• PLEASE WHITELIST when you submit. 
  • Submissions sent outside our submission periods will be deleted unread.
  • Fiction Reading Periods: The submissions editors at Abyss & Apex read fiction (not poetry) during these reading periods. Opening and closing times are in Eastern US time, 12:01 AM. The up-coming reading periods are the first week of the following months ONLY:

August 1 thru 7, 2024 CLOSED

February 1 thru 7, 2025 OPEN

Poetry has a different reading period schedule. POETRY is currently CLOSED until the month of November 2024. Please read the poetry guidelines carefully

Our mission is to publish the finest in human-written (no AI!) 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 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, werewolves, vampires, and gratuitous sex and violence. We also are not interested in severely political stories, whether slanted left or right. No politics. 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We will consider dark speculative fiction, but we do not publish horror.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 (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 submissions for either fiction or poetry
  • We do NOT accept multiple submissions per reading period.
  • We NEVER accept unsolicited reprints, art, or guest posts.
  • We are not currently soliciting artists, or editorial content.
  • We DO NOT serialize novels or publish serials. Period. Don’t even ask.
  • Please do NOT summarize your story in your cover letter.

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 (1,000 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 1,000 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.

For Fiction submissions of more than 1,000 words in length, please attach your rtf 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. Reminder: 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.POETRY
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 (but try to refrain from epic-length works. We prefer lineated free verse with a limited amount of traditional form poetry with at least 9 lines, or prose poems at least 50 words in length, but we will publish brilliant shorter work. Our love of poetry exceeds the space and funds we have to publish it, so acceptances for publication are highly competitive. Chopped-up prose, forced rhymes, and work with no rhythm has little chance for acceptance. Humor is fine, but the piece should still have literary merit (in both length and literary depth). Clever, cutesy poems will have to offer much more to be published. We strongly encourage that you read work in recent past issues and our senior poetry editor’s editorial focus discussed in his introduction. Poetry from its wondrous diversity of poets is welcomed from anyone regardless of cultural, social, religious, political, or any other demographic difference, but in no way does anything but the crafting of the poem itself, consistent with our aesthetics and editorial focus, will be considered in any rubric implemented to determine acceptance.

Poetry Reading Periods:
John C. Mannone is the senior poetry editor at Abyss & Apex since Issue 49 (January 2014). Poetry is considered during designated reading periods ONLY, which is twice a year. Poetry received outside the designated reading periods will likely be deleted without acknowledgment. The two one-month-long reading periods are all the month of November from which 1Q and 2Q poems are selected and published in the following January and April issues and all the month of May from which 3Q and 4Q poems are selected and published in the following July and October issues. The poetry editor does not maintain a slush pile.

The next scheduled reading periods are as follow (and will continue with that sequence):

  • May 2024
  • November 2024

Poetry Submissions Format:
Please put POETRY SUB: “poem title(s) here (NOT in all-caps)” in the subject header of your submission email,

In a single Word document (doc or docx only; no pdf, rtf, odt files), include a cover letter with all contact information, a third person lit bio, and up to 3 poems* (each started on its own page using page breaks). (Also include everything in body of your e-mail.) Please understand that editorial suggestions might be made. You may include complimentary artwork that may be used if your poems are accepted provided you document the source and can ensure they are copyright-free.

* This may include a cluster of loosely associated Haiku or linked Haiku, each of these in groups of 3 or more and with a title. They will be treated as a single submission.

For a forthcoming issue, acceptances will be made within a month of the closing of the reading period, as well as long- and short-listed poems for the subsequent issue, with final determinations by late in that quarter. Though every effort will be made to notify non-acceptances early, it is possible that such notifications will not be made and you may inquire after 3 months of the end of the submission period (March or September, whichever is applicable).

Acceptances for the two subsequent issues (Q1 and Q2 for Jan 1 and Apr 1 publications) for November submissions will be made within the month of the closing of the reading period (i.e. notifications in December).
Similarly, acceptances for the two subsequent issues (Q3 and Q4 for Jul 1 and Oct 1 publications) for May submissions will be made within the month of the closing of the reading period (i.e. notifications in June). Non-acceptance notifications can no longer be made.
In addition, because of the short turn-around time, NO SIMULATANEOUS SUBMISSIONS will be considered. You should also be aware that NO AI-GENERATED poems will be considered. And as a reminder, NO PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED poems (including blogs and social media) will be considered.

Upon acceptance, be prepared to supply a backstory of the poem, including anything that would interest the reader, including genesis, crafting elements, didactics, etc. There is no length requirement. Also, though optional, we would like an audio recording of you (or the stated reader in the audio file) shortly before the publication of the issue in which your work appears.

