Lanternfish Press Submission Guidelines
Lanternfish Press is now accepting submissions through our shiny new Submittable portal. We’re looking for smart surreal and gothic fiction, genre-bending SFF and mystery novels, and writerly nonfiction works on politics and philosophy. We’re very eager to read submissions from women, people of color, queer and neurodiverse folks of all stripes, and anyone else who doesn’t look a whole lot like Jonathan Franzen.
Please NO short story collections, poetry, romance novels, YA, or inspirational.
Beyond that, it’s hard to describe exactly what we’re looking for in a manuscript. Often we don’t know until it crosses our desks. But here’s some general advice:
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.
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.
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.