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Apparition Lit is a speculative fiction magazine that publishes themed issues four times a year.

We publish poems and stories between 1k-5k words in January, April, July, and October.

We also hold monthly flash fiction contests between the 1st and 15th of each month. Flash stories must be under 1000 words and be inspired or based on the chosen theme.

Read our submission guidelines and submit your work through our Moksha portal.

Payment

Apparition is a semi-pro rate magazine, paying $0.05 per word, minimum of $50.00 dollars for short stories and a flat fee of $50 per poem. If we accept your story, we are purchasing the right to publish the story online and in the quarterly edition. Rights will revert back to the artist after one year.

Equity Initiative

As Apparition Lit works to create a more equitable publishing community, we recognize that our open submission period is concurrent with some other really great literary magazines where marginalized writers also like to submit. Voices should be heard and we want to help increase that opportunity.

Our submission window will remain open for an additional week each quarter for writers who identify as BIPOC and self-identify in their cover letter. 

We will also accept simultaneous submissions from writers who identify as BIPOC or LGBTQIA+. Please just note how you identify in your cover letter, that it is a simultaneous submission, and see further details in the menu below on how to submit for each category.

Past Contributors

Once you are published by Apparition Lit, you join our tiny but mighty family. We love our alumni and will always do what we can to support their publishing career.

We want to continually discover and champion new voices and different point-of-views. If we have published your work in any of the quarterly issues, please wait 3-4 submission periods before subbing again.

If you’ve won a monthly flash fiction contest, feel free to submit for the quarterly issues right away, but please wait 6 months after winning the flash contest to submit flash again.

What We’re Looking For

We are open to unpublished speculative fiction stories and spec fic poems!

Speculative fiction is weird, almost unclassifiable. It’s fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and literary. Send us your strange, misshapen stories with enough emotional heft to break a heart, with prose that’s as clear and delicious as broth. We love proactive characters and settings that feel lived in and real enough to touch. Stories with style, stories with emotion, stories with character. We want it all.

Please see “How to Submit” in each of the drop down categories below for formatting, subject line, and cover letter guidelines. Submissions that are sent outside of submission period or do not follow guidelines will be deleted unread.

If you want to better determine if your writing fits with our style, you can purchase past issues or check out our stories page.

What We Won’t Accept

We do not accept multiple or simultaneous submissions. Please send only one submission per category during each reading period. (See Equity Initiative for exceptions)

At this time, we do not accept nonfiction, reprints or resubmissions, excerpts from other works, or unsolicited interviews or reviews. We do not accept stories that have been published, whether in paper or on the internet. Do not send us stories we have rejected in the past. We currently do not accept translations. 

Hard Passes

  • While we love dark stories with macabre elements, we will not accept stories with gratuitous and graphic violence or rape, this includes any type of child abuse including sexual abuse.
  • We will not consider stories that have extreme, purposeless violence toward animals.
  • We do not publish erotica or thinly-veiled fan fiction.
  • Stories sent outside of the reading periods will be deleted unread.
  • Stories or poems with attached/embedded images or graphics files will be deleted unread.

Our Themes & Reading Periods – 2023:

Apparition Lit is open for poetry and short story submissions four times a year.

Our submission periods are extended by a week for BIPOC creators only.

DREAD (Submission period: November 15-30, 2022  CLOSED – Published January 2023)

SYMMETRY (Submission period: February 15-28, 2023 CLOSED – Publishing April 2023)

CREATURE (General submission period: May 15-31, 2023  CLOSED – Publishing July 2023)

RECLAMATION (General submission period: August 15-31, 2023 is CLOSED – Publishing October 2023)

Countdown to next Quarterly Open Submission Period - February 15-28 for Issue 22: Symmetry

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SHORT FICTION

We are currently CLOSED

We are closed for short stories (between 1k-5k words) but will reopen between February 15-28 for stories that are based on the SYMMETRY theme and follow our guidelines.


