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.
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.
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
Don’t want the commitment of backing every month, but still want to throw some cash in our hat? You can, through Paypal.
The Fireside Team
Brian White—Editor & Publisher
Brian White has been a newspaper journalist for over a decade, largely as an editor. He spends a lot of time on Twitter as @talkwordy, where you can generally find him yelling about clowns, hedgehogs, and bigots. He lives around Boston with his amazing wife and two cats that are generally also amazing, though murderous.
Elsa Sjunneson-Henry—Assistant Editor
Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is a half-blind, half-deaf, half-Scandinavian writer and editor from Seattle, Washington. She’s got an MA in Women’s History, and she uses that to write about disability and media. She’s enough of a nerd that she ended up making games writing a large part of her freelance career. You can find her yelling about disability and fiction in many places on the internet, including Feminist Sonar, her blog on the intersection of disability issues, gender, sexuality, and media. She’s the author of A Place Out of Time and is also included in the Ghost in the Cogs anthology. Reports indicate she’s been called a dragon more than once. Supposedly that’s a good thing. Currently, she lives in New Jersey with her delightfully quirky husband, a hound dog, and two cats who may hate her. You can find Elsa on Twitter @snarkbat.
Pablo Defendini—Design & Technology Director
Pablo Defendini is a designer for hire, with a focus on editorial design for digital media. Occasionally he’ll do some illustration and printmaking for his own amusement. He also gets really nerdy exploring new forms for building digital comics out of HTML and CSS. 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 clients all over the world.
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):
- June 18-24 (Flash fiction)
- July 23-29 (Short stories)
- September 17-23 (Flash fiction)
- November 5-11 (Short stories)
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.
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.
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.
- Terrorism or disaster porn (we know it when we see it).
- 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.”
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. We will reopen on June 18.
Fireside is currently closed to submissions.
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
- Sexual Assault
Here is an example of a content note:
This Book Contains
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|
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.)