Tor.com Submissions Guidelines
The following guidelines outline how to submit fiction or non-fiction articles/blog posts to Tor.com. If you're interested in writing for Tor.com or submitting your fiction for consideration, please read the following.
Last updated April 30, 2015
Tor.com is closed to submissions from February 1st, 2015 to April 30th, 2015.
What we are: Tor.com is a short fiction market edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Liz Gorinsky, Ann VanderMeer, Ellen Datlow, and Carl Engle-Laird, with support and reading from Cory Skerry, and Bridget Smith (and occasional others).
What we’re looking for: Tor.com welcomes original speculative fiction short stories and poetry. We define “speculative fiction” broadly, including SF, fantasy, horror, alternate history, and related genres. We want our stories to represent the full diversity of speculative fiction, and encourage submissions by writers from underrepresented populations. This includes but is not limited to writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and ability, as well as characters and settings that reflect these experiences.
We’re particularly interested in stories under 12,000 words. We will consider stories that are slightly longer than 12k, but we really must put our foot down at the “novelette” mark—in other words, we will not read anything over 17,500 words. Well, unless you’ve won a bunch of major awards or are some kind of bestseller. Sorry, them’s the breaks.
But, my novel! Sorry, we don’t want it. We don’t even want to serialize it. But you can send your novel to our corporate cousins at Tor Books, as long as you follow their submissions guidelines.
What we pay: We pay 25 cents a word for the first 5,000 words, 15 cents a word for the next 5,000, and 10 cents a word after that.
What rights does that give you? Our contract covers the right to publish the story at Tor.com and related electronic endeavors. We also ask for several other rights: translation, audio, and the right (with additional royalties) to include the story in Tor.com-branded anthologies. All rights we acquire are also exclusive for a year and non-exclusive after that.
How to submit: Don’t query us, just send your story. Our submissions portal can be found at http://submissions.tor.com/tororiginals/.
Do you accept multiple submissions? You mean, can you send us five stories to look at at the same time? No, our submissions portal won’t accept a new submission from you until we’ve responded to the first.
Do you accept simultaneous submissions? You mean, can you submit the story to someone else while it’s on submission to us? Please don’t. There are few things editors hate more than falling in love with something and then finding out it’s been sold to someone else. We remember that forever.
What do you mean by “original” fiction? Although we employ common sense in dealing with edge cases (translations, significant expansions, etc.), “original” means “not previously published.” We do reprint stories from time to time, but right now we’re only considering reprints that we solicit ourselves. In other words, all unsolicited submissions must be new stories.
Have you read my story? We reply to everything we’ve finished evaluating, so if you haven’t heard from us, the answer is “probably not.” At this point the vast majority of stories greater than four months old are in our second-look pile, and we respond to almost everything within seven months.
Our submissions portal will allow you to check on the status of your submission. Just click “submission status” and fill in your email and submission ID.
You guys are slow. We are, a bit. Tor.com is one of the highest paying speculative fiction markets, and our stories get excellent exposure since everyone gets to read your work for free, so we're not twiddling our thumbs—we just get a ton of submissions. Response times have improved quite a bit with the expansion of our first reader team, and we now respond to the vast majority of stories within three months. But all of the stories they like must then be read by the senior editorial staff, who are all full-time editors with a lot on our plates. We appreciate your patience while we get to your story.
But I want to know right now. There’s an old saying in publishing: “If you need an answer right now, the answer is no.” If you choose not to submit or decide to withdraw your submission, we’ll be sad, but we’ll understand. Please send us an email with the word “WITHDRAW:” at the beginning of your subject line to tordotcomsubs AT gmail DOT com
We will review speculative fiction under 17,500 words and answer all relevant queries as quickly as possible. As of the posting of these new guidelines, longer submissions and letters that do not relate to short fiction will be deleted without reply.
Finally, thanks for reading our guidelines. We look forward to seeing your stories.
Novella submissions are open as of May 1st, 2015
We will be considering unsolicited, unagented submissions for the next month, and will close submissions at the end of June 1st. We ARE accepting agented submissions throughout this period.
What We're Looking For: Tor.com: The Imprint is looking for complete, original science fiction and fantasy stories of between 30,000 and 40,000 words. We are seeking stories with commercial appeal that take advantage of the particular strengths of the novella format. We will consider stories that are slightly shorter than 30,000 and slightly longer than 40,000, but we won’t look at anything under 17,500 words.
