There have always been times when facts are questioned and truths threatened. When reality is malleable, and people’s opinions are not. When freedom becomes an excuse for persecution, and we’re told to fear the faces of our friends.
September 24 to September 30 is Banned Books Week, an annual international event celebrating the freedom to read and raising awareness of the immense social value of free and open access to information. To celebrate, Cast of Wonders is continuing its tradition of holding a specific submission call for new YA fiction to air that week.
2017’s theme is Text Against Tyranny: the stories some would silence, and the power of literature, in all its forms, to enlighten humanity’s darkest hours.
What We’re Looking For
It’s said that if you repeat a lie often enough, people will start believing it – stories are no exception.
In times of seismic change, the stories that matter are the ones that enrich, inspire and support us… or simply give us the strength to carry on. We’re looking for stories of survival in difficult times, when being true to yourself can be the most dangerous choice you make. Stories of protest – subtle or overt. We want stories that have the courage and will to change the lives and worlds of their characters… and our own. Send us unheard voices in unexpected places — tales that transform, and truths that define.
The stories we’re looking for might not have happy endings. Sometimes it’s the journey that matters, or the path forged for others to follow. Unknowable splattery horror and slapstick comedic romps will be hard sells. Stories that focus on silencing, marginalizing or suppressing the rights of others will be summarily rejected. Religious themes are welcome but must not present as dogmatic. Political themes are strongly encouraged – soapboxes are not.
Our regular submission guidelines will apply. Please note the points highlighted below. We have a strong desire to showcase the work of authors under 18, and take our diversity pledge seriously. Nothing would make us happier than to showcase an entire week’s worth of fiction from these groups! Make sure you’ve read the guidelines recently.
- We’re a YA podcast, and choose not to feature stories which include explicit and gratuitous violence, language and sexual content.
- The “What We’re NOT Looking For” section of our guidelines absolutely apply. Submissions showcasing these elements will be rejected. If you wouldn’t give your story to a teenager to read, it doesn’t belong in our slush pile.
- Stories may be up to 6000 words in length. We’ll happily accept flash fiction. We have a preference for self-sufficient stories 3000-4500 words long.
- Manuscripts should continue to be submitted blind; you can find an example manuscript here.
- New stories only. We won’t be accepting reprints, or stories previously made available on Patreon, Goodreads, author websites, Amazon singles or other public online locations.
- No multiple submissions. Only one story may be submitted per author. Multiple entries received from the same author will result in all stories being rejected unread.
- No simultaneous submissions. We’re working to a quick turnaround; you will receive a response on your story no later than July 1st (see the Timeline below).
- Stories will be paid at our standard $0.06/word rate, and use our standard contract. We’re a SFWA Qualified market.
- Don’t self-reject. If in doubt, please send us your story!
Always query if you have any questions on the above before you submit. If in doubt, ask, and make sure you ask in time to receive a response! No extensions will be granted for pending queries, but we tend to send answers quickly.
Some Example Episodes
The following episodes are examples of the type of stories we have run for prior Banned Books Week events:
- The Price of Stories by Shannon Connor Winward
- Problematic by Brian Lawrence Hurrel
- This Story Begins With You by Rachael K. Jones
- Things We Leave Behind by Alex Shvartsman
- Inksucker by Aidan Doyle
- Mercurial Skin by Raechel Henderson
- The Dictionary’s Apprentice by Sandra M. Odell
- The Tale of the White Tiger by Donald Jacob Uitvlugt
- Call announced and full submision guidelines made available March 20
- Submission window May 1 through May 15 through Submittable portal
- Responses to all stories by July 1, with contracts to follow shortly
- All stories will air during the week commencing Sunday, September 24
Ready to Send Us Your Story?