"Rules? Did I not just move out from my parent's house (again) because I don't need any rules?" Right? We support that. And . . . we all want to get these awesome stories published in the next PGWI anthology, so we have to work together on this. (Guidelines are subject to change, without notice.)

Content Guidelines

Below are the requirements of the PGWI brand for "adult-friendly" fiction we want to deliver to our readers. It's a thing, just go with it . . .

  1. Short Stories Only — We are not  receiving poetry, novels, plays, reviews, non-fiction, etc. at this time.
  2. Original Content — The author contractually verifies the work is their own original writing. The Guardians get really mad when people borrow their stuff, so PGP does not assume any liability for plagiarized or quoted work without permission. (See also "Rights" below.)
  3. Final Draft Level — We expect that your work will be submitted as a 'Final Manuscript'. What does that mean to the PGWI editors? Read on:
    1. Relatively free of spelling and grammar errors. Seriously, we are not your English teachers. Spell-checker is not enough — please carefully proofread.
    2. Well edited. Either the story should be professionally edited or you should have worked with beta-readers to fix plot-holes, odd sentence structures, poor characterization, point of view problems, etc. We are not expecting James Joyce or Hemmingway, but we look for a well-told and well-crafted story without the distraction of writing mistakes.
    3. Well formatted. That definitely means "less is more" — just words in paragraphs in a simple font without fancy indenting, colors, bolding, or underlines.
      1. Ultimately, our style will be required and enforced for publishing.
      2. If you take the time before submitting to 'clean up' the style, we will see your work lit by Angelic halos. If it's way off, we might send it back with, "Great story but can't accept unless you fix…" such things like poorly / oddly formatted dialog or the use of multiple spaces as paragraph indents or between sentences, etc.
      3.  See "Style Sheet" information here...
    4. PGWI reserves the right to edit the story before inclusion in the book.
  4. Sex and Violence — Placer Gold Writers Ink imprint is our "adult-friendly" brand. Here's what we mean:  Our readers expect a PG-13 rating on its stories, much like you might see on prime-time American broadcast TV. So, "adult-level" content but without the "adult-oriented" explicit details.  If you aren't sure your story fits, submit the story anyway (we won't be offended by anything) with your question or concern in the e-mail cover letter. We will respond with yes, no, maybe, or suggestions on how to tone it down to make it work for us.
    1. Body Parts — Context is king. This would probably be ok: "We jumped off the bridge naked, protecting our balls from the icy impact."  Or even, "She shivered when my hand brushed her breast." But not a detailed description of the human or alien sex organs in the context of an intimate encounter.
    2. Sex Acts — Referring to a sex act, before or after the fact, is fine. But a play-by-play description of who put what where is not.
    3.  Sexual Violence — PGWI will not publish gratuitous depictions of incest, rape, and other extreme material included for the express purpose of titillating the reader. Again, it's about the play-by-play of these things that is not accepted. Certainly, the effects of such actions can be the source of drama.
    4. Blood and Guts — Think of the TV standard. Is what you are describing — if it were on film — too explicit for prime-time broadcast TV? Example:  "She bashed the zombie with her baseball bat . . ." is ok, while ". . . in the face, causing his eyeball to burst with a vitreous quirt of coagulated blood . . ." is too much.
    5. Swear Words — While we are aiming for a "PG-13" rating, we also recognize we are presenting material for adults and not children. We will let you know if we feel the language is too salty. Please avoid the "F-bomb".
  5. Length / Word Count — The word count varies per the specific Call for Submission requirements.
    1. The count is determined by MS Word's word-count feature.
    2. The exact number is not the point. We aren't going to go all Vulcan-retentive on you, because: the need for a good story outweighs the cost of printing too many words.
  6. Images -- The quick answer is 'None'. But wait, there's more . . .
    1. Photographs — Because we primarily publish in e-book formats, photos are difficult to render and we avoid them. Plus, we want to sidestep the whole copyright and attribution issue.
    2. Graphic or Illustration — Technically, any kind of image inserted into the page is a challenge to make look good in an e-book. However, if a graphic or illustration is critical to understanding a point in the story, we will consider it on a case-by-case basis. 98% of the time, the answer will be 'no'.
    3. Story header — In the print version of the book, the publisher may decide to add an illustration at the top of the story. This original graphic will be selected in consultation with the author, but the final decision is at the discretion of the publisher.

