Lackington’s wants to read your “Birds” tales. Do you have a story about soaring through the sky, about harbingers or omens, about feathered folk or folktale fodder? Birds are possibly the creatures we see most often day to day—we certainly tend to hear them. Help us put together an issue that demonstrates their range, colour, character, and wit, whether they preen themselves on Earth or someplace you’ve created. (Issue 20)
Lackington’s publishes speculative fiction between 1,500 – 5,000 words in length. The “spec” element can be overt or subtle (so blow us away with realism if it possesses the merest twinge of strangeness). Fantasy, SF, slipstream, post-apocalyptic, magic realism, mythopoeia, folktale, grimdark, weird, or any flavour of ‘punk, it’s all good, BUT WAIT! Read this before submitting — meeting our style preference is our foremost demand. We prefer stories with experimental prose and structures, but second-person POV narratives have become a hard sell at Lackington’s simply because we see so many.
Submission window: We rely on rolling submissions, which means we close for submissions once our Table of Contents is full or near-to-full. We don’t post deadlines, but we do make announcements on Twitter when we’re a week or two off from closing. Submission windows are usually open 8-12 weeks but there’s no guarantee, so get your tales in sooner than later.
Fiction submissions: Email submissions to submitlackingtons at gmail dot com. Your email must include the word count for your story, byline, publication history, the country you live in, and the theme/issue you’re submitting to (see above). We don’t accept attachments. Copy and paste your story into the body of your email, below your cover letter, and be sure the font isn’t too small or creative (clear, readable text is the way to our hearts). It should go without saying that paragraph breaks must be obvious, and work must be polished. Type SUBMISSION: [THEME] [YOUR TITLE] in the subject line of your message. If we accept your story, we’ll ask for a Word doc in standard manuscript format. We love getting work from authors we’ve published before, but to keep things varied we ask those authors to target every third issue or more. We have a very small staff and a very large number of submissions, so alas we can’t offer feedback on stories.
Reprints: We aren’t a reprint market but make exceptions for English-language work previously published outside Canada, U.S., British Isles, Australia, and New Zealand. Be sure to read your contract carefully before submitting previously published work to ensure that you have the right to resell and we have the right to republish. You MUST indicate that your work has been previously published in your submission email, and let us know where and how long ago. Our reprint rates are the same as our rates for original fiction (see below). Please note that we consider work sold to readers through Patreon or crowdfunding drives to be previously published.
Translations: We very much welcome new English translations of stories that were previously published (or not) in another language, anywhere in the world. Please clearly indicate the names of both the translator and original author, and include the story’s publication history, if any.
Art submissions: We commission artwork for each story, so don’t send us individual pieces for consideration. Rather, email us a link to your online portfolio, with cover letter, and if we think your style is a good fit for Lackington’s, we’ll ask if you’re willing to illustrate a specific tale when an opportunity comes up. Please email your portfolio to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Simultaneous and multiple submissions: No and no. We respond within 60 days or sooner, and we ask that authors submit no more than twice a reading period.
Poems, plays, flashlings?: We’re only interested in short stories. However, stories that experiment with structure are especially welcome–we love works that incorporate elements from poetic or dramatic forms.
Payment: We pay 1 cent CAD per word for stories ($25 CAD minimum), $25 CAD for interior illustrations, and $40 CAD for cover art. We do so using PayPal, and payment will be made before your story goes to print. Be sure to read our legalese, below, about what “first rights” entails.
Legalese: We buy first world electronic and print rights, which means we have exclusive rights to your work leading up to the date of publication and, in the case of stories, for 90 days thereafter (art may be reprinted or resold any time after we publish it). We also purchase reprint rights, which means that we have permission to reprint the work we bought from you in any future anthologies. Authors may publish a teaser of 200 words or less to promote their upcoming release. Illustrations, however, don’t break down that way, so artists must refrain from publishing/posting anything we buy from them until after we have unveiled the work in Lackington’s (“exclusive first rights” means just that). After 90 days post-publication, stories may be reproduced or anthologized in their entirety elsewhere, electronically or in print; we ask, however, that contributors or future editors note that the work originally appeared in Lackington’s. We reserve the right to reproduce purchased work in our online and print promotional materials (e.g. masthead, bookmarks).
Production: We have a professional editor on staff, so expect some minor nips and tucks (they correct typos and awkward/unclear sentences, and ensure that author style is consistent throughout each story). If the editor has questions, or suggestions for broader changes, we always contact the author for approval before going to print. Please trust the editor, who’s been doing this for a long time. They will use the lightest possible touch, respect the author’s taste on more subjective matters, and will not alter an author’s overall voice, ever. We hope contributors will consider editor feedback as a service rather than a slight — Lackington’s would not have accepted your work if we didn’t already admire it six ways to Sunday.