Stories to get lost in! Publishing crime, mystery, science fiction, fantasy, horror, and thriller short stories. Debuting August 2021.


We invite writers to submit to the Uncharted Magazine Novel Excerpt Prize from August 1 to October 31, 2022. We're looking for the best 5,000 words or less of your novel in progress! Have a favorite chapter? An exciting and noteworthy prologue? A section where the dialogue crackles and the characters loom larger than life on the page?  Give us a chance to read that section of your novel that captivates your audience enough to make them want to keep reading!  

Guest judge Literary Agent Naomi Davis will choose three winning stories from a shortlist.

Authors have always been Naomi Davis’s superheroes. Growing up in Minnesota, they spent their elementary years pretending they were every character in every book they read. A life-long writer and author-fanatic, they have a mild to moderate obsession with slippers, and sing in two philharmonic choirs.

Working with authors and incredible colleagues at BookEnds Literary Agency has been a dream come true for Naomi.

Naomi has a passion for helping authors develop stakes, voice immersion, and tension to a story’s highest possible potential, and often tweets about strategies for accomplishing those goals on their Twitter.

They seek dynamic, character-driven adult and young adult titles in fantasy, sci-fi, and romance, and represent select middle grade and picture book authors. Naomi also has an interest in stories that blend the fantastic with the realistic, and is eager for books that cross between women’s fiction and fantasy, or contemporary fiction and sci fi or fantasy.

Naomi is nonbinary and happy with either pronoun, she/her or they/them.

Uncharted Magazine publishes genre Novel Excepts from fiction writers of any background or experience.  We want genre novel excerpts that make us hunger for new worlds, new biomes, new places we can explore through thrilling sensual details and human empathy. We want stories that thrill us, that make us feel alive, that awaken our desires to explore and go on adventures.

We're excited to offer the winner of this prize $3000 and publication, while the 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive publication and $300 and $200, respectively along with publication.


GUIDELINES

  • The deadline for entry is October 31, 2022. We will announce the winner and finalists within 8-10 weeks of the contest's close. All writers will be notified when the results are in.
  • Writers may submit any section of their novel that is 1,001-5,000 words per entry. The excerpt and the novel must be unpublished. (full novel does not need to be completed)
  • Novel Excerpt (fiction) only—5,000 word count maximum.
  • We only consider unpublished work for contests—we do not review reprints, including self-published work.
  • Simultaneous submissions are okay—please notify us and withdraw your entry if you find another home for your writing.
  • All entries will also be considered for publication in Uncharted Magazine.
  • Double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 pt font.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history (if applicable). Please mention any content warnings as necessary to protect our readers!
  • We only read work in English.
  • We do not read blind. The judge will read anonymously from the shortlist.
  • Note: To ensure the protection of our volunteer readers, and to keep Uncharted a safe space, please let us know in your cover letter if your work can be triggering in any way. This will have no bearing on your submission or a decision—we just want to ensure the best possible environment for our readers. Thank you for your understanding.


FAQ

Q: What am I supposed to write in my cover letter?

A: Think of your cover letter as a brief author bio and what you would like posted on our site should your piece be selected for publication. Don’t overthink it, we just want to know a little about you! Most writers choose to include publication history or a little about the story that is being submitted. Note that you can include personal or identifying information in your cover letter.

Q: When can I expect to hear back about my story?

Regardless of acceptance or decline, you will hear back from us, we promise. You can expect to hear back within 8-12 weeks from the day you submit for this award.

Q: When will I hear back about my submission/the results of the contest?

A: Every submitter is notified of a decision, and we send out responses once a submission doesn't advance to the next round. We'd also encourage you to follow us on social media, as we publicly announce winners and contest opportunities there.

Q: Are prologues acceptable?

A: You can absolutely submit a prologue as long as the submission is under 5,000 words.

Q: What do you mean by "standalone"?

A: Standalone just means that it doesn't have to be from a standalone novel since some are writing series.

Q: Do you accept submissions from writing teams?

A: Yes! However, you would need to designate one person as the submitter—or maybe create a joint Submittable account. As long as you both understand that you'd be splitting the prize if the submission was selected as one of the winners.

Q: Who retains the rights to my work, and will I be able to query my novel later?

A: We're not able to speak for every publisher, but since we're not publishing your work in its entirety, it should not be a problem going forward. Rights also revert back to the author after 90 days. If an opportunity came up for you to publish your work before the 90 days, we are happy to revert rights back to you sooner.


OPTIONAL FEEDBACK ON YOUR WRITING

You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. Our aim is to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Uncharted Magazine. A significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA. Should your story win, no feedback will be offered and your fee will be refunded.

Hey novelists!

