• FICTION SUBMISSIONS are currently CLOSED until 2021
  • PLEASE WHITELIST when you submit. Submissions sent outside our submission periods will be deleted unread.
  • Reading Periods: The submissions editors at Abyss & Apex read short fiction and flash during designated reading periods ONLY. Opening and closing times are in Eastern US time, 12:01 AM. The up-coming reading periods are:
      • first week of August 2020 CLOSED
      • first week of November 2020 CLOSED
      • first week of February 2021
      • first week of May 2021
    • Poetry has a different reading period schedule. It will open during the month of May 2020. Please read the poetry guidelines carefully

      Our mission is to publish the finest in speculative and imaginative fiction and poetry, with special attention to character-driven stories that examine the depths and heights of emotion and motivation from a broad variety of cultural and social perspectives. A&A wants to publish powerful stories with emotions that resonate in our minds and hearts long after a first reading, stories that make us want to read them again and again. We look for the unique: stories that stand out in a genre that pushes the envelope of unusual. We take special delight in detailed world-building: we like slipstream, YA, hypertext fiction, dark fantasy, science fiction puzzle stories, magical realism, hard science fiction, soft science fiction, science fantasy, urban fantasy, military science fiction, ghost stories, space opera, cyberpunk, steampunk . . . there is very little we will not look at, although we have a severe allergy to zombies, elves, retold fairy tales, sports, westerns, vampires, and gratuitous sex and violence. We have no subject/topic preference, beyond a requirement that the work have a speculative element. We are happy to read stories that don’t quite seem to fit elsewhere.

      We will consider dark speculative fiction, but we do not publish horror. We won’t publish extremely graphic violent or sexual content or over-the-top gore either; we are turned off by gratuitous foul language. In other words, if the primary purpose of a story is to scare us or make us queasy, we won’t buy it.


      • We accept fiction submissions via e-mail only.
      • SHORT FICTION E-mail submissions must be saved in Microsoft Word (.doc, .docx) or Rich Text Format (.rtf).
        • Important: Flash submissions must be copied into the body of the email, with contact info & bio.
      • We do NOT accept simultaneous or multiple submissions per reading period, except for poetry (limit, three poems).
      • We NEVER accept unsolicited reprints, art, or guest posts.
      • We are not currently soliciting artists, book reviewers, or editorial content.
      • We DO NOT serialize novels. Period. Don’t even ask.

      FICTION including Flash Fiction:
      We will read your genre short stories at lengths of up to 10,000 words. Higher word count? Query first, but we rarely look at anything of that length unless it’s by an author we’ve already published. We are especially interested in good flash fiction (1,250 words or less). If your story is on the borderline of flash length, consider trimming those extra words and making your short-short story even tighter and stronger.


All short fiction submissions of more than 1,250 words must be in William Shunn Manuscript FormatThis especially means do not underline instead of using italics. And we’ve a preference for one space after a period, not two.

Please do NOT summarize your story in your cover letter.

For Fiction submissions of more than 1,000 words in length, please attach your .rtf or .doc or docx to your email. Please be absolutely certain to include your name and contact information on the manuscript itself. We would appreciate it if you would include a brief, two- to three-sentence bio either in the body of your e-mail message or somewhere within your attached manuscript. Please note: Flash fiction (fewer than 1,000 words) must be submitted within the body of your e-mail message. You should at least include contact information, and a bio. Please Note: We will not open or read any submissions that do not have an appropriate subject line. The subject line is important for sorting our mail; mail sent to the submissions address with an incorrect subject line may never reach us. Submit your work to: with the email subject in the following format:

FICTION SUB: “Your title here” or FLASH FICTION SUB: “Your title here”

Our editors try their best to provide feedback on stories that are declined, but may not be able to answer specific questions on the reasons a story was not accepted. We strive to keep our response times reasonable (currently running about three months), but this may change depending on a variety of factors. Feel free to query if you have not received a response in six months.

Contract and Payment:

2018 sample contract at this link. Payment is USD $.08/word (eight cents a word) up to 1,000 words, and a flat payment of $80.00 for longer stories. We pay 30 days after publication. We prefer to make author payments via PayPal (especially if you reside outside of the United States). If this is unacceptable please let us know and we will make other arrangements.

Abyss & Apex likes to see strong, emotionally resonant, literary-quality poetry with a clear speculative element (fantasy, science fiction, or surrealism in any combination. Although dark poems are encouraged, we DO NOT publish horror. There are no format or length restrictions for poetry, though we prefer lineated free verse or traditional form poetry with at least 9 lines, or prose poems at least 50 words in length, we will publish brilliant shorter work. So wow us with a sestina, or stun us in free verse. We admire poetry that exceeds our expectations in scansion, imagery, emotional impact and creative wordplay. We love language, and we like to see it worked for all it’s worth. Our love of poetry exceeds the space and funds we have to publish it, so we accept only the very best; amaze us! We strongly encourage that you read work in recent past issues and our senior poetry editor’s editorial focus discussed in his introduction.

Poetry Reading Periods:
The poetry editor at Abyss & Apex reads poetry during designated reading periods ONLY, two times a year. The two one-month reading periods are:
• November – ALL MONTH
The next scheduled reading periods are:

  • May 2020
  • November 2020

Poetry received outside these designated reading periods will be deleted without acknowledgment.
Poetry Submissions Format:
Please use this subject header for your submission email:
POETRY SUB: “Your title here”
Submit your poetry, and cover letter (including a third person bio), as an attached Word document (.doc or .docx only) and NOT in the body of your e-mail message (as had been done in the past) to
Important: You may submit up to three poems per reading period, each poem beginning on its own page. Understand that editorial suggestions might be made. Note also that loosely associated Haiku loosely or linked Haiku in groups or 3 or 4 Haiku will be treated as a single submission of the three allowed. It might take up to two months, after the reading period ends, to receive a response.

To make submissions review more efficient, please include all the information in a single Word file (.doc or .docx only). Although you may use the body of the email to introduce yourself and the poems, we want all the information in an attachment: the cover letter, all contact information, literary bio and the poems (each beginning on their own page in 12-point Times New Roman with the title not in all caps—unless critical to the poem). Thank you in advance for complying.

Poetry Payment: $5.50 per poem so that if PayPal takes 50 cents you still have a qualifying sale for genre poetry awards.

We request that all poetry published by Abyss & Apex be allowed to stay up until that year’s awards season is over, in case it is nominated for a Rhysling or a Dark Stars award.

Small Press Book Reviews

Abyss & Apex is pleased to offer small press book reviews. We leave the reviews up even though the edition they are in is retired. The process for getting a review is as follows:

  • In keeping with the types of short fiction we publish, we will only review Science Fiction and Fantasy novels, anthologies, or collections. We do NOT publish or review Horror.
  • We will only accept books from small press publishers.
  • We will NOT accept self-published works except from authors previously published by Abyss & Apex.
  • We will only accept a maximum of two books per publisher at a time.
  • We understand that shipping and printing are expensive. Books can be in pdf format, sent to A&A’s submissions address with the following text in the subject line: SMALL PRESS REVIEWS: (TITLE, PUBLISHER). 
  • Ebooks, Paper books and ARCs  will be sent to A&A staff reviewers who specialize in subgenres. Please query for the proper mailing address for paperbacks. If the paper book needs to go to a staff reviewer in New York and ends up in South Carolina, you’ve wasted your postage.
  • We especially like to review collections or anthologies of short fiction.


For Short Fiction and Flash Fiction: Send queries to us at It’s best to reply to our latest message about a story rather than start a new gmail message thread.

For Poetry: Send queries to us at

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Art Director: Bonnie Brunish