As of 15 September 2015, Cast of Wonders is currently closed to submissions. You can find our full story guidelines below.
Cast of Wonders is open to submissions for stories of up to 7,500 words. We follow the SFWA guidelines for story length, and will reject unread any submissions exceeding the 7,500 word cap if you haven’t previously contacted us for permission. If you have any questions, please contact us for assistance before submitting.
Please note we have a strong preference for stories between 3000 and 4500 words in length: they best fit our target episode length of 20 to 30 minutes. Your story is mostly likely to run in its own episode, but may be serialized over multiple episodes or combined with other stories in a single episode, such as our Little Wonders flash fiction collections.
How To Submit
We use Submittable, an online submissions platform. We do not accept email or paper submissions. You’ll find more specific guidance regarding the length and style of submissions at our submissions portal.
Don’t summarize your story in your cover letter, please – let your work speak for itself. We’d rather you told us a bit about yourself instead.
What We’re Looking For
As a young adult fiction podcast, we’re looking for stories that evoke a sense of wonder and have something unreal about them. We aim for a 12-17 age range: that means sophisticated, non-condescending stories with wide appeal, and without explicit sex, violence or strong language. Think Harry Potter or The Hunger Games. We like a proper narrative structure and a unique prose style not laden with clichés and overworn idioms.
We like fiction that makes us think, but the main element should be thrilling entertainment and adventure. We prefer high fantasy — elves, dragons, secondary worlds, and magic — to the more cerebral forms of fantasy you find in adult markets. We like all forms of science fiction: far-future, near future, space opera, “hard” sci-fi — but it must be accessible to our target audience. This means a minimum of technical jargon.
We’re happy to read horror, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and many other genres. We define YA as the absence of the adult elements described above, not as stories featuring children or young adult characters.
We accept multiple submissions from an author at the same time. Likewise, we don’t mind if you submit your story to us and other venues at the same time, as long as you withdraw the work if it’s accepted elsewhere (and congratulations!)
If you’ve have a submission accepted by us before, or are resubmitting a story in line with feedback you’ve received from us, please make that clear in your cover letter! It’s the first thing we read from you. The same goes if you’ve been encouraged to submit to us from another source. Please let us know so we can thank them!
A Word About Fairy Tales
Re-imagined fairy tales are popular as a genre of young adult fiction, to the point where they cross the line into tropes. We receive a lot of them. Unless a story succinctly retells a fairy tale in a new and unique way, we generally decline.
Our episodes are in English, but we accept and encourage translated stories from across the globe. We are particularly interested in considering stories and content from younger writers. If you are under 18, please let us know your age when you submit your work. If your submission is part of a school project, please let us know that as well and we’ll work with you to provide proof for your teacher.
Cast of Wonders welcomes and encourages submissions from writers of all backgrounds, and would like to see more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional publishing. Some examples include people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States and Western Europe. We want to publish YA fiction that reflects the entire spectrum of the human experience, so we strongly encourage submissions from these and any other underrepresented groups. We are not interested in acquiring fiction that denigrates or perpetuates stereotypes; stories should be well-researched, respectful, and conscientious.
We currently pay a flat rate of £5 for stories. If the work is exceptional, and in order to bring our audience great fiction, we will occasionally pay higher rates. As our audience and donor base grow we plan to increase these payments. We believe authors should be paid for their work, and we’ll try our best to support and help them. By encouraging people you know to come to the site and participate, you’ll be increasing your future chances of being paid more.
Payment within 30 days of acceptance, by PayPal only.
While we love to read original content, the majority of the stories we run are reprints due to our current inability to pay professional rates. You may find that you can sell a story for more elsewhere first, and we encourage you to do so! We fully attribute the original publication of a story in our episodes.
On acceptance you’ll be sent a One-Time Rights contract, entitling us to use your story:
- as an audio reading in one or more episodes of Cast of Wonders (which will be available for free download indefinitely);
- to post the text of your story on our website (this is non-exclusive, and you can request to have the text taken down if you need to sell it to a publisher requiring exclusivity); and
- the right to include your story in future digital or print anthologies.
If you have concerns about these rights, please let us know. We are happy to discuss tailoring the contract to fit your needs.
Any personal information we collect (name, address, email, social medial links, secret identity, etc.) is held in strict confidence and not shared with anyone unless we are compelled by law or threats are made against our staff.
If a third party contacts us expressing interest in an author’s work, we will contact them for permission before sharing any contact details.
Comments and Suggestions
If you have any questions, feel free to query the editor, Marguerite Kenner, about anything!