Updates on our upcoming Romance Anthology

I just wanted to pop in and post an update to the guidelines for our upcoming romance anthology. It’s really starting to take shape, so here are some more specifics.

We are looking for SF/F Romance Short Stories between 500 and 10,000 words for an upcoming anthology entitled Love, Time, Space, Magic. (Deadline December 20, 2014) In this anthology, we’re looking for truly romantic stories with a science fiction or fantasy flair, especially where love is a potent force in the lives of the characters. Love can be as long-standing and life-changing a force as time, space, or even magic… so send us your biggest, boldest love stories!

So come on, send us your best SF/F romance. You know you want to!

We are accepting submissions!

Here are our submission guidelines, posted here, in their entirety. They are also available in the static pages on the sidebar.


Pop Seagull Publishing General Submission Guidelines


Please read this guide in full before submitting. Additional guidelines may apply for individual themed anthologies.


Hi! Welcome to Pop Seagull Publishing’s guidelines page. We want you to submit your Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror work to us! Before we get to the author requirements, though, we want to tell you a little bit about the company, and what we can offer you.


Pop Seagull Publishing is a small publisher of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror fiction founded by author and editor Elizabeth McLean in order to showcase the kind of amazing fiction that thrills writers and readers alike. Our core values are offering readers a unique, fun reading experience that they won’t get anywhere else, working closely with authors to help them develop as artists and make sure more of their original vision ends up in the final product, and offering 90% Canadian authors in all our productions. We count anybody who has ever lived in Canada for a significant period of time and held citizenship as ‘Canadian’. And, if you’re not Canadian by any stretch of the imagination, don’t worry! We do include non-Canadian authors in our anthologies, and will consider work from elsewhere. We just try to keep the proportions at nine to one.


We’re also very proud of our artwork at Pop Seagull. Our designers are Sheridan College trained artists who do this stuff for a living, and we strive for the most eye-catching and professional looking covers and interior illustrations. Everybody knows that, despite the old saying, people often do judge a book by its cover, and if you go with us, your book’s cover will be awesome!


If you’re a new author, we want to hear from you! Don’t be shy… if you’ve got a piece of work that is finished and ready to go, and you think we might enjoy reading it, send it. The worst we’ll say is no, and we try to provide as much useful feedback on submissions as possible.


We are a paying market, for both short fiction and novel sales. For short fiction we are currently paying 1 cent per word, plus three free copies of the book and a discounted rate on future purchases. For novels, we cannot afford to pay advances at this time, but we offer a generous percentage of net profits from all sales, payable quarterly, ten free copies of the book, and discounted rates on future purchases. We buy first North American Print rights, and First Electronic Rights for all published pieces.


So, What Are We Looking For?


General Guidelines


Please read this first batch of requirements carefully. Failure to do so may result in your work not being considered.


#1: We accept Microsoft Word files (.doc and .docx), PDF and Open Office (.odt) files only. If you send us anything other than these formats, we may not be able to open it. Please send all queries and works for consideration to lizmclean(dot)artist(at)gmail(dot)com. Copying and pasting your work into the body of an email is also acceptable if you do not have any of the software we use.


#2: We prefer manuscripts in a standard, easy to read font such as Times New Roman, Helvetica or Courier. Please double space your work, and put your name, address, phone number, email and blog/webpage (optional) in the upper left-hand corner of the top of the manuscript.


#3: Short story submissions should include a cover letter that does not summarize the story, but rather introduces you as a writer and gives us a title and word count. For novels, please query first, then if we like your query, we will ask for a portion of the work and a synopsis.


#4: We do not accept unfinished manuscripts.


#5: Unless and until we send you a contract, nothing guarantees an author acceptance. If the story’s not right for us, it doesn’t matter if it came from my beloved grandmother. We also reserve the right to cancel any publication to which no contracts have been signed, for any reason whatsoever. In the unlikely event of this happening, applicants will be informed of the cancellation.


Things we like to see in Pop Seagull Fiction


Here are some elements that might draw our attention. This isn’t an exhaustive list, nor do successful candidates have to have all of these, but if your story has one or more, it may be for us!


-A sense of fun and adventure that pulls the reader along and excites their sense of wonder. I love classic action movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars and The Matrix. In these kinds of stories, complex protagonists with a strong goal and a lot at stake are the most interesting to me.


-An incredible sense of atmosphere and descriptive, visual storytelling. Blow us away with your unique settings, your outlandish ideas, the beauty and power of your concept. We like ‘atmosphere pieces’, as long as they’re anchored in at least one character and their journey.


-Stories that are rooted in the author’s culture, place in the world, and unique perspective on things. Think you’re boring? Think again! We love to see strange tales that are rooted deeply in local colour and the author’s unique point of view and way of being. This includes stories rooted in the author’s culture of origin, region, or personal lifestyle. We are LGBT friendly and sex-positive, and will gladly publish work from a queer perspective.


-We like unusual twists on classic tales and folklore, but only if it’s truly unique and not relying on the stereotypes established by others in recent years. Beware vampires, werewolves and fey, if the treatment is not unique from recent popular franchises. Zombies have to have something special. For an example of what we mean, see Ira Nayman’s story ‘To Zombie or Not To Zombie’ in Spirits of Suburbia.


-A sense of humor is great, even if the story is largely serious. A little humor almost always helps with pacing.


-We are very interested in reading work from First Nations authors, so if you’re someone from the Native community who enjoys writing SF/F/H, give us a try! We’d love to see what you’ve got.


