Welcome to The Arcanist! We’re a digital literary magazine that focuses on fantasy and sci-fi flash fiction.
We strongly believe that fantasy and sci-fi are two of the most important genres in the literary world, helping us escape to distant lands, reflect on our shared humanity, and gaze into the future. We want to provide readers snippets of the genres they love and we want to give writers of these genres a paid place to publish their work. (That’s right, we pay you.)
We are open to submissions year-round and publish on a weekly basis (every Friday at 9 AM). You can read our work here or through our digital subscription, which you can sign up for by clicking subscribe in the top right corner!
Thinking of submitting!
Here’s What We’re Looking For:
We specialize in flash-fiction so we want stories that are 1,000 words or less. We know this is a tough task given the lengthy, world-building heavy nature of the genres, but we believe in you!
Sadly, if you exceed the word count we will not consider your work.
We are open to simultaneous submissions and multiple submissions. Please do not send more than three stories to us at a time, though. As soon as a story is accepted or rejected, feel free to send us another.
Stories should be actual stories. They need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. We do not publish poetry, non-fiction essays or anything that isn’t a proper flash fiction story. Make sure something happens.
Here’s a breakdown of what we want:
- 1,000 words or less
- A complete, well-crafted story
- Original work
- Great characters that we feel something about (love, hate, love to hate, something!)
- Sci-fi and fantasy based only! (this includes horror and other sub-genres of SF/F)
We love humorous works, horrifying works, timely works, and are generally pretty open-minded when it comes to stories. That being said:
The Hard Sells and What We Don’t Want
While we are open to many different ideas, story structures, and tones, we do have some hard sells, too.
- Meta stories (stories about writing a story, etc.)
- Stories with passive characters
- Excessive gore (don’t be gross just to be gross. Gore is fine if there’s a reason)
- Excessive sex and/or porn (Character has a sex scene? Fine. But, again, there better be a reason why you’re dwelling on it)
- No fanfiction (There are other places for this sort of thing)
- Extremely vulgar works (Keep your potty mouths in check)
- Hate speech, racism, and other offensive material (‘nuff said)
- No poetry
Rights, Rights, Rights
When we accept a story from you we retain the right to publish the piece online and elsewhere under The Arcanist name.
We do not retain these exclusively. If you want to publish your story somewhere else after we publish it, more power to you. We’re not in the business of kidnapping a writer’s work. We’re writers, too, and we’d hate to have that happen to us.
We pay a flat $50 USD rate for stories. We use PayPal to process all of our payments.
Writers are always paid before their story goes live.
Okay, How Do I Submit?
We use a Google Form to process our submissions where you can upload your story after filling out a few questions.
Here’s that link again: Submit here.
If you can’t manage the Google Form, you can submit to us via email, which is listed on the form.
You will also get a receipt when submitting to the form.
Unfortunately, The Arcanist no longer accepts work submitted via email, unless authors have been otherwise instructed by one or more of the editors.
Speaking of which:
How Long Until I Hear Back?
We typically respond to submissions within 1–2 months, depending on the volume we have at the time. If it’s been quite a while and you haven’t heard back, feel free to give us a gentle nudge and we will make sure everything’s running smoothly.
Please refrain from emailing us a day after you submit asking why you haven’t heard back. We know that waiting to hear back can be an anxious process, but we’re working as fast as we can. When we have to double check on the status of a submission and write responses, it makes everything take longer. If you didn’t get an email bounce back or a form error, trust that it’s with us. If we have a problem accessing your story, we will reach out — we promise.
Everything You Need to Know
Here’s a wrap up of everything you need to know when submitting to us:
- SF/F stories only
- 1,000 words or less (seriously, it’s like the first thing we check)
- Original works, please
- Actual stories. No poems, flowery descriptions or essays. Real, honest stories that have characters, an arc, etc.
- Read our hard sells
- We pay $50 USD for stories we accept
- We retain the right to publish your story online and elsewhere under The Arcanist name. We do not exclusively retain these. You are free to resell.
- You can submit using this form.
- It can take 1–2 months to hear back. Be patient. We do not use slush readers!
Thanks for your interest! We look forward to reading your work!