BBW subs guidelines

2021

Oppression wants to cover our lives in a blanket of darkness, but each small act of resistance, each defiant moment of hope, brings light to our shared spaces.

26th September to 2nd October, 2021 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.

Our 2021 theme is Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us. Cast of Wonders is continuing its tradition of holding a specific submission call for YA fiction to air that week.

What We’re Looking For

Have you ever made friends with someone who loved the same book you did? You started the conversation as strangers, but you feel so passionately about the ideas expressed in this book that you end as comrades in arms?

It’s a book that speaks to shared experience, shared pain—and therefore lights the way to shared learning, shared hope, and shared healing. Perhaps it’s powerful enough to make former enemies into allies, and you would defy an empire to protect this book.

It could be a history that’s been silenced, a book that propounds an outlawed ideal. It’s a book you teach your own children or anyone else you love, and they love it because you loved it.

It’s so dangerous a text that intergalactic armadas are launched to destroy it, or at least keep the book from spreading its readership, and mages would craft elaborate castles to safeguard.

Send us your stories of books that unite the geekiest Con-goer, the most curmudgeonly asteroid-pirate, the steampunk bot that’s been asleep for a hundred years. Send us your stories of books that swordmasters would talk over with dragons. Send us tales of books that turn the unlikeliest beings into FRIENDS in speculative worlds. Send us tales of books that transcend time and space to gather the disparate into FAMILIES.

We’re not quite looking for books as “macguffin” stories, but a demonstration into how a book could forge BONDS with others. Therefore, the book should feature prominently in the story rather than be a prop, and we love yarns that hit us in the feels. A tale that makes us ugly cry while meaningfully addressing this theme of uniting is very likely to get accepted.

As an example, consider the Saga comic, how a novel featuring a Wreather and a Landfallian getting along peacefully inspires Alana and Marko to fall in love. Or if a lowly treach-bat teaches an eldritch terror how to read… would that not inspire a friendship? We would love to see how you, author, interpret this theme!

We do see how the dual nature of the theme “unite” and “divide” could be hard to do in one story. Feel free to focus on one of these two aspects.

The Details

Our regular submission guidelines will apply to this themed event. Although Our sweet spot this sub window is under 5,000 words, with the absolute limit being 6,000 words Please also 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!

Submissions will be accepted from June 13th to June 26th, through our Moksha portal.

  • #ReadTheGuidelines
  • We’re a YA podcast, and choose not to feature stories which include explicit and gratuitous violence, language and sexual content. If you wouldn’t give your story to a teenager to read, it doesn’t belong in our slush pile.
  • The “What We’re NOT Looking For” section of our guidelines absolutely apply. Submissions showcasing these elements will be rejected.
  • Manuscripts should continue to be submitted anonymously; you can find an example manuscript here. Authors are encouraged to identify where a story is #ownvoices.
  • Original and reprint fiction are welcome.
  • No multiple submissions. Only one story may be submitted per author. Multiple entries received from the same author, regardless of length, will result in all stories being rejected unread.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted. We anticipate completing our selections no later than July 1st.
  • Stories will be paid at EA standard rates — $0.08/word for original fiction, $100/$20 for reprint short/flash fiction, and use our standard contract. Cast of Wonders is a SFWA Qualified and a SCBWI Published and Listed publisher.
  • Don’t self­-reject. If in doubt, please send us your story!
Please query our editors, Katherine Inskip, Andrew Hoe, and Karissa Sluss, at backstage@escapeartists.net 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! Extensions won’t be granted for pending queries.

Prior Episodes


Some Example Episodes

The following episodes are examples of the type of stories we have run for prior Banned Books Week events: