Welcome to BULL SPEC

Welcome to a new speculative fiction market, BULL SPEC, based in Durham, North Carolina, United States.

We’re going to start slow and small and make sure we have things right and that we grow the right way if we’re lucky enough to need it. We’ll aim to start with quarterly stories, move to bimonthly, monthly, etc. when we can, with a yearly e-book and print anthology of the best of the best. But to be realistic that is months, maybe years, maybe never, away.

But we’re going to start some things the right way from the very beginning:
For writers:



  1. Professional advance payment for original fiction of $0.05/word, minimum $50, maximum $2000, 50% upon acceptance, 50% upon publication, plus royalties (see #2). This means that we should in time qualify as an SFWA market once we can demonstrate regular publishing of multiple writers, and it is the mission of BULL SPEC to stick this out as long as it takes to see that happen for those authors who do entrust us with their work. (At the goal of one original story every 3 months, we hope to achieve this in at most 30 months, as the SFWA guidelines suggest publishing works from 10 different authors. The SFWA market approval should be retroactive meaning the first story we publish should qualify when we achieve SFWA approved market status. We do hope to speed this up, but there’s a limit to how deep we can go and we want to carefully craft the works we do produce. 1 story every 30 months is our minimum commitment.)
  2. 50-50 royalty split of all story-specific donations. Royalties above advance are available monthly, withdrawn on demand. Paypal or check only at this time.
  3. Solidly produced SMASHWORDS e-books and (audiobook hosting partner TBD) audiobooks, under the BULL SPEC label, produced in the source language and at our option one or more of English, Spanish, or Chinese (Mandarin), or other languages and formats. (We will consider adding additional languages but focus on the most prominently spoken or used as first languages in Durham, NC, US.)
  4. Pick the end-user license for your copyrighted content, either “All Rights Reserved” of any of the CREATIVE COMMONS typical licenses. (No license choice receives preferential treatment, and please do not include this choice in your submission information to avoid any gray areas about “consideration.”) Our default overall produced e-book and audiobook license is Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License with the text of the story having all rights reserved. This just means that we understand that the PDF files and MP3 files themselves can and will be shared and we’re OK with that: after all, it’s “donate what you like” to begin with. But if you choose to, we’ll publish the text of your story itself under its own license and/or grant more rights to the commons for the overall PDF and MP3 files.
  5. If we ever do make it to an e-book and/or print anthology your story will be up for inclusion, with a 50-50 royalty split of anthology-specific donations (e-book and audiobook) or print sale net profits (gross, less printing), weighted by logarithmic word count. Our goal is to not only produce our own anthologies, but to allow readers to “pick their own anthology” for e-books and audiobooks.
  6. Easy e-mail submissions with fast (under 30 days) response and (hopefully) clear, simple guidelines.

For readers:


  1. All e-books and audiobooks are available at “donate what you like” rates, in a variety of languages, with no DRM and an easy to understand way to thank the authors and production teams for their work.
  2. As a professionally paid and produced market we hope to bring you the best submissions that we can and well-produced stories that keep you coming back for more.

For the community:

  1. “Clip” music, art, and sound contributed to the commons under simple attribution and/or share-alike licenses.
  2. Short (and long) works of speculative fiction in multiple languages to encourage literacy and language development.
  3. Minimum 10% of BULL SPEC net proceeds to relevant organizations who do the real ground work in literacy, language, and young writer development, with certain works (particularly solicited reprints and commons) at a full 100%.

That said, we are now open for original (and reprint: see below) submissions until we are full up for 6 months: with our current planned quarterly schedule that means until we’ve accepted 2 original short stories or, if by some small miracle we’ve already moved up our schedule plans, some other number. Expect a response within 30 days and we hope to publish BULL SPEC SHORT #1 in early January 2010, with #2 coming as soon after as we can, no longer than three months (the next quarter).

For more info on submissions, see our guidelines page.

Questions or Comments? Want to get involved?
Add a comment, e-mail us at editors at bullspec dot com, send us a mention on our Twitter feed, or find us on Facebook. We’re trying to get started and are bound to make a few mistakes. We’d really like some feedback on the clarity of our guidelines, particularly in the area of rights and licensing. We know we’re likely to fail and look like fools doing it, and will welcome any help we can get.

Coming soon: Meet the editorial and production team at BULL SPEC.

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