Please note that we are not currently accepting book submissions for Theaker's Paperback Library. We already have a couple of projects on the go and to be honest we're having trouble finding the time to get those finished…
Before submitting to Theaker's Quarterly Fiction you should be aware that it is not entirely reputable! See websites such as as Preditors and Editors and Writer Beware for good advice to authors. In particular, TQF sends up red flags in the following areas: there is no payment for contributions; the magazine has a tiny and at times practically non-existent print circulation; and it has published stories by the editors and their friends. Note also that if your story is published in TQF (or any other non-paying or low-paying magazine, for that matter) that will probably preclude it being sold at full price to any professional market later on. If you are making a career of writing, sometimes it's best to keep your work in the drawer. Even if it isn't in fashion right now, there may be a market for it ten years down the line.
If for some reason that hasn't put you off, read on! We are at least honest about our failings, and will deal honestly with your submissions. And although print sales are poor, our free ebook versions tend to get downloaded a couple of thousand times, once all the different outlets are added up, so you're not throwing your work into a black hole.
Read the guidelines below on Content and Style to find out what we are looking for, and consider the Terms of Publication. If you'd like a bit of background on our approach to publishing the magazine see the TQF Manifesto in TQF#17, the editorial in TQF#23, or Stephen's interview with Gareth Jones.
If you still aren't put off, send us your submissions!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org [new address!]
- Format: rtf attachment
- Filename: TQF (Your Story Title) by (Author's Name)
- If you can, edit the file properties so that the author and title are correct.
- Include a biography (as long or as short as you like) in your email. It won't affect our decision – it's just so we have it ready for typesetting if we go on to publish the story.
- Let us know if you would like to receive feedback (see below) in the event that we reject your story, and we'll provide it if we have time. Remember, though, that we're still finding our way with this magazine, and there's no reason for you to think our opinion counts for anything!
- The editors are Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood.
- Stories with an element of the fantastic. Hard sf, soft sf, fantasy, heroic fantasy, dark fantasy, humorous fantasy, slipstream, magic realism, horror and terror – it's all of interest to TQF.
- Enthusiasm, excitement, and a sense that the author is writing because it's something they enjoy doing. TQF is not by nature a cool magazine. It's a bit goofy and a bit all-over-the-place. You don't really have to be cutting-edge, hip or with it to submit to us – you just have to love what you're doing, and try to do it well.
- Both long stories and short stories. We are as happy to consider one-page short stories as 50,000 word novels. (Note that longer submissions will take quite a bit longer to be accepted or rejected.)
- Variety. We are always interested in stories with point-of-view characters from ethnicities, genders and sexual orientations different to our own. Admittedly, much of what we have published in the past featured bespectacled white men in trouble, but that's not because we don't want to publish anything else.
- Difficult, arch and oblique writing is a lot of fun. We certainly don't demand it, but it's something we enjoy when submitted. I love to be sent to the dictionary when checking proofs.
- Authors who will consider their proofs carefully, and deal fully with any queries. (See Proofs, below.)
- Comic strips. We often have a bit of space in the magazine for odd bits and pieces. If you would like to submit an ongoing sf/fantasy-themed strip to us, or just a one-off, we'd love to have a look.
- Artwork, but only as commissioned in relation to particular stories. (See Artwork Submissions, below.)
- Reviews. We have plenty of space for reviews. Books, films, music, art, television, comics – anything is fine, so long as it has a fantasy, sf or horror element. For books and comics please provide the author, publisher, format and page count. For movies provide the director's name, country and length. For TV programmes supply the channel, country and episode length.
- Review copies of books, magazines, etc, whether professional, small press or amateur. We're happy to review from epub or pdf, though of course we don't get through everything.
- Articles – on subjects relating to the type of material we publish and review.
- Poetry. We don't currently publish short poetry. However, we might be interested in a longer piece of narrative poetry, such as a saga. Sound us out first before starting work on one on our account, though!
- Previously published material. Stories currently appearing in a new collection may be suitable.
- Multiple submissions. Just one story at a time, please. There's a good chance any comments we make regarding the first story you send will help you decide which of your other stories would suit us best.
- Simultaneous submissions. Don't send us anything that is still under consideration with another magazine.
- An uncorrected first draft of your work. If the first couple of paragraphs of your story would need significant revision in order to make sense, or if there are errors of a kind likely to be repeated throughout the story, it will be politely returned for revision or just plain rejected without being read much further. Submissions should be spellchecked, the sentences should make sense, and a new paragraph should start whenever the focus moves to a new person (for example when someone new starts talking). If you are writing in English as a second language, ask a native English-speaker read your story before submitting it to us.
