Plants and speculative fiction have always gone hand in hand. From healers to invasive species to the literal grotesque, botanical beings in fiction refuse to be ignored. Whether your thumb is green and you name every houseplant you own, or whether the thought of pollen turns your nose red, we want to read your stories. We’re fairly sure that “Botanicals” can go in any direction—but we’re hoping to be frightened, or educated, or mystified. Sentient plants are especially welcome! (Issue 24)
This submission process will be partly anonymous. Submit work the usual way as instructed under “Fiction submissions” (submit queries to that address, as well). The First Reader will forward promising stories to the Editor in a new document with no identifying info.
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 — we prefer stories with experimental prose and structures.
Fiction submissions: Email submissions to submitlackingtons at gmail dot com. Include your name, the word count for your story, publication history, the country you live in, and the theme/issue you’re submitting to (see above). We don’t accept attachments (unless your formatting is experimental — in which case, please query first). Copy and paste your story into the body of your email and be sure the font isn’t too small or creative. 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.
Response time: We respond within 60 days (usually sooner or much sooner). If you don’t hear back about your story after 60 days, please query. Like most mags, we tend to shortlist, so stories we love and that are being considered for the Table of Contents will, alas, often be kept until after the submission period has closed (but still within the 60-day limit). We send automated replies when stories land in our in-box — don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you don’t receive one within 24 hours of submitting.
Reprints: We aren’t a reprint market, whether your story first appeared online, in print, or in audio format. We do, however, make exceptions for English-language work previously published outside Canada, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, U.K., and U.S. 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. 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, 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 also ask that authors submit no more than twice per 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 will send you a contract on acceptance of your story. 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 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; they use the lightest possible touch, respect the author’s taste on more subjective matters, and will not alter an author’s voice, ever.