Submission Guidelines

Who we are

The Sockdolager is a quarterly internet magazine for original short fiction.

What we want

We’re looking for short genre stories in which Things Happen—stories about lives saved, discoveries made, worlds changed, days seized, and hearts broken or mended. We want tight plots, snappy dialogue, and smart, engrossing prose—pieces that you can’t help but devour in one sitting, but which reward coming back for a second look. We like to be challenged and we love clever stories that make us think, but above all else it has to be fun to read. Please note well the bold typeface in the previous clause. We strongly prefer science fiction and fantasy, but will consider just about anything that you think we might enjoy. 

We are particularly interested in hearing from a diversity of voices and perspectives. We also encourage unpublished writers — or writers who have previously worked in other mediums — to send in their work.

Stories should be at least 1000 words, and absolutely no more than 5000 words. Unless we have specifically solicited a longer piece from you, submissions above the 5000-word threshold will not be read.

We will consider reprints, particularly if they didn’t receive a wide audience in their original venue, but we prefer stories that have not been previously published.

What we pay

Payment is 2¢ per word for new stories, and a flat $15 for reprints.

How to submit

This is our online submission form. Read the instructions carefully. Take special care when submitting your email address, as it is our only way of contacting you.

Submissions can be uploaded as .rtf, .doc, or .docx attachments (in standard manuscript format), or as Markdown-formatted plain text files.

We do not accept simultaneous submissions—do not send us a story you have sent to another market. Please wait for us to reply to your submission before sending another—we’ll only consider one of your stories at a time.

How long to wait

If you haven't received confirmation of your submission within a couple of days, please do query—we do our best, but sometimes stories go astray.

We try to respond to submissions within two weeks. You are encouraged, nay, exhorted to query if you haven’t heard from us within four weeks. Send email to heythere@sockdolager.net and include the word “QUERY” in your subject line, along with the title of your story.

What not to submit

We would much rather see your work than discourage you with a litany of things not to write. Execution is more important than originality. So: If you love it, send it in. 

What exactly we're buying

For new stories, we are purchasing the right to be the first market to publish your story in English in three formats -- here on our websites as part of an upcoming issue, as a part of an ebook edition of that issue, and as part of a small-run print "zine" edition of that issue. For reprints, we're asking for the right to include your story in an upcoming issue, and we'd prefer that it not debut in another English language online market at the same time.