Payment & Rights
Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine is an established market for science fiction stories. Asimov’s pays 8-10 cents per word for short stories up to 7,500 words, and 8 cents for each word over 7,500. We seldom buy stories shorter than 1,000 words or longer than 20,000 words, and we don’t serialize novels. We pay $1 a line for poetry, which should not exceed 40 lines. We buy First English Language serial rights plus certain non-exclusive rights explained in our contract. We do not publish reprints, and we do not accept “simultaneous submissions” (stories sent at the same time to a publication other than Asimov’s). Asimov’s will consider material submitted by any writer, previously published or not. We’ve bought some of our best stories from people who have never sold a story before.
In general, we’re looking for “character oriented” stories, those in which the characters, rather than the science, provide the main focus for the reader’s interest. Serious, thoughtful, yet accessible fiction will constitute the majority of our purchases, but there’s always room for the humorous as well. SF dominates the fiction published in the magazine, but we also publish borderline fantasy, slipstream, and surreal fiction. No sword & Sorcery, please. Neither are we interested in explicit sex or violence. A good overview would be to consider that all fiction is written to examine or illuminate some aspect of human existence, but that in science fiction the backdrop you work against is the size of the Universe.
Electronic Submission and Manuscript Format
Asimov’s now uses an Online Submissions System that has been designed to streamline our process and improve communication with authors. We do not accept email submissions. Please see Manual Submission Guidelines for information about paper submissions.
Our online submissions form for fiction asks for your name, email address, cover letter, story title, and story. Cover letter is optional. If you choose to include it, it should contain the length of your story and your publishing history. Story word count can, and should, also be indicated in the upper right corner of the first page of the manuscript. We ask for the same information for poetry. Please fill out a separate form for each poem submitted for consideration. All stories and poems should be in standard manuscript format and can be submitted in .RTF or .DOC format. For information about standard formatting, see William Shunn’s guide to Proper Manuscript Format. After you have submitted your work, a tracking number will be displayed and an automated email confirmation containing this information will be sent to you. If you have not received this email within twenty-four hours, please notify us by email. Your tracking number will allow you to monitor the status of your submission through our website, so please don’t lose it.
NOTE: Yahoo.com occasionally treats our email as spam, please keep an eye on your spam folder.
Our average response time runs about five weeks. If you have not heard from us in three months, you can query us about the submission at email@example.com. Thanks for your interest in Asimov’s and good luck!
Manual Submission and Manuscript Format
Manuscripts submitted to Asimov's must be neatly typed, double-spaced on one side of the sheet only, on bond paper (no erasable paper, please). Any manuscript longer than 5 pages should be mailed to us flat. Dot matrix printouts are acceptable only if they are easily readable. Please do NOT send us submissions on disk. When using a word processor, please do not justify the right margin. If sending a printout, separate the sheets first. The manuscript should include the title, your name and address, and the number of words in your story. Enclose a cover letter if you like. All manuscripts must be accompanied by a self-addressed stamped envelope (if manuscript is over 5 pages, use a 9” x 12” envelope) carrying enough postage to return the manuscript If you wish to save on postage, you may submit a clear copy of your story along with a standard (#10) envelope, also self-addressed and stamped. Mark your manuscript “DISPOSABLE,” and you will receive our reply only. We do not suggest that you have us dispose of your original typescript. If you live overseas or in Canada, use International Reply Coupons for postage, along with a self-addressed envelope.