Poetry Payment: $5.50 per poem so that if PayPal takes 50 cents you still have a qualifying sale for genre poetry awards. All rights revert to the poet upon publication, but we ask you cite/acknowledge Abyss & Apex as first place of publication should your work be reprinted or shared in any other media.

In case your poetry is nominated for a Rhysling, Dwarf Stars, Best of the Net, or other award, Abyss & Apex requests that this poetry at least be allowed to remain up until that year’s awards season is over.

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 or Indie 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

Click here to make a one-time or monthly via PayPal.

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We run our magazine as lean as possible, and any monies we receive go directly to purchasing fiction or poetry, and to web maintenance things like domain names and hosting. If you want to support Abyss & Apex, please click the button above to donate via PayPal.  $25 in donations get a you free book, just ask for it. We also take donations via Buy Me a Coffee.  Thank you!

Website and content copyright © 2003 to 2024 Abyss & Apex Publishing. 


Copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted.


Art Director: Bonnie Brunish

36 Responses to Submissions

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    • Editor says:

      This listing is patently untrue. A&A has only run two guest editorials in 17 years. Both were solicited by the publisher. I have updated our submission guidlelines to make this crystal clear – don’t send us your guest posts!

  9. Shavanie Sinclair says:

    Are you accepting storis currently?

  10. Richard Simpson says:

    “Katherine Mansfield Finds Herself in Jamaica” is a 1200 word story (much edited) that is a fictionalized account of the life of the writer Katherine Mansfield if she had not died young in France of tuberculosis. I imagined her coming into her own in the healthy Caribbean climate and speculating on her life, her writing, and some of her contemporaries such as Virginia Woolf and T.S. Eliot.

  11. Richard Simpson says:

    I like the look and feel of your publication and would be delighted if you found my little short story acceptable for publication. I am a South African writer and my poems have appeared in SQ and imPrint magazines and will soon be published by Goats Milk.

  12. James Green-Armytage says:

    Hello. Was there an August 2021 reading period for short fiction? If so, is it over now (on August 9)?

  13. I’m completely new to the website, just got around to reading the guidelines and I saw these dates for short stories:

    first week of February 2022 CLOSED
    first week of May 2022 CLOSED
    first week of August 2022 OPEN

    As I said, I’m new… so I don’t get why the February and May 2022 periods are CLOSED. I had understood you would open the subscription period on those dates… may I get some clarification on that?

    Thank you!

    • Editor says:

      It’s September 2021. We are currently reviewing the August 2021 submissions and already have enough stories for all of 2022 and most of 2023. If we get enough good ones we might even be buying from last month’s batch for early 2024. So we will not need to open until next August, and even then will then be reading two years in advance for 2024. We’re stocked up, so we will close until we need more stories. It’s that simple.

  14. Liliane D says:

    Hello! I don’t see anything about illustrations, do you accept portfolio submissions to collaborate on your covers?

  15. Jill Benson says:

    Hello. Do you accept short story submissions that have been previously self-published? Warm regards, Jill

  16. Thom Brannan says:

    Is the first week of February starting tomorrow (Feb 1) until next Thursday? Or the first calendar week?

  17. David Payne says:

    I sent in a submission this morning and received an auto-reply that your submissions are not open – around 8am EST on Feb 1.

    If you are not open – then that’s fine and I’ll consider the issue closed.

    If you are open – please let me know if I need to resubmit or if I am all set.

    • Editor says:

      The auto-response message is just that–a message, in which I had not changed the word Closed to Open. It cannot delete your email; it does not have the ability. It’s just a modified “Vacation” message. Rest assured that your submission did make it to us.

  18. Jeffrey says:

    Hi there, just wanted to confirm about upcoming submission periods. I don’t see submissions periods outlined anywhere, so I figure the submission period for fiction is anytime not during the reading period? That is to say, not May 1st through the 7th. The next time to submit fiction would be May 8th. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  19. Ron Perovich says:

    I submitted a set of poems back in November of 2023 and never received a response. Is anything from that period still under review or can I assume it was rejected?

  20. Arindam Kalita says:

    Hi, I have 2 questions actually. I’m planing to submit a piece atm. So, first question: how long do you usually take to respond to a submission? Second question: Can I submit a piece that has some minor gore elements but is more of a psychological speculative work than horror.

    • Editor says:

      We are currently only open to mid-winter holiday stories, but to answer your questions:
      1. It takes us anywhere from one day to six months to respond to a submission.
      2. If the “minor gore” serves the plot and is not in the story to gross us out we have no objections to it.

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