The Fabulist accepts submissions of short fiction, poetry, visual art, and nonfiction by invitation only or during periodic open calls.
Links, guidelines and policies (including our evaluation process, nondiscrimination statement, payment, anonymized submissions, AI, and more) for fiction, poetry and visual art are below.
You can get notifications for our current open calls via our email newsletter, Twitter feed, and Facebook page.
Current Open Calls
From October 2022 through April 2023, The Fabulist will be opening a new series of brief, monthly submissions windows for short, fantastical fiction of all sorts. Learn more.
April 2-8: It’s on! All fantastical fiction welcome. Special thematic interests: Ecology, solarpunk & anti-dystopianism.
• Please review our Fiction Guidelines for details on word count, what we’re looking for, hard sells, and hard limits, plus comments on the art and craft of writing.
• Please review our Submissions & Publishing Policies for details on publishing rights, nondiscrimination, evaluation, simultaneous submissions, AI, and why we never charge reading fees.
How to submit your work
Short fiction can only be submitted via Submittable during open submissions windows, using the linked button at the end of the following Fiction Guidelines.
The Fabulist seeks short (up to 3,000 words) works of fantastical and speculative fiction, which we define expansively. Surprise us! We do love science fiction, fantasy, intelligent horror, speculative fiction, literary fabulism, magic realism, mythic/folkloric works, near-future speculations, solarpunk/cli-fi, hopepunk, and genre subversions (crime, mystery, romance, westerns, thrillers, sea adventures, gothic, and quasi-realist works) that are anchored by some element of the fantastic.
Please review The Fabulist’s short-fiction archives, to get a sense of the sort of work we’ve published so far. We’re always looking to expand our horizons, but knowing where we’re coming from helps.
• Great writing (attention to sentence construction, an awareness of the poetry inherent in prose)
• Vivid settings that influence and engage the plot and character arcs
• Revelations of the self and the world we live in
• Sensitivity and alertness to the significant issues of our times
• Endings that are not punchlines
• Sublimated (or overt) misogyny/racism/bigotry played out in wretched attempts at literary sophistication
• AI fiction — no prompts, no collaboration, no AI-generated fiction of any sort, flavor or influence. Any works we have already published that are discovered to have been AI-generated or prompted in any way will be removed from our site. Read more about our AI policy.
Please Think Twice, We’ve Really Seen Quite Enough Of
• Zombies, zombie apocalypse
• Virtual-reality visitations with the beloved deceased
• Mundane fantasies of revenge, sex, financial and business success, etc.
• “Another Friday Night at the Elftown Police Station” — or really anything that takes fantastical archetypes or plot devices and vernacularizes them: drinking hard liquor and shit-talking with a primal entity (Death, Cupid, Santa, Time), for example, or an all-powerful god with an ordinary mortal name and ordinary mortal foibles, etc.
• “And then she/he/they woke up” (which includes not just it-was-all-a-dream but also we’re-all-living-in-a-giant-simulation)
• Suicide and self-harm (we realize this stuff is real and we write to deal with it, just saying that successfully deploying it as a trope in the fantastical fiction we run is very, very difficult to pull off)
That said … surprise us. If you feel you’ve written a truly original, compelling take on any of these genre cliches, we’re glad to check it out.
Shunn format works, though if it’s a hassle to get your text editor to comply, what’s most important is that your ms. is double spaced, uses simple serif fonts, and has NO IDENTIFYING DETAILS — we read each submission anonymized.
Poetry submissions are at this time by invitation only.
View The Fabulist’s poetry archives.
There is no current open call for visual art.
The Fabulist publishes art with a fantastical inclination, and welcomes flavors of the absurd, surreal, magic realist, and strange/bizarre. Artworks can invoke dreams, fantasy and science fiction, myth, folklore/fairy-stories, and comics; and can explore symbolism, human nature, identity, horror, mystery and the unknown/unknowable. Regardless of the foregoing, some fantastical element is what makes the difference.
View The Fabulist’s visual-art archives.
Nonfiction submissions (reviews, essays, articles, interviews) are at this time by invitation only.
View The Fabulist’s nonfiction archives.
Submissions & Publishing Policies
• We pay a flat $25 honorarium upon publication
• We never charge reading fees — here’s why
• No AI text generation of any sort — read more
• No simultaneous submissions for the first 30 days following submission
• Please anonymize your fiction submissions
• Submissions are only accepted through Submittable during open calls, or by invitation of the editors
• Do not email your submission; your email will be deleted and you will not receive a response
See below for full details.
Statement on Non-Discrimination
Submissions are welcome and encouraged from contributors regardless of ethnicity, faith, continental ancestry, national origin, gender, sexuality, academic achievement, or lack thereof. Please do not feel constrained; we are honored that you would consider The Fabulist, and thank you for the opportunity to review your work.
Fabulist Magazine submissions must have all identifying details removed from the manuscript. Submissions that do not meet this will be automatically declined, though the author will be invited to re-submit an anonymized text in subsequent windows.
Our Submittable form is designed so that slush and second readers will only see the manuscript and title; author identification will only be revealed at acceptance.
Simultaneous & Multiple Submissions
Please, no simultaneous submissions for the first 30 days following submission; after that point, submit elsewhere if you wish, but please let us know right away if your work is accepted elsewhere.
Please, only one submission at a time.
Evaluation Process & Response Time
Though we are attempting to respond to all submissions within 30 days, manuscripts are reviewed by committee through several evaluation phases that could take several months or more.
If you have submitted using Submittable or, previously, Green Submissions, and haven’t received a decision after six months (or more), feel free to send a letter to the editors for a status check.
We shouldn’t have to say this, but, please: No phone calls, no text messages, ever. Please use the contact forms in our Submittable system, which logs each correspondence and prevents messages from going astray.
Rights, Fees & Publishing Details
At this time we pay a flat $25 honorarium to all contributors.
The Fabulist requests first serial rights for 6 (six) months; non-exclusive electronic archival rights on our website in perpetuity and in quarterly ebook anthologies; and an option on print and audio rights, to be negotiated separately. Authors, poets and artists are otherwise the exclusive owners of their work.