Dec 13, 2016
The Overcast is currently open to submissions three times a year, during the months of January, April, and October. (Note we are no longer reading during July. Our summers have just gotten too hectic. Sorry for the inconvenience. Thank you for understanding.)
What We Want
We are interested in speculative fiction, whatever that means to you, be it Science Fiction, Fantasy, Steampunk, Magical Realism, Slipstream, or an as-yet-unnamed genre. Anything that looks at the world and life from an unexpected angle. We want the original 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 transport us to places that we've never imagined. We want to still be thinking about a story days after reading it. Be original. Be amazing.
We are based in Portland, OR, and shine a spotlight on writers hailing from, living in, or connected in some way to the Pacific Northwest, as loosely defined by the bioregion of Cascadia. We feel there is an exceptionally strong talent pool of speculative writers in Cascadia, and we want to celebrate and promote them to a larger audience. Roughly half the stories we publish are by PNW writers. That said, we are not exclusive, and the other half of our stories come from authors all over the globe. 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 on The Overcast.
This is an audio format publication. We feel that stories of around 20-30 minutes in length are the best fit for our podcast. While we will consider submission between 1,000-5,000 words, we read at around 100 words per minute, so the sweet spot for submissions is 2,000-3,000 words. If it comes to a choice between two stories of equal merit, we will generally choose the one 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, gritty fiction is fine, but straight horror really isn't our thing.
What We Pay
Our authors are the soul of our podcast. We strongly believe that creators should get paid for their work. Period. We would love to pay pro rates, but alas that is beyond our current financial reach. At the moment, we pay a semi-pro rate of $0.01 per word. Because we think it's insulting to pay less than $20 for any story, we pay a flat rate of $20 for all stories less than 2,000 words. We hope, however, that our podcast will soon bring us fame, fortune, and success beyond our wildest dreams, as well as the ability to pay pro rates. We'd also like a pony. A genetically modified pony with six legs that runs 100mph and urinates a rich, tasty stout.
All payments made via Paypal.
(Our rates are directly tied to our Patreon funding goals. As we reach our goals, our rates will go up. Simple! If you want our authors to get paid more, please help spread the word!)
How To Submit
Please attach your story in standard manuscript format to a brief email containing the following information: Story Title, Word Count, and what, if any, connection you have to Cascadia. Please DO NOT include a bio or list of credits. We do not care how many degrees, awards, or publications you have. We want your fiction to speak for itself. If we love your story, we will ask for a bio upon acceptance.
Send your stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please make the Subject line: "Submission: (Story Title)"
We do not accept multiple or simultaneous submissions.
If you have not heard back from us by the beginning of the submissions period following the one in which you submitted your story, please query.
For some reason, we have had numerous problems responding to submissions from AOL users. Most of our responses get bounced back as undeliverable. To prevent future frustration on all sides, please do not send submissions from AOL mailboxes. Thank you.
We purchase first worldwide exclusive audio rights, 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.