Would That It Were is a magazine of historical science fiction.  Stories submitted must contain an element of science and a tie to the 18th or early 19th century, or an arguable tie to a historical period clearly in the Industrial Age. We receive hundreds of submissions each issue; therefore, our guidelines have become more stringent.  Please read the following even if you are already familiar with our guidelines.

We do not accept:

  • Westerns, unless they contain science fiction elements
  • Ghost stories or horror, unless they contain science fiction elements
  • Swords and Sorcery, in other words Stories set in medieval times, prehistoric periods, during the age of King Arthur or Beowulf, etc., even if they contain elements of science fiction

We've expanded the format to include gothic, neo-Lovecraftian fiction with loose ties to SF and the historical angle.  We've included Alternate History  and SteamPunk, which are William Gibson-like stories set in the 1800's and early 1900's (for an example, see William Gibson and Bruce Sterling's Difference Engine) along with the usual Vernean / Wellsian material.  You are welcome to submit stories that match the general feel of any of these subgenres of Historical SF.  We reserve the right to relax the guidelines according to our editorial taste.  Meeting our guidelines is not guarantee of publication.

We accept short stories, poetry and art.  Submissions should be sent electronically to editor@wouldthatitwere.comWe will not reply to hard copy submissions and we will not return your material.  You may submit your work in plain text (if short), RTF, MSWord, WordPerfect or Works format as a single attachment (do not send your story in pieces), but please identify the format in your email.

Each submission must clearly identify the following in the subject line of the email:

  • Author
  • Title
  • Word length

Submissions entitled "Submission" or similar will be ignored.  Email filters will be set up eventually to automatically delete such messages, so this guideline should be taken seriously.

If you have never sent us a submission before, we encourage you to send a shorter piece, less than 3000 words in length.  Our editors decide quickly whether to keep or toss a story, so nothing is gained by the extra length.  If we like your material, we may invite you to submit longer pieces as features.

Authors should send a short bio (approx. 50 words unless you are significantly published) and thumbnail headshot so that the work can be properly credited; if you do not have access to a scanner or digital camera, you may specify an alternate graphic or web link to be included in place of your picture.  Do not send us 500K images from your digital camera.  Crop your images and resize them so that they are no more than 50K in size.  We prefer jpg or gif images.

We do not accept submissions over 5000 words except by special arrangement, and we do not accept submissions over 3000 words unless we have previously published the author's material.

Would That It Were does not accept anything it deems to be pornographic, obscene, defamatory or otherwise in poor taste; however, neither does it assume or imply any responsibility for adverse consequences associated with the posting of a submission.  

Submissions with pervasive grammatical, spelling and common usage errors are unacceptable.  Everyone makes a mistake now and then, and we will do our best to prevent them in print, but if you can't tell the difference between "it's" and "its", through and threw, lie, lay, laid and lain, we can't help you.

Would That It Were buys first North American serial electronic rights, and may use images or portions of your submission multiple times in a single issue.  All other rights revert to and remain with the author / artist after the current issue has been archived (as indicated by web links).  We may include summaries or thumbnail images to link readers to past issues in which your material previously appeared.  No work may be copied, reprinted, redistributed or sold in any format, abridged or unabridged, without the express written permission (or verifiable electronic equivalent) of the author, in accordance with U.S. and applicable international copyright laws.  If a submission has already appeared elsewhere, it is the responsibility of the author to identify when and where, and to assure that no conflicts exist which would prevent us from publishing your work.


Typical pay rates for non-contributing (non-staff) authors and illustrators are as follows.  These are not guarantees of payment.  If your work is accepted, you will usually be extended a verbal or email offer mentioning the amount of likely payment, and if the terms are acceptable to you, sent a check for your contribution.  Your deposit of our check indicates acceptance of any terms and conditions set forth by Would That It Were and / or its publisher, Small Potatoes Press.  

Range by length (including non-fiction):

  • Flash Fiction: <500 words: $0.05 to $0.10 / word up to $50

  • Short-short: 501-3,000 words: $0.03 to $0.05 / word up to $150.00

  • Short Stories: 3,001-5,000 words: $0.03 to $0.05 / word up to $250.00

  • Longer Short Stories: 5,000 - 10,000 words: $0.02 to $0.03 / word up to $300.00 (rare)

  • Novelettes: over 10,000 words: $0.01 - $0.02 / word or by special arrangement

PLEASE keep in mind that we strongly prefer to receive stories in the range of no more than 1500 words from new authors.  Novelettes are expensive and we pay by the word, so if you have a story that MUST take ten thousand words to tell, it had better be damned good AND we had better know your material well before you even think of it.  We don't mean to be cruel, but we have received well in excess of our fair share of ill-conceived 'magnum dopuses' from authors who would benefit from a lesson in brevity.  Make your prose SING, and make every word count! 

Would That It Were does not pay up front for book reviews, editorials, interviews or other non-fiction work other than articles except by special arrangement.  Book reviews pay on a click-through basis; that is, as the books are sold.  Each reviewer receives 5% of the gross on total Amazon sales for that book via WTIW.  For example, if WTIW has sold $100 worth of books (the minimum required by Amazon) and someone buys Verne's Paris in the Twentieth Century hardback via Would That It Were for $20.00, you get $1.00).  Anything that falls outside these terms will be handled on a case-by-case basis by WTIW's management and editorial staff.  Please email the Editor for details.

Original Art and Illustrations - negotiated per piece; illustrations provided by author are considered part of the submission.  Rates on all submissions may change at any time and without warning.  Would That It Were generally respects rates that were in operation at the time negotiation began on a submission.


(c) 2001 Would That It Were. For questions, contact the webmaster at   Legal disclosure, publishing, copyright and trademark information can be found on the Staff page.  If you find anything you know to be incorrect, please let us know.  If you have any other questions, please email