On Spec submission guidelines and market information

On Spec



On Spec Submission Guidelines

Submission Address

10132-151 St. NW
Edmonton, AB T5P 1T4

Phone: (780)413-0215

Email: onspecmag@gmail.com

Editor: Diane L. Walton

Submitting Your Work to On Spec

Before submitting to On Spec

The Market List recommends you verify the market is active and accepting submissions before sending your manuscript via regular mail. You may verify a market status by either visiting their website, calling their listed phone number, or confirming via regular mail that the market is still active before sending them your work.

To be sure your submission is appropriate for this market, we recommend you familiarize yourself with On Spec by reading a sample issue before submitting.

If you have recently submitted to On Spec or have experience with this market, please submit a comment below. Recent submission response times are always welcome and helpful to other writers.

From the On Spec guidelines:

We like to pride ourselves in searching out the most interesting and innovative works of fiction and poetry in the genre. So what do we want?

  • Speculative writing of all kinds, but nothing derivative. Try to avoid what you think are trends, because by the time we’d publish them, they won’t be. Remember, you are a trendsetter, not a trend follower.
  • We’ll gladly look at works up to 6,000 words, but keep in mind that most of these will eventually need a hard edit to reduce a thousand words of exposition. If you do that, yourself. it makes us more likely to pick up your story.
  • The work must be previously unpublished in English in North America. We buy First NA Serial Rights to your work.
  • We are not fond of graphic sex and violence. And we are not fond of horror that is simply “messy”.
  • When we say “character-driven”, we mean it. A story that exists because a character is pushed along by outside influences and has absolutely no agency, will not grab our attention.
  • Keep the stakes high in your story. Remember that we need the reader to WANT to turn the pages. We need the reader to miss that bus or train stop because they are totally absorbed in the “what happens next?” of an On Spec story. We need the readers to ENGAGE with your protagonist, so they care about how things turn out.
  • Watch out for flags that predict the ending of the story before we get to it.
  • Don’t send us a HAITE story. That’s our acronym for “Here’s An Idea: The End”.
  • Watch out for surprise Twist endings, especially if you have hidden a key piece of information from the Reader until the deus ex machina ending happens. The same applies to “one joke” or “Shaggy dog” endings. 
  • Make sure your story gives the reader a credible reason to willingly suspend their disbelief, and always make the ending of your story believable. The last thing we want to see is “It was all a dream”, or “we’re all living inside a snow globe”, or “this was all VR”.
  • Stay away from really awful protagonists. Remember the point above where we want the reader to be engaged with the protagonist and really care about the outcome.
  • While we don’t check on a writer’s ethnic background, we do encourage works from diverse communities of writers. If you are coming from a place of respect for the subject matter, we’ll know.

Submission Guidelines Details for On Spec

Market Type: Magazine

Contact: Diane L. Walton

Accepts: Avant-garde, Free Verse

Web Address: www.onspec.ca/

Click Here for Complete Submission Guidelines

Updated March 15, 2021