We are closed to submissions until 2014

We are closing to unsolicited submissions for the rest of 2013. We have enough projects in progress, both here and at our forthcoming magazine, Lakeside Circus, that we can’t put out anything new until next year. Because of that, we don’t feel comfortable accepting new material when we don’t currently have space in our schedule to put it into production.

When we have space in our schedule again, we’ll reopen to unsolicited submissions.

Thank you.

Carrie Cuinn, Publisher

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Why Novellas Matter

A novella is a long story, much longer than the 5000 to 8000 word short stories published in magazines across all genres. At the same time, it’s shorter than a novel, less than half the length (sometimes only a third). It’s an in-between story, not quite either of the two things readers are most used to reading. It’s been defined as being between 17,500 and 40,000 words*, which tells you about how long it might be, but not, really, what it is.

“The beauty of the novella is that is eludes definition. Which, when you think about it, is what makes art art rather than a product. Let’s embrace that.” – Michael Nye

Perhaps it’s not definable as a specific thing so much as a range that a certain kind of story falls into. But if we can’t nail down hard and fast rules about what a novella is, what’s the point of it?

The structure of a novella lends itself to exploration without dragging on too long. Taylor Antrim said that a novella is “fiction’s most open-ended and compellingly discursive form.” It opens the reader up to a new experience but ends before the feeling has faded away, leaving the reader in the moment, in the story.

The point is that a novella offers the best kind of reading experience. The point is that novellas are quick to read, full of impact, descriptive without being overwhelming, and exciting in their brevity. They are, simply, damn fun to read.

The novella is the perfect literary length. Bartleby the Scrivener. The Secret Sharer. The Turn of the Screw — all are novellas which retain the immediacy and vigor of the short story combined with the freedom and leisurely pace of a monologue without losing the gristle and bone and without losing the fat. – Harlan Ellison

Think of all of the chances you’ve had to start reading a new novel, but put it aside because you didn’t think you had the time … A novella can be read in a few hours, or spread out over your lunch breaks one week, or finished on your daily commute.

A novella is everything you need a piece of fiction to be.

John Brandon thought so highly of the novella as a story form that he suggested we all pretend they don’t exist, so publishers can’t find a way to make money from them, so they don’t become mainstream and boring. For the most part, that’s worked, as there are few publishers willing to put out a novella on its own, and even fewer of those handle speculative fiction. It’s this deficit that we want to correct.

“And look,” he said, “let’s keep the novella for ourselves, the adults. We deserve something, don’t we?

You do deserve to be able to read brilliant, strange, beautiful, and wicked stories. You deserve a quality market for speculative fiction novellas. We want to give them to you.

click on the image to pledge

Please pre-order books, art, and novella subscriptions from our Kickstarter today, and help us make a new home for novellas. We only have two weeks left.

* According to the SFWA

Kickstarter Stretch Goal #1: Novellas!

In the first week of our Kickstarter campaign, we met our initial goal. We successfully raised $2500 to pay the authors involved in FISH and BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA, our next two anthologies. With three weeks left, we’re pleased to announce our first stretch goal, designed to cover the cost of producing the first year in a line of speculative fiction novellas.

If we can raise an additional $1500, bringing our total to $4000, we’ll be able to produce four novellas in 2013. Each of these long stories, ranging between 17,500 and 40,000 words, will be released as digital book every three months. At the end of the year, we’ll release a full-length ebook which includes all four stories, and we’ll offer a print collection of the year’s tales as well. We’ll also offer a subscription to the year’s novellas in advance, so you get them emailed to you on release day without any additional effort on your part.

Why novellas? It’s often considered the perfect length for a story, long enough to explore the plot without saying too much. There are awards for outstanding speculative fiction novellas, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Shirley Jackson award. But there are few markets that buy this length of work. We want to be one of them.

We’ve added new rewards to our Kickstarter:

At the $10 level – Digital subscription to the 2013 novella series. Four times a year, the current novella will be emailed to you in a drm-free format of your choice (epub or mobi).

At the $20 level – Print copy of the 2013 novella collection. This 5″x8″ trade paperback will include all four of the year’s novellas, and be released Dec 2013.

PLUS if we reach this goal, we’ll send out a sneak preview of a story from the upcoming BIBIOTHECA FANTASTICA anthology, just to our backers.

We have already opened up to new novella submissions, and have volunteer readers standing by. As always, we appreciate your help, both in donating to our Kickstarter and in sharing our news with your friends and family. We couldn’t do this without you. Click on the logo below to pledge:

Please note: You can pledge to Dagan Books as a gift for someone else. Once the campaign is completed, we will contact you for further instructions. We will happily ship it to any address you specify.

Now Open For Novellas!

We are once again open for submissions of speculative fiction novellas – stories between 17,500 and 40,000 words in length. Please submit the completed manuscript via our online form. You will receive an automated response letting you know we have your novella. You should hear something further from us within 60 days of submitting.

Read more and submit here

Submission Tips

While most publishers share some basic submission guidelines, each company has their own particular style, and is looking for different things in a submission. Please consider the following guidelines when submitting to Dagan Books:

  • Submit through the appropriate channels. Short stories are submitted through our portal, hosted via Submittable. Check here for open anthology submissions, and here for novels and novellas. To submit a story, you have to follow that link; you can’t email your story to us. Regardless of how familiar you are with various members of our staff, please do not contact them to submit your story. By using our portal, we can ensure than each submission gets a response, gets looked at (usually by multiple readers), and is sorted through to the appropriate title.
  • If your story fits the stated requirements as to word count, subject matter, and so on, don’t query. Just send it in. If the story does not fit into those rules, absolutely do query before sending it in. Queries should be sent to submissions [at] daganbooks [dot] com. A query should not contain a detailed synopsis. It should simply state the way in which your story does not fit, and ask if we would read it anyway. We’ll let you know.
  • Do not, ever, under any circumstances, query to ask whether we’d like your story. There is no way we can tell you without reading the whole thing. Sometimes, inexperienced authors will do this thinking that it will save them time, and that they’ll only be submitting to editors who are predisposed to buying the story. Occasionally they will offer an excuse as to why they’re asking. Trust us when we say that we can tell why you’re asking, and the answer will always be the same. Send it in, or don’t send it. It’s up to you.
  • Use a 12 point font, preferably Times New Roman, Courier, or Arial. Don’t get fancy. Black type on a white page only. Follow the instructions to make sure that you’re submitting the correct document format, but in general we prefer .doc or .odt files. We’d rather not get .rtf files.
  • Do not put an extra space between paragraphs. Use the tab to indent the beginning of paragraphs. Put only one space between sentences.
  • Double space your submission.
  • Use italics or bold or underlined where you mean them. If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to, you must note this at the BEGINNING of the story, so we understand that as we read it.
  • Make sure that your story is aligned-left, or justified – never aligned-right or centered. That’s hard to read.
  • Proof your story before submitting it. We suggest reading it aloud. That works for us.
  • When we say no simultaneous submissions, we mean it. We’re not saying it would definitely prejudice us against buying future work from you, but it probably will.

Our guidelines are based on our experience turning your submission into a print or electronic book. Making it easier to read your manuscript or saving us a little time when we’re formatting your story for publication makes our editors happy, and happy editors buy more of your work.

Currently Closed to Novel / Short Story Collection Submissions

At this time we are closed for novel-length fiction submissions. We will reopen for those types of works later in the year.

Submissions for BIBLIOTHECA FANTASTICA are now closed

Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a story for this anthology. At this time, the submissions are closed.

We can’t wait to share the Table of Contents for this book with you.

– Carrie Cuinn, Publisher