Writers Guidelines

Welcome to Circlet 2.0.

These are the submission guidelines for writers and artists.

Types of publications

  • Ebooks & POD books
  • Writers on Writing Essays
  • Microfictions (short-short stories)

Ebooks & POD Books: The majority of our titles published are short story anthologies on themes chosen by our editors. The way most Circlet Press authors pitch book-length single-author projects is by selling short stories first to one or more anthologies, developing a relationship to an editor that way, and then pitching to that editor. We are not currently open to general book submissions.

Writers on Writing: Circlet 2.0 seeks 750-1500 word essays, articles, thoughts, advice, etc… from erotica and sf/fantasy writers about topics of interest to our readers and enthusiasts of the erotic sf/f genre. That includes personal thoughts on the writing process, book reviews or reactions, interviews, experiences in the genre, con panel follow-ups, et cetera, for our Writers On Writing columns. At this time Writers On Writing pays $5 per essay, minimum of 750 words. We have had Jean Roberta writing about sf/f books that seem to forget that sex leads to reproduction, Kal Cobalt on why sex robots of the future will still need lube, and many more. To submit an essay for Writers on Writing, email your query (or the complete essay, if you have it) to Cecilia Tan, editorial director, ctan.circletpress @ gmail.com.

Microfictions: Also for the web site, we are looking for 250-1000 word short-shorts of erotic sf/f and related genres (no horror, though) that can stand alone, as well as 250-500 word excerpts from previously published works that make an enticing fictive snack. Microfictions should be sex-positive. literary quality, and although they may be explicit should be tastefully written. Microfictions pay $5 per story. To submit, send your complete short-short story with your complete contact information to Michael M. Jones, Microfictions editor: circlet.microfiction @ gmail.com

Individual short story anthologies open and close throughout the year and are submitted to the individual editors as directed on each anthology’s call for submissions.

Our Genre

Okay, so people often want to know just what do we mean by “erotic science fiction?” What follows is as detailed a description as I can give.

1) Erotic Content: Erotica means sex. We reject many manuscripts because they do not have enough sexual content. No level of explicitness is required, but erotic interaction must take place! It need not be described graphically or vulgarly but it must be focal and integral to the characterization, plot, and conflict resolution. Also, the sex must be enjoyable for the characters–positive, celebrating sex and sexuality! No rape, exploitation, mutilation, suicide, or snuff. Most other manuscripts we reject are because they have a negative attitude toward sex and/or they portray not a sexy, enjoyable scene, but a terrible rape/exploitation.

2) Science fiction / fantasy: I don’t split hairs between sf and f. My main prerequisite is that the story not take place in the “real world.” Magical realism, alternate realities, other times and planets are all welcomed. (However, please note we do not publish horror! The rule is: no murder, dismemberment, rape, castration or other gruesome topics.) The best blendings of erotica and sf we have seen accomplish the mix by making the science fictional element inseparable from the erotic one. For example, in a story in which two telepaths fall in love, the telepathy sf-aspect could be what gives their erotic relationship fire. Merely transporting your erotic scene to a space station isn’t really enough.

Editorial Biases: We are strong supporters of “alternative” sexualities, including lesbian, gay, transgendered, S/M, leather, other fetishes, and so on, but do not try to “queer up” your story for us if the characters are heterosexual. Though we admit we have a taste for the hot and kinky stuff, work need not be overly kinky to get our attention. We encourage works that are fresh & original, left of center, and so on. We admit to a certain bias away from the sometimes cliched aspects of all genres, including pornography. If it seems like it’s “been done before” we may not have a place for it. See below for some specific examples to avoid.

DONT’S: I’m really serious about these: Don’t send anything too long (over 10,000 words). Don’t send horror. Don’t send erotic stories that have no science fiction or magical element. Don’t send sf/f stories that don’t have a lot of actual sex in them. Don’t send stories with negative attitudes about sex and sexuality. Don’t send stories where the sex takes place “off camera.” Don’t send stories that lack plot or characterization. Don’t send novels. Don’t send anything centering on nonconsensual violence, rape, castration, murder, necrophilia, or other purposefully gross topics. Don’t send stories with homophobic, racist, or sexist messages. Don’t send stories that have no plot, pastiches of “images” or poetry. Don’t send stories featuring trademarked or copyrighted characters (Batman, Captain Kirk, etc.)

Please note that I’m almost certainly never going to buy any more stories that contain any of the following ideas, which have become cliches. No really, I’m sick of these plots and ideas even when they are good ones:

  1. Humans have sex with aliens as part of “diplomatic relations.”
  2. Aliens come to Earth in search of semen/life energy.
  3. Two people have sex and THEN we find out one of them is an alien/vampire/android/elf! (Who knew!)
  4. Vampire falls in love with a blood doctor/researcher/scientist.
  5. Dragon falls in love with “virgin sacrifice.”
  6. Human stumbles accidentally onto a faerie ring orgy.
  7. Artist falls in love with beautiful man or woman in a painting–turns out he or she’s a vampire, still alive and becomes his muse.
  8. Vampire picks up victim in a bar under auspices of sex, seduces victim, then kills victim. (Nor, Surprise Ending #1: The ‘victim’ is a vampire hunter! Nor Surprise Ending #2: Victim turns out to be a vampire too!)
  9. Lonely woman conjures perfect man out of magazine, off cover of romance novel, or her own dreams.

