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 September 3, 2014
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. Submissions should be emailed to (tordotcomsubs)(at)(gmail.com)—the first part spelled out (“tordotcomsubs,” not “tor.comsubs”). They should be in something approximating standard manuscript format and be sent as *.doc (not docx), *.rtf, or plain-text attachments. They should not be sent as text in the body of the email. If you get that part right, we don’t care all that much about the particulars of your formatting—just use common sense. We don’t care about the content of your cover letter, either. Putting the string “SUB:” at the start of your subject line will help us know that you’ve read this, which is quite confidence inspiring.
Do you accept multiple submissions? You mean, can you send us five stories to look at at the same time? Please don’t. Send us one, let us respond, and then send another.
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.
We would really rather that you didn’t query us unless your submission was sent more than nine months ago (in which case, we almost certainly don’t have it) or you genuinely think something has gone awry. If you must query, please put the string “QUERY:” in the subject line of your e-mail. You may also use this technique for other unusual circumstances, like if you sent the wrong file or changed your email address.
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.
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.
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.