Thank you for your interest in Lost Colony. That you are even visiting the website and reading these words means a lot to me. Since you are visiting this page, I’m guessing that you are a writer and that you have a story that you are thinking of submitting it. That’s great! I love writers! (Heck, I am a writer.) I look forward to reviewing your story and I hope that I can publish it here.
But first, let’s lay some ground rules that you absolutely must follow if you want me to read your story. These are the Seven Commandments of Lost Colony Submissions. If your story does not follow these rules, your submission will be rejected without being read (and I will be cranky).
The Seven Commandments
- Your story must not have been published anywhere else in English (that includes self-publishing). I want original stories. However, if your story was published elsewhere in a language other than English I will consider it for publication in English here.
- Your story must be either originally written in English or already translated into English.
- A note about stories originally written in Spanish: if your story has been published in Spanish, and you would like to see it translated into English and published here, reach out to me via the Contact page. If I like the story and have the time, I might be interested in translating it. Unfortunately, I am not able to translate any other languages. Yo hablo Español, but I don’t speak any other languages.
- Your story must be between 10,000 and 25,000 words in length.
- Your story must be typed in a readable font (bonus points for following Modern Manuscript Format).
- Your story must not have any of the following: graphic sex or gore or excessive profanity. If your story was a movie, it should probably be rated PG-13 (even a hard PG-13 is okay).
- Your story must be submitted using our submission system (link below).
- Your story must have a science fiction or fantasy element, however light (okay, if you don’t follow this rule, I won’t know until I’ve finished reading your story, but your story will still be rejected and I will be even crankier).
If you have followed those rules, and are ready to submit your story, click here and follow the instructions.
I don’t have any problem with simultaneous submissions (mostly because I have no way of knowing if you’ve submitted your story elsewhere, nor do I have any recourse if your story is accepted for publication elsewhere before I get to read it). All I ask is that you use the submission manager to withdraw the story if it is accepted by another publication before I get to it.
My policy is to respond to every submission. I aim to respond to a submission in around 6 weeks (42 days) and I go out of my way to respond in no more than 3 months (90 days). For the latest stats on submissions and responses, check out the latest Submission Stats post. If you submitted a story and haven’t heard back in 90 days, please reach out.
A word about my taste
Now, let me say something about what I’m looking for in the stories that I publish here. The items below are not absolute commandments (as opposed to the items in the list above, which are), but I hope that they will give you an idea of my taste and give you a better idea of whether your story would fit in here. Generally, the below items are what I mean when by the tagline “Masterfully crafted speculative fiction.” If you feel so inclined, you can also see what I have been reading lately and what I’ve thought of it on my Goodreads page (but you are under no obligation to). You can also read an Editor’s Note explaining why I chose to publish a given story in that story’s ebook version.
- I look for quality writing in the first few pages. I’m not expecting a pulse pounding cold opening, or some shocking image or idea. What I want in those first few pages is assurance that the writer has a command of the English language and a firm grasp of his or her craft. If I don’t get that assurance, I may not get much further into the story.
- My taste tends to lean literary, but not at the expense of the basic elements of storytelling: character, plot, theme, etc. If you are doing something totally experimental, you can try me, but it probably won’t work for me.
- I like stories with an element of mystery. Not necessarily whodunits (though I like those too) but stories where something mysterious happens and the protagonist or the reader needs to figure out what is going on (like Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi).
- I want stories that have something to say about the human condition, stories that all people can relate to because they are about what it means to be alive. I like stories that are life-affirming (think Ted Chiang’s “Story of Your Life,” or Arrival, the movie based on it), but I also like tragedies (Hamlet is one of my favorite pieces of storytelling ever, and it features a ghost, so I would publish it here). I am a sucker for stories about the joys, pains, and heartbreak of parenthood (like Cormac McCarthy’s The Road or the movie Inside Out; I know those are two very different stories, but they’re both great).
- I love stories that are respectful toward faith, but ask hard questions about it. Think The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell.
- My taste is pretty wide-ranging, so I won’t give you a narrow subgenre that I’m looking for or don’t want to see, but I will say that I don’t read or watch a lot of horror. My problem with horror is usually the excessive gore, but I have liked a few horror stories (for example the short story and movie 1408). So if you have a horror story that doesn’t rely on gore, go ahead and submit it.
What you get and what I ask for
Now that we’ve gone through all of that, if I accept your story, here is what you get and what I ask for. First what you get:
- You get $50.
- You get your story published here on the website, in ebook form, and in the annual anthology in print and ebook.
And here are the rights that I ask for in exchange for the above:
- Worldwide first serial rights (this is the right to be the first publisher of the story anywhere in the world; I need worldwide rights because the website is available throughout the world)
- Non-exclusive, indefinite archival rights (this is the right to keep your story up on the website indefinitely; you can request that your story be removed once the annual anthology is out, but I would be sad to see your story go)
- Reprint rights (for publication in the annual anthology, more on that below)
Now, a word on the annual anthology. All of the authors published in the annual anthology have the potential to earn royalties on whatever money (if any) it earns. There will be four stories in the annual anthology and I will pay a royalty of 40% of all earnings after I have recouped my expenses. That 40% will be divided between the authors published based on the percentage of their words that make up the total words in the anthology. The $50 up front payment is an advance on those royalties and there is no guarantee that the anthology will make enough money to pay any more royalties (or that I will recoup my expenses).
But hey, at least you got $50. Go buy yourself dinner at a decent restaurant.