This isn’t to say that these ideas automatically make bad stories. Some of them were good–once. But we’ve seen them too many times already. Originality counts for a LOT.

I was on a panel at a convention once about the over-used ideas in erotic sf/f and the audience came up with an even longer list of things they have already seen and don’t need to see again. The list included: the “ghost sex” haunted house story, story of the last man alive/last woman alive getting it on, Adam & Eve references, naughty tentacles and alien anal probes, multiple breasts, the “interstellar whore,” a chemical or disease turns everyone horny, time-travel leads to sleeping with your parent(s) to create yourself.

Use any of these ideas at your peril–even the readership says they are sick of them.

15 thoughts on “Writers Guidelines”

    1. How many microfictions? Would they be intended for posting together or one per week? I would say we’d only be able to consider it if you finished them all first and then submitted the whole series for consideration.

  1. Hello,

    I heard of you guys several years back from the Winter Fetish Flea in Providence RI, and have purchased several of your books and anthologies. I remember seeing an anthology of Harry Potter fanfiction and wondered if you were going to publish any more, as well as how you got around copyright issues.

    I have been writing Harry Potter fanfiction for nine years now, and I have had hundreds of thousands of people reading my work all over the world. It has been translated into other languages and re-posted. And no, I am not exaggerating. I have not posted anything in a while because I have been writing my own fiction. I am interested in seeing what you have to offer, and seeing what I can do about getting my own work published.

    I was also wondering if you had an updated list for submissions. I was interested in submitting a story for your DIY MakerSex series, but the deadline has already passed. I wondered if there would be another anthology that had a similar theme coming up.

    Thanks,
    Roselean Sipperley
    aka Hecateslover on FFnet.

    1. Hi Rose! The Harry Potter fanfic thing we were selling at the FFF wasn’t a Circlet Press publication. It was a fundraising zine put together by some fans for a one-off event at a convention in 2008 which I happened to have some copies of. I don’t think Circlet could actually publish fan fiction without there being copyright issues. I’ve heard various fan advocates speak in recent years saying they think as the law currently stands if an author were to self-publish as-is fanfiction for Kindle (for example) right now, without changing character names, it would be allowable as a transformative work, but that doesn’t mean Amazon would allow it, if they didn’t want to piss off the copyright holder. The threat of a lawsuit, even if frivolous, is enough to keep people from trying it. So for publishing companies the territory is still too risky to venture into.

    2. Oh and to further answer your questions: the next round of anthology topics will likely be posted in mid-March. And yes, I’m well aware of the reach and impact of fan fiction: I’ve been writing Harry Potter fic myself since about 2002. (This is Cecilia Tan replying.)

  2. I have a book I would like to submit I have it on line as an ebook but it is in the wrong place. Title: I have sold several copies on my own but would love to have it submitted for publication.

    The Adventures of Lady S.
    The Master/submissive Lifestyle

    1. Marlene, we don’t publish previously published books (even self-published ebooks). You’re the publisher and we wish you the best of luck with that.

  3. I have a leather love story in Best Lesbian Erotica 2015 (edited by Laura Antoniou) that I’ve expanded into an erotic novel; it is about a 50 year old butch woman and 60 year old genderqueer person getting together. It starts in SF, and ends in Tehran. Are you interested in possibly publishing this?
    Thanks so much – Avery

    1. Sandy, if you didn’t see anything that pertained to you in the guidelines above (or notice that commenting on the guidelines page is specifically notes in the guidelines as a Bad Idea) then we’re not the publisher you’re looking for.

  4. I have written an erotic novel, ‘A Question of Degrees’, and wonder if you would be interested in seeing it. I have published five previous books, but they were all non-fiction.
    David Rothwell

    1. David, we’re not taking unsolicited novel submissions. If you sell a short story to one of our editors via an anthology, that would be the person to approach with your query once you have a relationship with them.

  5. I was wondering if it’s okay to incorporate BDSM overtones into submissions for other genres – I’m a submissive sexuality so naturally that’s what I end up writing about, though not necessarily overtly – in fact, it’s usually not extreme at all in that case. So is it okay to work that in a little or is that not something you want in calls for themes other than overt BDSM?

    1. Hi, Lila–

      Yes, absolutely. I can IMAGINE us doing an anthology for which kink wasn’t welcome, but I don’t think we ever have, and the preference would be very explicit if we did. Most of our books, you will find, have some kinky stories, no matter the theme.

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