Science Fiction & Fantasy

Clarion Writers Workshop


Writers’ Guidelines

Lightspeed is currently CLOSED to general submissions. We’re not sure yet when we’ll reopen to general submissions, so please don’t query us about that; we’ll update this page when we do know.

Lightspeed is currently OPEN to submissions for our Queers Destroy Science Fiction! special issue. QDSF submissions must be submitted through our Queers Destroy Science Fiction submission portal. Some specific guidelines for submitting appear on the submission portal page. Otherwise please abide by the standard Lightspeed guidelines when submitting.

Instructions for submitting to Lightspeed follow. Please read everything on this page and read the magazine before submitting.

Submission Procedures

All fiction must be submitted through our Moksha online submission system, located at Please do not email your submissions.

Our submissions form asks for your name, email address, cover letter, story title, and story. Your cover letter should contain the length of your story, your publishing history, and any other relevant information (e.g, if you send us a hard sf story about black hole clusters and your doctoral dissertation was on black hole clusters, mention that).

All stories should more or less be in standard manuscript format and can be submitted in either .RTF or .DOC format. Use our Contact Us form for all fiction-related inquiries, or if you have any trouble using our online submission system. After you have submitted your story, a tracking number will be displayed and an automated email confirmation containing this information will be sent to you. If you have not received this use our Contact Us form to let us know. Your tracking number will allow you to monitor the status of your submission through our website, so please make note of it.

Guidelines for Original Fiction

Lightspeed is seeking original science fiction and fantasy stories of 1500-7500 words. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred. We pay 8¢/word for original fiction, on acceptance. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction.

All types of science fiction and fantasy are welcome. No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope.

We believe that the science fiction/fantasy genre’s diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that viewpoint to be reflected in our story content and our submission queues; we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

Guidelines for Reprints

Lightspeed publishes four reprints each month (two fantasy, two science fiction), but it is primarily a market for original fiction; a majority of our reprints will be directly solicited, but you may submit a reprint for consideration if you wish.

For reprints, we are offering 2¢/word, on acceptance. However, we are only interested in considering stories for reprint that are not currently available online in any form. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for reprinted fiction.

Guidelines for Novellas (Ebook-Exclusive Content)

As of January 2012, Lightspeed publishes a novella-length reprint in each issue as an ebook-exclusive (i.e., it will appear only in our ebook edition, not on our website).

For novella reprints, we are offering 1¢/word, on acceptance. As we’ll only be using 12 novellas a year, all of these will be directly solicited and we are not open to submissions in this area. If you’re an author we have solicited and/or published in the past, however, feel free to query.


We welcome the submission of translations of stories from other languages. Stories that have never before been published in the English language would be considered “original,” and thus would receive the pay rate for original fiction described above.

Rejections & Response Times

Be aware that we receive several hundred submissions every month during our submissions periods. As such, we cannot offer personalized feedback on each story. If we say, “send more,” however, it does mean that we hope to see something else from you. Most rejections will be sent out within two business days, while stories being seriously considered may be held for up to two weeks.

Please do not respond to rejection letters, even just to say “Thanks for the quick turnaround” etc. We appreciate the thought, but it is unnecessary and will just clutter up our editorial inbox.


Stories should be science fiction or fantasy, and between 1500 and 7500 words long. Stories of 5000 words or less are preferred.

Payment for original fiction is 8¢/word, on acceptance. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction.

Payment for reprinted fiction is 2¢/word, on acceptance. To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for reprinted fiction.

Additional Notes

Sexual themes and stories with strong sexual content are acceptable, but Lightspeed is not a market for erotica. If in doubt, feel free to send your story in and let our editors decide.

Lightspeed is not a market for media-based fiction (i.e., stories set in the Star Wars or Star Trek universes, etc.), or any kind of fan fiction.

Lightspeed is not a market for poetry.

We do not accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions.

If you’re not sure if your story is suitable, don’t query; please just go ahead and submit it and let our editors decide.

If editor John Joseph Adams has previously rejected your story, please do not submit it to Lightspeed, unless it was rejected as being unsuitable for the market (due to theme, etc.) or unless it has been significantly revised to the extent that it is no longer the same story.

You may not submit another story for a period of seven days after receiving a rejection.

Lightspeed is a SFWA-qualifying professional market.

Guidelines for Nonfiction

All of our nonfiction is currently assigned in-house. We are not open to submissions or queries in this area.

Guidelines for Publishers and Publicists for Review Copies

We will be launching a book review series starting in early 2015. If you would like information about how to submit books for review, you may send review copies to editor John Joseph Adams at the mailing address your publicity department likely already has on file (either for Lightspeed, Nightmare, or The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy); if you need that information, please send an email query to [email protected]

Guidelines for Art

If you wish to have your art considered for Lightspeed Magazine (either science fiction or fantasy), please send an inquiry, along with a link to an online gallery (if possible), to [email protected] Please note that we only use 12 covers per year, and we only purchase pre-existing pieces of art; we do not commission original art for covers. We do occasionally commission original art for some of the fiction we publish.