireside wants to reflect the endless array of people in the world.

We welcome stories from all writers, and we are especially interested in stories including (but not limited to) the lives, experiences, and viewpoints of women, people of color, LGBTQIA people, people with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people outside the United States. We strongly encourage submissions from people of those backgrounds, and all others whom traditional publishing has historically excluded.

In July 2016, we published #BlackSpecFic, a special report on the marginalization of black writers in speculative fiction magazines. You can read all the details at the link above, but the summary is: it’s really terrible. To that end, Fireside particularly encourages submissions from black writers. Send us your stories.

We have gone back and forth about whether to have submissions periods targeted to black writers and members of other marginalized communities. For now, we are not doing this. After a lot of discussion within Fireside and with writers, editors, and other trusted voices, we do not want to ghettoize submissions, or create a sense that marginalized writers have to wait their turn to submit. But we are going to track how this goes, and we are very open to revisiting this policy in the future if things do not improve.

7 easy ways to get banned from submitting

OK let’s get mean again for a second. We get some total garbage in our submissions. It pisses us off, it upsets our staff & our readers, and we’re never ever going to publish it. So here is a list of things that will get you banned from Fireside:

  • Depictions of rape or sexual assault.
  • Depictions of child molestation or brutalization of children.
  • Any sexual depictions of children. Yes, anyone under 18 is a child. (Seriously what is wrong with you?)
  • Depictions of brutalization of women, people of color, LGBTQIA people, people with disabilities, or any other marginalized people for reasons of hate.
  • Depictions of graphic torture.
  • Depictions of animal abuse.
  • Plagiarism.

This is not saying stories cannot touch on, address, or talk about these issues. But we don’t want these acts illustrated in detail in Fireside.

But if we think it crosses the line, we’ll make a note of it and we’ll never accept work from you in the future. There are no appeals.

And seriously, don’t email us to argue why your terrible subject matter deserves to be considered. You can publish your story somewhere else. Maybe in a flaming dumpster.

We also don’t want

Here are things we aren’t interested in publishing stories about. They won’t get you banned, but you’re wasting your time and ours by submitting them.

  • Cannibals.
  • Terrorism or disaster porn (we know it when we see it).
  • Erotica.
  • Stories in which sexual attraction is the main focus of the entire story.
  • Stories in which the focus is on the main character’s dick. Or what he wants to do with his dick. This is a surprisingly popular subject matter in our submissions inbox. Just no.
  • Fanfic, or any stories set in someone else’s world or using their characters.
  • Stories “ripped from the headlines.”

Manuscript formatting

Please use standard manuscript format. We’ve been loose about this requirement in the past, but we are not going to be any longer. Here is a good guide to standard manuscript format.

Please use only Times New Roman or a Courier font. Our assistant editor is low vision and would like to be able to actually read your story, and serifed fonts help with this. And for the love of god, only use one font and do not use font colors other than black, backgrounds, or any illustrations.

Make sure you’ve turned off mark-up and sent a document free of comments and edits.

We accept only .doc, .docx, and .rtf files.

Turnaround and feedback

We usually take about a month from the close of a submissions period to review everything that comes in, so you can expect to hear back from us roughly within that time period. (Emphasis on the word ‘roughly.’ We’re a small team, and sometimes things take longer than expected. Please be patient.)

Due to the high volume of submissions we get, unfortunately we can’t provide feedback on your individual submission if we’ve rejected it—we have a finite amount of editorial energy, and we need to expend it on the stories that we do acquire. Find some beta readers, join a writers’ group, and better luck next time. (No, we won’t make an exception just for you. Writing in to ask for one will make us not want to work with you in the future.)

A final note

Fireside usually publishes no more than 10,000 words a month. We accept submissions up to 4,000 words, but frankly, we have a very high bar for stories that long, because they take up such a big chunk of our word count. And we’re perpetually short on flash pieces (under 1,000 words). This is to say, if you want an easy way to increase your chances, don’t automatically send us your longest pieces. Got a great 2,500-word story? Please send it! We love really short fiction, and we need it!

How to submit

Fireside is currently closed for submissions.

Fireside is currently closed to submissions.

Submit to Fireside

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Content Notes

Fireside Fiction Company provides content notes for books and stories to guide readers who may wish to seek out or avoid particular story elements. These content notes may contain spoilers. Content notes are not the same as the ratings found on movies, TV shows, and video games. The intent is to help trauma survivors avoid being surprised by story elements that may trigger pain or emotional distress. So we don’t offer warnings about general violence, profanity, sex, or other things one sees in a movie rating.

We welcome suggestions for elements to include or exclude. You can email us at [email protected]. (Please do not send submissions here. Any stories sent to this address will be deleted unread.)

Here is a list of the elements we currently offer notes for:

  • Alcohol Abuse
  • Animal Abuse
  • Child Abuse
  • Child Death
  • Domestic Violence
  • Drug Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Gender-Bias Violence
  • LGBTQ-Bias Violence
  • Racial/Ethnic-Bias Violence
  • Self-Harm
  • Sexual Assault
  • Suicide
  • Torture

Here is an example of a content note:

This Book Contains

••• Emotional Abuse
•• Racial-Bias Violence

Fireside Fiction Company provides content notes to guide readers who may wish to seek out or avoid particular story elements. A current list of all the elements covered in our content notes can be found at firesidefiction.com/about/#content-notes.We welcome your suggestions for elements to include or exclude.

One scene of mild intensity
•• One scene of moderate intensity
••• Multiple scenes of mild to moderate intensity
•••• One scene of high intensity
••••• Multiple scenes of high intensity

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More Questions?

If there’s something we haven’t addressed here, please feel free to email us at [email protected]. (Please do not send submissions here. Any stories sent to this address will be deleted unread.)

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