Cover art by Edith Silva

short fiction
Guidelines

Apparition Lit is open for poetry and short story submissions four times a year. 

  • February 15-28
    (March 1-7 BIPOC creators only)
  • May 15-31
    (June 1-7 BIPOC creators only)
  • August 15-31
    (September 1-7 BIPOC creators only)
  • November 15-30
    (December 1-7 BIPOC creators only)

Submissions received outside of posted open dates will be deleted unread.

We will only accept previously unpublished, complete stories between 1000-5000 words. If the story is complete with an extra hundred words, then it will still be considered. Any stories over 5,100 words, excerpted from a larger work, or incorrectly formatted, will automatically be rejected.

Apparition is a semi-pro magazine, paying $0.05 per word, a minimum of $50.00 USD (excluding flash contest). If we accept your story, we are purchasing the right to publish the story online and in the quarterly edition. Rights will revert back to the artist after one year.

We are now accepting submissions through Moksha. Please follow the guidelines below when submitting your work:
  1. Format the story using the Shunn manuscript  — you do not need to include your physical address or phone number.
  2. Please only use Times New Roman or Arial font in your document.
  3. Name the file using the story title and your last name, i.e. THE SWAMP EXCHANGE_Barker. This helps us find your story in the submissions list.
  4. Provide a brief cover letter that includes your full name, the title of the short story, word count, and any relevant publications. Please do not include a synopsis.

All acceptances and rejections will be emailed by the 15th day of the following month after submissions close. We currently do not have the available time or staff to provide personalized feedback on rejected submissions.

If you have not heard back by the 15th, send a query to: info@apparitionlit.com with the title of your submission. Before emailing, please check your spam folder.

To make sure you receive all emails from Apparition Lit, please add us to your Safe Senders list in your email client.

POETRY

We are currently CLOSED

We are closed for poetry but will reopen between February 15-28 for poetry based on the SYMMETRY theme and follow our guidelines.


Cover art by Edith Silva

Poetry
Guidelines

Apparition Lit is open for poetry and short story submissions four times a year. 

  • February 15-28
    (March 1-7 BIPOC creators only)
  • May 15-31
    (June 1-7 BIPOC creators only)
  • August 15-31
    (September 1-7 BIPOC creators only)
  • November 15-30
    (December 1-7 BIPOC creators only)

Submissions received outside of posted open dates will be deleted unread.

Apparition Lit is seeking original, unpublished speculative poetry that meets our quarterly theme. These poems must have obvious fantasy or sci-fi elements that make it clear it this isn’t a literary poem that you stuck an ogre into.

We want poetry that is more than just formatting. Send us all types of poetry, including traditional forms.

Writers can include up to five (5) poems per submission.

Length:

There is no minimum length.

Each poem must be no longer than 2-pages in length.

We pay a flat fee of $50 per poem.

  1. We are now accepting submissions through Moksha. Please follow the guidelines below when submitting your work
    1. Include each poem as a separate page in one single document.
    2. You may submit up to five (5) poems in one file.
    3. Please only use Times New Roman or Arial font in your document
    4. Please include the name of one of your poems in the file name, i.e. TheBirds.rtf. This will make it easier for us to find the file as we read.
    5. Provide a brief cover letter that includes your full name, the titles of the poems, and any relevant publications. You do not need to include a synopsis of each piece.

All poetry acceptances and rejections will be emailed by the 15th day of the following month after submissions close. We currently do not have the available time or staff to provide personalized feedback on rejected submissions.

If you have not heard back by the 15th, send a query at: info@apparitionlit.com with the title of your submission. Before emailing, please check your spam folder.

To make sure you receive all emails from Apparition Lit, please add us to your Safe Senders list in your email client. 

FLASH FICTION

Currently OPEN

Open monthly between the 1st-14th to previously unpublished fiction under 1k words based on the monthly prompt.

Our 2023 Flash prompts are based on Reality Show Madness!

We definitely are not looking for fan fiction!

