Story Submission Guidelines
Darwin’s Evolutions is an imprint of Evolutions Publishing.
Our original webzine free-content model has been abandoned. Instead, we are now focusing on the production of e-book single stories, anthologies in e-book and print, and novels in e-book and print.
The genres we service are broad-based science fiction and fantasy, primarily with an “adventure” focus. We are not interested in being “literary” except in the classic sense of prose craftsmanship.
What we are looking for in terms of content is stories that are entertaining to read and that will leave the customer feeling glad they invested their time and treasure in acquiring our product. Entertainment is the key word, here. If the story is entertaining with an engaging plot, solid character development, and has a conclusive, fitting ending, then it’s what we want.
The differences between short stories, novelettes, novellas, and novels are defined per SFWA as follows:
- Short stories are 7,500 words and under
- Novelettes are between 7,501 and 17,500 words
- Novellas are between 17,501 and 39,999 words
- Novels are 40,000 words and above
Payment for stories is broken down as follows:
- Short stories receive an advance of $25 plus royalty following earn-out.
- Novelettes and Novellas receive an advance of $50 plus royalty following earn-out.
- Novels receive an advance of $300 plus royalty following earn-out.
All works of less than novel length will be considered for aggregation into anthologies. Each anthology will feature a word count of between 100,000 and 120,000 and no more than twelve stories. Novelettes and Novellas are automatically included in anthologies. Short stories will be included as space permits and as determined by sales popularity.
Return times on short stories, novelettes, and novellas will be between 2 and 4 weeks. Please feel free to query if your return time exceeds 6 weeks.
Return times on novels is 12 to 16 weeks. Please feel free to query if your return time exceeds 20 weeks.
Please note that we are no longer a market for reprints. We are looking to purchase English-language first publication rights for USA print and internet-wide e-book sales only.
All submissions to Darwin’s Evolutions should be done through our secure contact form.
We won’t tell you what to write. However, there are some things that stand out which will turn us off or unacceptably limit our market. These include:
- “Activist” fiction that trots out a virtual soapbox for some political/sociological/religious point of view as its primary motivation rather than telling a good character and plot-driven story.
- “Literary” fiction (i.e. fiction written specifically to appeal to iconclastic gatherings of self-appointed intelligentsia rather than people who enjoy reading speculative fiction for entertainment).
- Sexual content that exceeds the good taste somewhere between a “P.G. 13″ and “R” level content. We are not an erotica or porn market.
- Nauseatingly graphic violence or “shock and gore” horror tales. In fact, we’re not a market for standard horror. If you have a science fiction or fantasy story with elements of horror to them, on the other hand, that’s actually interesting.
- Anything that smacks of nihilism. In fact, when received, I will print out the offenders, run them through my shredder, and use the scraps in my cats’ litter box. Afterward, I will soak them in kerosene and light off the whole sorry mess upwind of the nearest liberal arts college English department and as close the graduate student offices as possible.
- Sparkly vampires. Vampires should only sparkle when on fire, preferably the kind of fire made by white phosphorous. (Hat tip to Larry Correia.)
- Glorification of illegal/excessive drug use. Not that it can’t be in a story. Just don’t expect us to pander any pro-drug culture propaganda for you.
- Straight up warning: The standard Leftist tropes that have been the “passkeys” for getting attention in a story are actually hurdles to selling to Darwin’s Evolutions. I don’t mind when certain aspects of these things are properly integrated as part of the world building. What torques me off is when I can see them salted into a narrative just to make the package “more PC”. Ultra-right-wing tropes are similarly off-putting but far more rare in submissions. So, before you drop in a casual reference to AGW or the plight of rainforests or how horrible men are to women or pick some bizarro genetic melding of tran-oceanics-swahilis-Fins or assume the eeeeevil nature of corporations or casually toss off an inferred comment about how anyone not sucking up moonbeams from a crack pipe is a right-wing war monger or light up the world with a pinkish hue for your luddite recidivist whole-grain fantasy peoples, remember that you don’t have to do that if it isn’t germane to the damned story. And if it is germane to the story, you’d better to goodness hope that you’ve actually taken a unique spin on whatever the subject is. I’m tired of rejecting slush pieces that read like they were all written for the same quasi-socialist creative writing
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The ultimate mile marker for this effort, of course, is to make a profit. The financing model for this operation is as follows: story contributors will receive an initial cash advance followed by the remainder (where applicable) upon the date of first publication. Royalties will be paid on any released format of the work should sales receipts exceed the initial advance costs plus the cost overhead inherent in running the site and accounting for per-issue business expenses, editing, layout, and advertising. Royalties are divided 50% Author(s)/20% Artist(s)/30% House. In the case of anthologies, the author and artist percentages are divided equally among the participants.
