Submission Guidelines

Submission Status: OPEN

Read This First

What we’re looking for

RETCON is seeking decolonized speculative short fiction and nonfiction essays from Indigenous People and People of Color. Fiction, poetry, and essays submitted to the magazine should challenge, subvert, and/or replace narratives of western colonialism and imperialism in speculative fiction. Speculative fiction in this context refers to the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

All work submitted to RETCON should be #OwnVoices work. That is to say, we want to highlight stories and art that are created by the same people they depict. E.g. If a story centers a Black woman, the author should be a Black woman. RETCON is a space for creators to tell their people’s own stories in their own voices. Work that does not embody the spirit of #OwnVoices will be rejected.

Open to:

  • Short fiction
  • Poetry
  • Nonfiction essays
  • Art portfolios for consideration

All writing should be:

  • Unpublished (it has never appeared on any platform, in any language)
  • Original (it does not use or draw from an existing intellectual property that is protected under copyright)
  • Stand-alone (it has a beginning and ending, and is not an excerpt from a larger body of work)

This means:

  • NO reprints
  • NO translations (of work already published in another language)
  • NO novel excerpts
  • NO serials
  • NO fanfic

To Submit

All submissions MUST be made through our submissions form. We do NOT accept email or physical submissions, and any submissions received as such will be deleted or disposed of unread.

If the form is not accessible to you because of a disability, please email a request for accessible submission to RetconSubmissions [at] gmail [dot] com with ‘Submission Accessibility’ in the subject line. This email should ONLY contain a request for accessible submission, and should not have any work submitted within.

This is a submission inbox only. Messages of any other type will be deleted, unread.

To Withdraw

You may withdraw a written submission if it has been sold elsewhere or you have decided not to pursue publication with RETCON.

You may NOT withdraw submissions to re-submit updated work (because you made changes, edits, etc.)

A withdrawn submission may never again be submitted to RETCON.

Withdrawn submissions that are re-submitted will be deleted unread.

To withdraw, email RetconSubmissions [@at] gmail [.dot] com with ‘Submission Withdrawal’ in the subject line and the following information in the body of the email:

  • Your full name
  • Your submission title
  • The date you submitted it

Short Fiction

Short stories should be at MAXIMUM 2,000 words. Because of the limitations of the editor, stories should be in English (though we are very interested in discussing the publication of the story in English and your native or heritage language concurrently, if applicable).

We do NOT accept multiple short story submissions (submit only one story to us per submission period).

We DO accept simultaneous submissions (your story can be under consideration by other publications). We ask only that you inform us if you sell the story elsewhere and withdraw it from consideration with RETCON.

If you do not receive a response for your story between the submission period and the release of an issue of RETCON Magazine, it is not a rejection. Feel free to submit the story again during the next submission period. If you HAVE received a rejection, that story may NEVER be submitted to RETCON again, unless specifically requested.

When using the submission form, expect to have the following information available:

  • Story Title
  • Story Body
  • Word Count
  • Background information about yourself and the themes explored in your story
  • Content warnings pertaining to your story if applicable

Poetry

Update: Line maximum for poems has been removed. Poems submitted to the magazine can now be any length. The pay will be static, regardless of poem length.

Because of the limitations of the editor, poems should be in English (though we are very interested in discussing the bilingual publication of the poem in English and your native or heritage language concurrently, if applicable).

We DO accept multiple poetry submissions (you may submit up to five poems in one submission period). Each poem should be submitted separately (fill out the form multiple times) and should stand alone (not required to be read in a collection or with other work).

We DO accept simultaneous submissions (your poem can be under consideration by other publications). We ask only that you inform us if you sell the poem elsewhere and withdraw it from consideration with RETCON.

If you do not receive a response for your poem between the submission period and the release of an issue of RETCON Magazine, it is not a rejection. Feel free to submit the poem again during the next submission period. If you HAVE received a rejection, that poem may NEVER be submitted to RETCON again, unless specifically requested.