We started Uncharted with the mission to serve writers—to get them paid for their work and to put their great stories in front of readers. Tommy and I are both writers ourselves. Tommy’s got a mystery/thriller in the works, and I’m working on my dream epic fantasy (gearing up for NaNoWriMo this winter, who’s with me?). We both know intimately how lonely this writing gig can be. It’s just us and our characters most of the time, and we can only make our best guesses as to whether we’re making the right choices or not.

When we searched for services online to help, most of them are very expensive and from an Editorial framework. We were curious instead about how the other gatekeepers would read our work—Agencies—and we didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars on consultation. That’s where this Lab comes in.

Want to understand how your query would be read by Agencies? What sort of feedback these key decision makers would have on your story? This Lab is for you. We handpicked folks who can give you feedback you’d receive as if sending your manuscript as a query to an agency. Their feedback letter on your pitch materials is sure to help guide your book to successfully finding that right agent.

Want to get your answers directly from agents and great writers? All participants will be exclusively invited to a one-day conference. The virtual conference will take place on October 15th from 8am to 1 pm PST. The conference will include keynote craft lecture by Ken Lui, multiple Q&A sessions with agents and the editors of Uncharted magazine as well as a generative class to get you writing!

Want some great unique self-guided learning materials designed just for writers pursuing novels like yours? This Lab is for you. I built these materials by hand myself utilizing my skills developed at Antioch University’s Post-MFA Teaching Certificate program, pouring my love of genre writing into every piece. This will be a series of pdf workbooks over fifty pages in length, centered around the reading of foundational texts on prose and novel writing.

Want the opportunity to meet some fellow novelists and build a community of serious, committed writers? If you’d like to be joined into a group of fellow participants, we’ll curate the group that best matches your style and experience.

We made Uncharted because we want to serve writers as best we can. It’s our passion. This Lab is just as important to us as our publishing efforts, and we hope to connect novelists like ourselves with great agents and readers that can push them forward as professional writers. Let’s leave the hobbyist mindset behind, together.

Please feel welcome to reach out to me at josh@unchartedmag.com with any and all questions!

Sincerely,

Josh & Tommy
Founders of Uncharted Magazine


Lab Details

Every participant will receive the four features of the Lab:

  1. Feedback on their first five pages from an agent, centered around the question: how can we make these pages so compelling that every agent will want to request more?
  2. Exclusive invitation to the Lab's One Day Conference, with Ken Liu as keynote speaker teaching you about craft and answering your questions, as well as other great sessions centered around publishing knowledge and generating new work.
  3. Opportunity to be placed into a curated workshop group of your peers, where you'll be invited to workshop pieces and work through learning materials together.
  4. A set of unique and exclusive learning materials (100+ pages) developed in house, and based on what we consider foundational texts for writers, that will help every novelist no matter the stage of their project. This is a PDF collection of self-guided learning curriculum on fiction and novel writing, featuring workbooks uniquely built by our team around the foundational texts Naming The World edited by Bret Anthony Johnston, The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maass, Writing Fiction by Janet Burroway, and Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody.

When registering, please submit only the first 5 pages and include a cover letter describing your project.

Your cover letter should include a brief introduction to your story, where you have submitted or hope to submit in the future, and any specific feedback you're looking for, as well as challenges you're having. 

When your submission is uploaded you will receive registration confirmation. Manuscripts will be processed in the order they are received. Please give our agent and editor partners 8-10 weeks to return their feedback. 

We accept works of Science Fiction/Fantasy, Horror/Thriller, and Crime/Mystery, the first 5 pages or fewer of your novel. Please submit one single manuscript per submission. 

To keep with all ethical guidelines recommended by the Association of American Literary Agents, our agent partners will receive works without any identifying information of the writer.

Guest Editors

Savannah Brooks joined the Jennifer De Chiara team in 2018 as an associate literary agent after interning for a year and a half. She earned her MFA, focused in creative nonfiction, from Hamline University and her BS in marketing management from Virginia Tech. As well as agenting, she works as a publishing professor at the University of Minnesota, a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center, and a boxing instructor. She lives in Minneapolis and can regularly be found at one of Minnesota’s 11,842 lakes—yes, even in winter. You can find out more by visiting sblitagent.com and by following Savannah on Twitter and TikTok: @sblitagent.

Noah Rosenzweig is a literary assistant based in Ross Yoon’s D.C. office. He reads manuscript submissions, develops literary projects with agents, edits proposals, and manages Ross Yoon’s social media presence.  Noah is a graduate of Georgetown University, where he focused on English and Political Science. As an assistant, he now helps agents find the best book proposals and develop their next big projects. He is an avid reader of all fiction — especially YA, science fiction, and speculative fiction He has previously written about the changing face of gender-affirming health care, and works as a freelance editor.

More guest instructors may be invited to join the project, depending on the number of participants.