Understand that any success in this regard will require time and tenacity because of the necessity to build web-presence and momentum. An individual story or collection may well not earn out for several years until other volumes are published and the brand gains reccognition.
Given a choice, this is how we’d like to receive our manuscripts:
Manuscript Formatting 101
The following rules comprise a generic professional guideline to formatting a manuscript for electronic submission. Please note, however, that individual publications may vary by editor tastes. So always check the specific guidelines before submitting to any specific market. That having been said, manuscripts formatted according to the below listed rules will at least present as professional in appearance and provide a solid stepping off point to customize a manuscript for a specific venue:
- Manuscript file format should be in DOC or RTF form as an attachment using the standard submission form on the submission page. (DE prefers DOC if at all possbile.)
- Font should be Times New Roman or Courier: 12 point size minimum, 14 point maximum.
- Line spacing should be double except for title page exceptions noted below.
- The first line of each paragraph should be indented one-half inch, except for the first paragraph and any paragraph following a scene-break or point of view change – such paragraphs having NO indentation.
- There should be no additional line breaks inserted between paragraphs save for scene breaks and point of view changes.
- Scene changes and point of view changes should be denoted by the insertion of a line between paragraphs with a single “#” character centered on the line.
- The first page of a submission – henceforth known as the title page – should be formatted as follows:
- At the top left corner, single spaced, and on separate lines, the following: Name, address, City/State-Province/Zip-mailing code/Country, e-mail, telephone (optional).
- Switch line-spacing to double and enter in three blank lines.
- On the fourth line, add the title of the work, left justified.
- Insert a blank line.
- Add the author name you wish the work to appear by, left justified. On this same line, right justified, add the word count estimate.
- Insert three more blank lines.
- Begin your story.
- On each page AFTER the title page, include the following, right justified, in the header: “Author last name” / “Story title” / “Page #”
- At the end of your story, on a single line, the word “End”
- The only normally allowed special formatting is italics. This may be denoted through the actual use of italics or by underlining affected text, NOT both. If the mechanics of your story require the use of specially formatted text for some unfathomable reason, please query first before submitting so we don’t freak out after receiving it and round-file the sub out of spite.
A cover letter is not necessarily required with electronic submissions. However, if you choose to include one in the message body of the submission form, please be brief and professional. Cover letters traditionally include the following:
- Salutation to the editor (Dear Mr. Garrison)
- Statement of reason including title of submitted work.
- Abbreviated citation of recent relevant works, group memberships, and linkage to home pages, etc.
- Author’s Name
Do not “pitch” the work in your cover letter.
Note from Darwin:
It is my policy that, if I can read a story all the way through but don’t feel like cracking open my wallet to buy it, I will at least give you a specific reason as to why I declined to make the purchase. I have extended that policy to providing a brief general statement on other rejections as to why I did not finish reading a submission as well.
The down side of this is that I’m not going to spend a great deal of time nurturing your fragile ‘ickle egos. If you don’t want to know why I chose not to buy something, say so in your cover letter and I’ll give you a standard “No thanks” answer if I don’t buy. Otherwise, I will attempt to provide you with a clue as to why I, personally, chose to decline.
And let’s be honest about that. Just because I may choose not to buy something doesn’t mean a damned thing. I’m just a self-motivated flake trying to put together an small press for fun and profit. I’m not a god of publishing whose every word shakes the foundations of the big 6 in Naw Yawk. When I comment on something, it’s my opinion, not a natural law of reality. I could be wrong or something that bugs me may not slow down anybody else. That’s the issue with this business. You’re not selling on the commodities floor in Chicago. You’re offering up an artistic creation to an individual whose tastes may or may not align with the piece you’re selling.
At the very least, though, I won’t leave you guessing as to “Why?” unless you want me to.