When using the submission form, expect to have the following information available:

  • Poem Title
  • Poem Body
  • Line Count
  • Background information about yourself and the themes explored in your poem
  • Content warnings pertaining to your story if applicable

NonFiction Essay

Non-fiction essays should first be pitched through the submission form. Because of the limitations of the editor, pitches and essays should be in English (though we are very interested in discussing the publication of the essay in English and your native or heritage language concurrently, if applicable).

We do NOT accept multiple essay pitch submissions (submit only one essay pitch to us per submission period).

We DO accept simultaneous submissions (your pitch can be under consideration by other publications). We ask only that you inform us if you sell the essay elsewhere and withdraw it from consideration with RETCON.

If you do not receive a response for your pitch between the submission period and the release of an issue of RETCON Magazine, it is not a rejection. Feel free to submit the pitch again during the next submission period. If you HAVE received a rejection, that pitch may NEVER be submitted to RETCON again, unless specifically requested.

When using the submission form, expect to have the following information available:

  • Proposed Essay Title
  • Proposed Essay Length
  • Detailed Pitch
  • Background information about yourself and themes explored in your essay
  • Explanation of relevance, timeliness, and why you are best suited to speak on the subject
  • Clips
  • Content warnings pertaining to your pitch/essay if applicable

A note on “multiple discovery” & “simultaneous invention”

It is possible and extremely likely, especially if a topic is particularly timely or sparking a lot of conversation in popular culture, that multiple people may have the same or similar idea for an essay pitch. It is possible and likely that one writer may have a pitch rejected and another writer may have a pitch accepted for the same or similar idea. This may happen for a number of reasons, including but not limited to a writer’s voice, following, experience, perspective, and overall writing style. While we understand how disappointing this can be, we also promise it is entirely coincidental.

We at RETCON promise to never “steal” a pitch. We cannot control the possibility that someone in the future may submit a similar pitch that we accept, but we will never specifically seek out an essay writer based solely on someone else’s previously submitted pitch.

This is our promise, and while it will not and cannot prevent every instance of perceived “pitch poaching” we hope this explicit statement of our intentions will establish some amount of trust with potential essayists.

We’re here to amplify marginalized voices, not steal from them.

Art

RETCON will commission original art pieces and license reprinted art as needed. We are open to artwork of any medium, as long as a high resolution (300 dpi) digital version of the work is available for use by the magazine. We will not accept or handle physical art pieces, film, or materials at any time. Artists must be willing and able to complete the art piece within 30 days of an executed contract. 

If you do not receive a response for your portfolio submission, it is not a rejection. Your portfolio will be kept on file and considered for future issues of the magazine. Please do NOT submit your portfolio again.

As long as the portfolio link has not changed, there is NO NEED to inform us you have updated your portfolio.

If the portfolio link has changed, you may submit your portfolio again and indicate that it is an update to a previous submission in the submission form.

If you would like to submit your portfolio to be considered for future issues of the magazine, please do so using the submission form, and expect to have the following information available:

  • A link to a portfolio that can be viewed online
  • Background information about yourself and the themes you like to explore in your art
  • The time frame it would take you to complete a high-resolution art piece with 6:9 aspect ratio (minimum size: 1920px by 1080px)

Rights and Payment

Rights

We acquire first world exclusive English rights (print, digital, audio), nonexclusive archival rights, and nonexclusive anthology rights. Generally this means RETCON will be the first to publish your work, and the only ones displaying your work for a short period of time, after which you are free to publish the work elsewhere. It will continue to be archived on the website for a short period of time, after which you may request its removal. Details are available in our contract.

Payment

Fiction $0.08 USD per word
Poetry$20 USD per poem
NonFiction Essay$100 USD for a finished essay
Art up to $500 USD for original artwork
$100 USD for reprints

Please note: for the time being, all payments will be made by PayPal.

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