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First things first: read a few stories on Sci-Fi Shorts! This is the best way to understand what we’re looking for. We have several free ones you can read on the homepage as well as a free ebook you can download.


Although we encourage you to subscribe and participate in our community, you do not have to be a subscriber to submit. You must, however, create a free site account. This cuts down on spam submissions and ensures you can join the writing team if your submission is chosen for publication.

When it comes to writing for publication, we refer every writer to three books:

  1. “The Elements of Style”, Strunk & White

  2. “On Writing”, Stephen King

  3. A grammar text. Here are two online resources for this:



  1. Your submission must be original SCIENCE FICTION. No rants or agendas disguised as Sci-Fi. No fan fiction (legally we can't publish it). We do not accept serialized fiction or stories in multiple parts at this time. Each story must stand alone. We only accept previously unpublished work.

  2. We do not publish any erotica, graphic, or obscene material. Leave the harsh profanity for other publications. Keep it classy.

  3. Your story must be 1,000 words or fewer (not including the title and subtitle). Submissions over 1,000 words will be rejected.

  4. Formatting / Style. Follow these rules:

    • If pasting your story from another editor, use your browser's "paste and match style" command to retain formatting, but make sure it adheres to the following:

    • Use a blank line between every paragraph, no matter how short.

    • For separators, use three asterisks spaced and centered * * * with a blank line above and below.

    • Titles should have the first letters of all words capitalized. Some exceptions can be “And”, “An”, and “The”.

    • DO NOT include any other information (like title, subtitle, author name or "THE END" in the body of the story. Use the appropriate fields for this information.

    • Subtitles should have only the first word capitalized (unless that breaks the other rules) and avoid punctuation unless it’s essential.

    • 1,000 words is a hard rule. In order to make sure it’s consistently observed, there should be either a space or a paragraph between every two words. An ellipsis should have a space or quotation mark [thus… ] or [ …thus]; a dash in place of a conjunction should have spaces around it — like that one did [ — ]. Compound words are the only exceptions. A dash ending a line should look like—

    • Because of this space limit, complex numbers should not be spelled out but simple ones should. “Nine” and “a hundred” are simple; “26,283.7” is complex.

    • If you use dialect, don’t be heavy-handed; it should still be easy to read.

    • Repetition should be avoided unless it’s done for a purpose. Use synonyms. A spaceship can be called a ship, a vessel, a starship, and so on. The exception is attributions; use “(s)he said” as often as once per paragraph.

  5. Include a meaningful subtitle. Don’t waste your chance with something like, “A 1,000-word flash fiction story.” Make it good. The best subtitles speak to the theme of the story. If it fits, it’s always great to use a line from your story as the subtitle.

  6. Poor writing will be rejected. Make your story clear and entertaining.

  7. Your submission may have minor errors or format corrected before publishing.  More likely, it'll be sent back for revisions.  Most go through three to four rounds of edits before they're ready for publication.

  8. You will not be able to make changes to your story once it has been submitted. Before you submit, please run your story through a free editor like Hemingway. If you are serious about writing, we recommend robust self-editing tools like Grammarly, or ProWritingAid. Once you've edited your piece as best you can, it's always a good idea to run your story by some other writers and editors on the official Sci-Fi Shorts Discord channel.

  9. Sci-Fi Shorts provides all artwork for stories. If you have an idea for an image you think conveys the heart of your story, let us know in the Notes To Editor when you submit.

  10. We pay writers every quarter by splitting the subscription pool among all the writers we publish, calculated by month. If you are curious about how we pay, please be sure to review the details on the get paid to write page.

  11. By submitting, you are agreeing to the author rights and publishing agreement.

  12. No multiple submissions (several stories at once) and no simultaneous submissions (also submitted to other publications). Once your story has a status (other than 'In Review'), you may submit another. We will NOT notify you regarding your submission. However, you may check the status page for real-time updates regarding your submission. Do not spam us with submissions or we will reject them en masse.

  13. This brings us to the ultimate rule: Don’t Argue. Editors are only human; they are not always right. However, unlike writers, editors get precious little credit and no thanks at all. The purpose of their existence is to make your work better, and they never have enough time to do all they have to, much less discuss every edit with every writer. Thus, when an editor suggests a change that you don’t like – and they will – the proper response is to either make the change or take your work elsewhere.

All good? If so, submit your story here.

Last updated 10/28/23

Submission Guidelines

What you need to know to write for Sci-Fi Shorts

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