Submit Your Work to On Spec

We are currently closed for submissions. The below information is for when submissions reopen. Thank you!

Submit to On Spec online

When we are open to new works, please follow the submission guidelines:

NOTE: we are using an online submission system and no longer accepting email submissions to our Gmail account. Snail-mailed manuscripts are not recommended.

Before you inquire about the manuscript you sent us, please read the following.

So what happens next?

  1. The incoming stories have been sorted, in order of arrival, into folders.
  2. Each folder is assigned to a First Reader, and that editor gives every story a fair evaluation.
  3. Stories that are deemed not ready for publication, or not suitable to On Spec, are rejected as soon as possible. We try to provide some kind of constructive criticism, because we know how vague a form letter can be. We do ask your indulgence, and ask that you kindly refrain from responding to these emails. Take the rejection with a grain of salt, and understand that we're just one magazine out of many, and another publication may find your work to be just what they are looking for.

How long does it take?

That depends on the next step. If your story makes the first cut, it will be placed in a folder where all the editors have an oportunity to read and comment on it. After a suitable length of time (we all have day jobs, so we're doing this work in our spare time), we get together for an event we affectionately call "Fight Night". Stories are discussed in depth and final decisions are made. We try to get this done within 4 months of receipt, although circumstances often alter these plans.

If we reject your story at this time, but tell you we'd be happy to give it another look after you do a rewrite, we are quite serious about this. We do want to see it again!

If, on the other hand, we offer to buy the rights to publish your story, here's what you can expect:

  1. We will send you an acceptance letter and 2 copies of the contract. You sign both and return them to us.
  2. Upon receipt of the signed contracts from you, we assign your story to an editor for a copy-edit.
  3. You will receive payment for the one-time use of the story, although we may not publish it for several issues.
  4. Part of your payment is a one-year subscription, and we will start that with the very next issue.
  5. The copy-edit process is quite thorough, and you may be asked to do some re-writing to tighten up the manuscript. Trust the editors, please. They've been doing this job a long time.
  6. You will be asked to approve the editor's suggested changes, and most of this is negotiable.
  7. When the final version of your story is planned for an issue, we'll let you know. You will receive your author copies when the issue is printed.

We look forward to receiving new manuscripts when the next reading period begins. Keep checking the website and our Twitter feed or Facebook page for announcements.

The Editors


You can submit fiction, poetry or artwork to On Spec for our careful consideration providing you follow our submission guidelines. Please NO unsolicited non-fiction.

Submit a Short Story Online Submit a Poem or Short Story by Mail Submit Artwork

We do not buy work that has appeared in print or on the Internet.

E-submission is our preferred process for your work. Snail-mailed manuscripts will be read, but we cannot be responsible for their return. When submitting artwork, please send a link to your website or mail us digital examples (including a CD or USB key).


The best way to contact us regarding order requests, subscriptions, change of address, advertising opportunities, and general inquiries is to email us.


The ON SPEC editors are looking for original, unpublished speculative fiction (SF) and poetry -- fantasy, horror, ghost stories, fairy stories, magic realism, etc. Our mandate is to give our readers the best SF we can find, regardless of the author's nationality, and we have published authors from Canada, the U.S., Britain, New Zealand, South America, and more. In order to qualify for grants, we do have to maintain 80% Canadian content, which means it may take longer (an issue or two) for a non-Canadian work to appear in the magazine than a Canadian work bought at the same time. Send your short stories (max. 6000 words), short short stories (under 1000 words) or poetry (max. 100 lines) to the address above. Please note: we no longer require submissions in competition format.

Non-fiction is commissioned only. We are not looking for nonfiction articles, reviews, etc. at this time.


ON SPEC buys first North American serial (magazine) rights to your work. We pay upon acceptance. Minimum payment for fiction is $50 and maximum payment is $200.

Pay rates are as follows and in Canadian dollars:

  • Poems (4-100 lines): $50 plus one contributor's copy
  • Short-short stories (under 1000 words): $50, plus one contributor's copy
  • Fiction (6000 words max.)
  • 1000-2999 words: $125 plus 2 contributor's copies plus a One year subscription
  • 3000-4999 words: $175 plus 2 contributor's copies plus a One year subscription
  • 5000-6000 words: $200 plus 2 contributor's copies plus a One year subscription

Extra copies may be purchased at the following Contributor Rates, regardless if the issues is current or a back issue at the time of the order:

  • In Canada: $4.00 Cdn each, plus postage (includes GST)
  • IN USA: $4.00 US each, plus postage
  • Overseas: $4.00 US each, plus postage

Sample Copies

Sample copies (current issue) are now $8, including postage and tax (U.S. and overseas: US $10.) Please make checks or money orders payable to ON SPEC or include your Visa information (card number, expiry date, and name as it appears on your credit card.)