-To summarize, if there is one thing we must emphasize over all other points, it is that we want to see fiction that entertains the reader, not just the writer. Give them something bold, new, interesting, compelling or fun.


Things we prefer not to see


The items listed below are considered guidelines only. If you still think, after reading them, that there is a chance we might enjoy your piece, send it along anyway. It’s what we would do. Having said that, here is a list of things which will be deleted unread:


-Hate literature against any person or group of people

-Hard Core Pornography (unless solicited for a specific anthology)

-Anything depicting sexual acts with minors or animals

-Anything which is not science fiction, fantasy or horror and has not been directly solicited by the editors


Stuff that might be a dealbreaker for us:


We don’t really like anything that glorifies crime, so that ‘Sopranos in space’ gangster epic you’ve been plotting out probably isn’t a good fit.


Romance is very welcome here, but especially for longer works, we prefer plots that offer readers other elements to enjoy as well. No clingy, co-dependant Bellas, please, unless they achieve a satisfying character change by the end.


We’re not big fans of unlikeable protagonists here. Antiheroes, sure. We love to see the monster made into the hero. But if your protagonist is constantly making decisions that are obviously stupid, hurtful or just plain oblivious and not seeming to learn from their mistakes, it won’t hold our attention for long.


We love to see intelligent fiction, but we have found that sometimes there is a fine line between intelligence and smarminess on the part of the author. Ask yourself: is your premise contributing to the reader’s entertainment or enlightenment, or is it merely designed to go ‘Aha! I got you!’? Is it unique because the freshness of the premise is entertaining, or because you thought bending over backwards that far made you look clever? The answers to these questions make all the difference to us. We’re not big fans of coyness (holding back essential information simply to roll it out later in an Aha! moment) meta-fictive lectures to the reader on how stupid they were to trust you as the author, or endings that are deliberately unsatisfying to make a statement. Taking risks is great. Destroying the entertainment value of the work just to take those risks, in our humble opinions, is not.


What is Pop Seagull actively seeking right now?


We are really interested in:


-Finished novels


- SF/F Romance Short Stories between 500 and 10,000 words for an upcoming anthology (Deadline December 20, 2014)


- SF or Steampunk Short Stories between 500 and 10,000 words for an upcoming anthology titled ‘Robotica’ (Deadline March 2015). Wow us with your take on the intersection between eroticism and robots or other artificial life forms! This could take the form of a look at robotic self-replication, humans in love with robots, robot courtship, or anything your imagination can come up with! Just take ‘Robotica’ and run with it. We’re not necessarily looking for pure erotica, but more solid science fiction that examines the intersection of sexuality and robots in a unique way. Having said that, have fun with it! If a sexy, sexy scene suits the story, go for it.

I’ve Been Everywhere!

I’ve Been Everywhere!.

Superfan Comicon This Weekend!

Stephen B. Pearl, my friend and colleague, has made this lovely video, which says it all. Come out and see my first ever slide show/speech! I’m doing it up, TED style!

Find us at the Village Station Bazaar this summer!

Are you local to Hamilton and looking for something fun to do on a Sunday afternoon? Then come out and join Pop Seagull Publishing, and a whole bunch of other unique local vendors at the Village Station Bazaar! So far, the line-up is sounding really good, with new and used books, vintage clothing, crafts and antiques.

I think this is going to be a cool event, for a lot of reasons. For one thing, it’s conveniently located in the downtown core, off King Street East, so I think it’s going to be accessible to a lot of people who don’t normally get out to more formal events. For another, it’s going to be held in Ferguson Station, which is a beautiful example of the 19th-century reclamations which Hamilton is known for. Once a bustling railway station on the Grand Trunk Railway line running from Toronto to Montreal, it has now been converted into a beautiful, vaulted open air market. Another fun item of note is that Ferguson Station was the home of the Hamilton Mustard Festival from 1998 to 2010.

So, clearly if you’re looking for a quirky, fun, open air venue featuring unique wares (and you know I always am) the Village Station Bazaar is for you! We’ll be there on:

May 4th

June 1st

July 6

August 3

Cute, right? (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Cute, right? (Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

See you there!

Cross-posted to my personal blog, http://elizabethhirstblog.wordpress.com

Ad Astra and Interviews, Part One

This weekend, I got a chance to sell some books with Pop Seagull Publishing, recharge with other like-minded peeps, and even do a couple of interviews. Here’s the first of two, for http://www.youtube.com/YAwordnerds. Looks like they’ve got a really good thing going over there, so check ‘em out!

Overall, we had an amazing weekend at Ad Astra 2014. I just want to give a shout out to all the organizers, volunteers and fans that made it such a great weekend!

I’ve got my con reading all stacked up now, and I can’t wait to read it all! I’m nose deep in Sunset Val’s Final Boarding, and you should be too! Seriously… this guy’s good.

Meanwhile, in Canada…

Hey folks!

I just wanted to pop in here to mention that I’ve started a new blog, under my own name, called Meanwhile, in Canada… that will be my main blog from now on. If you stay subscribed to this one, you’ll still get the occasional update relating to Pop Seagull, but if you want to read the bulk of my posts, including a whole bunch of upcoming content that you’d never see here (mostly because I try to keep my posts here pertinent to publishing) I highly suggest that you follow my new blog as well. It’s going to be really good, and you don’t want to miss it. :)

Here’s the link: http://elizabethhirstblog.wordpress.com/


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