The Overcast is open to submissions quarterly, during the months of January, April, July, and October.
What We Want
We are interested in speculative fiction, whatever that means to you, be it Science Fiction, Fantasy, Alternate History, Steampunk, Magical Realism, or an as-yet-unnamed genre. Anything that looks at the world from an unexpected angle, we want to see it. We want the lyrical vision of William Gibson. The magic and beauty of Erin Morgenstern. The uncompromising voice of Margaret Atwood. The technical brilliance of Ted Chiang. We want to read stories that infuse us with extraordinary feelings, transport us to places we’ve never imagined, and fill our lives with characters that we love and loathe. We want to still be thinking about a story days after reading it. Be original. Be amazing.
We are based in Portland, Oregon, and the focus of our podcast is speculative fiction by authors hailing from, living in, or connected to the Pacific Northwest, as loosely defined by the bioregion of Cascadia. There is an exceptionally strong talent pool of speculative writers in Cascadia, and we want to celebrate and promote them to a larger audience. That said, we are not exclusive. We are open to submissions from anywhere. While we’d ideally like to feature Pacific Northwest authors in at least 3/4 of our podcasts, we first and foremost want to feature great stories. So no matter where you live, send us your stories. If they make us laugh, cry, or turn cartwheels of astonishment, preferably all at once, we will find a place for them in our podcast.
This is an audio format publication. We feel that stories of about 20-30 minutes in length are the sweet spot for our podcast, and we’ve discovered that our average reading speed is approximately 100 words per minute. Which means that a 2,000 – 3,000 word story falls right in the sweet spot. We will consider submissions of anywhere from 1,000 – 5,000 words, but if it comes down to a choice between two stories of otherwise equal merit, we will generally choose the story that is closer to the sweet spot.
Reprints are welcome, so long as they have not been previously produced in an audio format.
What We Don’t Want
Generic settings or characters we’ve seen a million times before (lithe elves, dour dwarves, charming vampires, etc.)
Horror. Dark fiction is fine, but straight horror really isn’t our thing.
How to Submit
Please attach your story in standard manuscript format to a brief email containing the following information: Story Title, Word Count, and whether or not you are a resident of Cascadia. Please DO NOT include a bio or list of credits. We do not care how many degrees, publications, or awards you have. We want your fiction to speak for itself. If we love your story, we will ask for a short biography upon acceptance.
Due to an unfortunate number of server issues, we’ve discovered that having a free email box is actually more reliable than having one on our server. Weird but true. So please send your story in standard manuscript format to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please make the subject line: “Submission: (Story Title)”
We do not accept multiple submissions.
If you have not heard back from us by the beginning of the submissions period following yours, please send us a query.
Also, we have had many difficulties responding to AOL users in the past, (our responses keep getting bounced as undeliverable), so please do not submit from AOL email addresses to avoid frustration on all sides. Thank you.
What We Pay
Our authors are the heart and soul of our podcast. We are creators ourselves, and we strongly believe that all creators should be paid for their work to the best of our ability. At the moment, the limit of our ability is a semi-pro rate of $0.01 cent a word. We hope, however, that our podcast will quickly become a success beyond our wildest dreams and bring us fame, fortune, and the ability to pay pro rates. We’d also like a pony. A genetically modified pony with six legs that runs 100 MPH and urinates a nice, rich stout.
Payment will be made through Paypal upon acceptance.
(Our rates are directly tied to our Patreon funding goals. As we reach our funding goals, our rates will go up. Simple! So if you want to get paid more, please help spread the word! )
We purchase first worldwide exclusive audio rights to your story, as well as the right to keep the episode in which your story is produced available in our archives for as long as The Overcast remains in operation. We do not own your story, nor do we wish to. You are free to publish and sell it elsewhere in any other format.