Fiction… Thing

Okay, this isn’t an anthology (or a magazine or a webzine or anything like that), but it’s someone offering very decent money for fiction, so I’m posting it by itself.

The Machine Intelligence Research Institute (MIRI) wants to pay you to publish a story of yours, that they choose. No, really, they want to pay you to publish it, as in you publish it, on your web site or blog, and they’ll link to it from their blog and newsletter, and send (potentially a whole lot of) readers your way. (That’s not quite what their guidelines say; I had to e-mail for clarification.)

I’m posting this because they’re offering eight cents per word. As they do point out, posting a story in public on your blog or web site means first rights are gone; you can only sell the story to a third-party editor as a reprint afterwards, therefore the pro-plus rate they’re offering. Which is pretty cool of them.

It seems to me that an ideal situation would be that you’d have a story you planned to indie publish anyway, you subbed it to MIRI, they chose it, paid you eight cents per word to post it on your blog, and then you indie published it after — same thing you were going to do anyway, but with a nice wad of cash to start things off. And in any case, eight cents per word might well be worth giving up a chance at a sale to Analog.

Here’s what they have to say about it:


Deadline: 15 July 2017 — Intelligence in Fiction — MIRI

This call is intended to reward people who write thoughtful and compelling stories about artificial general intelligence, intelligence amplification [broken link], or the AI alignment problem. We’re looking to appreciate and publicize authors who help readers understand intelligence in the sense of general problem-solving ability, as opposed to thinking of intelligence as a parlor trick for memorizing digits of pi, and who help readers intuit that non-human minds can have all sorts of different non-human preferences [PDF link] while still possessing instrumental intelligence.

The winning stories are intended to show (rather than tell) these ideas to an intellectually curious audience. Conscious attempts to signal that the ideas are weird, wonky, exotic, or of merely academic interest are minuses. We’re looking for stories that just take these ideas as reality in the setting of the story and run with them. In all cases, the most important evaluation criterion will just be submissions’ quality as works of fiction; accurately conveying important ideas is no excuse for bad art!

To get a good sense of what we’re looking for, we recommend you read some or all of the following:

== Superintelligence
== Smarter Than Us
== Waitbutwhy post 1, Waitbutwhy post 2 (with caveats)

[I read the two Waitbutwhy posts when they first went up, and can say that they’re long but fascinating, and absolutely worth a read, especially if you’re an SF writer.]

Submission Details

== Purchasing First Publication Rights
== Pay Rate: 8c/word, up to 5000 words
== Multiple Submissions ok
== Simultaneous Submissions ok
== Submissions window: Open until July 15

Withdrawal policy:

After you submit a story, we prefer you don’t withdraw it. If you withdraw a story, we won’t consider any version of that story in the future. However, if you do need to withdraw a story (because, for example, you have sold exclusive rights elsewhere), please send an e-mail telling us that you need to withdraw ASAP.

Important Notes:

MIRI is neither a publishing house nor a science fiction magazine and cannot directly publish you. However, MIRI will help link a large number of readers to your story.

We frankly do not know whether being selected by MIRI will qualify as a Professional Sale for purposes of membership in the SFWA. We suspect, through readership numbers and payscale, that it will, but we have not spoken to the SFWA to clarify this.

If you have a work of hypertext fiction you think might be a good fit for this call, please query us to discuss how to submit it.

To submit a work, send your submissions as .DOC or .DOCX email attachments to, with your cover letter in the email body, and a subject line of SUBMISSION: (Title).

How to Contact Us:

To contact us for any reason, write to with the word QUERY: at the beginning of your subject line. Add a few words to the subject line to indicate what you’re querying about.

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Angela Benedetti lives in Seattle with her husband and a few thousand books. She loves romance for the happy endings, for the affirmation that everyone who's willing to fight for love deserves to get it and be happy with someone. She's best known for her Sentinel series of novels, the most recent of which is Captive Magic.