Submission Guidelines

Are you a Sci-fi/Fantasy writer? Then I may be looking for you! Cirsova is a semi-pro zine focusing on Sword & Planet and Heroic Fantasy fiction.

Submissions for 2018 will open on June 1st.

We will be reading from June 1st until July 15th, looking to acquire stories for the Spring and Fall 2018 issues (roughly 120k words of content).

 

My biggest recommendations to those considering submitting:

-Send me some Sword & Planet and Raygun Romance!  We get a lot of fantasy, which is great, but a smash-up S&P or Raygun Romance would be high priority!

-Square-jawed space barbarians and gorgeous dames are not a pre-requisite, but don’t forget this is principally a Romance genre; a good love story between competent individuals (dames =/= damsels) facing long odds (such as aliens, monsters, robots or alien monsters riding robots) may score bonus points.

-Send me something short (2500-5000 words); we get a number of novelette-length works fairly frequently, but only buy and fit a couple of these each year. If you send me something great but that I can’t fit, it will make us both sad.

What are you looking for?

Original short stories between 2000-7500 words, specifically those in the vein of Leigh Brackett, Jack Vance, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Fritz Leiber and Robert E. Howard.

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.

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.

Please send the file as a .doc or .docx or, if you must, a RTF. Your manuscript should match the standard manuscript format (i.e. double spaced, no hyphen breaks, page numbers somewhere, don’t use tab for indents, etc.) A lot of those things that seem unnecessary or piddly are actually really helpful for folks who are trying to markup your manuscript and get your text into a formatted document.

Cirsova does not buy reprints at this time.

What are you not looking for?

  • Any “Lovecraftian” fiction that name drops Cthulhu, Nyarlathotep, Arkham, the Necronomicon, etc. We managed to publish an entire Lovecraft issue where none of the stories name dropped Mythos heavies, so it’s not hard as you’d think. We’re also not looking for Call of Cthulhu detective/professor-investigates-cultists stories.
  • Stories with elves; especially not D&D or Tolkien elves. If you think you can do something really freaking special with elves and fae, like Dunsany or Swann, give it a shot, but we don’t publish elf-stories as a general rule.
  • Stories where very little happens or very little is at stake. Sometimes, a setting and characters in them can be superficially weird and exciting, but the story itself may be little more than a conversation; generally, we’re not looking for that sort of thing.

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.  Just be aware that chances are I will only be able to purchase one Novella or Novelette per issue.

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.

Donald Jacob Uitvlugt’s The Hour of the Rat and Kat Otis’ This Day, At Tillbury in Issue #1 (a ninja tale and a historical fiction with fantastical elements respectively) are both examples of really great non-traditional takes on heroic SFF.

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

I’ve decided that I’m not a fan of serializations in magazines. I’d rather my readers have complete stories, and since Cirsova is Bi-Annual at present, I wouldn’t want authors or readers either one to suffer from the 6 month delay. Linked stories that tell the continuing adventures of this or that character are another matter entirely. Just try to be sure that the stories are able to stand well enough on their own.

But what about My Name is John Carter? You’re serializing that!

That’s a special case. Also, we’re not looking for unsolicited poetry; again, My Name is John Carter is a special case.

Can I put steamy-hot action in my story?

I’m not looking for explicitly erotic stories, but it’s not a deal-breaker. 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 rights are you buying?

Global first print and digital publication rights (including audio); 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. The exception to this exclusivity is if a piece is selected for inclusion in a Best of the Year collection.

Do you take simultaneous submissions?

Unfortunately, we cannot take simultaneous submissions.

Where do I send my story?

Submissions should be sent to cirsova at yahoo dot com with the subject line “SUBMISSION”