General guidelines

(updated 1 June 2014)

Please note that Crowded is no longer accepting submissions as the mag is defunct. Thanks for you interest.

Crowded has two submissions streams, Stream 1: Crowd (public) and Stream 2: Reader (private).

The Crowd submission queue is visible to members. Stories submitted to this queue are eligible for comments (from the crowd and editorial staff) and ratings (on a 1 to 4 star basis). These stories are held for 60 days post activation. Stories are 'activated' once they pass a basic guidelines check, usually within 24-48 hours of submission. At least one editor will read every story in Stream 1.

The Reader submission queue is visible to staff only. Stories submitted to this queue will not receive comments and will receive either a flat yes or no. These stories will also be held for 60 days so as not to prejudice either stream. There is no guarantee that an editor will read a story in the Reader queue.

All submissions are anonymous.

Original Short Fiction

  1. Your story must contain an element of speculative fiction.
  2. Submit your work via our web form. Uploaded files must be in RTF format. Other formats do not work with our system. Files will be stripped of HTML and all formatting except bold and italic. To facilitate reading we recommend straight quotes rather than curly typographers quotes, and using two hyphens instead of dashes.
  3. Your story should contain NO identifying information. Please ensure you remove your name and address from your manuscript prior to submission (don’t forget the header). The system will track you, your story, and everyone who looks at it. Big Brother has nothing on us.
  4. Please do not re-submit a story. Even if you rewrote it and you're sure it's Hugo material.
  5. No simultaneous submissions.
  6. No multiple submissions. Only one story per person per submissions period, period.
  7. Maximum word length is firm at 20,000 words. Anything longer will be auto-rejected (but please note that anything much longer than 10,000 words is going to be a hard sell). Minimum length is 500 words.
  8. We pay 5 cents per word Australian (note this is currently slightly more than 5c p/w US but that could change at any time). Payment is on publication.


We don't accept unsolicited reprints. Sorry.


We're not looking for poetry. Feel free to submit limericks. We won't publish them, but we might read them. Limericks are cool.


We don't accept unsolicited art.

Rights and Rules

No simultaneous submissions. No multi-submissions. Original fiction only. No fan fiction of any kind, please. For original fiction, we buy first world rights, exclusive for three months, nine months of non-exclusive e-rights after those three months, and non-exclusive anthology rights for one year. Please direct all queries to 'editor at'. Queries sent before the 60 day waiting period will go unanswered.

What we're looking for

We want speculative fiction. We define speculative fiction as fiction containing something commonly thought to be impossible; an element of the supernatural, technology not yet invented, or imagined worlds clearly not our own. Other people's definitions vary (wildly) but this is ours and we're sticking with it.

Most magazines have guidelines describing the fiction they want to see. These guidelines invariably include plenty of editorial chestnuts as to what makes a good story. To be honest, we don't have preconceived notions about what makes a good story. We know what we like when we see it. But we're willing to offer a few nuggets of wisdom that will help propel your fiction through the slush pile and into the magazine:

  1. Speculative fiction is, arguably, a populist art. We're not looking for the next Faulkner. We're looking for stuff that people would read for entertainment.
  2. No purple midgets, gay pirates, or unicorns. Actually, that's a lie. If you have a great story about a unicorn-riding purple midget battling a fleet of gay pirates, drop it in the queue. Really. We don't see enough of that kind of thing.
  3. In theory there are no restrictions on profanity, gore, sex, violence, and so on, but in our opinion stories that rely on profanity, gore, sex, etc for their whole effect are unlikely to be any good.
  4. The story must have a speculative fiction element. Note that purple midgets may or may not be considered speculative fiction, but unicorns probably are.
  5. Do not submit fan fiction.


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