Each month we’ll have a different genre of reality show as a prompt. We’re looking for flash with a heavy addition of the speculative. Stories should be inspired by the genre/show type, but not fan fiction.

FebruaryPucker up and send us some smolder. We want Flash inspired by romance reality tv. Add some poison to the champagne, hide an amulet under the bed, and make your fangs shine

MONTHLY flash fiction
Challenge Guidelines

Submissions for Flash Fiction (pieces under 1k) will be accepted on the first 14 days of every month (For example, January Flash submissions will be accepted January 1-14). Stories must be based on the image prompt for that month. No rejections will be sent for flash submissions, and one winning story will be selected each month. After the selected writer is notified, their story will be posted in the 4th week of the month.

We want succinct speculative stories. Flex your writing muscles and send us flash fiction of 1k words or less.

Each month Apparition Lit holds a flash fiction contest. We’ll be looking for previously unpublished stories that are inspired by the monthly reality show prompt.  Flash fiction should be a complete story, not an excerpt of a larger work. If you aren’t sure how to write a flash piece, check out the write-up at Writer’s Digest.

For 2023 we chose to highlight the crazy circus of reality TV!

No Fan Fiction please! We encourage you to create a full story (under 1k words) inspired by these situations and genres. They should be inspired by the shows, but not fan fiction directly pulled from show personalities.

Flash pieces must be under 1k words, must be speculative and must meet the requirements of the selected prompt for the appropriate month.  

Length:

We will only accept stories 1000 words and under. This is a hard limit.

Apparition Lit is increasing the prize for the 2021 monthly flash fiction contest to $30 USD, to meet the minimum semi-pro payment.   If we accept your story, we are purchasing the right to publish the story online.

We are now accepting submissions through Moksha. Please follow the guidelines below when submitting your work:
  1. Format the story using the Shunn manuscript  — you do not need to include your physical address or phone number.
  2. Please only use Times New Roman or Arial font in your document.
  3. Name the file using the story title and your last name, i.e. THE SWAMP EXCHANGE_Barker. This helps us find your story in the submissions list.
  4. Provide a brief cover letter that includes your full name, the title of the short story, word count, and any relevant publications. Please do not include a synopsis.

The writer of the selected story will be notified and their story published on the 4th week of the month. Rejections will not be sent for the Flash Fiction contest.

Reality Show Madness! We are looking for flash in the vein of these reality shows with a heavy addition of the speculative. We are not looking for fan fiction though if you are very careful about filing off the serial numbers…

January – Antiques Roadshow/Pawn Stars

February – Inspired by Romance Reality TV (in the vein of (but not fan fiction of) Fboy Island/The Bachelor)

March – Taskmaster/Would I Lie to You?

April – Amazing Race/Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego

May – Great British Bake Off/Baking It/Cooking Shows

June – House Hunters/Love it or List It/Extreme Home Makeover/Flippers

July – Eurovision/Singing and Talent Competitions

August – Alone/Survivor/Naked and Afraid/The Nature of Things

September – Takeshi’s Castle/Hole in the Wall/Wipeout 

October – Paranormal Investigators/Ghost Hunters

November – Do your worst month (Canada’s Worst Handyman, America’s Ugliest House, Nailed It)

December – Terrace House/Big Brother/The Real World

Our Previous Themes

2022:

CHARM  (Published January 2022)

WANDERLUST (Published April 2022)

OMEN (Published July 2022)

NOSTALGIA (Published October 2022)

2021:

Justice (Published Jan 2021)

Chance (Published April 2021)

Contamination (Published July 2021)

Wonder (Published October 2021)

2020:

Experimentation (Published Jan 2020)

Transfiguration (Published April 2020)

Redemption (Published July 2020)

Satisfaction (Published October 2020)

2019:

Resistance (Published January 2019)

Ambition (Published April 2019)

Retribution (Published July 2019)

Euphoria (Published October 2019)

2018:

Apparition (Published January 2018)

Delusion (Published April 2018)

Vision (Published July 2018)

Diversion (Published October 2018)