Tales of the Unanticipated
P.O. Box 8036
Lake Street Station
Minneapolis, MN 55408
Fantasy ~ Science Fiction ~
Speculative Fiction ~ Horror
Editor: Eric Heideman
General GuidelinesWe are currently closed for additional submissions.
We are not accepting new fiction and poetry submissions at this time. Keep an eye on this site for reading period guidelines/updates, or subscribe to the Announcements to Contributors mailing list.
PROSE SUBMISSIONS - please follow carefully
Send a manuscript copy of PROSE submissions (with SASE) to:
Eric M. Heideman
In addition to mailing us mss. copies of your prose submissions, please UPLOAD your submission using the FILE UPLOAD form at:
We can accept most file formats - Word, Open Office, Word Perfect, etc. - but if you are not sure, send your submission as a Rich Text Format (RTF) file. For our international contributors, A4 is okay. Size, in this case, doesn't matter. If you do not have a computer document for your submission, please email us at the above edress to let us know that you have mailed your manuscript.
With this issue we are switching from requesting paper-and-email submissions to paper-and-uploaded submissions to maximize the simplicity of our keeping track of submissions. Paper copies can get lost in the mail, or be misplaced by absent-minded humans; emails can vanish in the aether. Uploaded copies stay put, and are easy to locate in the event that you query us. That said, we continue to require a paper copy in addition to the uploaded one because the editor can't afford the eyestrain of reading submissions off a screen (on top of his computer-centric day job), and TOTU cannot carry the expense of printing the thousands of pages of submissions we receive every year. If you want your prose submissions considered, you need to send a paper manuscript along with the electronic one.
Please note that Eric and the TOTU staff put a lot of time and care into helping promising writers hone their craft. Writers of originality and vision often need help presenting their material so that their desired effect gets across to readers. That's what editors are supposed to be for. To be helpful, we think it's necessary to be honest—always keeping in mind that a criticism of the current version of your story isn't a criticism of you. If you see personal editorial feedback as enemy action, please don't waste our time; we have an anthology to put out. If you like getting feedback, we look forward to reading your stuff.
FICTION: reading submissions postmarked March 15-March 31, 2010, for #31, a general, non-theme issue. Pays 1 1/2 - 2 cents a word for science fiction, fantasy, horror, hybrids thereof, and unclassifiable stories. We prefer stories with personality, and originality of vision, to the factory-made brand. We will consider stories of any length up to 10,000 words—but since we've already accepted 3/5 of our fiction quota for #31, we're unlikely to spring for anything longer than 8,000 words this time around. No serials.
NONFICTION: TOTU pays 1 1/2 cents a word for essays for the general reader on speculative fiction writers and themes, or speculative science essays for the general reader, to 6,000 words. No plot summaries masquerading as book reviews. Query Eric M. Heideman at the above address with an SASE or, preferably, send an email query to with your non-fiction idea before submitting.
RIGHTS: TOTU acquires First North American Serial Rights. We occasionally settle for One-Time Reprint Rights on previously published material, but if your piece was previously published, or is scheduled to be published elsewhere, you need to say that in your cover letter. No surprises, please. Once your piece has appeared in TOTU, you are free to sell it to other markets. But when it's republished please include a statement to this effect: "(Story title) originally appeared in Tales of the Unanticipated #issue-number, year)."
SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS: Because of the (very) short reading window, we're willing to consider simultaneous submissions, but again, no surprises; you need to mention up front in your cover letter where else your submission is sitting, and you need to let us know-promptly-when/if it is accepted/rejected by the other market. (After several staff members have devoted hours of consideration to a piece, it doesn't make us happy campers to learn that, in the meantime, you've sold it to a market where you hadn't even told us it was under consideration.)
MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS: Because of the short submissions window, we're willing to consider up to three stories from you at a time; but please include a separate SASE for each story. Failure to include separate SASEs may result in prompt rejection of a story or essay that might otherwise have received serious consideration.
UPLOADED SUBMISSIONS: TOTU now asks for both paper and uploaded copies of prose submissions. Electronic submissions without accompanying paper copies remain unacceptable. Please carefully read through "prose submissions" above for details. For poetry submissions, see below.
E-SUBS: TOTU now asks for both paper and electronic copies of prose submissions. Electronic submissions without accompanying paper copies remain unacceptable. Please carefully read through "prose submissions" above for details. For poetry submissions, see below.
PAYMENT: 1 1/2 - 2¢ a word for fiction and non-fiction. See above for what kinds of fiction and non-fiction we'll consider.
POETRY: TOTU is currently closed for poetry submissions, as our quota for #31 is full. Visit this site and/or our soon-to-be linked Facebook page in the fall of 2010 for #32 submissions window dates, & guidelines, including poetry.
ILLUSTRATIONS AND CARTOONS
TOTU pays $25 for front-cover art, $15 for back-cover art, $12 for commissioned interior illustrations, $7 for cartoons and spot illustrations. For an assignment, send several clear photocopies representing the range of your work. Please do not send original copies unless asked to do so. Send art portfolios to:
Rodger GerberdingSend cartoons to Eric Heideman at the address for fiction submissions, above. Back to Top