- Stories whose sole purpose is to vindicate particular religious or spiritual beliefs. Stories that explore religious beliefs are okay, but religious propaganda isn't something we'll be at all interested in.
- Stories with a sexist, racist or homophobic subtext. In particular, no stories that are solely about beautiful women who seduce men out of the blue and then turn out to be evil.
- Serial-killer stories without a fantasy element – they don't really fit the tone of what we're doing.
- Alternative history stories that don't have any other fantasy element, for the same reason.
- Fanfiction based on material that is still in copyright. But sequels to stories from the nineteenth century and earlier are fine.
Contributors will receive no payment, we're afraid, not even a free print copy of the magazine (everyone can get an online copy for free, of course). We realise that's a bit rubbish, but our philosophy is to keep it cheap to keep it going. We want it to keep going for a long time, so we are keeping it very, very cheap! The only exception is that we will provide a free copy of the magazine to the cover artist and to the author of any printed contribution of over 15,000 words, as long as they are resident within the United Kingdom. (No free copies will be supplied of any bound volumes, though.)
Contributors retain all rights to their work, allowing us only the right to distribute (a) paper copies of the magazine in which it appears (or bound volumes of such) (b) pdf copies of the magazine in which it appears (or bound volumes of such), and (c) other (probably unencrypted) ebook versions of the magazine, which may be made available online.
Basically, you are agreeing to publication in the issue, and reprinting of your story along with the rest of the issue in which it appears. However, you are not granting us any rights to re-publish the story in any other publication or arrangement - if we were producing, for example, a "best of" anthology of the magazine, we would have to contact you to agree new terms. If you submit multiple stories to us over the years, we will not have the right to publish a collection of those stories.
By submitting a story the author assumes all responsibility with regard to potential copyright, libel, trade mark infringement or any other legal proceedings which might stem from its publication. With that in mind, please do not submit any stories featuring characters from films, tv shows, other people’s novels (unless the author died in the nineteenth century or earlier), etc.
If at a later date your story is reprinted elsewhere, we would be grateful if a notice could be appended regarding its original publication in Theaker's Quarterly Fiction.
If your submission is accepted, the acceptance email will contain a copy of these terms for you to acknowledge, establishing the nature of the contract between us.
Terms last amended: 4 February 2008.
If you have written something brilliant that you don't think fits well with TQF, or if for some crazy reason you would prefer to be paid for your work, take a look at www.ralan.com and www.duotrope.com, two superb listings of markets available to the aspiring writer. You can also report to Duotrope on how long it takes us to respond to submissions. Keeps us honest!
We expect all authors to deal with proofs in a professional manner. In particular, all queries raised on the proofs should be dealt with carefully. A writer's work is not done once the story has been accepted – you have to shepherd it through to its eventual publication. If we have queried your word choice, please consult a dictionary to check that the word means what you think it does. If you don't address a query, the editors will have to resolve it as best they can – without further reference to you – in order to make the story publishable.
In extreme circumstances, we may withdraw our acceptance of a story if the author fails to deal with queries properly (it's sometimes a sign that an author is trying to pass someone else's work off as their own). In any case, we will look much less favourably on future submissions by authors who don't check their proofs.
If proofs are not returned on time we may have to go to press without the corrections of the author, and without the author's approval of our suggested changes. While we respect the author’s right to the integrity of the text, as guaranteed by the Berne Convention, there is an exception for magazine publication – sometimes the publication deadline has to come first.
Submissions of artwork are more than welcome. The terms of publication are the same as those outlined above for fiction, so again no payment will be offered, but we will link to your home page, both in the issue itself, and on our news page, in the item announcing publication of the new issue. The one difference is that cover artists will receive a copy of the magazine (as long as they are resident within the United Kingdom).
Please do not send original art in the post, unless requested, because of the awkwardness of returning it. In the first instance please email us a photo, scan or other sample. If you are wondering what to draw, we will always find a use for things like spaceships, alien planetscapes and the like. There seems to be at least one robot in every issue, for example, so that might be a good place to start. However, only original artwork will appear in the magazine, as commissioned by the editors in relation to the text.
We love to do ad swaps with fellow small press publications, and we will always be happy to include a free advert for new books by our previous contributors. If you're interested, just drop us a line. We can handle more or less any file format (ideally: 300dpi, jpg), but if it's text-heavy, or you just aren't a great whiz with graphics, just send us the text and any pictures and we'll lay it out for you.
Guidelines by Stephen Theaker. Guidelines last updated 3 May 2011.