Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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Markets For Sci-Fi Romance Short Stories

While I was blogging about Science Fiction Romance and the Short Form Revival, the market for short romance fiction had already been expanding, and as I learned recently, it’s about to expand further. Naturally, we’re talking digital markets as opposed to print, but that’s an innovation thing. A new distribution system has arrived and readers are more willing to experiment with a variety of mediums and story lengths.

Except for anthologies, markets for romance short fiction has been scarce. These days, that’s changing. I wonder—will reader perception of such stories change as well? Will they become more in demand? Can increased availability alone prompt us to change our expectations about their value?

Regardless of the challenges, such expansion and innovation has potential for science fiction romance. New short story markets increase the chances of connecting readers with this subgenre. More than ever, aspiring authors have a chance to build credentials as well as a following, or simply find a home for their short stories if that is their preference.

It will be interesting to see what kind of tales emerge as authors explore the possibilities of SFR short stories. But given the challenge of successfully blending SF and romance even in novel-length books, what will it take to convince readers that short stories can deliver a satisfying entertainment experience?

Difficult to predict. However, the potential for success exists, so I'd like to share information about several markets that have come to my attention:

1) Romancezine.com is “An electronic publication dedicated to the promotion of quality short form romance writing.” It will be launched in early 2012 by D.W. Neal Publishing LLC.

Each .99 cent issue will contain 10-20 stories. Here’s an excerpt from their submission guidelines:

Each issue will contain a varied collection of approximately 20 stories in lengths from 500-10,000 words. We will be looking for only your best, self-edited short form romance. Any genre will be acceptable.

Dear Author (where I first learned about this zine) posted the press release, which contains a bit more information.

My thoughts: Seems like the sky’s the limit here, and at that price I’d be willing to grab an issue even if it only contained one SFR story.

2) Heroes and Heartbreakers, a romance forum, is currently seeking stories for publication. The stories will be available as downloads. The submission guidelines indicate that H&H “welcomes submissions of original short romance stories in all subgenres (contemporary, paranormal/urban fantasy, women’s fiction/chick lit, historical, romantic suspense, etc).”

They want original work in the 6,000 to 15,000 range. Payment is “...$1,000 against a 25% royalty.”

My thoughts: I expect competition is quite fierce for this venue. What kind of SFR is worth $1,000 to them? Anyone have a crystal ball handy?!

I’m also wondering what type of sci-fi romance would appeal to the editors there, especially if one is not a “name” author. Would certain settings be more strategic in terms of acceptance, i.e., near-future and/or steampunk romance (as opposed to the usual space opera romances)? Now they’ve got me curious. I’m definitely interested in reading a sci-fi romance with a $1,000 price tag.

3) Torquere Press’ focus is on GLBT fiction and currently they seek “Sips”:

Sometimes readers only need to wet their whistle. That's the principle behind a Sip. We're looking for gay and lesbian erotic stories between 3000-8000 words for our Sip line. (Pieces shorter than the minimum probably won't make the cut, but pieces longer than 8000 words might.) The successful Sip will have strong characters, a well developed plot, and a fully realized conclusion, as well as erotic or romantic sex. Gay or lesbian content is essential. Exclusive electronic rights are required for one year unless otherwise negotiated, and these stories pay standard royalty rates.

My thoughts: Torquere Press is very reputable and you can’t go wrong if GLBT sci-fi romance is up your alley. In fact, I wouldn’t mind a Sip right now….

4) The tag line for Noble Romance is “Dare to Be Different.” According to the submission guidelines, this publisher accepts short story submissions—“Naughty Nibbles”—in the 3-10k range. They accept all romance subgenres and the heat level can range from sweet to erotic

I’ve not ready any releases from Noble, but I like how they emphasize in their About section that

We challenge our authors to take risks, to push the envelope while still maintaining their story's integrity, the combination of which is guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning reader.

Seems like SFR shorts would be very welcome there.

(Thanks to Diane Dooley who supplied me with three of the above links.)

[Edited to add:

5) MuseItUp Publishing accepts stories from 3000 words and up, and will consider SFR Here are the submission guidelines. (Thanks to Krista D. Ball for the info.)]

I would love for this post to be the start of a resource for digital romance short story markets that will consider science fiction romance. If you know of any other publishers/zines, please let me know in the comment section. As time allows, I’ll update the list.

Joyfully yours,