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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 a 1000 words and be inspired or based on the chosen theme. Full details for submission guidelines are below.

Payment

Apparition is a semi-pro rate magazine, paying $0.03 per word, minimum of $30.00 dollars for short stories and a flat fee of $30 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 marginalized writers like to submit to. Voices should be heard and we want to help increase that opportunity.

We will accept simultaneous submissions from writers who identify as BIPOC or LGBTQIA+. Please just note that in your cover letter, that it is a simultaneous submission, and see further details in the menu above 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.

What We’re Looking For

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.

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, or unsolicited interviews or reviews. 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 with graphic files or images will be deleted unread.

Our Themes & Reading Periods – 2021:

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

JUSTICE (Submission period: November 15-30, 2020 CURRENTLY OPEN – Publishing January 2021)

CHANCE (Submission period: February 15-29, 2021 CURRENTLY CLOSED – Publishing April 2021)

CONTAMINATION (Submission period: May 15-31, 2021 CURRENTLY CLOSED – Publishing July 2021)

WONDER (Submission period: August 15-31, 2020 CURRENTLY CLOSED – Publishing October 2021)

Countdown to next Quarterly Open Submission Period - November 15 - 30th

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SHORT FICTION

Currently OPEN

Open quarterly to short fiction between 1k – 5k words.

Cover art by Erion Makuo

short fiction
Guidelines

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

  • February 15-28
  • May 15-31
  • August 15-31
  • November 15-30

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

We will only accept 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, or incorrectly formatted, will automatically be rejected.

Apparition is a semi-pro magazine, paying $0.03 per word, a minimum of 30.00 dollars (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.

  1. Format the story using the Shunn manuscript
  2. Please only use Times New Roman or Arial font in your document
  3. Save as an RTF file and attach to an email
  4. In the text of the email, provide a brief cover letter that includes your name, the title of the short story, word count, and any relevant publications
  5. Edit the email’s subject line so it reads: SUBMISSION: Title of Your Story
  6. Email your formatted email and short story manuscript to submissions@apparitionlit.com
  7. Add Apparition Lit to your Safe Senders list so you can receive our auto-response emails

All acceptances and rejections will be emailed by the 15th day of the following month after submissions close.

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

Currently OPEN

Open quarterly to a maximum of 5 poems per submission.

Poetry
Guidelines

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

  • February 15-28
  • May 15-31
  • August 15-31
  • November 15-30

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 $30 per poem.

  1. Include each poem as a separate page in a 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. Save as an RTF file and attach to an email. (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. In the text of the email, provide a brief cover letter that includes your name, the titles of the poems, how the poems match the theme, and any relevant publications
  6. Edit the email’s subject line so it reads: POETRY SUBMISSION: Titles
  7. Email your poetry to submissions@apparitionlit.com
  8. Add Apparition Lit to your Safe Senders list so you can receive our auto-response emails.

All poetry acceptances and rejections will be emailed by the 15th day of the following month after submissions close.

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 CLOSED

Open monthly between the 1st-15th to fiction under 1k words.

MONTHLY flash fiction
Challenge Guidelines

Submissions for Flash Fiction (pieces under 1k) will be accepted on the first 15 days of every month (For example, January Flash submissions will be accepted January 1-15). 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 reflect the artwork we’ve chosen for each month.  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 2020, we wanted to offer some visual inspiration every month. Ekphrastic writing is almost as old as story itself. A descriptive work of prose written to highlight the vividness and story of what is happening, or what is shown, in the piece of art itself. We wanted to highlight female artists, past and present, and found artwork from some of our favorites to inspire your imagination.

For 2021 we chose some historical badasses. We are inspired by these people and want to read stories they inspire for you. Some of these figures you may not have heard of, and some may be familiar to you, but they all were warriors, either on the literal battlefield or in everyday life.

Flash pieces must be under 1k words, must be speculative and must meet the requirements of the selected test 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 monthly flash fiction contest to $10 USD, to meet the minimum semi-pro payment.   If we accept your story, we are purchasing the right to publish the story online.

  1. Format the story using the Shunn manuscript
  2. Please only use Times New Roman or Arial font in your document
  3. Save as an RTF file and attach to the Form Submission below
  4. In the text of the email, provide a brief cover letter that only includes your name, the title of the flash, word count, and any relevant publications
  5. Edit the subject line so it reads: FLASH SUBMISSION: Title of Your Story
  6. Email your flash piece to submissions@apparitionlit.com
  7. Add Apparition Lit to your Safe Senders list so you can receive our auto-response emails.

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.

Check out our monthly artwork inspiration (right click the image to open in a new tab for a larger view):
January: Spiral Woman by Louise Bourgeois


February: Dead Leaves by Remedios Varo


March: Bird Bath by Leonora Carrington


April: The Fish Harvest at Dawn by Anita Magsaysay Ho


May: Migrants No Entry by Chinwe Ifeoma Chukwuogo-Ro


June: Conqueror by Tamara Natalie Madden


July: Chadar aur Chardiwari II by Laila Shahzada


August: From Mother Earth Flows the River of Life by Daphne Odjig


September: Portrait de famille (Family Portrait) by Dorothea Tanning


October: Shawl Dancers by Ruthe Blalock Jones


NovemberMargaret Nazon: Milky Way Starry Night. (Celestial beadwork collection of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre; image via
Glenbow.)

December: Venice by Leonor Fini

Check out our monthly artwork inspiration (right click the image to open in a new tab for a larger view):

January: Yaa Asantewaa


 

February: Mary Shadd Cary


March: The Night Witches


April: Stephanie St. Clair


May: Osh-Tisch


June: Hedy Lamarr


July: Uda Devi


August: Lozen


September: Artemisia I of Caria


October: Ching Shih


November: Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler


December: Zelia Nuttall

Our Previous Themes

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)