Radical Writing Markets

Let’s say you’re a politically-radical writer and you’re looking to get published. Sure, we’re a publisher. You could, theoretically, send your stuff to us. But we’re not the only game in town, and honestly it’s pretty likely we’re not whom you’d like to submit your work to. We’re awesome, don’t get me wrong, but we aren’t going to be paying out much of anything in the way of royalties, and there’s really only a limited chunk of stuff we’re interested in. But we want you to get published! We want more radical writers writing more radical stuff! So, to that end, we’ve compiled this running list of writing markets appropriate for radical authors.

Anyhow, with minimal further ado, here’s the list.

Last updated 3/22/15
Most markets are only open for submissions from time to time, so please check before submitting. This information is composed of our best guesses with what information we had available. Accuracy not guaranteed. Report inaccuracies and omissions to strangers@riseup.net.

Short Nonfiction, Literature, & Genre Fiction

Pro-Rate

Semi-Pro & Token

For the Rev (or exposure or whatever)

Book Publishers

Poetry

Advice for getting accepted

When you submit your work to a publisher, it goes into their “slush pile.” Finding publishable materials in a slush pile is like finding edible food in the compost–there’s an awful lot of rot in there. If you want your work to be seriously considered (and ideally, accepted), there are a few simple rules:

  • actually read their submission guidelines, and follow them to the letter
  • have a decent idea of what the publisher does and doesn’t publish
  • make sure your writing is grammatically sound
  • bonus points: if you don’t know the specific gender preference of the person(s) reading your submission, don’t open your cover letter with “dear sirs”

Rationale of this list’s organization and definition of terms

Genre Fiction is fiction that falls under one of the “genres” like fantasy, science fiction, mystery, romance, horror, et cetera. (“Speculative fiction” is a broad term that includes most of the genres that don’t take place in the “real world.” “Secondary world” refers to fiction set in an alternate universe, rather than in our past, present, or future.) Genre fiction is separated out as distinct from other literature because of the way that the publishing industry works, not because it is actually lowlier (or more noble) than “literature” proper. Genre fiction markets tend to pay better (and disclose their pay rates) and all legitimate genre fiction markets obey Yog’s Law: “Money flows toward the writer.” Which is to say, you never pay to submit your genre fiction to publishers or agents. Genre fiction markets tend to be better paid because authors are considered working writers and are treated with the respect that entails.

Literature in the context of this list is fiction set in the “real world” that isn’t a mystery or romance or horror story or whatever. Literature is separated out from “genre fiction” primarily by the publishing industry. Literature markets tend to not pay, or to pay less, and many charge authors a “reading fee” in order to submit. This is exploitative, from the genre fiction writer’s point of view. Literature markets tend not to disclose their pay rates (keeping workers from knowing what one another are paid is part of how exploitative labor practices are perpetuated). Ironically, literature markets tend to take themselves more seriously.

Nonfiction: Most markets included here are looking for regular nonfiction, including essays, theory, history, et cetera. Some might be open to “narrative nonfiction” which is, roughly, literature-but-true.

Pro-Rate Markets pay six cents a word or more. These are not necessarily “anarchist” or explicitly radical markets, but they are markets that are known to be friendly to radical work.

Semi-Pro and Token markets are ones that pay you more than nothing (contributors copies and exposure both count as “nothing,” by the way). Our bar for radicalness for these markets is slightly higher than it is for pro-rate markets, but not a ton higher.

For the Rev (or exposure or whatever) markets are ones that don’t pay you in more than ephemera like “pride in having been published” and “exposure” and “your words influencing our culture” and “contributors copies.” Corresponding to this lack of remuneration, the “how radical are you” bar for inclusion in our list is higher. But considering that our readers are likely of various political persuasions within radical left-and-post-left politics, we aim to include a diverse range of radical markets. Find the one that you tend to agree with the content of. Also we sometimes include random other markets we think are cool that are open to radical writers but aren’t explicitly radical.

A note on getting paid for writing: in radical circles, we tend not to pay or get paid for things. But in the world of writing, things look a little different. We live in a capitalist society. If the press doesn’t specifically share your values (and aren’t paying themselves with your work!) then they should probably pay you.

Book Publishers: For book-length work, we’re just including radical presses. If you want to publish with one of the big book publishers, go for it! Many of them (at least genre fiction publishers) are plenty open to radical ideas.

Poetry: The maintainer of this list is not incredibly well-versed in poetry markets, and the markets included were largely based on recommendations.

Radical: Our idea of “radical” for this list is very heavily weighted towards anarchism, but tends to include non-denominational intersectional/anti-oppression politics as well, as it is our experience that those people are quite receptive to publishing anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist works.

