Submission Guidelines

PaperSteel Press is currently open for submissions until July 31st.

Our open submission dates for 2017 are as follows:

  • July 1 – July 31
  • October 1 – October 31

What we’re looking for:

  • Science Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Paranormal Romance (all heat levels)

We are especially interested in short story and novella length science fiction and fantasy for e-publication.

What we’re not looking for:

  • Any genre not listed above.
  • Children’s fiction
  • Middle Grade fiction
  • Cook Books
  • Poetry Collections
  • Memoir
  • Non-Fiction

Submission Guidelines

  • We accept short stories (for electronic publishing only)(10,000 – 25,000 words), novellas(for electronic publishing only)(25,000 – 50,000 words), and full-length submissions (electronic & trade publishing)(55,000+ words).
  • Your submission should include a query letter, a synopsis (with total word count), and the first 25 pages of your manuscript.
  • The manuscript should be letter-sized, number in the upper right corner, ms. title & your name in the upper left corner, double-spaced, and Garamond 12 pt. font in Microsoft Word.
  • Do not use fancy fonts, colored backgrounds, or smaller type.
  • Do not send the complete manuscript unless asked to do so. Any emails with unsolicited attachments will be deleted without being read.
  • All submissions should be emailed to submissions@papersteelpress.com with title and genre in the subject line. Submissions sent to any other email address will be deleted without being read.
  • Any submissions sent outside of our submission periods will be deleted without being read.
  • Any submissions which are not on the list of what we’re looking for will be deleted without being read.

Tips:

  • Spelling, grammar, and punctuation matter. It is not the editor’s job to clean your manuscript. Make sure it’s as clean as possible. All manuscripts selected for publication will go through the editing process, which includes content, grammar & punctuation, and line editing.
  • We use the Oxford (serial) comma.
  • Avoid flowery language (purple prose), clichés, and passive voice.
  • Very/Really/So

Why it’s commonly used in fiction: Inexperienced writers often believe it adds impact, but it’s vague.

Why it shouldn’t be: It’s superfluous.

Example: He found it very hard to lift the really heavy weights, so he started with the smaller ones.

Better: Brice struggled with the first curl using the 50 lb weight. With a grunt, he dropped it to the mat and chose the 25 lb weight to continue his workout.

When it can be used: IMHO, never. Find specific nouns and strong verbs.

  • That

Why it’s commonly used in fiction: It’s the way most of us speak.

Why it shouldn’t be: It’s superfluous. It’s inexact.

Example: I didn’t believe that it would snow this morning.

Better: I didn’t believe the forecast when the meteorologist predicted snow this morning.

When it can be used: Sparingly. I advise to rearrange the sentence structure if you cannot find a way to delete it from the narrative and/or dialogue without it sounding strange.

  • Then/And Then

Why it’s commonly used in fiction: to show sequential movement/action.

Why it shouldn’t be: It’s superfluous. Time flows with the reader, and they know the writing is sequential.

Example: “George went to work, then to the bar with his friends, then home.” So rethink, “After a usually dull day in his cubicle, George swigged a few drinks at the local bar with his friends. “Shaken, not stirred!” He liked to say, feeling like James Bond. Well, ‘shaken’ is certainly how he arrived home five hours later.”  –Amiee Rock, Quora user

When it can be used: To show a delineation of  implied sequential circumstances.

Example: I walked into the house ready to show Bill my new painting, then remembered he went fishing this morning.

  • Suddenly

Why it’s commonly used in fiction: Because novice writers feel they need to tell the reader an action happens suddenly. They don’t trust their readers to infer it from the narrative. Unclear narrative, weak verbs.

Why it shouldn’t be: It’s superfluous. It’s an adverb. It’s telling. It doesn’t startle the reader.

Example: Suddenly, the glass fell off the table and shattered the awkward silence.

When it can be used: IMHO, never.

  • Ellipses/M Dashes/Exclamation Points/Italics

Why it’s commonly used in fiction: To show a pause or break in the narrative or dialogue, or to provide emphasis.

Why it shouldn’t be: If used too often, it loses its impact on the reader.

Example:        “Well…I expected—“

“I don’t care what you expected!!!!”

When it can be used: It should, but sparingly, like a fine spice. Italics should be used for all foreign words and phrases. Do not use more than one exclamation point, or an exclamation point and question mark together.

  • Adverbs/Adjectives

Why it’s commonly used in fiction: Because inexperienced writers think it adds to the description.

Why it shouldn’t be: It’s telling, especially in dialogue tags. It’s lazy.

Example: The tall guy with reddish hair walked slowly into the room.

When it can be used: Sparingly. Stronger verbs and nouns convey the information better.

  • Participles/Participial Phrases

Why it’s commonly used in fiction: Because it conveys concurrent action.

Why it shouldn’t be: It’s telling. It’s clunky. It’s lazy. Many new writers use them incorrectly. It’s also tiring for the reader. Again, time flows with the reader, and they know the writing is sequential and/or concurrent.

Example:  Grabbing her purse, she put her sunglasses on and locked her front door.

Better: In a frantic rush, Mary grabbed her purse, popped her sunglasses on, and locked the front door in record time.