FAQ

How much interaction will I have with the editors?
Each participant will be assigned one editor who receives their work. For accessibility and convenience, we've designed this program with the aim to be completely asynchronous and digital—you will submit your first five pages, and the agent or editor will write their feedback and send it back. After that, any continued conversation is at the editor's personal discretion.

How much interaction will I have with the other participants?
Entirely up to you! The Lab is designed to be open to complete independence or group participation. After getting your learning materials, you'll be asked if you'd like to join a group to either workshop writing, or work through the materials together, or both. The Uncharted team will help create the groups according to level of experience, and then it'll be entirely up to the participants after that to figure out a working schedule and style that makes sense to the group.

Will this help me with my other writing?
Absolutely! While the feedback will be specific to the project you share, the rigorous learning material will help your current writing and all future projects become the best they can be.

Will I have to zoom or get on the phone?
Only for the conference! Everything else will be handled entirely through submittable. We will send you your packet of lab material soon after you submit. The timing of the feedback depends on the editor availability, but it should not be longer than 8-10 weeks.

Can I purchase a spot for a friend?
Yes, please feel welcome. Just make sure to make clear in your cover letter what you're doing and put us in contact with that author.

Uncharted Magazine publishes Science Fiction/Fantasy Short Stories from fiction writers of any background or experience. We want stories that richly imagine the future of technology and science, that explore our world through a speculative lens. We want stories of fantasy that make us hunger for new worlds, new biomes, new places we can explore through thrilling sensual details and human empathy. We want stories that thrill us, that make us feel alive, that awaken our desires to explore and go on adventures. 

Guidelines: 

All fiction categories are open year round and we do not charge any submission fees. We accept simultaneous submissions but ask that you inform us immediately and withdraw your work if your story is accepted elsewhere. 

Payment: We pay our authors $200 for original fiction! We pay by check or PayPal, according to the author's preference.

Word Count: Submitted stories should be between 1,000-5,000 words. 

We will also consider previously published fiction, as long as the writer retains the rights or second-publication rights can be obtained. We do not pay for reprints.

Writers may submit 1 story per submission. Please wait 1 month after our initial reply before submitting again.

Cover letters: Cover letters are optional, but it's nice to know who is submitting to us. We do not need your mailing address.  Please refrain from describing your stories. The work needs to speak for itself. Including the title and word count of each story is helpful for more efficient consideration of your work. Please include a brief third-person biography statement. If necessary, please include a content warning to help protect our readers. 

Format: double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 pt font. Word docs work best!

Response Times: Please allow us up to three months to inform you if we have accepted your work for publication. You will usually hear from us much sooner. We cannot offer personalized feedback on each story. If we say, “send more,” however, it does mean that we hope to see something else from you.

We consider submissions sent via Submittable. We are not open to email submissions and are not open to submissions sent via post.

Diversity Statement: We do not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, or for any other reason. We reserve the right not to publish works that dwell unnecessarily in or that are unchallenging of the discrimination categories listed above. We reserve the right to send back work unread and unevaluated if we find the work violates our vision of inclusivity and non-discrimination. This may result in banning individual works or writers from our submission queue.

Rights: Uncharted Magazine holds first serial publication rights for three months after publication. Authors agree not to publish, nor authorize or permit the publication of, any part of the material for three months following Uncharted Magazine's first publication. For reprints, we ask for acknowledgment of its publication in Uncharted Magazine first.

Courtesy: Please refrain from withdrawing your submission to fix a typo or misspelling. These minor issues will not result in an automatic decline. We read submissions based on the value of the story, not the typing. 

OPTIONAL EDITORIAL FEEDBACK:

You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. Our aim is to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Uncharted Magazine.

Uncharted Magazine publishes Crime/Mystery Short Stories from fiction writers of any background or experience. We want stories that delve into the psychology of crime, that explore desperate and dastardly characters committing crimes of passion and intrigue. We want stories of mystery that make us search for answers, for reasons, for the things that happen in the shadows. We want stories that thrill us, that make us feel alive, that awaken our desires to explore and go on adventures.

