Lanternfish Press

Rare & Strange

We will be open for submissions
October 1 to October 31.

FICTION

We’re looking for novel- and novella-length fiction. Novel manuscripts should be between 60K and 100K words; novella manuscripts betwen 20K and 40K. Manuscripts shorter than 18K words will not be considered. Short story collections will not be considered.

Please take some time to look through our catalog and get to know our aesthetic before submitting. Our books are tinged with the gothic, grotesque, and/or magical. While we don’t publish genre fiction, strictly speaking, we do look for fiction with speculative elements. If you’ve got a manuscript that’s straight-up literary realism, without anything of the gothic or the speculative or the odd about it, we probably won’t consider it.

Gothic doesn’t mean depressing! One of the things that distinguishes gothic fictions (whether of the Victorian, neo-Victorian, southern, or tropical variety) from realist fictions that happen to have depressing subject matter is the element of the carnivalesque. There can be genuine sadness in the story; it can have serious themes. But somewhere there should also lurk a sense of playfulness, even glee. Dark things that haunt us most of the year are also the delights of Halloween.

If you have a manuscript whose speculative elements lean more to the fantastical or scientific than the gothic and you’re now worried it might not be Halloweeny enough for us—fear not! We’re very much interested in those stories too.

NONFICTION

We’re looking for creative nonfiction titles that focus on cross-cultural perspectives. If you live in some sense between a Here and a There, and you sometimes find these hard to reconcile, or if you write about related topics, please send us your manuscript or book proposal! Book proposals must include synopsis and sample chapters.

SHORT HYBRID WORKS

As always, we’re interested in novella-length curiosities: fictional or quasi-fictional encyclopedias, collections, catalogs, bestiaries, dictionaries.


PLEASE DO NOT QUERY FIRST. We regret that we cannot respond to emails inquiring whether or not a given manuscript should be submitted. Just send the manuscript itself, via our Submittable portal, with a brief cover letter.

FORMAT: Manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point Times New Roman, double-spaced, ragged right, with author contact information on the title page. Please don’t use tab stops to indent paragraphs or carriage returns to create page breaks.

NOTE: Manuscripts that perpetuate racist, misogynistic, homophobic, or other discriminatory tropes will not be considered. Manuscripts that insightfully grapple with race, ethnicity, gender, or sexuality as themes, however, are welcome.

ABOUT THE SUBMISSION FEE: Our nominal administrative fee of $3 is used solely to support the cost of operating this Submittable portal.


ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE AUTHORS

Read. Read voraciously. Read writers who don't look like you. Read foreign writers. Read dead writers!

Writing is a conversation. It can offer people who lead wildly different lives a window on each other’s worlds. It can bridge gaps between cultures and gulfs in time, overcoming unbearable solitudes. We tend to click with writers who’ve grappled with many stories and whose work is informed by that broader perspective.

Aim high.

Being “relatable” is overrated. Nine times out of ten it just means saying things that resonate with the favorite stereotypes of a given marketing demographic. Yawn. If you really want to wow us, shoot for a perspective that a European writer of the sixteenth century, a middle-class Nigerian teenager of today, and a woman born in an agrarian community two hundred years in the future might all be able to make sense of. If you have trouble putting your finger on what could possibly interest such different people, William Faulkner’s brief but pithy Nobel lecture is a good place to start.

Have fun.

Who says a “serious” book can’t also be entertaining? We love stories that aren’t afraid to have fun: raucous, gleeful, zany romps through new worlds bursting with life.

Embrace your voice.

We appreciate skillful prose, whether the style is spare and clipped or elaborate and intricate. We have nothing against either long or short sentences. Don’t be afraid of your own voice. Shout it loud!

As a matter of house style, we do tend to dislike present-tense narration unless the author has a very solid reason to use it. (“It’s more vivid” is not a solid reason.) Instead of reaching for immediacy through use of the present tense, we encourage writers to explore other ways of escaping abstraction and engaging the reader in a lifelike world of concrete things and sensations.