At this time, we are particularly seeking science fictional novellas of all varieties. Lee Harris is particularly interested in space opera, time travel thrillers and interesting new approaches to classic science fiction themes, while Carl Engle-Laird is seeking near-future science fiction and technothrillers that trace their lineage from cyberpunk and post-cyberpunk, as well as space operas with the sense of grandeur and mystery that remind readers of the closeness between space opera and fantasy. We will also be happy to accept fantasy and urban fantasy stories, though we will be prioritizing the reading of the SF submissions.
In addition, both Lee Harris and Carl Engle-Laird actively request submissions from writers from underrepresented populations. This includes, but is not limited to, writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class and physical or mental ability. We believe that good science fiction and fantasy reflects the incredible diversity and potential of the human species, and hope our catalog will come to reflect that.
We do not accept works that have been previously published elsewhere, in any venue. This includes all forms of digital self-publishing.
We do not accept works that are not identifiable as fantasy or science fiction. This includes, but is not limited to, non-science-fictional thrillers, and all kinds of non-fiction and memoirs.
We are not currently interested in tie-in fiction. This includes fiction that exists within worlds established in previously published novels, or that relies upon a knowledge of previously published novels.
We do not accept multiple submissions. If you have more than one novella, you may only submit one at a time. You may submit another once we have responded to your first submission.
We prefer that you not simultaneously submit your story to Tor.com and other venues. If you do, however, and your novella is accepted by a different venue, please immediately withdraw your submission from Tor.com
What we pay: We offer an advance against royalties, the size of which will depend on a number of factors, including you, the length of your story and how commercial we think it is. We also offer a royalty-only option, but if we decide to make you an offer, you will be free to choose between the two.
What rights does that give you? Our contract covers the right to publish the story in print, audio and ebook formats, worldwide, in English. Most of our print books will be published as p.o.d., though we may choose to publish other print editions.
HOW TO SUBMIT: Please submit your novellas through the form at http://submissions.tor.com/tornovellas. Once you’ve registered there you can also use that portal to check the status of your submission. If you wish to withdraw your story, please email submissions AT tor DOT com.
What we’re looking for: We are currently most interested in pitches for essays, think pieces, list posts, reaction pieces, and reviews in the 1000-2000 word range. If possible, please include 2-3 writing samples and links to your published work on other sites.
We do not encourage articles on spec—please send us clear, thoroughly outlined pitches on specific topics. Suggested areas of interest include (but are not limited to):
- YA literature
- SF/Fantasy in translation (international SF/F)
- Manga and Anime
- Internet/Geek culture
- science and technology
We are not currently interested in Q&A-style interviews, video blogging, Kickstarter projects, or promotional/marketing materials. If you are a publicist with a project that you think our readers will appreciate, please contact our Publicity Coordinator, Katharine Duckett.
Tor.com is a publisher neutral fan community; we are pro-author and pro-fandom, and generally do our best to promote civil and respectful discourse about science fiction, fantasy, and related topics. This includes opinion pieces and reviews—in terms of tone, posts should be grounded in balanced, constructive criticism. Humor is, of course, welcome—mockery and ridicule are not. In the interest of promoting greater diversity within our community, we encourage submissions by writers of any race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, class, and ability, in the hopes that our site will provide an outlet for a rich variety of opinions, experiences, beliefs, and perspectives.
How to submit: Submissions should be emailed to (blogsubmissions)(at)(tor.com). We’re a small staff, and the day to day running of the site keeps us pretty busy, so we may not be able to respond to your pitch immediately, but if we are able to accomodate extra content and your proposed article sounds like a good fit, we will try to do so within a two week period. Unfortunately, we are not currently in a position to respond to every submission, but we always appreciate hearing from potential bloggers, and may follow up on individual pitches at a later date.
If your pitch is accepted: We pay for original blog content—payment rates, paperwork, and invoicing details will be forwarded to you along with our posting instructions. Upon publication, contributors receive a byline, a short bio at the end of each published post, and are listed on the Tor.com contributors roll.
A note on editing: We may request rewrites before publishing your post. We will not make significant edits or changes to an article’s content without permission, but please be aware that we may lightly edit your post for grammar, spelling, and general clarity, and/or change the title. We may also add in relevant links and images.
Comics: Sorry, we’re not considering new comics submissions at this time.
Visual Art: Irene Gallo is the art director of both Tor and Tor.com. If you want to make sure she’s aware of your work, please follow the guidelines for submitting art on the Tor.com FAQ.