Kaleidotrope tends heavily towards the speculative — towards science fiction, fantasy, and horror — but we like an eclectic mix and are therefore always eager to read interesting work that falls outside those categories. Man does not live on space ships, elves, and ghostly ax murderers alone, after all. We’d suggest looking through the archives to familiarize yourself with the zine, and/or checking out other work by our past contributors, to get a sense of what we’re looking for and what we like.
In the end, what we want is interesting, sometimes unconventional work, well-written stories and poems that surprise and amuse us, shock and disturb us, that tell us things we didn’t know or reveal old truths in brand new ways. We want strange visions of distant shores, of imaginary countries and ordinary people, and work that doesn’t lose sight of entertainment and the joy of good writing.
We have no maximum word limit, although anything over 10,000 words may be a tougher sell. We do like well-crafted flash fiction, too, although preferably not under 250 words.
We will consider all forms. Humor is encouraged, if tricky. Rhyming is not actively discouraged — done well, it can be terrific — but be careful about overly simple, sing-song-like structures. Individual haiku, or other very short poems, may be a tougher sell.
We want essays, memoirs, creative nonfiction, thoughtful criticism. In past issues, we have featured essays on popular culture — from Transformers to fembots to Doctor Who — interviews with working authors, and short book reviews. If you have an idea for something and don’t know if it would fit, just ask.
We are looking for primarily full-color illustrations to serve as cover art. In addition, we occasionally feature both color and black-and-white sketches, comics, cartoons, photography, loose odds and ends that might also fit elsewhere. Elsewhere is typically with the Horoscopes, so typically humorous, though that’s not a rule set in stone. We currently do not commission new cover artwork or pieces to appear with individual stories and poems.
If you would like to share a link to your online gallery, please do so, preferably indicating art that you would like us to consider. (Please see the reprint and rights notes below regarding artwork.)
Kaleidotrope no longer consider fiction, poetry, or non-fiction reprints. We will, however, consider artwork that has appeared in your personal online gallery, provided you own the copyright to the piece and any characters depicted therein. (Sorry, no fan-art.)
We buy First Serial Rights. This means that the work will not have appeared anywhere else, in print or online, prior to publication.
Artwork may have appeared online in your own personal gallery. For this, we buy Digital Reprint Rights.
Work published with Kaleidotrope will remain in our archives, but all rights will revert to the author upon publication.
For fiction and nonfiction alike, we will pay $0.01/word (1 cent a word) USD. For poetry, we offer a flat rate of $5 USD per accepted piece; for artwork, $40 ($60 for cover art).
Kaleidotrope is open to submissions from January 1 to March 31 only. (We are presently making a now not-at-all-secret exception to this for artwork.)
Typically 1-3 months. Feel free to query if you have not heard from us after that.
Kaleidotrope only accepts electronic submissions, sent by e-mail attachment to email@example.com. You may, if you prefer, paste the text of your submission into the body of the e-mail itself — although this is less advisable for longer pieces. Please generally follow standard format for all manuscripts. Your name and contact information must be included. We’d also like your cover letter to include a little information about yourself — namely where else your work has appeared recently and maybe where you heard about Kaleidotrope.
Please keep multiple submissions to a reasonable minimum (i.e., no more than 3 at any one time). We do not accept simultaneous submissions. We understand why authors submit stories to more than one place at a time, but please don’t do it to us. Thanks!