Submission Guidelines

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This is a Podcast service for English speakers and writers.

We like good writing, preferably upbeat, and humorous at the same time we are not going to limit you and will not limit ourselves on what we find entertaining, worthwhile sharing with our audience.

We buy new fiction and reprints (with rights intact), to the original author.

We pay $.0825 per word for original fiction, and $.04 per word for reprints. We are a nonexclusive audio and e-book market.

We do not accept: poetry, novellas, or scripts. And if you happen to hear any of these on Gray Sky Podcast, we solicited the work from the author, it was not a submission.

No attachments accepted. Please, paste plain text into your email with NO line breaks.

We distribute under a Creative Commons license. This is non-negotiable.

Want all the facts? Keep reading…

 

What We Want

GSP is an audio literary fiction and paraliterature fiction magazine. Quoting Ursula K Le Guin on the term paraliterature  “…it exists. What I’m saying is that I don’t want to perpetuate this division. So I would always put it in quotes, or do something to show that I’m rejecting a word that I have to use”.

Literary fiction is defined as a term principally used for certain fictional works that hold literary merit. In other words, they are works that offer deliberate commentary on larger social issues, political issues, or focus on the individual to explore some part of the human condition. Literary fiction is deliberately written in dialogue with existing works created with the above aims in mind. Literary fiction is focused more on themes than on plot.

Paraliterature is defined as an academic term for written works dismissed as not literary. It includes commercial fiction, popular fiction, pulp fiction, comic books and, most notably, genre fiction with works of science fiction, fantasy, mystery and many others

We here at GSP are very broad-minded in our vision of the genre’s scope; we follow Damon Knight’s definition, “Science fiction means what we point to when we say it.” We’re not going to pin ourselves down and say we’re only looking for space opera, or cyberpunk, or stories with rigorous scientific background. We want all of those, of course; but in a more general sense we want that which evokes a sense of wonder, or fun, or simply makes us think about our own world in a new way.

 

Diversity:  Gray Sky Podcast welcomes submissions from writers of all backgrounds. We are especially interested in seeing more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional publishing, including, but not limited to, women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States.  Our goal is to publish fiction that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other historically underrepresented groups.

Gray Sky Podcast is not actively seeking horror or fantasy. Then again you never know what catches our eye. Currently we don’t share slush piles with other audio podcast. No hard feelings if that happens. We also do not buy poetry. Or your serial novel/novella. Or scripts.

Please do not send simultaneous submissions of a single re-edited story to Gray Sky Podcast. When submitting to Gray Sky, please wait to hear back from us about it before submitting a re-edited story, unless otherwise requested by the producers.

We’re primarily interested in short fiction. We want short stories between 2,000 and 6,000 words. The sweet spot’s somewhere between 2,500 and 3,700 words. We pay $.0825 a word for new fiction at this length, $.04 a word for reprints. ($100 minimum payment) We purchase short fiction and flash fiction, on occasion. For those works we pay the same rates with a ($20 minimum), Flash Fiction

 

REPRINTS Notice- yes, we do buy reprints!

Content: We’re looking for fiction with strong pacing, well-defined characters, engaging dialogue, and clear action. It can be beautiful too, if you have got all those other bases covered, but above all we’re looking for fun. Humor is encouraged. Optimistic stories are encouraged. Moody, depressing stories are not rejected out of hand, but we do buy fewer of them. People often listen to these on their way to work, and we’d prefer not to ruin anyone’s day.

 

We are unlikely to purchase stories focusing on rape, incest, child molestation, body mutilation, hate crimes, unsubtle religious or anti-religious propaganda, or current politics. We don’t need the headaches, and frankly, it’s very unlikely that your story is fun in the sense we mean. We will not balk at sexual content or strong language, but if your story is primarily overtly erotic, an epic genocidal kill them all or scatological in nature, it may not be for us.

 

Again, above all: fun stories. You can get away with breaking almost any of these rules if the story is fun enough. What’s fun? We know it when we see it.

 

 

How We Want It

We accept stories in e-mail, not attachments, in plain text format, at the address biglittleproductions@gmail.com.  We don’t want attached files, PDF files, scanned images of a book, or sound files of you reading the story. Messages with any such attachments will get deleted. Send it from the e-mail address at which you want us to correspond with you; if you give us three e-mail addresses and say “Use this one on Tuesdays, and this one after Nelson Mandela Day,” we’ll probably wont get it right.

 

On the Subject: line of the message, be sure to include the title of the story. Most of our workflow involves bouncing your e-mail message from one folder to another, and we use the e-mail subject to identify the story. A subject like “story submission” does not tell us anything we don’t already know.

