Cirsova is Looking for SFF Writers!

Are you a Sci-fi/Fantasy writer?  Then I may be looking for you!  Cirsova is launching a semi-pro zine focusing on Sword & Planet and Heroic Fantasy fiction.  Please share, reblog, retweet, whatever!  Get the word out!

What are you looking for?

4-6 Original short stories between 2000-7500 words.

1 or 2 short essays on the subjects of S&P, Heroic Fantasy, Pulps, Pulp Art, or any of those subjects’ effect on tabletop gaming.

Submissions should be in finished, final draft form.  Please do not send unedited works, excerpts or pitches.  Well, you can send me a pitch, and if it sounds awesome, I will tell you “That sounds awesome, now write that story, make sure it’s edited, and submit that to me”, but that’s it.

Update: Issue 1 is full up!  Submissions are closed until I’m ready to move ahead on issue 2.

What do you mean by “Sword & Planet” and “Heroic Fantasy”?

“Sword & Planet” typically refers to a style of romantic swashbuckling fiction that takes place on Earth-like non-Earth worlds.  It could be set on a Mediterranean Mars, an Amazon Basin Venus, or a Sub-Saharan Sqarnix IV.  Dashing heroes performing daring feats in exotic locales is a must, scientific accuracy is not.  If a story meets those criteria, but doesn’t have swords, then it’s more of a “Planet Romance”, which is also fine.  I want those too!  “Heroic Fantasy” is similar in that you still have heroes performing daring and/or clever feats, often in exotic locals, but it is typically more focused on the deeds of a single character(Cugel, Conan, Brak, Elric, etc.).  HF does not necessarily have a sci-fi element, but there is definitely some overlap.  You can put them together to go all out and have a sword-wielding barbarian king of a fallen space empire linked by automated shuttles go on adventures from world to world!

Can I submit something that’s not Sword & Planet or Heroic Fantasy but is still Science Fiction or Fantasy?

Good question!  The answer is yes.  While I’d like to put S&P/Planet Romance/Heroic Fantasy at the forefront priority-wise, if you’ve got a great story, there’s still a chance I might buy it.  Not really looking for “hard” science fiction, engineer tales, or modern “high fantasy”.  I’ll indulge a steampunk story if it’s set on a moon of Saturn or something.

I have serial I’d like to publish; can I submit that?

As much as I’d like to say yes, I can’t promise that there will be a 2nd issue unless the 1st one does well, so serials are out for the moment.  BUT, if you have a character about whom you’ve written stand-alone stories, feel free to submit one of those!

Can I put steamy-hot action in my story?

It really depends, but it’s not a deal-breaker.  I’m not looking for any explicitly erotic stories, and it probably shouldn’t make up more than a few lines to a paragraph or two in anything this short if you do include it. In terms of how explicit you can get without hurting your chances of being accepted, consider the upper boundary to be Andrew J. Offutt (at least what he published under his own name) or Thomas Burnett Swann.  If you have something that looks like Jean Auel wrote it for one of her Earth’s Children sequels, you’ve crossed a line and should probably reconsider more than just your submission.

What do you mean by “semi-pro zine”?

It means you’ll get paid.  You won’t get paid as much as if you sold your work to one of the big pro-zines, but I’ll try to at least make it worth your while.  Cirsova will pay $0.02 per word up to the first 2500 words and $0.01 per word up above that.  So, you’re looking at around a $50-$100 range.

When will this magazine come out?

Well, it’s a tricky thing, being an upstart zine.  The first goal will be to get enough written material for the first issue.  Once I have enough stories, if I have any money left, I’ll try to find some illustrations.  Once I have the stories and illustrations, I’ll be offering a few local businesses some free token ad space.  Then, I will probably do a Kickstarter, which will send the zine down one of two tracks.  If successful, the Kickstarter will be used as a means of soliciting limited additional adspace, (semi)bulk ordering for any stores interested in carrying the zine, and maybe getting some additional art funds.  If we can’t Kickstart, the zine will still go forward, still be available in digital and print copies, just probably in a smaller run.

So, it could be awhile.  I’m pessimistically (realistically?) thinking a year from now, but if everything comes together, I could see this coming out by spring of next year.

What is this zine going to look like?

Well, I keep calling it a zine, but it’s going to be more of an anthology book.  Think the Flashing Swords! collections, but with some advertisements.  Unless I find a decent alternative, it’ll probably be printed through a service like Lulu, so it will be a fairly nice perfect-bound book.  If there is sufficient interest, however, I might consider making a hard-bound edition available.

Do you know what you’re doing?  Do you have any idea what you’re getting yourself into?

Actually, yeah, I do.  And I’m hoping to get away with 1/5th the cost and half the headache it took to put this out on vinyl.

How do I get in touch with you?

Comment here and I’ll email you.  Or you can send an email to cirsova at yahoo dot com.

I’m an artist and would like to submit something. Can I?

My first priority is finding stories. That doesn’t mean I’m not looking for artists, though. If you are interested in doing some line-illustrations, get in touch with me and show me the sort of stuff you do. Once I get the stories wrangled, I WILL be looking for accompanying line art.

