SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

SHORT STORY SUBMISSIONS ARE CURRENTLY CLOSED

Flash stories are still welcome!

What We're Looking For



The Centropic Oracle is looking for science fiction and fantasy stories that make you feel and think. In our opinion good fiction – particularly SF and Fantasy – should challenge us to examine our own lives and beliefs. It should force us to reflect on how we fit into the world and what it takes to make the world a better place by our being in it. We aren’t looking for things that will give us answers to those questions, but that doesn’t mean your story shouldn’t have a resolution (good, bad, or indifferent!) to its conflict.

What we do not accept:

What’s a tough, tough sell and makes us shudder at the thought of having to read it yet again:

Basics



The prose must be readable and easily spoken aloud. This means that it must flow naturally and not distract the reader from the story. Lyricism is fine (we quite enjoy it) but pointless repetition is distracting. This is flash and short fiction so every word counts. Make those verbs active and incorporate your adjectives well to set mood! A single well-placed word in a sentence can change it entirely. Word usage frequency is something we notice. Take a break from your piece and read it again. Do you notice one word that pops up again and again? If you notice it, it’s guaranteed we will – it’s a pet peeve. Rhythm and cadence matter too, we don't want to read pieces that sound like they were written by a robot who is only capable of crafting sentences five words long.

Characterization is integral. If you don’t know your character, your reader won’t either. It’s distracting when a character behaves in ways that don’t make sense, or outbursts feel like they came out of nowhere.

Continuity errors are a sure way to get a rejection. If your antagonist changes hair colour part way through the story, you will get a rejection. Continuity is one of the key basics in editing and is an indicator that you haven’t proofread your piece, let alone given your best effort to it.

Grammar matters. Know the difference between your, you're, and yore, and between to, too, and two. Know when to use a comma. The occasional typo is one thing (even those of us who are proficient in grammar can miss a single typo despite reviewing a manuscript a dozen times) but poor grammar won’t get you past the first read, and if it’s bad enough we won’t even finish the read.

If we have rejected your story, do not resubmit it. We do not ask for rewrites. Ever. If it's almost there, we will accept the piece contingent on specific edits. If you refuse the suggested edits and we feel strongly enough about the necessity of those edits, we will release your piece unpublished and without payment.

If we accept your story we will require a bio and a photo from you for promotional purposes on our website. In addition, be prepared to be called to interview with the reader and/or a small panel for a group discussion of your story. Talking points will be sent out prior to the voice-only interview so that you can have anecdotes or comments prepared. If you do not wish to have your photo posted, or appear on the show, do not submit.


Word Count



Flash fiction submissions should be between 200 and 1500 words. We accept vignettes in the flash fiction category as long as they make us feel and think. We aren’t of the belief that they don’t have value and we actually enjoy them when the prose is beautiful.

Short story submissions should be between 1500 and 6500 words. The upper limit is absolute and longer stories will be rejected without being read. This is an audio podcast, and we aim to keep our ‘casts to a maximum of 40 minutes.

Query us about serial works (not novels, serials in the fashion of the original Sherlock Holmes stories). It's a tough sell, but we may go there for the right worlds and characters. Our criteria for those are more extensive and our automated system does not handle our process.

Multiple Submissions



We do not accept multiple submissions. We do our best to keep our response times as short as possible, which means keeping the pending list as short as possible. Once you have received a response to your submitted story you are welcome to submit again.

Simultaneous Submissions



We do not accept simultaneous submissions. We try hard not to keep you waiting long for a response.

Reprints



We do not accept pieces that already have audio recordings published but we do not consider your story a reprint if it has appeared elsewhere in print (hardcopy or electronic) only. Be sure to tell us when submitting if it has been published in print and we will promote it before the ‘cast so our audience may read along if they wish.

Payment



Currently we pay CAD$0.01 per word, but that will increase as we grow. If we publish your story we do ask that you help us promote it on your social media platforms. The faster we grow our audience, the faster we can increase our word rate. Payment will be made within 30 days of publication.

As part of the compensation you will be actively promoted on our website, so please keep us updated with any new credits you accumulate. We will provide an affiliate link to anything you have listed under your byline on Amazon - or any other online retailer - and a direct link to any electronic free-to-read publication. You will receive periodic email requests from us to review your Contributor page and provide us with any relevant updates. Your Contributor page will appear on our Featured Author page in rotation and we will give you notice of when you will be featured so that you can share it on your social media platforms.

Paypal support payments made directly on your page will be forwarded to you less Paypal's fees and a 10% commission. Payments made from the story's feature page will be split 50/50 between the author and the actor less Paypal's and our fees.

In the future, we may ask to include your piece in an audio anthology compensated a on pro-rata royalty basis with 33% to the author and 33% to the actor.

Rights



We require a one year exclusive and five years non-exclusive to audio rights from the date of publication. If you make a print (hardcopy or electronic) or video performance sale, let us know – we want to promote that!


Formatting



Please submit in the Shunn format. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can see it here. Submissions that do not follow this format will be rejected unread.

File Format



Please submit rtf files only as our readers use a variety of devices.

How to Submit



We accept submissions through our electronic submissions manager only. Emailed submissions, or submissions sent via the contact form, will be deleted unread. We do not accept hardcopy submissions.


Our Process



Once you have created an account in our Submission Manager and have submitted your story you will be redirected to a page that shows your Submission ID number and a confirmation email will be sent out. If you don't get a submission ID, please contact our site support (webmaster@centropicoracle.com) to report the error. If you don't receive the email, check your spam folder before contacting us. You can check back often to see your submission progress through the various reading stages. We take pride in our writer friendly submission manager, and hope that it helps your stress level to know where exactly your piece is at in the process, and how long you should expect it to get through that step. Please do not send us an email query unless your submission disappears from the manager (open or closed) and you have not received an email. We do not keep copies of rejected stories, only the submission activity.
Centropy comes from the term centration, which has been introduced by Joseph Bois to indicate what happens when there is a pooling of human energies. It is a concentration of a sort; a uniting as exemplified by a group engaged in a cooperative venture.
- Irving Simon



© The Centropic Oracle 2016