If you want to submit to On Spec, keep watching here for updates. We are looking at new ways to manage the large number of submissions we get, especially during the window when we accept short fiction. Rest assured we are still on the lookout for new content. 

Story Submissions are Closed!

Thank-you to everyone who submitted a story to us during this submission period. The editors will be busy; we received over 700 stories to read through. If your story is accepted or rejected you will receive notice from us, so please do not contact us asking the status of your submission. Thanks for your consideration.

The Editors

How does it work?
  •  The first reader assigned to each manuscript will determine its literary merit and overall suitability for On Spec, and either flag it for the other editors, or send an immediate response to the author.
  • After all the stories have been read once and culled, the remaining stories will be read by all the On Spec editors, and ultimately discussed in a face-to-face meeting, where selections are made. This takes some time, as we all volunteer our skills and hours for On Spec, but have other careers, families and lives to attend to. However, the editors aim to respond during the first quarter of the new year.
  • You will receive either a rejection letter or an offer of a publication contract in due course. You can track progress and status of your manuscript  through your Submittable log-in.
  • Keep in mind that when we receive as many as 500 submissions, the most we tend to buy would be a dozen or so. While we do try to offer a bit of constructive criticism, sometimes there isn’t enough time in the day for the editors to do this. Have a look at this article by editor Barb Galler-Smith, and perhaps it might give you an understanding of what we, and other magazines, are trying to achieve.

Poetry Submissions are Closed!

EFFECTIVE OCTOBER 1, 2019, due to an overwhelming volume of submissions, On Spec will be closed to Poetry Submissions until further notice. If you have already sent us something and wish to inquire about its status, use the Contact Us box on the web site. Watch this space for updates.

Art Submissions are Closed!

EFFECTIVE DECEMBER 3, 2019 On Spec will be closed to Art Submissions until further notice. If you have already sent us something and wish to inquire about its status, use the Contact Us box on the web site. Watch this space for updates.


ON SPEC buys first North American serial (magazine) rights to your work. We pay upon acceptance.

Pay rates are as follows and in Canadian dollars:

  • Poems (4-100 lines): $50 plus one contributor’s copy
  • Short-short stories (under 1000 words): $50, plus one contributor’s copy

Fiction (6000 words max.)

  • 1000-2999 words: $125 plus 2 contributor’s copies plus a One year subscription
  • 3000-4999 words: $175 plus 2 contributor’s copies plus a One year subscription
  • 5000-6000 words: $200 plus 2 contributor’s copies plus a One year subscription

Extra copies may be purchased at the following Contributor Rates, regardless if the issues is current or a back issue at the time of the order:

  • In Canada: $4.00 Cdn each, plus postage (includes GST
  • IN USA: $4.00 US each, plus postage
  • Overseas: $4.00 US each, plus postage


25 thoughts on “Submissions”

  1. Just to confirm: does the paragraph “If you do submit your story to another market, please let us know if it is sold elsewhere. We appreciate the courtesy.” indicate that simultaneous submissions are acceptable?

    (I completely understand if not, and am okay to keep waiting. But if they are acceptable, I’m going to look to updating the Submission Grinder outlines.)


  2. Do you require fees to submit? I hadn’t seen any indication on the website, but the payment section at the bottom of the submission page made me wonder.


    1. No, we don’t charge anything to submit. If you read closely, you’ll see that the Payment section talks about what we pay you, if we accept your submission.


    2. What we do have on the Submissions page is an opportunity for someone to subscribe to the magazine. It’s optional. But keep in mind that we rely on the ongoing support of our readers, to enable us to continue to publish (and pay) our writers.


  3. Back when your website was still, there was an article by the poetry editor explaining what sort of poetry he was looking for and what he definitely wasn’t. Is that still available somewhere — or, if the poetry editor has changed, is there a new set of hints?


    1. Thanks for getting in touch! Barry and Charlie are looking for poetry that reflects genre themes, be they SF or Fantasy or Horror etc.
      Rhyming poetry is not a favourite, but we’ll consider every submission.


  4. Hello. Having difficulty submitting. I’m entering my phone number exactly as it appears on Submittable but it refuses to accept. Pls advise.


      1. Still a no-go without a phone number. Always wants a valid phone number. Have tried with dashes, without dashes, with area code brackets, with a long distance 1, and as a 555-5555. Too timid to try 666-6666.


      2. If all else fails, send the story by email to onspecmag(at) and explain the circumstances. We will accept it that way. We just don’t want to make a habit of it .


  5. I’ve looked everywhere, but I can’t find specific guidelines for poetry submissions.
    How many poems should we submit (minimum, maximum)? Should we submit them as one .rtf file, or each poem as a separate submission? How should we format our poetry submission?


    1. You can send several poems, although it makes it easier if each one is sent separately. For example, we may decline all but one. Formatting would depend on the poem, itself.


  6. Hello, I know this falls beyond your usual publications, but would you consider graphic works of fiction an acceptable format? (Ie works in the format of graphic novels, illustrated stories, any kind of word+image combinations…)


    1. We did experiment briefly with a graphic story a few years ago. Because our interior is not in colour, this does limit the potential. This is something we may come back to in the future, however.


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The Canadian Magazine of the Fantastic

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