Submission Guidelines for Theaker's Quarterly Fiction
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Before submitting to this magazine you should be aware that it is not entirely reputable! See websites such as as Preditors and Editors and Writer Beware for good advice to authors. In particular, TQF sends up red flags in the following areas: there is no payment for contributions; the magazine has a tiny and at times practically non-existent print circulation; and it has published stories by the editors and their friends. Note also that if your story is published in TQF (or any other non-paying or low-paying magazine, for that matter) that will probably preclude it being sold at full price to any professional market later on. If you are making a career of writing, sometimes it's best to keep your work in the drawer. Even if it isn't in fashion right now, there may be a market for it ten years down the line.
If for some reason that hasn't put you off, read on! We are at least honest about our failings, and will deal honestly with your submissions. And although print sales are poor, we recorded over 4,000 downloads in total of the various issues on the site during 2007, so you're not throwing your work into a black hole.
Read the guidelines below on Content and Style to find out what we are looking for, and consider the Terms of Publication. If you'd like a bit of background on our approach to publishing the magazine see the TQF Manifesto in TQF#17, the editorial in TQF#23, or Stephen's interview with Gareth Jones.
If you still aren't put off, send us your submissions!
The editors are Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood.
We do not want:
If you would like to receive feedback on your work, in the event that we turn it down, let us know in your email. Remember, though, that we're still finding our way with this magazine, and there's no reason for you to think our opinion counts for anything!
Contributors will receive no payment, we're afraid, not even a free print copy of the magazine (everyone can get an online copy for free, of course). We realise that's a bit rubbish, but our philosophy is to keep it cheap to keep it going. We want it to keep going for a long time, so we are keeping it very, very cheap! The only exception is that we will provide a free copy of the magazine to the cover artist and to the author of any printed contribution of over 15,000 words, as long as they are resident within the United Kingdom. (No free copies will be supplied of any bound volumes, though.)
Contributors retain all rights to their work, allowing us only the right to distribute (a) paper copies of the magazine in which it appears (or bound volumes of such) (b) pdf copies of the magazine in which it appears (or bound volumes of such), and (c) other (probably unencrypted) ebook versions of the magazine, which may be made available online.
Basically, you are agreeing to publication in the issue, and reprinting of your story along with the rest of the issue in which it appears. However, you are not granting us any rights to re-publish the story in any other publication or arrangement - if we were producing, for example, a "best of" anthology of the magazine, we would have to contact you to agree new terms. If you submit multiple stories to us over the years, we will not have the right to publish a collection of those stories.
By submitting a story the author assumes all responsibility with regard to potential copyright, libel, trade mark infringement or any other legal proceedings which might stem from its publication. With that in mind, please do not submit any stories featuring characters from films, tv shows, other people’s novels (unless the author died in the nineteenth century or earlier), etc.
If at a later date your story is reprinted elsewhere, we would be grateful if a notice could be appended regarding its original publication in Theaker's Quarterly Fiction.
If your submission is accepted, the acceptance email will contain a copy of these terms for you to acknowledge, establishing the nature of the contract between us.
Terms last amended: 4 February 2008.
If you have written something brilliant that you don't think fits well with TQF, or if for some crazy reason you would prefer to be paid for your work, take a look at www.ralan.com and www.duotrope.com, two superb listings of markets available to the aspiring writer. You can also report to Duotrope on how long it takes us to respond to submissions..
We expect all authors to deal with proofs in a professional manner. In particular, all queries raised on the proofs should be dealt with carefully. A writer's work is not done once the story has been accepted – you have to shepherd it through to its eventual publication. If we have queried your word choice, please consult a dictionary to check that the word means what you think it does. If you don't address a query, the editors will have to resolve it as best they can – without further reference to you – in order to make the story publishable.
In extreme circumstances, we may withdraw our acceptance of a story if the author fails to deal with queries properly. In any case, we will look much less favourably on future submissions by authors who don't check their proofs.
If proofs are not returned on time we may have to go to press without the corrections of the author, and without the author's approval of our suggested changes. While we respect the author’s right to the integrity of the text, as guaranteed by the Berne Convention, there is an exception for magazine publication – sometimes the publication deadline has to come first.
Part of the supposed charm of TQF has been its homespun art, often quickly scribbled in the midst of proofreading the text, but submissions of artwork are still welcome. As long as you are happy to hold back my own artistic development, that is...
The terms of publication are the same as those outlined above for fiction, so again no payment will be offered, but we will link to your home page, both in the issue itself, and on our news page, in the item announcing publication of the new issue. The one difference is that cover artists will receive a copy of the magazine (as long as they are resident within the United Kingdom).
Please do not send original art in the post, unless requested, because of the awkwardness of returning it. In the first instance please email us a photo, scan or other sample. If you are wondering what to draw, we will always find a use for things like spaceships, alien planetscapes and the like. There seems to be at least one robot in every issue, for example, so that might be a good place to start. However, only original artwork will appear in the magazine, as commissioned by the editors in relation to the text.
Planned Publication Dates for 2009/2010
We're happy to receive submissions at any time. We usually lock down the contents of each issue about a month before its publication date, but sometimes we'll be able to sneak something short in at the last minute. These are the dates when we aim to have each issue available online and on Lulu. Printing usually takes a week or two more.
Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #31 (Winter)
Publication due: 4/12/9
Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #32 (Christmas)
Publication due: 25/12/9. Our calculations suggest that with this issue we'll catch up with McSweeney's Quarterly Concern (in issue numbers, that is). So with #33 we will go back to being a quarterly…
Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #33 (Spring)
Publication due: 30/4/10.
Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #34 (Summer)
Publication due: 30/6/10.
Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #35 (Autumn)
Publication due: 30/10/10.
Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #36 (Winter)
Publication due: 30/12/10.
The schedule for our 2010 issues may look a little odd – that's because we've scheduled the TQF issues around the Dark Horizons issues we also produce for the British Fantasy Society, so that we can concentrate on one publication at a time. We should really have done it a year ago, but we just had to catch up with McSweeney's, didn't we, regardless of the way our babies and wives went lonely and untended for lo those long weekends...
Guidelines by Stephen Theaker. Guidelines last updated 5 October 2009.