 

In the body of the message, what we want is as follows:

 

  • Your name. (Your real name. The story can have a different byline, and we’ll credit that byline in public, but we need to know who’s legally offering us this story and to whom the check should be written.)
  • Your mailing address. (We need this for contract purposes; it will be kept confidential.)
  • A cover statement briefly giving us your publication credits, and in particular telling us whether this story has been published before or adapted into audio. If there’s anything we need to know about available rights, tell us that too. This is helpful for us to have this information if we buy your story and want to know more about you for bio purposes. (Note: When we say “briefly,” we mean your top 3 publications and five or six things you want the world to know about you. We have literally had people send us complete a resume that was longer than the story submitted. This only makes us shake our heads in silence.)
  • The word count of the story, according to your word processing software.
  • The title of the story.
  • The story’s byline. (Optional if it’s the same as your legal name.)
  • The text of the story. Use single spacing, with blank lines between paragraphs and _underscores_ for emphasis.

And please, we beseech you, send one story at a time! Unless you’re specifically told otherwise, this is the rule in almost every fiction market. Once we have responded to your story, you can send us another. Dropping all twenty-seven stories you have ever written on us at once is not going to put us in a positive and receptive mood.

Here is an example of what your email should look like

 

Email Example GSP

 

What You’re Telling Us

 

This is the annoying (but necessary) legalese. By sending us your story you understand and agree that:

 

* You are the original creator of the work submitted to us;

* You are the copyright holder of the work;

* You are not prohibited by any prior agreement from the transfer of non-exclusive electronic and audio rights to the work;

* All information in the contact and cover sections of your e-mail is accurate and truthful;

* You accept sole responsibility for any false statements or encumbrances upon rights not disclosed to us.

If we buy your story we’ll send you a contract, and you’ll be bound to all of the above. If you are not willing to agree to it now, you are wasting everyone’s time, and we have little to spare as it is allocated.

 

 WAIT THERE IS MORE 

 

What We Do With It (your story)

 

Once you have sent us your story, we will review it and respond to you via e-mail.

If we decide we’d like it for our podcast, we’ll send you a contract as a PDF file in e-mail. You will sign it and send it back to us via e-mail (after scanning it), fax, or postal mail. Then we’ll pay you via check or PayPal and start producing at our discretion.

We are not your editor, we publish and produce audio content. We will not edit or offer editorial advice on your work we expect your work to be ready when we receive it.

 

Gray Sky Podcast pays $.0825 a word for new fiction, $.04 a word, min $100, for reprints, and $20 for flash fiction.

 

During the production process we may contact you with questions about the story, its background, or pronunciations. We’ll also ask you for a brief bio, if your cover letter does not give us enough to say about you. We hope and expect that you’ll be available to help us, as a good response makes for  a good performance, which makes all of us look fabulous. Unfortunately, as everything we do is on a fluid production schedule, we usually can’t give you an accurate timetable of when your story will appear in the podcast.

 

 

What the World Does With It

 

The files Gray Sky Podcast produces are released under a Creative Commons license. Specifically, we use the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. Briefly, this means that the entire world has permission to distribute the files for free, provided they give credit for it, don’t try to make money off of it, and don’t change it in any way. Transcribing it, extracting portions from it beyond fair use, and mashing it up are all prohibited. This license applies *only* to our audio performance and e-publishing of your work, for which we’ve contracted and paid you. It does not apply to your story itself; you retain your copyright and all rights to any other use of the story.

 

Allow us to make our reasoning clear. We know that Creative Commons licensing is scary to many writers, and it’s certainly a radical break from traditional rights that expire after a period of time. Our take is this: when we create a podcast, we are putting an MP3 file and an e-pub file on the Web. Those files are going to get downloaded and copied onto thousands of hard drives, CDs, iPods, and other portable devices across the world. That’s the point. We want people to listen to it. But once you have done that, you can’t take that file back. There is no way to delete the file everywhere it exists. There are some highly fallible ways to lock things down, but DRM sucks, and even if we believed in it it’s too complicated for us to implement.

 

So from a purely practical perspective, we can’t make our content expire. And we can’t stop people from copying our files, nor should we. Given that as a reality, why not give our listeners to the full legal right to do what’s totally natural for an audio file (copy it, share it with people, and listen to it whenever they want), but make equally clear to them what they can’t do (share the story outside the podcast, or alter it in any way at all)? That’s our reason for the Creative Commons license. We’re not trying to plant a philosophical flag in the ground here; we’re just trying to reflect reality.

 

We hope you’ll agree with our reasons and choose to share your story with us. If you don’t, then we’re deeply sorry, but we feel it’s better that you know this now, before you make the decision to submit.

 

Any questions?

 

Whew! If you’ve read this far, pat yourself on the back. Or get a friend to pat you. You are dedicated. We know it’s a lot to digest, but we’ve had very good luck so far with people submitting exactly within our guidelines. This only shows what brilliant, brilliance writers possess.

If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or criticism (but not stories) send them to our staff at biglittleproductions@gmail.com (Subj: comments, suggestions, or criticism pick one or make one up.) We’ll do our best to get back to you within a few days.

Thanks very much for your time, and we look forward to reading — and hopefully producing your story