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Eligibility & Rights

This is how we roll . . .

  1. Eligibility — Domestic, International, Supernatural and Alien Authors are all eligible to submit work.
    1. Note that all payments will be made in US Dollars.
  2. English Language only — For now, we are publishing in English with a world-wide release. (See "rights" below.)
    1. If you originally wrote your work in Klingon or some other ancient or post-modern language, the original language manuscript must accompany the English version.
  3. Work Not Previously Published — We require "first world-wide publishing rights" which means the story should not have appeared anywhere else: online, including your own blog or website, e-book, or in print of any kind.
    1. A possible exception: in the case of a story's prior or concurrent submission to a writing/award contest. PGWI will consider modifying its "first publishing rights" if: (a) winning such a contest requires the story to be published as a result AND that publisher does not require exclusive rights; and (b) PGWI is allowed to credit the story's award as a part of the anthology's marketing and packaging.
  4. Cross-Story Connections — Submitted short stories should fall within all of the following parameters:
    1. A completely original, standalone story.
      1. We will consider a complete story which is tangential or a "tie-in" to the author's previously published novel or series using its established world, characters, etc. — so long as the story can stand on its own without having to read the larger work to make sense.
      2. The submitted story may NOT be a lifted excerpt from the larger work.
      3. An original retelling of a classic legend, folk story, fairy tale or archetypal myth is acceptable.
    2. Not Fan Fiction -- Stories based on or arising from the content of commercial media, such as using characters from Lord of the Rings or an alternate telling of a Star Trek episode, will not be considered.
  5. Used-By-Permission and Quoted Content — The author is completely responsible for obtaining the permission and/or rights to use ALL quoted material, including: song lyrics or words quoted from any media source.
    1. Attribution is not enough. Authors must obtain written permission and submit the documentation to PGWI for our files.
    2. It is our understanding that the defense of "fair use" only applies to academic works and is not applicable to works of fiction that are sold for profit. However, titles of copyrighted works are not protected, and may be used.
      1. Of course, using words from English-language works clearly out of copyright -- such as Shakespeare or Beowulf -- are fine; but we must be careful about the modern TRANSLATIONS of foreign-language classics (such as the Aeneid) which could fall under active copyrights.
    3. While the names of famous people may be used in a fictional context, PGWI reserves the right to reject or require changes to works that it considers libelous or simply in bad taste
    4. PGWI does not provide legal advice and cannot advise you on the liability of copyright infringement. Authors are solely liable for any copyright infringement.
    5. PGWI reserves the right to reject any work it considers at risk of infringement or may request the author to obtain written permission as a condition of acceptance.
  6. Exclusivity — We ask for two rights:
    1. Limited period of exclusive rights (from six to twelve months after first published date) in all media formats and all languages; and
    2. Unlimited right to keep the story in print within the anthology.
      1. We do not place any limits on what you can do with your story after the exclusive period. Read a typical contract here.
  7. Payment Terms — Typically, we offer a flat payment per story used in an anthology. The terms of projects and individual contracts may vary.
    1. Typically, the payment is made with the contract, which includes a release of rights should the book fail to be published within a defined time-frame.
    2. Depending on the nature of the project, we may fund the book (and sometimes part of the royalties) via crowdsourcing and presales.
  8. Payout Amount — Royalties are determined on a project by project basis. Most often there is a flat offer for the short stories' limited rights, within a specific word-count minimum/maximum. Projects that accept longer works might be compensated on a sliding scale. Check the website for the royalty details of the current project.
  9. Payment Methods — Authors may request payment by check or PayPal transfer. Check payments will be mailed to the address listed in the contract or as updated by the author.

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Next Steps

  1. Write your story.
  2. Review our Style Guidelines as you edit.
  3. Format your upload file for submission, using the Submission-File Template
  4. Learn How to Submit Your Story here.

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