Bat Durstons are welcome here.
As of October 2022, we are open to reprint submissions for written works of fiction and non-fiction articles! In the very near future we’ll be reopened to new fiction submissions.
As of December 2022, we are open to new fiction submissions from African American writers, before the zine opens to writers in general in the near future.
All other categories listed below are open to submissions. Join the Announcement List to get notifications as our needs change.
Our publishing schedule is weekly. We publish at least one item (story, cartoon, recording, etc.) each week.
What we are looking for: Genre, Topics, and Themes
First and foremost, we’re looking for Space Westerns: works with themes from the Western genre set in Outer-space, or having some element of extra-terrestrial travel (i.e. Space Opera with Western-genre themes). This is the majority of the fiction that we publish. Our preference is to publish works that contain, in part, some form of off-earth travel. We recommend that you read The Emancipation of Bat Durston by our editor, N.E. Lilly.
For our purposes we consider the following to be examples of works with strong Space Western themes (inter-planetary fiction containing Western genre themes): Flash Gordon (comic, movie serial, and 1978 animated serial), Buck Rogers, Star Wars, Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica (both series), Firefly, Serenity, Mike Resnick’s Santiago, Ande Norton’s Beastmaster series, Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, The Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, Bravestarr, Silverhawks, Cowboy Bebop, Outlaw Star, Coyote Ragtime Show, and Trigun.
Visit The (nearly) complete list of the Space Western Canon for more examples.
Science Fiction Westerns
Space Westerns are our primary focus, but we’ll also consider stories that contain Science Fiction themes with Western elements (setting, characters, etc.).
We’d like to see Steampunk (after all, the era is right) with some Western elements (themes, setting, characters, etc.). Space travel is a plus, in fact getting off of terra firma is highly recommended, but not strictly necessary if we like the story.
We’re using the term Weird Western here to denote Western/Fantasy/Horror genre blending. We are least likely to publish a Weird Western unless it also includes Space Western elements.
Feminist & Minority Themes
Send us stories from a non-WASP point-of-view: fiction about Chinese, Native American, Mexican/Spanish, African/African-American and/or even the “New Immigrants” — (German, Irish/Gaelic, Italian, Russian) peoples influences on the Western themes. Send us stories with strong women, weak women, but most of all stories with real women.
- The (nearly) complete list of the Space Western Canon
- The Emancipation of Bat Durston by N.E. Lilly
- Wikipedia: Western
- Wikipedia: Space Western
- Wikipedia: Science Fiction Western
- Wikipedia: Space Opera
What we aren’t looking for:
Unfortunately, because we’re lowly cowards, we aren’t considering publishing fan-fiction at this time, so unless you’ve received express written permission from the original rights-holders, please don’t submit it here.
We have no problem with thinly-veiled, dressed-up, used-furniture — the Space Western genre capitalizes on it — let’s just say we’d like to avoid any imperial entanglements.
Rights & Rates
We’d like “Nonexclusive Internet Reprint Rights”. If you’ve written a previously published work where the protagonist could be described as a space cowboy (think along the lines of Buck Rogers, Flash Gordon, Captain Kirk, Han Solo, Malcolm Reynolds, etc.), we’d like to see it. Ideally the stories would have appeared in more than five years ago, or would have appeared online on a magazine website that no longer exists (dead link stories). When you submit please include the publication history of the story. Current rates for unsolicited manuscripts are 2¢/word to a maximum of $100, paid upon publication.
One in four cowboys were black. The number of black space cowboys is far less. Help get those number up. Space Westerns Magazine is a weekly semipro zine that is now open to new fiction submissions from African American writers, before the zine opens to writers in general in 2023. Our current goal is to publish 13 black writers in 2023. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s one in four.
We’re currently closed to other new fiction and are looking for reprints. Join the Announcement List to get notifications when our needs change.
We’d like to reserve “First Internet Publication Rights”. We are looking for short stories of about 5,000 words in length, but no more than 7,500 words and no less than 2,500 words. Serials are welcome (in which case the maximum word count and payment is per installment), but single stand-alone stories are preferred. Current rates for unsolicited manuscripts are 2¢/word to a maximum of $100, paid upon publication.
We’re currently closed to new non-fiction articles and are looking for reprints. Join the Announcement List to get notifications when our needs change. We are looking for original critical and academic essays on topics related to Space Westerns, history of the genre, and/or of Western themes of specific works in the Space Western genre of no more than 7,500 words in length and no less than 2,500 words. Current rates for unsolicited manuscripts are 2¢/word to a maximum of $100, paid upon publication.
500-750 words reviews of books, graphic novels, art exhibitions, music, movies, DVDs, games, websites, and software. Reviews by actual creators of given works are welcome. Reviews are unpaid. If you have a product you’d like to see featured, we’d be happy to review it for inclusion.
Artwork & Illustrations
To be considered for an assignment provide a link to your online portfolio. Payment is $50 for interior (article) illustrations on publication. We prefer to assign artwork if possible, so please let us know if you are willing to do illustration on-demand.
Illustrated Adventures & Comics
We are seeking web comics to feature on the site. Serials welcome.
- Single panel comics: $20
- Three panel strips: $50
- Three page episodes: $50
For serial works your total submission package should include: A brief outline of the overall nature of your comic; A character sheet that shows your major characters (if any) along with their names and a paragraph description of each; 1 sample strip.
Ballads, Radio-plays, & Readers Theater
We are currently seeking ½-5½ minute recordings (longer recordings are considered). Serials welcome. Payment is $50/episode
For incomplete serial works your total submission package should include: A brief outline of the overall nature of your recording; A character sheet that describes your major characters (if any) along with their names and a paragraph description of each; 1 sample recording.
We are currently seeking ½-5½ minute pictures (longer recordings are considered). Live-action and animation considered. Serials welcome.
For serial works your total submission package should include: A brief outline of the overall nature of your video; A character sheet that shows your major characters (if any) along with their names and a paragraph description of each; 1 sample video.
Rules of Submission
- Use the following format in the subject line:
SUBMISSION: [Submission Title] by [Author's Pen Name].
- Make sure your submission file includes your name, contact information, and approximate word count within the file, in case the submission file gets separated from your submission email.
- Please send your submission in one of the following formats:
- Text & Manuscripts: Rich Text Format (RTF)
- Artwork: Links to samples/portfolios
- Send all files as attachments to: email@example.com.
We recommend that you join the Announcement List to stay up to date on news from Space Westerns Magazine.