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:

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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 intelligenceprize@gmail.com, 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 intelligenceprize@gmail.com 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.

SF Anthology

Procyon Press is doing an SF anthology that recently upgraded its pay rate, so it now qualifies to go onto the listing. But it has a deadline of 31 March, so next month’s listing would come out kind of late for anyone who wanted to write a story for it, so I’m slipping this in, between times.

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Tayen Lane is currently reading submissions for our first annual Procyon Science Fiction Anthology. This collection will feature the works of writers from across the world and will span multiple sub-genres within the science fiction genre.

Send us your best and most memorable stories. We want work that fascinates, provokes, intrigues.

Writer guidelines:

Submissions are open to writers from all countries; however, the submissions must be in English. The maximum word length of a submission is 7,000 words. Submissions must be unpublished. Please submit short stories as a Microsoft Word document (or PDF), double-spaced and in 12-pt font to scifi2016@tayenlane.com.

Submissions will remain open until 11:59pm PST, Thursday, March 31, 2016. The anthology is edited by Jeanne Thornton and will be published in hardcover in FALL 2016 with subsequent softcover and eBook editions to follow. All chosen contributors will receive $100, two hardcovers, two softcovers, and an eBook. Writers will maintain ownership of all copyrighted material.

Anthology Acceptance

I got a note from Corie Weaver, editor of The Young Explorer’s Adventure Guide, saying they want the story I subbed to them. This is pretty awesome — it’s my first pro sale to someone I haven’t met face-to-face, fourth all together.

The publisher, Dreaming Robot, is going to be running a crowdfunding campaign starting on 1 August to raise the money to pay their writers the pro rates they’re offering. Normally this would be a red flag for me — not a scammer-type red flag, but an “Is this worth the time and hassle for something that might not work out?” kind of red flag. But their web site says:

If the crowd-funding fails, please note that we are still committed to this anthology, and will find other ways to fund the project. However, there may be delays. If authors feel the need to withdraw their submission due to delays, we understand.

And the sample contract sent with the acceptance letter states:

In the event that The Anthology has not been published within twelve (12) months of signing of this agreement, all rights revert to The Author, and The Author has the right to sell or arrange for publication of The Work in any manner.

So the editorial team plans to be cool about people withdrawing because of delays, and if they get hit by a bus and their sociopathic cousin takes over ownership of the project and its contracted works, the contract still protects us from unreasonable delay. I’m satisfied with the situation.

They’re taking subs through 31 August, if you’re into YA SF. It’d be cool to be in an antho with some of my blog buds. 🙂

Angie

PS — I had to dig the original acceptance letter out of my spam folder. :/ Always-always check before you delete!

More Info on Women Destroy Fantasy

Cat was at the workshop with me this last week and a half, and posted a follow-up to what she is and isn’t looking for in her special issue of Lightspeed, using some of the concepts the editors at the workshop used while going over 250 stories subbed for 6 anthologies.

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I was just at a Kristine Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith workshop where people were using the idea of reader “cookies” and “anti-cookies”, things that delight or turn-off a specific editor, increasing or decreasing the appeal of a story when they’re considering it.

So I’ll be open to submissions from March 15 through March 31 for the Women Destroying Fantasy issue. Here are some of my wants and a couple of things that will turn me off.

== I want fantasy that showcases the amazing emotional range of the genre and the spectrum of forms it can take.

== I’ll want at least one tearjerker and one humorous piece.

== I’ll want something that draws on fairytale or myth, but which does so in an amazing, interesting, and fresh way, and I’m hoping to find something that feels urban fantasy-ish as well, also in a fresh and interesting way.

== Fantasy that often hits well with me: superheroes, non-cutesy talking animals, linguistic-related, the weird.

== I like language: make yours wonderful, but never at the cost of the story.

== Your character should make me care about their fate (and for this issue, probably a female protagonist is, quite frankly, probably going to be a better fit).

== I’ll want at least one piece with an utterly amazing landscape, that immerses me in a fantasy world that delights my heart.

== Diversity does matter to me. It doesn’t trump quality, but when you’re going to be up against the very best, score your points where you can.

I don’t want retellings of D&D adventures. Or pirates. I really don’t like pirates (got exposed to an awful lot of fantasy pirate stories while at Fantasy Magazine) and I’m not particularly fond of zombies. Typos are another big turn-off: proofread your work.

This is not a time to go for the low-hanging fruit or play it safe. I have four, count ‘em, four slots. Send me something — but make it the very best you have, something that is unique to your voice, something that you and only you could write.

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This is going ot be a great issue — best of luck to all the women who read my blog and choose to sub for it. 🙂

Angie

Women Destroy Fantasy!

Hey, all! This one can’t wait for next month’s anthology post because the submission window is tight.

Cat Rambo is guest editing a special Women Destroy Fantasy issue of Lightspeed Magazine.

WOMEN DESTROY FANTASY! will be a special one-off, guest-edited by former Fantasy Magazine editor Cat Rambo. The issue will contain 8 pieces of fiction (twice the size of a regular issue of an issue of Fantasy back before it was merged into Lightspeed), consisting of 4 original stories and 4 reprints. Cat Rambo will select all 4 of the original stories, and long-time editor of the fantasy half of The Year’s Best Fantasy & Horror, Terri Windling, will select the 4 fantasy reprints. Everything submitted to the Women Destroy Fantasy! issue will also be considered for publication in Lightspeed.

== Who can submit stories for consideration for the special issue? Women.

== How do you define “woman”? A woman is any human being who identifies as one, to whatever degree that they do so.

== What can women submit? Fantasy short stories, 1500-7500 words. Dark fantasy (which normally would be OK to submit to Nightmare, should go here instead for this issue).

== When is the submissions period? Submissions open March 15, 2014, and will close at 11:59:59 p.m. Eastern on March 31, 2014.

== What rights will you be buying? Please see the Lightspeed standard contract templates (Originals | Reprints) for details; this issue will use that same contract template.

== Pay rate? 8 cents/word.

== Response time? Up to 45 days

== Note: Stories submitted to the Women Destroy Fantasy! special issue will also be considered regular issues of Lightspeed as well, if they are not selected for the special issue.

== When will the issue be published? October 2014.

== How do I submit? Submit via the following submissions portal: Women Destroy Fantasy submissions

== What the heck is this about? What do you mean by “destroy”? Read this and just substitute “fantasy” any time it says “science fiction” (more or less).

Sounds like a fun issue.

Angie