Penumbra is looking for original, unpublished stories of 3500 words or less. We prefer that writers use Standard Manuscript Format for submissions. (You can read this article by Chuck Rothman on the SFWA site on preparing a manuscript for submission if you are unfamiliar with SMF.)
Please send your stories as file attachments in .rtf or .doc formats only. Please include a cover letter in the body of your email, with the manuscript title, you pen name if applicable, the exact word count of the story not including title and byline, and a publication history if applicable.
Penumbra pays .05 cents per word.
We will evaluate poetry submissions for each issue. We will also consider previously published stories with rights reverted to the author.
Penumbra has multiple issue calls open at the same time, therefore it is imperative that you include the issue theme in the subject line of your email. Submissions that do not include this information risk getting lost in our queue and not read before the deadline.
Penumbra uses Musa Publishing's house style guide, which relies upon the Chicago Manual of Style. All accepted stories will be edited to reflect Musa house style.
If you have never been published before, please tell us. Penumbra likes publishing new authors as much as we like publishing experienced authors. Every month, we select one of the best stories from an author with little or no publishing experience and feature that story and author as our Rising Talent recipient for the month. The Rising Talent author's story, biography, and a non-fiction essay will be featured on our website for a full year, as well as spotlighted in the Penumbra issue for that month.
We absolutely do not accept fan fiction.
Penumbra accepts both agented and unagented submissions. If you have any questions or need further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Penumbra: http://penumbraezine.blogspot.com || Website
Current Submission Calls
June 2013: HG Wells
I don't know about you, but there's something so wonderful and amazing about the stories of HG Wells. Without his contributions to literature, speculative fiction would be far, far different today. Don't get so caught up in War Between the Worlds or The Time Machine that you don't consider his lesser known works. We're more inclined to see stories like A New Accelerator than The Invisible Man. And just as with our other author themes, we're not looking for fan fiction. We're looking for something new in a Wellsian style—just like the Father of Science Fiction did with every story he wrote.
CALL ENDS ON MARCH 30, 2013
July 2013: Japanese Mythology
Although our editor-in-chief loves Greco-Roman mythology, learning the folklore and legends of Japan opened up a huge window for her several years back. The lore was so intricate and lovely that it naturally stirred her curiosity. With Daughter of the Empire, first book of the Empire Trilogy by Raymond Feist and Janny Wurts that curiosity became an obsession. We want to see stories that are saturated with the rich and gorgeous culture of Japan, and take that mythology into new and unexpected speculative territory.
CALL ENDS ON APRIL 30, 2013
August 2013: Revolution
"The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos."
—Stephen Jay Gould
Revolution is one of those themes that can mean anything. An alternate history version of the Civil War. A galactic battle between humanoid and reptilian worlds. A coup in a coven of witches. The range of stories within this topic is pretty darn close to infinite. And while you don't necessarily have to follow Stephen Jay Gould's opinion, you might want to consider Abbie Hoffman's.
"The first duty of a revolutionary is to get away with it."
CALL ENDS ON MAY 31, 2013
Upcoming Submission Calls
September 2013: The Fae
What's not to love about the Fae? Whether you're writing about the fairies like Tinker Bell or pixies, or the Tuatha dé Danaan of older Irish legends, this is the issue to let the Fair Folk loose in your imagination. Be sure you follow the will o'the wisp into new worlds—and take the readers of Penumbra along with you on your journey down the faery paths.
CALL BEGINS ON APRIL 1, 2013
CALL ENDS ON JUNE 30 2013
October 2013 Alfred Hitchcock
Behind every great movie is a great story. Alfred Hitchcock ranks as one of the top storytellers of the twentieth century. We're looking for suspenseful stories of psychological horror—Hitchcock with a spec fic twist. Cause let's be honest—who doesn't feel a bit creepy crawly when they see a huge flock of blackbirds or seagulls overhead? So whether Hitchcock has his signature cameo in your story or not, the best tribute to a man considered to be the most influential filmmaker of the 20th century is a story he would have loved to put on the big screen.
CALL BEGINS ON MAY 1, 2013
CALL ENDS ON JULY 31, 2013
November 2013: Gaslight Fantasy
Who needs machines to lend that steampunk feel to Victorian stories? We sure don't. That's why we're really excited about this Gaslight Fantasy issue of Penumbra. We love the foggy streets of London, the creature inching ever closer to the oblivious heroine, and, hopefully, her blood spraying all over the passed out prostitutes on the corner. But then, everyone knows we're a little bit sick. So send us your best gaslight fantasy—blood on the prostitutes is optional—so we can read this issue by the fire on a crisp, late autumn night.
CALL BEGINS ON JUNE 1, 2013
CALL ENDS ON AUGUST 31, 2013
December 2013: Family Traditions
"Ah Christmas…warm and rosy time. The hot wine steams, the Yule log roars, and we're the fat that's in the fire." Geoffrey, The Lion in Winter—Act I
Obviously, Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine probably aren't the best example for family traditions—particularly when the biggest tradition they shared was warring with each other, but we couldn't resist giving our Christmas issue a bit of spice. While we realize that we'll be getting a plethora of stories about murdering in-laws over the holiday turkey—BUT we are still holding out hope that we won't get Norman Rockwell in space. Family traditions can happen anywhere—or anywhen—so take the turkey and run with it.
CALL BEGINS ON JULY 1, 2013
CALL ENDS ON SEPTEMBER 30, 2013
PLEASE DO NOT SEND SUBMISSIONS PRIOR TO THE OPENING DATE FOR THE CALL.
Initial response time to queries is expected to be short, within 2-3 weeks. This is likely to change and any such submission changes will be listed here. Once your story is passed to a higher round of evaluation, response times may vary but they will be long. We go through an extensive review process that may take several months. If you submit during the first month of a call and your story makes it past the initial reader, you can expect a wait time of 4-5 months. We do not select our stories until the month BEFORE release--usually 4-6 weeks before publication.
Reviews--Penumbra is now accepting fantasy, science fiction, horror and all variants, combinations, mash ups and sub-genres of the above. Penumbra will not review self-published books. Penumbra will not review books published by our parent company, Musa Publishing. Instead, Penumbra prefers to review independent- or small press-published books. Please send your ARC or sales-ready digital file(pdf or prc) to email@example.com.
Sending in your book does not guarantee a review or a favorable review if we select your story. At the moment, we are reviewing 1-2 books per issue. We expect that to increase to 3-4 books per issue in 2013.