Is there a submission deadline?

Right now, no, there is no hard deadline. The deadline is “When I have enough materials for a first issue/When I’ve spent all the money I’ve budgeted for buying stories on buying stories.”   It’s not a hard and fast deadline, and if things take an unexpected drop-off I may extend it, but your best bet would be to get submissions in no later than the end of October.  Currently, I am be reading pieces and making offers in the order that I receive them.  I am taking a brief break on making offers to allow those who have expressed interest time to submit.  A lot of people have said they are interested and a few have even submitted stories. So, let’s say the sooner the better.

When will I be paid?

You will be paid as soon as your story has been accepted.  Payment will be made either by paypal (preferred) or by check if necessary.

Can I use a pseudonym?

Sure.  Just include the pseudonym you want to use in the by-line of your manuscript.

What rights are you buying?

Global first print and digital publication rights; you’ll be giving Cirsova the exclusive rights to publish and use the purchased material prior to and for one calendar year following the publication of those materials.  After that period, Cirsova will retain the right to publish and sell the purchased materials non-exclusively in the collected format (i.e. the anthology will remain available in print and electronic format as initially offered, however the materials will not be repackaged and resold).  Cirsova will have the right to use your name and portion or whole of the material to promote the work.  During the period of exclusivity, you agree to refrain from publishing the purchased material in whole or in part without prior consent.

What happens if you don’t end up publishing my story, even though you bought it?

I don’t anticipate this happening, but I want to say upfront that I’m not going to pull a Dangerous Visions here. If something happens that prevents me from publishing stories I have bought in a timely manner, we’ll work something out wherein I will relinquish exclusivity.  Again, I really do not see this happening because a)there is a lot of interest, and I don’t really see ending up with too few stories to publish and b) I’ve got enough money budgeted to put this thing together even without a Kickstarter.

Should I submit a bio?

Feel free to include one or two sentences as to where folks can find you.  Once submissions are closed, I may throw up more detailed “bios” page here for additional exposure for contributing authors.

How do I get in touch with you?

This is an important question, so I understand why it needs to be asked and answered multiple times.  You can email submissions to cirsova at yahoo dot com, you can comment here and I will email you.  Note that I may email you from my old retrovirusrecords account if I initiate contact based on a comment you’ve left, so keep an eye out for me!

My story is longer than 7,500 words, can I still submit it?

Sure!  While 5,000 to 7,500 is kind of the sweet spot, for really good stories, I’d consider anything up to 10,000, maybe a little more.  It’s sort of a case by case thing.  One of the reasons why I’d be hesitant to go much beyond 10,000 and want to avoid novella length works comes more from my own feeling that I can’t really pay what those stories would be worth.  By the time Issue 2 comes around, it may be a different story.

What is your editorial process?

For the most part, I’m going for a light touch.  Though submissions should be in final draft manuscript format, I’ll still give it a good once over for any glaring typos.  If you’ve got a solid enough story that just needs a little more work, however, I’ll be more than happy to work on some revisions with you if I think it would be a good fit.

Can I submit a reprint?

At this time, I will not be buying reprints.  In the future, I may consider, but I am making original first print works a priority.

25 responses to “Cirsova is Looking for SFF Writers!

  1. I am interested. I have put together one multi-author anthology (“Fauxpocalypse”) and been part of several others. Personally I would recommend Create Space rather than LuLu. I’ll be happy to share with you what I’ve learned in working on similar projects.

    I’m also an old John Carter of Mars fan (I made a T-shirt in junior high school that said, “Elect Tars Tarkis, Jeddick of Thark”) and I think I could hit the “Sword & Planet” mark.

  2. I’m interested and I have published short fiction in this format before. You can reach me at morrisonmp at gmail dot com.

    Do you have a submission deadline yet?

  3. As it happens I’m writing something along these lines this very moment, likely to be within or slightly over your target word count. So yes, I’m interested as well and consider the timing to be most fortuitous.

    I’d ask if you’d be willing to take a story that might top out at around 10,000 words, whether you’re paying on acceptance or publication and (also, to repeat morrisonmp’s question above) what your submission deadline is.

    • Hey! Thanks for replying! I might be able to take one or two stories over my wordcount. Part of my limitation is my budget; I’m trying to keep things at no more than $100 per story, but it doesn’t mean I’m not willing to take a look at longer stuff.

      As for the submission deadline, I don’t have a hard deadline set. Partly because I didn’t expect the response I’ve gotten. Right now, I’d say the deadline is when I have 6 stories and two columns or I exhaust my budget.

      Payment will be on acceptance.

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    • Hi, Alison! Thanks for your interest. If everything goes well, I’d like to begin working on the second issue in spring of next year. My target for release of this first issue is between February and April. How quickly I am able to move forward depends on how well the first issue does. Frankly, I was impressed by the response I have gotten in terms of submissions and am already moving forward much more quickly than I had anticipated. I will need to recoup some of the expenses of the first issue before buying more stories for a second (I really want to be able to keep offering semi-pro rates).

      So, short version? Hopefully sometime between April and June. But I can let you know if it ends up being sooner.

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