4 thoughts on “Radical Writing Markets”

  1. Here’s a speculative fiction market. Due to the funders’ stipulations, most writers need to be from Canada. The Submittable link can be found on my website.

    “Usually at least once in a person’s childhood we lose an object that at the time is invaluable and irreplaceable to us, although it is worthless to others. Many people remember that lost article for the rest of their lives. Whether it was a lucky pocketknife, a transparent plastic bracelet given to you by your father, a toy you had longed for and never expected to receive, but there it was under the tree on Christmas… it makes no difference what it was. If we describe it to others and explain why it was so important, even those who love us smile indulgently because to them it sounds like a trivial thing to lose. Kid stuff. But it is not. Those who forget about this object have lost a valuable, perhaps even crucial memory. Because something central to our younger self resided in that thing. When we lost it, for whatever reason, a part of us shifted permanently.”
    Jonathan Carroll

    Editors: Colleen Anderson and Ursula Pflug

    GUIDELINES: Our childhood toys embodied our emotions. We just knew our favourite doll loved us, and that our toy soldier was as brave as we would be if given the chance. A child easily attributes magical powers, personality or secrets to a coloured stone or a twisted stick, but don’t we continue to do so as adults, just in different ways? Certain objects accrue power from the home or the landscape, absorbing our dreams and wishes, and the elemental energies that lie buried in a sandbox, hidden in the closet, or in the bole of a tree. Stories should touch on wonder, mystery, dread, awe: the delight when a strange toy appears, or loss when a cherished plaything is broken. A tale might, for example, explore the classroom ritual of show and tell, or the lost and found box in the corner of the gym in the moon colony.

    Toys are often gendered so that beloved hockey stick might belong to a girl and the flying figure skates to a boy. Dolls reflect not just societal notions about gender but also about diversity; Mattel, for example didn’t issue a black Barbie till the late 60’s and then amidst controversy. These tensions can all be rich sources of speculative inspiration!

    What if there was a Matryoshka doll where each smaller container held mysteries to the seven wonders of the world, or a toy spaceship that entered other dimensions? Imagine a paper fan that controls the wind, a whistle that calls back the dead, a Chinese tiger hand puppet that protects. While these suggestions are fantastical, we also want stories about “normal” toys in science fictional or fantastic settings. Additionally, the toy itself needs to appear or disappear, to be “lost” or “found.” This need not be the core of the story arc, but it should be an element.

    Speculative subgenres from steampunk to magic realism will be considered. Excessive gore will be a hard sell. Sex is okay, if it’s integral to the story. Tales that are multi-faceted and go beyond a simple nostalgic trip down memory’s lane will have a better chance.

    We also look to make this volume dynamic in its scope of stories and storytellers, so encourage submissions from Francophone, Culturally Diverse (persons of colour), New-generation (18-30 years-of-age), QUILTBAG (LGBT), and Disabled writers (the publisher has a mandate to publish diversity). At least 90% of the authors must be Canadian (or pay taxes in Canada); we can consider only a small percentage from other locales.

    SUBMISSION LENGTH: Original, unpublished prose up to 5,000. Slightly longer are okay but query for longer lengths. No reprints, no multiple submissions. Canadian spelling. Please follow standard manuscript format. If you don’t know what that is google William Shunn’s manuscript format. If we reject your story before the deadline, you’re welcome to send another.

    PAYMENT: .05/word
    SUBMISSION PERIOD: Feb. 1, 2015-Apr. 30, 2015 (midnight PST)
    RIGHTS: English World rights, one-year exclusive print and digital, non-exclusive reprint rights
    PUBLICATION DATE: Nov. 2015 (tentative)

  2. Greetings,

    Black Books Publishing Inc. is accepting short stories of 3500 to 10,000 for its upcoming black erotica anthology, “Black Superheroes Do It Too!”

    We want full stories, not just sex scenes with interesting superheroes and villains, action packed confrontations, with intense and unique sexual situations.

    Stories should be reality based and lean towards a dark and gritty tone more than campy, or whimsy.  Superheroes should also be human and black, although not necessarily African American.

    As for super powers, we have already been flooded with stories of characters with elemental based abilities. No more fire, wind, rain, or lightening control stories are needed.

    Payment: $100 US

    Writers can also contact me directly at dlrussell@blackbookspublishing.com for story prompts as this can help keep the theme of the anthology on track, and also give writers their best chance at acceptance, being that their story idea was something we specifically asked for.

    Our Site: www.blackbookspublishing.com

    Our Submissions Page: http://blackbookspublishing.com/Submissions.html

    D. L. Russell
    Editor
    Black Books Publishing Inc.

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