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):

  • 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.

At a Glance

Please submit:

  • Stories that have never been published in the English language before (translations are okay!)
  • Flash up to 1,000 words
  • Short stories up to 4,000 words
  • Stories of any genre with a strong beginning/middle/end plot arc
  • Submissions from anywhere in the world, from all kinds of voices
  • In standard manuscript format
  • Only during our scheduled reading periods
  • Only through Submittable (not via email)

What to expect from us:

  • Responses usually within one month of the end of our reading period
  • 12.5 cents per word in payment for accepted stories
  • Worldwide payments via the method the author and publisher agree upon
  • A commitment to great stories from all kinds of voices
  • Celebration of diversity and decolonialization (we have an antifascist fiction club! Join us!)

Dealbreakers (please do not send us these things):

  • Stories that use someone else’s original ideas, words, or characters (no fanfiction, no plagiarism)
  • Stories that promote fascism, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism, etc.
  • Stories longer than 4,000 words (we cannot consider these, unfortunately)
  • Erotica, very experimental formats, vignettes without a clear plot arc (we enjoy seeing these elsewhere, but we don’t publish them at Fireside)
  • Stories that depict sensationalized violence (sexual or otherwise) against any marginalized person or group, animals, children, or women
  • Stories that are currently being considered elsewhere (no simultaneous submissions)

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. We can’t consider anything longer. We do not accept unsolicited submissions of novels, comics, poetry, art, photography, or anything other than short fiction of up to 4,000 words.

Please submit only one story per submissions period. If you get a rejection, you can’t submit again during that period. Our reading periods usually only last for a short time, and we have them on a frequent enough basis that you should have another chance to submit to us again before too long.

We don’t accept submissions that are currently submitted elsewhere (known as simultaneous submissions). We don’t accept submissions that have been previously published in English, including stories 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.

Please only submit stories through Submittable. If you email anyone on our staff an unsolicited 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, non-exclusively, in Fireside anthologies. You can see exactly what rights are acquired by reading our contract boilerplate for stories.

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 would love to read the stories you are burning to tell, whatever they may be.

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. That said, if you are writing outside of your own experience, please take the time to research and write complex characters with respect. Please don’t send us poorly researched stereotypes. We’re interested in stories that reflect the array of human experience with dignity, depth, and respect. If you don’t know where to begin with approaching this kind of research, we recommend Writing the Other. Our managing editor teaches classes with Writing the Other, and we believe the book and the classes are both good resources for authors who wish to dig deeper into experiences outside their own lives.

Speaking of which:

Inclusivity

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, disabled people, 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 create a sense that marginalized writers have to wait their turn to submit. But we are tracking 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

Here is a list of things that we do not want to see at Fireside:

  • Sensationalized or graphic depictions of rape or sexual assault.
  • Child molestation or brutalization of children.
  • Graphic brutalization of women, people of color, LGBTQIA people, disabled people, or any other marginalized people.
  • Graphic torture, or gruesome horror just for the sake of being gruesome.
  • Animal abuse.
  • Plagiarism (which is terrible and we hate) and fanfiction (which is often great, but not for this magazine)
  • Stories that promote fascism, racism, bigotry, and hate. We have an antifascist fiction club. We care about inclusivity and decolonization and acceptance and compassion. Obviously we don’t want to read things that promote bigotry and hate.

This is not saying stories cannot touch on, address, or talk about these issues. But we don’t want these acts illustrated in detail (or worse, glorified) in Fireside. If we see stories that cross these lines in ways that our staff find personally upsetting, we may choose not to consider further submissions from you. This is out of respect for our staff who work hard, and whose feelings we respect. If you worked for us, we wouldn’t want to make you read these things either!

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 managing editor is low vision and would like to be able to actually read your story, and serif fonts help with this. Please only use one font and do not use font colors other than black. Don’t include 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. If you are uncertain on where to find critical feedback, we’ve heard positive things about Critters.org and The Online Writing Workshop, but we are not affiliated with either place.

Fireside is closed for submissions.

Closed for Submissions

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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.

Legend:
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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