Issue 1, 1st November 1995: SF---Interzone, Guidelines for writers
We are looking for innovative, entertaining, well-written and
up-to-date science fiction and fantasy. We are unlikely to accept
hackneyed space opera, sword-and-sorcery tales or traditional
ghost stories. All submissions should be original and unpublished
Interzone now receives about 200 manuscripts a month. While it's gratifying that there are so many science-fiction and fantasy authors who are eager to be published in our pages it's a lot of work for us to deal with such a quantity of material. Our job will be rendered easier, and your chances of acceptance increased, if you take careful note of the following:
(1) Please read a few recent issues of Interzone before you submit anything to us. Familiarizing yourself with the market is absolutely essential, but it's surprising how many people fail to do it. Unless you're a reader of a particular magazine (and this goes for any market), you're unlikley to have what it takes to become a successful writer for it.
(2) Send just one story at a time. Seriously, it's not in your interest to send half a dozen pieces at once---if we read one of them and are unimpressed by it we're not likely to turn to the others with any enthusiasm.
(3) Do not send us stories much shorter than 2,000 words or longer than 6,000 words. We sometimes publish pieces which fall outside these limits, but they're unlikely to be by writers who are unknown to us. Please put the estimated word-length of the story on the top sheet of your manuscript.
(4) Put your name and address on the top sheet, and please number your pages. Having your address on the manuscript is a necessary safeguard in case we lose your return envelope.
(5) Manuscripts should be typewritten or word-processed, on one side of the paper only, with plenty of spacing between lines and wide margins all round. If you're using a computer, don't send us grey or "draft quality" print-out---and please separate the continuous-stationery sheets!
(6) Indent your paragraphs, and do not leave extra line-spaces between paragraphs unless they're intended to indicate a deliberate line-break. Fiction with dialogue in it looks bad if the paragraphs are not indented.
(7) Always send a stamped, self-addressed envelope of adequate size for us to return the manuscript to you. Persons overseas should send a disposable manuscript (marked as such) and a small envelope with two International Reply Coupons. Please do not send foreign stamps, as they are no use to us. In self-defence, we've had to institute a rule of not replying to writers who fail to send return postage.
(8) Make sure you keep a copy of any manuscript you send us. We very rarely lose manuscripts, but we cannot accept responsibility for any loss or damage to your submission. Please don't send submissions by recorded delivery or registered post---if you want proof that we have received your story, then send an additional small envelope or postcard for us to acknowledge receipt. Please do not bind or staple your manuscripts together, and don't send cardboard folders or bulky padded bags for return of the MS. A short-story manuscript should be able to slide through a letter-box easily, and anything which prevents it from doing so is a nuisance.
(9) Please allow at least two months for us to consider your story. We try to turn manuscripts round as quickly as possible, but there is a huge quantity of material to read, and none of us is able to do the reading on a full-time basis. All stories which end up being published in Interzone are read by Lee Montgomerie (who lives in Leeds) as well as by David Pringle (who lives some 250 miles away from her). Obviously, we're obliged to send promising manuscripts backwards and forwards through the post, and this takes time. If we accept your story, we shall buy First English-Language Serial Rights only, and pay you on publication. A contract will be sent to you at the time of acceptance.
(10) If we reject your story, we will not normally be able to supply a detailed reason. We'd like to be more helpful, but we simply haven't the time to become tutors to so many writers. If we say "no" to your piece this doesn't necessarily mean that it's without merit. Those 200 manuscripts a month are whittled down to just five or six which we shall end up accepting for publication, and many of the items we send back will deserve to find a home elsewhere. Watch Interzone's editorials, advert- isements and Small Ads for clues as to other possible markets. Among others, The New SF Alliance is an excellent source of information (c/o Chris Reed, PO Box 625, Sheffield, S1 3GY---send an SAE for info but do not submit mss to him direct).
(11) Interzone needs your support to continue. So please consider taking out a subscription with us, even if we have been foolish enough to reject one of your stories.