Fiction Guidelines

Status: We are currently OPEN to submissions.

Shimmer publishes speculative fiction — science fiction, fantasy, a dash of literary horror.

Shimmer aspires to publish excellent fiction across lines of race, income, nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, geography, and culture, and therefore encourages submissions of diverse stories from diverse authors. This includes, but is not limited to: people of color, LBGTQIA, women, the impoverished, the elderly, and those with disabilities. We are not interested in acquiring fiction that denigrates or perpetuates stereotypes of the above groups.

We encourage authors of all backgrounds to write stories that include characters and settings as diverse and wondrous as the people and places of the world we live in. Every story sent to us should be well-researched, respectful, and conscientious.

What to send us:
Unusual and beautifully-written speculative fiction stories with full plots and strong characters. The best way to understand what we are looking for is to read an issue of the magazine. We’re most drawn to contemporary fantasy, and seek out stories with a strong emotional core. We like unusual stories with a fluid and distinctive voice, with specific and original images. Send us your odd, unclassifiable stories.

Hard Sells:
We are less likely to be interested in sword and sorcery, hard SF, space opera, paranormal romance, and slasher/body-mod horror. Flash fiction remains a hard sell, as do stories about mermaids, devils, writers, holidays, selkies, and protagonists suffering from amnesia. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t send them — it is, however, a sign of clear warning posted on the forest road. We are highly unlikely to be interested in rape stories, and encourage writers to find other dimensions to explore with their female characters.

We will consider stories up to 7500 words (preferred length ~4000 words).

If your story is longer than 7500 words:
Send us a query briefly describing the story along with the first page of the story. Shimmer does not publish books or collections of short fiction.

Payment and Rights:
We pay 5 cents per word, minimum $50. We are purchasing the right to display your story on our website and publish it in our annual print anthology. Four months after publication, most rights revert to the author, but we retain the right to continue selling digital back issues of the magazine, and the right to archive your story.

How to submit:
Shimmer appreciates cover letters. Don’t summarize your story — let us discover the story through its reading. Don’t fret over addressing the letter; “Dear Editors” works perfectly well.

Send your manuscript as an attachment (DOC, DOCX,  or RTF only) in standard manuscript format to Do not paste your story into the body of the email. We do not accept submissions on any kind of online “drive” or via DropBox.

Make sure the subject line begins with Submission and has the title of your story. Example: “Submission: Attack of the Evil Robot Monkeys.” If you don’t use the correct subject line, your story may end up in our spam filter and not get read. Please ensure that our response to you won’t go in your spam folder. If you use spam filters and require our email address to be on a “white list,” you need to put it there.

We don’t have a firm policy on how often you may submit but because of our volume of submissions, after receiving a rejection we appreciate a few days between submissions.

Response Time:
We are usually able to reply to submissions within two weeks (final response time is longer if your story ends up in the maybe stack–you are always notified if your story goes into the maybe stack). If it has been longer than one month, feel free to query us at the submission e-mail, with QUERY and story title in the subject line.

International authors:
Shimmer welcomes submissions from authors outside the United States. When possible, please consider having a Paypal account, so payment can be easy on both sides.

Shimmer does not accept any of the following:
Multiple submissions, simultaneous submissions, poetry, and reprints; we do not accept stories that have appeared on your blog or other public websites; we do not accept stories that have been published as part of your Patreon. Even if you are sending flash, we only take one story from an author at a time.  Please do not send unsolicited rewrites; if we want a rewrite, we will ask for one. Shimmer does not publish novels or collections. We do not publish fan fiction.

A Note on File Types:
We ask for certain types of files because they are the files our readers can reliably open. We cannot do anything with PDFs, WPS, ODT, or Pages. If you want your submission read, send us a DOC, DOCX, or RTF.

Our covers are presently handled in-house by our art director, Sandro Castelli. At this time, we are closed to other artwork submissions.

Take a moment to explore our cover stories, to get a better feel for the kind of fiction we lean toward:

The Earth and Everything Under, by K.M. Ferebee
The Seaweed and the Wormhole
, by Jenn Grunigen
Anna Saves Them All
, by Seth Dickinson
A Whisper in the Weld, by Alix E. Harrow
The Half Dark Promise, by Malon Edwards
The Scavenger’s Nursery, by Maria Dahvana Headley

Speculative fiction for a miscreant world

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