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 2017 are currently ‘invite only’ in an effort to work more with our current contributors.

Submissions for 2016 are close; submissions for 2017 will be re-opened this fall.

Submissions for issue # 2 are now open.

Right now, we could definitely use some more Sword & Planet and Raygun Romance submissions!  We have more than enough Fantasy; sadly, if you send me a Fantasy story, chances are, even if I like it, unless it’s on the same tier as Fafhrd & the Grey Mouser or Cugel the Clever, we probably won’t be able to squeeze it in.

My biggest recommendations to those considering submitting:

-Send me some Sword & Planet and Raygun Romance!  We’ve been getting 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); almost half of the submissions I’ve received have been novelette length; it kills me that I may already have to turn away some good stories just for space consideration. 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.

Cirsova does not buy reprints at this time.

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.

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; 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”