Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is open to FICTION submissions four months per year. The months you can submit are:
If you submit fiction in any other month, you will receive an auto-response and your tale will not be reviewed.
We remain open for POETRY submissions at all times, however, so keep those coming! If you get an auto-response, don’t worry — as long as you mention poetry in the subject line your work will be reviewed.
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As its name suggests, Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is a quarterly ezine dedicated to publishing heroic fantasy — in both prose and poetry. We are unrepentant in our goal of elevating unapologetic sword and sorcery to a rightful high place. We pay $100 for stories and $25 for poems, upon publication. (Scroll down for info on art submissions.) We purchase first world English language electronic rights, electronic rights for 90 days, archival rights for twelve months, and excerpt rights.
We publish in July, October, January, and April. Each issue will include up to three stories and two poems. We accept submissions year-round. Our fiction word limit is 10,000 words, although we are willing to serialize at a maximum of 50,000 words over four issues. You may submit up to three poems, with a cumulative maximum of 30 pages. Tolkienesque (as in really long) poetry epics/sagas/vedas will most likely be treated — and paid — like fiction. Similarly, prose pieces of fewer than 1,000 words will be paid at poetry’s standard rate of $25.
Art: HFQ is looking for quality banner art to accompany each new issue. Please review art from the past two issues to see the style we prefer. Image dimensions should be approximately 850 x 250 pixels. We’re not interested in non-banner art at this time. We’ll pay you, but rates are negotiable. If you’d like us to consider your work please email a link to the website where your art is displayed. DO NOT SEND US AN EMAIL WITH YOUR ART ATTACHED; WE WILL DELETE IT, AND YOU’LL NEVER KNOW IF WE EVEN GAVE YOU A LOOK! Follow our submission instructions below, but insert ART instead of fiction or poetry in the subject line of your email. We look forward to seeing what you’ve got!
We accept submissions by email only.
Make sure the subject line of your email follows this formula:
Submission – [fiction or poetry] – [title] – [your last name].
For example: Submission – Fiction – Red Nails – Howard
IMPORTANT: do not send attachments unless we ask for them. Paste the first 10 pages of your story or poems into the body of your email — but don’t kill yourself trying to perfect the formatting. For queries, we can live without paragraph indentations and double-spaced lines. We do need to have a line between paragraphs, though. If your sample pages look like a huge block of text in your email program follow these steps:
Feel free to include a paragraph introducing yourself and detailing your publishing history, and anything you think we need to know about your story. Or not. All we really care about is the quality of your yarn.
You have about five paragraphs to hook us and 10 pages to impress us — use them wisely.
Our email address is: editors [at] heroicfantasyquarterly.com
More Detail About Our Editorial Process
If you haven’t heard from us by the time a new issue publishes, don’t worry — you’re in the loop for the next issue.
If we like the cut of your story’s jib, we’ll contact you via email to ask for the rest of your work, which we’ll want as an RTF or Word attachment. At this point your odds of being published with us go way up (+3 modifier!). From that stack we buy and/or make rewrite requests. We try to offer constructive criticism on everything that is rejected from this second tier.
Other Submission-Related Stuff
Our response time is about 60 days.
If you’re curious as to what level of violence, sex and/or nudity is too much, just follow what you’d expect to see in movie ratings. We think an “R” rating is a suitable upper limit.
We consider reprints by invitation only. Our invitation — not yours! Unless of course your name is Gene Wolfe or Michael Moorcock.
Things we shouldn’t even have to say, but just to cover the bases:
No fan fiction. No thinly-veiled fan fiction. No thinly-veiled real-life revenge fantasies (especially against your esteemed editors).
Three Words: Heroic Fantasy Fiction
We are a Half-Orc positive venue
Action is an art, not a diversion
One word: Visceral
Know your horses
Dwarves who don’t always win
Barbarians with feelings
Barbarians with feeeeeeeeelings
Three words: Heroic Fantasy Parodies
Really exacting blow-by-blow combat scenes
Frequent or lengthy inner dialogue
Two words: Overly Descriptive
Stuff you obviously lifted from your D&D/White Wolf/Legend of Five Rings/Tunnels and Trolls (OMG! Did anybody actually play T&T?) games
Any mention at all about playing Tunnels and Trolls
Your second tier submission is not in proper manuscript format
You let the “R” rating go to your head — violence and sex should augment the story, not be the story
July 1, 2010, addendum
After a year we’ve noticed some things that we feel we should call to your attention. There are certain trends we have encountered, and certain truisms that we feel would make everyone’s life easier if we all knew them. To wit:
Witty banter usually isn’t.
Stories that start in an inn are usually out.
Ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn.
Ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn and being hired to do a job by a mysterious individual who is clearly a sorcerer (or vampire, or sorcerer/vampire).
Double ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn and being hired to do a job by a mysterious man who is clearly a sorcerer (or vampire, or sorcerer/vampire) who then turns on the very adventurers he/she/it hired only to be thwarted by the one dwarf in the party. In fact, toss us a dwarf curveball. So far we’ve never seen a story with a dwarf character where that character doesn’t kick ass from beginning to end.
We are not all that interested in stories with vampires. We feel much the same re: zombies.
Neither are we terribly keen on pirates; just remove that word and your odds go up.
Keep the backstory under control and reasonable. That really is one of the main differences between what we reject outright, what we ask for completes on, and what we end up accepting: how the backstory is handled.
When taking your novel and making a short story out of part of it, try to make it look like it wasn’t clearly cut out of a novel. Your tale must stand on its own.
Along those lines, HFQ publishes short stories, not novels, so if you do hook us with a short from a novel we’ll only bend over backward so far to accommodate unnecessary exposition or backstory in the short story that relates to the novel.
In the past we’ve preferred secondary world settings, however after a year we are now more open to historical fantasy.
Thanks for considering these guidelines and pitfalls. We look forward to reading your work!