Submission Guidelines

Submission Guidelines
Photo by Kristina Tripkovic / Unsplash

Frivolous Comma exists to spotlight and elevate diverse writers of speculative fiction, particularly writers who are underrepresented (BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+) as well as writers who come from, or currently reside in, markets where English is not the first language.  That said, we're currently not able to accept non-English stories.

We’re looking for science fiction, fantasy, horror, the uncanny, or any work (fiction, nonfiction, or poetry) that orbit this genre, with a particular focus on characters in some type of transition: political (as in migration stories); personal (such as across culture or identities), biological, linguistic, geographic, or other forms of being in-between. Academics would call these stories about “intersectionality.”

We're accepting submissions on a rolling basis until we hit 300 submissions across all submission categories.

If you know all this, you can go straight to our...

Please note that submissions sent via the email address below will not register in our system and will be missed.

Submission Process

We assign stories to a first reader, who reads the piece in its entirety before providing an initial recommendation (reject or pass up to editors). This step is usually complete within a ten days.

An editor still reviews each story before finalizing the decision. This step can be slower depending on how many submissions we receive.  We request you wait 8 weeks after submission before reaching out to us.  We're just getting started so this may take a bit before we have this down like clockwork.  If you have any questions or need to withdraw your submission please email us at submissions @ frivolousmedia.com

Basics of Submission:

  • Short fiction, poetry, non-fiction, and art to publish online. We're not currently publishing issues in either physical or ebook format.
  • We are actively interested in stories from under-represented authors
  • Pay attention to what we won't accept
  • See each section for pay rates
  • Submit via the form link above in doc. docx. or pdf file formats
  • Follow this manuscript format
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome, but you HAVE TO let us know if your piece is accepted elsewhere.
  • No multiple submissions.
  • We accept a limited number of reprints. If you submit work that's been published elsewhere - please include where with a link. We pay $25 per work for reprints.
  • We accept reprints for Short Fiction and Non-fiction as long as you have the rights to submit them here.
  • Payments via Paypal or check based on preference.

Details Submission Guidelines

Short Fiction

  • Fiction from or about diverse perspectives and traditionally under-represented groups, settings, and cultures, written from a non-exoticizing and well-researched position, and dealing with transition & intersectionality.
  • Unusual yet readable styles and inventive structures and narratives.
  • Stories that address political issues in complex and nuanced ways, and their effect on characters/relationships.
  • 1000-4000 words (submissions over this limit will not be read)
  • We pay $0.08/word with $100 minimum

Don't send:

  • We will not accept stories with gratuitous and graphic violence or rape, this includes any type of child abuse including sexual abuse.
  • We will not consider stories that have extreme, purposeless violence toward animals.
  • We do not publish erotica or thinly-veiled fan fiction.
  • We are currently not accepting novelettes or novellas (hopefully one day).

Rights overview:

  • We buy exclusive first-world English-language rights to publish in digital, ebook, print, as well as audio rights for twelve (12) months from the date of publication. After that period, you are free to republish the story elsewhere. You'll have the ability to request we remove the story from our archives after two (2) years, though we hope you'll let us hold on to the stories in our archives.

Poetry

  • Science fiction, speculative, and slipstream poetry. What is speculative poetry? It's still a question; could be how experimental the structure or language is; if has androids or cybermagicians. That said, the concept and the form should support each other; a weak concept will not be helped by form.
  • up to 5 poems or 5 pages of poems, which ever is shorter.
  • $40 per poem

Don't Send:

  • See the Short Fiction section

Non-Fiction Essays or Columns

  • Explorations of speculative fiction that address some aspect of transition and intersectionality.
  • Reflections on writing speculative fiction and your personal identity's influence on your work
  • Opinion recent developments in speculative fiction, SF history, associated SF theory and criticism, and SF fandom and culture.
  • Propose an original argument, being aware of existing literature in your area (popular or scholarly)
  • Cite sources via endnotes and links to sources.
  • Reviews/book round-ups through a personal/memoir lens (note: we prefer reviews that focus on positive aspects of books; that is, “who this is for” rather than “who this isn’t for”)
  • For essays you may send queries first. Email queries to submissions@frivolousmedia.com with the subject heading [QUERY], followed by the type of piece you are querying for, and its working title. A query should outline your proposed piece, why it will be of interest to readers of Strange Horizons, and the time frame in which you would be able to complete it.
  • 1000-3500 words
  • $75 per article

Don't Send:

  • Personal or family history that doesn't have anything to do with storytelling.
  • Rants (political or otherwise).

Art

  • Frivolous Comma publishes original art alongside each story. This artwork will be commissioned or selected by the fiction editors to accompany the story's tone and content.
  • We're looking for full color work with depth, texture, and thoughtful composition. The work should evoke emotion, captures a moment, character, mood or atmosphere.
  • Use .png or .jpeg attachments for visual art with a DPI of 300 or higher.
  • We'll use these submissions as a reference list for artists. We'll reach out to individual artists to commission for stories.
  • $200 for original work; $100 for work from artist's existing portfolio.

Don't Send:

  • Gratuitious violence, gore, sexualization
  • Common tropes (planetscapes, futuristic cities, cyborg or androids being cyborgs and androids, traditional sword/sorcery images, no fan art)
  • Don't objectify, stereotype people.

Rights overview:

  • We buy the right to display the selected artwork with the story, and to archive it on our website. In the case of commissioned original work, artists retain all rights, however, we ask that the artist wait until the story is live before re-selling the work, and that the piece is credited as originally appearing as an illustration for the story.
  • In addition, we optionally ask the artist to grant us rights to use the work for limited-run, not-for-sale promotional printed items (e.g. flyers) to advertise the magazine.