First Reader Applications AND Upcoming Submission Windows

written by David Steffen

Hello! We have a few upcoming things we need to announce, let’s get right to it shall we?

General Submission Window

Diabolical Plots is opening for general submissions for the first two weeks of August 2021. Read the guidelines for more information!

First Reader Applications

Diabolical Plots is looking for new First Readers! You may also know them as “slushreaders”, they help read submissions of stories that come in to help us consider them for publication. We are taking applications from BIPOC applicants until June 30th, and after that from everyone until July 10th. For more detailed information and the actual application form please follow this link.

Themed Submission Window

Diabolical Plots is pleased to announce our first themed issue ⁠— stories of food, dining, and cookery, which we couldn’t resist titling “Diabolical Pots”! (Actual pots optional.)

We’ll be accepting submissions for this special issue from October 7th – 21st, 2021. In addition to being centered around food, stories must have a speculative element. Pay rate, format, and submission restrictions (no reprints, no resubmits, etc.) will follow our general submission guidelines.

So, how can food be integrated into your story? Any way you want! Maybe a crew of space pirates is about to score big on some outer-planet delicacies. Or a tense family dinner gets tenser when the youngest child insists they hear scratching sounds in the wall. Or two witches both reach for the last bundle of herbs and their eyes meet and…

For this themed issue, our assistant editor, Kel Coleman, will be taking the wheel and making final selections. Of course, your story should still be a good fit for Diabolical Plots—check out our general guidelines for an idea of what that means—but what might win you extra points with Kel?

Well, Kel would love to see:

  • Lush descriptions of food
  • Immersive worldbuilding—food is never just food. Food is love, food is culture, food is survival
  • Science fiction that’s high on emotional resonance, low on unexamined imperialism
  • Any kind of prose—it can be ornate, experimental in structure or tone, or punchy and simple, as long as it is intentional and serves the story

Published by

David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

5 thoughts on “First Reader Applications AND Upcoming Submission Windows”

  1. If I have a food-related story I was planning to submit to the regular window, would you prefer I hold it until the October call instead?

    1. Hi Stewart!
      Either way is fine with us. I would expect the themed window to have less submissions because they must be themed but we are also planning to select less stories from it. Do you think it would fare better as a rare food theme in a general submission queue or as a smaller queue of all food theme?

      Also worth keeping in mind you may submit to both windows even if you havent heard a final answer on the first. So if you have another story that is not food themed then you may want to save the food theme for the specific window and submit the other story to the general window.


  2. Hi David,
    I have a story with slightly humorous bent, revolving around the seductive powers of food. It lacks a mystical element, but has a good beginning, an interesting plot line and an ending with a satisfying twist.
    Should I submit it now or wait for the October window?

    1. Hi Mina,
      In general I would say to use your best judgment on that! If you had two stories available and one fits the food theme, then I’d submit the food one to the food window and the other one to the general window, but that’s for you to decide!

  3. Hello David,

    Say it isn’t so!
    The food theme window closes tomorrow?? I just read the call for submissions in my monthly Freedom For Writers newsletter..
    What time tomorrow? Hopefully, midnight?
    I have a great story for you.
    It just needs a little more spit and polish.

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