Ana and Thea here, fresh from a weekend of intense weekend of brainstorming and planning (and eating, drinking & geeking). We have some exciting news:

Book Smugglers FB

For the past six years we have been reading, commenting on, and sharing our thoughts about stories. After the amazing experience of curating Speculative Fiction 2013, we Book Smugglers want to continue to find and publish the best and brightest voices in SFF. This time, we’re looking for original short stories from all around the world. Our goal is to publish at least three short stories every year, unified by a central theme (that will change each year). Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork from an artist commissioned by us separately.

In 2014, we are looking for subversive fairy tale retellings.

These retellings need not be reimaginings of Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm, or Charles Perrault (although we love these fables and are happy to read and consider any retellings); we want a broader pool of stories, traditions, and canons to choose from.

What We’re Looking For:

  • DIVERSITY. We want to read and publish short stories that reflect the diverse world we live in, about and from traditionally underrepresented perspectives.
  • Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult audience submissions are welcome. Good speculative fiction is ageless!
  • Creativity & Subversion. We love subversive stories. We want you to challenge the status quo with your characters, story telling technique, and themes.

Guidelines for Submission: (check out our official page here)

  • We are looking for original speculative fiction, between 1,500 and 17,500 words long.
  • These SFF offerings must be previously unpublished; we do not accept simultaneous submissions.
  • Profanity, sex, and other explicit situations are fine as long as they fit within the context of the story.
  • Submissions are open now, and will be open through July 31, 2014.

Payment and Terms:

We are funding this ourselves because we are passionate about finding new and diverse voices in SFF. We will be paying $0.05 per word up to $500 (although we welcome stories from a minimum of 1,500 words and up to a maximum of 17,500 words long).

We plan on publishing these short stories for free in their entirety on We also plan on selling these stories in ebook and limited print editions at a 50% net royalty, with possible inclusion in future anthologies (royalty to be negotiated). We ask for exclusive rights for a year, and non-exclusive rights following that.

How to Submit:

Submissions should be emailed to

Please attach your full story as a document (.doc, .docx, .rtf). Please do not send your story as text in the body of an email.

A cover letter is not strictly necessary but welcome, and we would love to learn a little bit about you and the inspiration behind your work (or anything else you think is relevant to your story submission).

We will reply to all authors who have submitted work with our decision by August 15, 2014.

We are happy to answer any of your questions – leave a comment or email us (, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

And… that’s it! We hope to be reading your excellent short stories very soon.

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28 Responses to Announcing Book Smugglers Publishing: We Want Your Short Stories

  1. Oh that’s super exciting news! I’m lloking forward to reading the results!

  2. Jared says:

    Best thing ever! Really look forward to this!

  3. Ronan Wills says:

    Definitely going to enter this!

  4. Hannah says:

    Wow, congrats! I can’t wait to read these stories.
    Also, I saw the headline and thought “wouldn’t it be cool if they accepted fairy tale stories.” Then I dismissed it as wishful thinking, because fairy tale retellings are some of my favorite things in the world. Then I read the post.
    Needless to say, I am very, very excited!

  5. Do you already have your artist, or are you also looking for artists to submit portfolios? (I wasn’t clear on whether that sentence meant you’d already selected an artist, or whether the art would just come later.)

  6. Jana says:

    What a great idea! I’m looking forward to seeing the types of stories that are selected, as well as the caliber of work you select.

  7. paroma says:

    Can we submit more than one story?

  8. Dan[i] says:

    Yes! This is fantastic… says someone who rarely reads Pornokitsch’s or Tor.Com’s short fiction, admittedly, and might well apply the same rule to you. But still amazing news for you! And subversive fairy tales are a great theme! :-) ‘grats, the pair of you!

  9. Ana says:

    Thanks all! We are really excited!

    @Stewart: we do have an artist lined up for this year’s stories but we would love to receive portfolios for next year’s.

    @paroma: yes, sure!

  10. @Ana: Cool. My wife does illustrations that would work well with MG/YA type stories. I’ll have her send her portfolio your way. :)

    I’m the writer, so you may hear from me too if I can get something together. I love subversive and diverse!

  11. Ana says:

    @Stewart C Baker: excellent!

  12. des says:

    would you accept accompanying illustrations with the stories, or are you strictly looking for text?

  13. Menasay says:

    What ratings are you looking for because all of my fiction is YA to M

  14. Ria says:

    how broadly will you define “fairy tales”? including literary fairy tales and public domain children’s fantasy, too?

  15. Gina says:

    Sounds fantastic:) Just wanted to know if submissions from other countries will be accepted as well?

  16. Hannah says:

    I hope this doesn’t sound too stupid but what exactly do you mean by subversive fairy tales? Do you just mean regular old fairy tales?

  17. Ana says:

    Hello everybody! Thanks for the comments and questions – sorry about the delay, for some reasons these are not reaching us through our email and I just saw these.

    @Des – At the moment we are not accepting illustrations with the stories. We already have one artist lined-up for this year’s stories. This might change in the future though so always worth keeping an eye on the Publishing page.

    @Menasay – we are looking at all ratings and would LOVE to see YA and MG stories

    @Ria – Yes. It’s a fairly broad concept

    @Gina – YES. As long as it is written in English

    @Hannah – Subversive in terms of how one approaches a retelling by subverting the way the story is traditionally told. It could be anything.

    I hope I have answered your questions but please don’t hesitate to email us!

  18. Angela Williams says:

    Thank you!

  19. M% says:

    In case of multiple submissions, do you prefer them all in one mail or should they be sent separately?

  20. Ana says:

    M% – one email is fine.

  21. Sharon says:

    I was just wondering if it had to be a minimum of 1500 and the .05 cent per word thing, does that mean you’ll pay the winners for their story? And how exactly do royalties work? Sorry I’ve been writing for years but aside from poetry contests on I’ve never actually entered anything into a contest before.

  22. Vida Cruz says:

    Hi there, do you accept retellings of myths or legends, too?

  23. Anna says:

    Just checking because it doesn’t say, is this competition open to people of all ages?

  24. This looks very interesting. Thanks :-)!

  25. Kristen says:

    Hello, I just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity and I was wondering a little about the exclusive and non-exclusive rights. Am I right in assuming that after a year of being published by your site, the publishing rights return to the author and they are able to get the story published elsewhere, if they choose to do so? Sorry, I’m a little new to all this.

  26. Thea says:

    Hi all, submissions are now closed, but hopefully we can answer some of your existing questions here!

    Sharon – We will pay all authors whose work we select for publication according to the guidelines as listed above. We will only publish short stories that fit the minimum requirements (at least 1500 words long), and pay $0.05 per word up to $500. Royalties will be split with authors 50/50 (net) for any short story sales! I hope that helps.

    Vida Cruz – Yes, our definition of “fairy tale” is pretty loose. Myths and legends are of course welcome.

    Anna – Yes! We accept work from writers of all ages.

    Kristen – Yes, that is correct. After a calendar year, Book Smugglers Publishing no longer has exclusive rights to sell and share the short story. The author of that short story can publish elsewhere (or post the story wherever they choose). I hope that helps!

  27. Cristina says:

    Hi there! Just wondering when we will hear back from you guys! I sent in a submission on the 31st and didn’t receive a reply on the 15th, so just wondering if you only reply to the people who make it in? Just curious!

  28. Ana says:

    Hi Cristina

    We will reply to everybody by August 31st. We posted an update on August 1 ( to that effect – due to the overwhelming number of stories we received, we need a bit more time to read everything and reply to everybody. Thanks for the patience!

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