Interested in submitting your art or writing to Soft Star? Be sure to read this post first.
How does the Soft Star submission + publication process work?
Soft Star accepts submissions on a rolling basis — no reading periods! Submissions occasionally close briefly between issues (keep an eye on the submissions page for the most up-to-date information). Response time is generally 1-7 days.
Written submissions (fiction, nonfiction, poetry): If your submission is selected for publication, you may receive an email from the Editor-in-Chief with suggested edits. Once edits are agreed upon, the piece will be scheduled for publication on the Soft Star Substack site in the order in which it was accepted. The Editor-in-Chief will provide you with a proof link to approve before the piece goes live on the site.
All written submissions are automatically considered for the upcoming print issue of Soft Star, unless preference is otherwise marked on the submission form. Print issues are also published on a rolling basis and include all written works published on the Soft Star site before a specified cut-off date.
Visual art submissions: If your submission is selected for publication, it will appear in the upcoming print issue of the magazine. Hybrid submissions may be published on the site as well, depending on the creator and editor’s preference.
If your work is chosen to appear in a print issue of Soft Star, you will be able to receive a free physical contributor’s copy of that issue.
All contributors retain the rights to their own work.
What types of writing are you looking for?
We primarily accept submissions of short fiction, narrative nonfiction, poetry, and journalism. All writing submissions should align with Soft Star’s core themes of curiosity, discovery, and optimism for the future.
For short fiction submissions, we especially love to see science fiction, slipstream, and speculative fiction stories.
For journalism submissions, we like interviews and reviews of books, films, and other media related to sci fi, speculative fiction, and futurism.
We don't have a firm word count maximum for writing submissions, but a general rule of thumb is less than 5,000 words. But again, when in doubt, send it anyway!
We are not open to submissions of AI generated or assisted writing.
What types of art are you looking for?
We accept submissions of photography and two-dimensional art. Submissions should ideally be in PDF, JPG, or PNG format. Just like writing submissions, art submissions should relate to Soft Star’s core themes.
We are open to art made using traditional, digital, and mixed media. While we have published AI generated art in the past, we are not open to AI art submissions at this time.
Visual art is typically published exclusively in our print issues.
What is soft science fiction?
Soft science fiction is a subgenre of sci-fi that focuses heavily on human themes. Rather than the technical explanations and scientific accuracy that are so important in hard science fiction, soft sci fi prioritizes human emotions, relationships, and philosophical questions. At Soft Star, we care a lot about human potential, as well as the inherent magic of things that are hard to explain, concepts that align well with the soft science fiction genre.
What is speculative fiction?
Speculative fiction is another subgenre of science fiction that has significant overlap with soft sci fi. Spec fic stories take place in worlds other than our own; either in an imagined future or in another world entirely. Speculative fiction can contain magical or supernatural elements, and the term is often used to categorize fiction that falls somewhere between the sci fi and fantasy genres.
What is slipstream?
Slipstream fiction is sometimes referred to as “the fiction of strangeness.” It often has a psychological bent to it. Slipstream encompasses both magical realism and absurdism, and generally includes stories in which the world is not as it seems.
How can I submit my work?
Use this Google Form to submit your writing or art for consideration. You can attach one piece per form submission, but feel free to submit the form multiple times.
Can I cross-publish my work on Soft Star and elsewhere?
Yes. We only ask that you let us know at the time of submission whether the piece has been published elsewhere and, if so, where. We like to link readers to the original publication source on our website.
If you publish your work with Soft Star and decide to republish it elsewhere in the future, we would love it if you cited us as the original publishers.
Can I submit more than one piece for consideration?
Yes! You will need to submit the Google Form once for each submission.
Can I pitch an idea?
Sure! Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your pitch ideas. However, Soft Star’s pitch system is informal, and approval to move forward with a pitch does not guarantee publication of the final submission. Use pitches as an opportunity to float ideas to the editor and make sure you’re on the right track in creating something that aligns with the type of art and writing we like to see.
Do you pay contributors?
Soft Star is not currently able to pay contributors for their work. For this reason, we allow creators to cross-publish their work elsewhere.
That being said, all contributors DO receive a free contributor’s copy of the issue in which they are published!