Awakenings Book Smugglers Publishing

Book Smugglers Publishing: Open Call For Short Stories Submissions (2018, Awakenings)


As of October 5, 2017 Book Smugglers Publishing is currently open for short stories submissions for publication in 2018.

General information and theme

We’re looking for original English language short stories from all around the world. Our goal is to publish at least four pieces of short fiction–short stories (at least 1,500 words) or novelettes (up to 17,500 words)–unified by a central theme. Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork, commissioned especially for the work.

For the publication period between May and August 2018, the theme is:


AWAKENINGS will be Book Smugglers Publishing’s FIFTH season of short stories, following Fairytale Retellings, First Contact, Superheroes, and Gods & Monsters.

When it comes to Awakenings, anything goes. You, the author, should feel free to take this general theme and interpret it in any way you see fit–from a story about an AI’s first hours of sentience, to magical alternate histories featuring characters discovering how to wield power for the first time, anything goes.

We encourage authors to subvert these sample themes, to expand upon what “awakenings” means, and adapt the prompt to other possible connotations and genres under the Speculative Fiction umbrella.

What We’re Looking For

  • DIVERSITY. We want to read and publish short stories that reflect the diverse world we live in, about and from traditionally underrepresented perspectives–including but not limited to stories by and featuring LGBTQIA characters, people of color, and different gender identities. Following Fireside Fiction’s reports on underrepresented black writers, we especially welcome black writers to submit their stories.
  • Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult audience submissions are welcome. Good speculative fiction is ageless!
  • We are VERY keen on receiving Romance stories – or stories with strong romantic elements.
  • We are VERY keen on receiving Horror stories – or stories with strong horror elements.
  • Creativity & Subversion. We love subversive stories. We want you to challenge the status quo with your characters, story telling technique, and themes.

Guidelines for Submission:

  • We are looking for original speculative fiction, between 1,500 and 17,500 words in length.
  • These SFF offerings must be previously unpublished; we do not accept simultaneous submissions. We accept multiple submissions.
  • Profanity, sex, and other explicit situations are fine as long as they fit within the context of the story.
  • We welcome first-time and never-before-published authors, as well as seasoned veterans. ALL are welcome to submit.
  • Submissions are open now, and will be open through December 31 2017 11:59PM PST. Any submissions received after that date will not be considered.

Payment and Terms

Unlike previous years, this season of short stories is being funded by the generosity of our Kickstarter backers and as such we are happy to announce we have increased our pay rate for 2018! We will be paying $0.08 per word up to $800 (although we welcome stories from a minimum of 1,500 words and up to a maximum of 17,500 words long).

We plan on publishing these short stories for free in their entirety on We also plan on selling these stories in ebook (and possibly limited print editions) at a 50% net royalty, with potential inclusion in future anthologies (royalty to be negotiated). We ask for exclusive rights for one year, and non-exclusive rights following that.

How to Submit

Submissions should be emailed to with the subject line “AWAKENINGS Story Submission.” You may also use the contact form below.

Please attach your full story as a document (.doc, .docx, .rtf). Do not send your story as text in the body of an email; we will ignore any manuscripts that are not attachments.

A cover letter is highly recommended – tell us who you are! – as we would love to learn a little bit about you and the inspiration behind your work (or anything else you think is relevant to your story submission).

We are also including an optional self-identification field in the submissions form. If you would like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you’ve had related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background please do so by filling out this field (or if you prefer to email, in your cover letter). This is completely voluntary and not a requirement.

We will reply to all authors who have submitted work with our decision by February 20, 2018.

We are happy to answer any of your questions! Leave a comment or email us (, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

And…that’s it! We hope to be reading your excellent short stories very soon.

Submissions Form


    • Rhiannon
      October 5, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Will you accept any submissions that include drawing or sketches within the text body, or text only? Thank you!

    • Ana
      October 6, 2017 at 4:22 am

      Hi Rhiannon, yes, we totally would accept submissions with drawings/sketches – it sounds intriguing. Thanks for asking!

    • Summer
      October 7, 2017 at 12:48 am

      Is there an entry fee?

    • Ally
      October 12, 2017 at 6:07 pm

      Can we submit more than one piece?

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    • Jerry C. Jones
      November 4, 2017 at 3:29 pm

      Hello, my name is Jerry Jones and I submitted four short stories, Blue Blood Hunt Club, The Legend of Curtis Low, The End of the Road, and Hard Fall From Grace. I did not submit my authors bio thinking it was too long for your authors box, so I’m submitting it now if I may. Being a first time author, I have learned a lot about self publishing. I havent been too successful so far but still trying. I hope you like the stories and consider me for 2018. thank you for your time. Jerry Jones, Authors bio: Hello everyone, my name is J.C. Jones. I was born and raised in Indianapolis Indiana. My nationality is Caucasian/Cherokee Native American since my father was white and my mother was a full blood Cherokee from the Reservation of Cherokee North Carolina. I always loved to read as a kid being raised, in a poor neighborhood, that would take me away from the hardships of being from a poor family. I especially love true crime stories. I love a mystery, who done it, story. My favorites are ghost or horror stories. As a kid growing up, I always wanted to be a writer, having something to say and getting people to listen to my thoughts. I now, love to write a good horror or mystery novel. I spent 14 years in the military, traveling around the world, visiting every place of history that I could find, learning about the world and the people that make us all different in some small way, but all the same at the same time. I went to the university of Phoenix and studied Criminal Justice, Criminal Psychology, and Journalism. I am about to retire from the State of Indiana after 20 years, working in the prison system, Indiana Dept. of Corrections. I have plenty of material to work with, living around the world, and working with Criminals most of my entire life, so I plan to write full time once I retire. “My first book is, “The Angel of Death” by J.C. Jones. It was a learning experience publishing it for the first time. Now that I think I have all the bugs worked out in publishing, I am now working on the sequel to the, The Angel of Death. I also have other short story, ghost books. One coming out very soon called “Tales of the Dead”, which has a few good ghost stories in it which I think the reader will like. Peace to all on earth, love you, J.C. Jones

    • M. Kelly Peach
      November 20, 2017 at 11:51 am

      How firm is the 17,500 word maximum? I have a 21,000 word story that fits the Awakenings theme. Can I submit as is or should I plan to edit it down to 17,500 words before submitting?

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    • victoria devore
      December 15, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Would you accept a short story that has just been submitted into a contest ?

    • Alyssa
      December 17, 2017 at 12:24 pm

      Do we put the cover letter on a separate submission, or do we put it on a page before the story on the doc? ;w;

    • Athena Baker
      December 17, 2017 at 9:28 pm

      Hello Book Smugglers,

      I was wondering, is there a proper way that you would like the story and cover letter to be formatted? I know that some publications are more sensitive about this than others. Thanks! Have a good rest of the year.


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    • Tori Cody
      December 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Where is the link to the submissions for a short story about storms?

    • Miranda
      December 22, 2017 at 7:12 am

      If the story is chosen will further edits be done to it?

    • Jess
      December 28, 2017 at 5:41 am

      Hey Book Smugglers, I was just wondering if you would be willing to accept .odt files? I want to double check with y’all so I’ll know for sure before I send it in I can either try to convert my entry to an acceptable formant or copy my work to a program that uses a format you’re willing to accept.
      Thank you in advance for any and all help.

    • Sande
      December 31, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Re simultaneous submission: If story was submitted to one related to screenwriting, would it still be eligible? Thank you.

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      October 18, 2020 at 10:03 pm

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