Guidelines:
All fiction categories are open year round and we do not charge any submission fees. We accept simultaneous submissions but ask that you inform us immediately and withdraw your work if your story is accepted elsewhere.
Payment: We pay our authors $200 for original fiction! We pay by check or PayPal, according to the author's preference.
Word Count: Submitted stories should be between 1,000-5,000 words.
We will also consider previously published fiction, as long as the writer retains the rights or second-publication rights can be obtained. We do not pay for reprints.
Writers may submit 1 story per submission. Please wait 1 month after our initial reply before submitting again.
Cover letters: Cover letters are optional, but it's nice to know who is submitting to us. We do not need your mailing address.  Please refrain from describing your stories. The work needs to speak for itself. Including the title and word count of each story is helpful for more efficient consideration of your work. Please include a brief third-person biography statement. If necessary, please include a content warning to help protect our readers.
Format: double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 pt font. Word docs work best!
Response Times: Please allow us up to three months to inform you if we have accepted your work for publication. You will usually hear from us much sooner. We cannot offer personalized feedback on each story. If we say, “send more,” however, it does mean that we hope to see something else from you.
We consider submissions sent via Submittable. We are not open to email submissions and are not open to submissions sent via post.
Diversity Statement: We do not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, or for any other reason. We reserve the right not to publish works that dwell unnecessarily in or that are unchallenging of the discrimination categories listed above. We reserve the right to send back work unread and unevaluated if we find the work violates our vision of inclusivity and non-discrimination. This may result in banning individual works or writers from our submission queue.
Rights: Uncharted Magazine holds first serial publication rights for three months after publication. Authors agree not to publish, nor authorize or permit the publication of, any part of the material for three months following Uncharted Magazine's first publication. For reprints, we ask for acknowledgment of its publication in Uncharted Magazine first.
Courtesy: Please refrain from withdrawing your submission to fix a typo or misspelling. These minor issues will not result in an automatic decline. We read submissions based on the value of the story, not the typing.
OPTIONAL EDITORIAL FEEDBACK:
You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. Our aim is to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Fractured Lit.

Uncharted Magazine publishes Horror/Thriller Short Stories from fiction writers of any background or experience. We want stories that keep us up at night, afraid to turn the corner. Stories that take us into the resonant fear of looming monsters and haunting ghosts. We want stories that thrill us by keeping us on the edges of our seats, hearts pounding, wondering how it will end! Stories with characters who refuse to stay in the shadows! We want stories that thrill us, that make us feel alive, that awaken our desires to explore and go on adventures.
Guidelines:
All fiction categories are open year round and we do not charge any submission fees. We accept simultaneous submissions but ask that you inform us immediately and withdraw your work if your story is accepted elsewhere.
Payment: We pay our authors $200 for original fiction! We pay by check or PayPal, according to the author's preference.
Word Count: Submitted stories should be between 1,000-5,000 words.
We will also consider previously published fiction, as long as the writer retains the rights or second-publication rights can be obtained. We do not pay for reprints.
Writers may submit 1 story per submission. Please wait 1 month after our initial reply before submitting again.
Cover letters: Cover letters are optional, but it's nice to know who is submitting to us. We do not need your mailing address.  Please refrain from describing your stories. The work needs to speak for itself. Including the title and word count of each story is helpful for more efficient consideration of your work. Please include a brief third-person biography statement. If necessary, please include a content warning to help protect our readers.
Format: double-space your submission and use Times New Roman 12 pt font. Word docs work best!
Response Times: Please allow us up to three months to inform you if we have accepted your work for publication. You will usually hear from us much sooner. We cannot offer personalized feedback on each story. If we say, “send more,” however, it does mean that we hope to see something else from you.
We consider submissions sent via Submittable. We are not open to email submissions and are not open to submissions sent via post.
Diversity Statement: We do not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, disability, family status, gender identity or expression, national origin, race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, or for any other reason. We reserve the right not to publish works that dwell unnecessarily in or that are unchallenging of the discrimination categories listed above. We reserve the right to send back work unread and unevaluated if we find the work violates our vision of inclusivity and non-discrimination. This may result in banning individual works or writers from our submission queue.
Rights: Uncharted Magazine holds first serial publication rights for three months after publication. Authors agree not to publish, nor authorize or permit the publication of, any part of the material for three months following Uncharted Magazine's first publication. For reprints, we ask for acknowledgment of its publication in Uncharted Magazine first.
Courtesy: Please refrain from withdrawing your submission to fix a typo or misspelling. These minor issues will not result in an automatic decline. We read submissions based on the value of the story, not the typing.
OPTIONAL EDITORIAL FEEDBACK:
You may choose to receive editorial feedback on your piece. We will provide a global letter discussing the strengths of the writing and the recommended focus for revision. Our aim is to make our comments actionable and encouraging. These letters are written by editors and staff readers of Fractured Lit.

Uncharted is looking to add some talented new readers to our team! If you love the following genres: Crime/Mystery, Science Fiction/Fantasy, and Horror/Thriller or experience across a wide spectrum of these genres., and three to four hours of reading submissions a week sounds like fun, we encourage you to apply. Our readers work remotely and can set their own schedules. BIPOC, marginalized or underrepresented writers are strongly encouraged to apply!

This position begins when accepted and involves a commitment for 6 months, though we are flexible. PLEASE NOTE: readerships are unpaid and on a strictly volunteer basis. If interested, please send a cover letter, resume, and at least one writing sample. We look forward to hearing from you!

*Cover letters should address your interest in the above genres, including favorite stories and/or writers. Please include any memberships. 

Uncharted Mag