TQF70: open for submissions during January; reading period February; due out March 2021.
TQF71: open for submissions during April; reading period May; due out June 2021.
TQF72: open for submissions during July; reading period August; due out September 2021.
Please note that we are not currently accepting book submissions for Theaker’s Paperback Library, and have no plans to do so in future. The few books we publish are generally collections of material that has appeared in the magazine, produced on a non-profit making basis. (And they tend to sell very few copies! Or at least they did, till we published Rafe McGregor's Adventures of Roderick Langham.) We could be persuaded to publish a suitable book-length project as a special issue of TQF, but to be honest you'd probably be better off publishing it yourself. If you fancy guest-editing an issue, get in touch.
Warning! Before submitting to Theaker’s Quarterly Fiction you should know that it isn’t entirely reputable! See websites such as as 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 to be honest practically non-existent print circulation; and it has published stories by the editors and their friends. (In fact that was its original purpose!) Note also that if your story is published in TQF (or any other non-paying or low-paying magazine, for that matter) that may well 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 powder dry.
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, our free ebook versions tend to get downloaded a couple of thousand times, once all the different outlets are added up, so you’re not throwing your work into a black hole. We offer the ebooks and pdfs for free from this site and as cheaply as possible elsewhere. Print editions are sold via print-on-demand services at the cheapest possible price. (We don't even make enough money to cover the cost of the library deposit copies.)
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!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Format: rtf/doc/docx or plain-text markdown
- Filename: TQF Your Story Title by Your Name
- If you can, edit the file properties so that the author and title are correct.
- Include a biography (as long or as short as you like) in your email, just so we have it handy if we go on to publish the story.
- We don’t provide as much personal feedback these days, for lack of time.
- The editors are Stephen Theaker and John Greenwood.
- Stories with an element of the fantastic. Hard sf, soft sf, fantasy, heroic fantasy, dark fantasy, humorous fantasy, slipstream, magic realism, horror and terror – it’s all of interest to TQF.
- Enthusiasm, excitement, and a sense that the author is writing because it’s something they enjoy doing. TQF is not by nature a cool magazine. It’s a bit goofy and a bit all-over-the-place. You don’t really have to be cutting-edge, hip or with it to submit to us – you just have to love what you’re doing, and try to do it well.
- Both long stories and short stories. We are as happy to consider one-page short stories as 50,000 word novels. (Note that longer submissions will take quite a bit longer to be accepted or rejected.)
- Variety. We are always interested in stories with point-of-view characters from ethnicities, sexes and sexual orientations different to our own. Admittedly, much of what we have published in the past featured bespectacled white men in trouble, but that’s not because we don’t want to publish anything else. We would love to publish more women,
- Authors who will consider their proofs carefully, and deal fully with any queries. (See Proofs, below.)
- Artwork, but only as commissioned in relation to particular stories. (See Artwork Submissions, below.)
- Reviews. We have plenty of space for reviews. Books, films, music, art, television, comics – anything is fine, so long as it has a fantasy, sf or horror element. For books and comics please provide the author(s) and publisher. For movies provide the writer(s) and production company. For TV programmes supply the writer(s) and broadcaster.
- Poetry. (We don’t know enough about it.)
- Previously published material. Stories currently appearing in a new collection may be suitable.
- Multiple submissions. Just one story at a time, please.
- Simultaneous submissions. Don’t send us anything that is still under consideration with another magazine. It takes time to read submissions, and we don’t want to waste it.
- Serial-killer stories without a fantasy element – they don’t really fit the tone of what we’re doing.
- Alternative history stories that don’t have any other fantasy element, for the same reason.
- Fanfiction based on material that is still in copyright. But sequels to stories from the nineteenth century and earlier are fine.
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 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; (b) pdf copies of the magazine in which it appears; and (c) ebook versions of the magazine, which may be made available online.
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.
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: 1 December 2014.
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. Keeps us honest!
We supply all contributors with a pdf proof of their work for approval and checking.
Submissions of artwork are more than welcome. No payment is 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.
We love to do ad swaps with fellow small press publications, and we will always be happy to include a free advert for new books by our previous contributors. If you’re interested, just drop us a line. We can handle more or less any file format (ideally: 300dpi, jpg), but if it’s text-heavy, or you just aren’t a great whiz with graphics, just send us the text and any pictures and we’ll lay it out for you.
Guidelines by Stephen Theaker. Guidelines last amended: 1 August 2020.