Submission Guidelines

LIGHTSPEED is currently Closed to Submissions.

Lightspeed is a Hugo Award-winning SF/Fantasy magazine edited by John Joseph Adams.

Choose one of the submission categories below.

NOTE: We've updated our guidelines to indicate that you may now only submit one story at any given time (rather than one in each genre); you must wait until seven days after our reply to submit another story.


Instructions for submitting to Lightspeed follow. Please read everything on this page and read the magazine before submitting.

NOTE: If Lightspeed is currently closed to submissions, please do not query asking when we'll be opening again. When we know when we're opening, we'll make that information available on this page and spread it widely.


Instructions: All fiction must be submitted through our Moksha online submission system. Please do not email your submissions.

Guidelines: Lightspeed is seeking original science fiction and fantasy stories. All types of science fiction and fantasy are welcome. No subject should be considered off-limits, and we encourage writers to take chances with their fiction and push the envelope. We do not accept simultaneous submissions or multiple submissions. You may submit one story at any given time; you must wait until seven days after our reply to submit another story. 

Format: If you follow standard manuscript format, you're fine, though if you want to format it to our preferences, we prefer single-spaced instead of double-spaced and Arial 14pt font for ease of reading on screen. Your manuscript may be submitted in either .RTF or .DOC or .DOCX format.

Word Count: For short stories and novelettes, we will consider stories of 1500-10,000 words; stories of 5000 words or less are preferred. We will also now consider flash fiction of 1500 words or less.

Pay Rate: Lightspeed pays 8 cents per word for original fiction. If there are any payment processing fees associated with your payment (i.e., if we use PayPal, WorldRemit, Western Union, Wise, or the like to pay you), we cover the processing fee. 

Rights: To see which rights we’re seeking, please view our contract template for original fiction.

Cover Letters: Your cover letter should contain the length of your story, your publishing history, and any other relevant information (e.g, if you send us a hard SF story about black hole clusters and your doctoral dissertation was on black hole clusters, mention that). If you’re not sure what should go in your cover letter, this article on cover letters might help.

Questions/Problems: Email for all fiction-related inquiries, or if you have any trouble using our online submission system. Please do not email your submissions to this address.

Rejections/Response Times: 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 will reply to submissions as quickly as possible, but expect that replies might take as long as a month. Please do not respond to rejection letters, even just to say “Thanks for the quick turnaround” etc. We appreciate the thought, but it is unnecessary and will just clutter up our editorial inbox.

Diversity Statement: We believe that the science fiction/fantasy genre’s diversity is its greatest strength, and we wish that viewpoint to be reflected in our story content and our submission queues; we welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.


Reprints: All of our reprints are currently solicited. We are not open to submissions or queries in this area.

Nonfiction: All of our nonfiction is currently assigned in-house. We are not open to submissions or queries in this area.

Review Copies: If you would like information about how to submit books for review, you may send review copies to editor John Joseph Adams at the mailing address your publicity department likely already has on file (either for Lightspeed, Nightmare, or The Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy); email for more information.

Art: If you wish to have your art considered for Lightspeed Magazine (either science fiction or fantasy), please send an inquiry, along with a link to an online gallery (if possible), to Please note that we only use 12 covers per year. We are presently commissioning original art for all of our covers. If you submit your gallery, we will review it and get in touch if we want to commission something. However, we do have a core team of artists we work with already and assign most of our covers among them.


Lightspeed is edited and published by John Joseph Adams. You can see the rest of our staff on our Staff Page.

We welcome the submission of translations of stories from other languages. Stories that have never before been published in the English language would be considered “original.”

Sexual themes and stories with strong sexual content are acceptable, but Lightspeed is not a market for erotica. If in doubt, feel free to send your story in and let our editors decide.

Lightspeed is not a market for media-based fiction (i.e., stories set in the Star Wars or Star Trek universes, etc.), or any kind of fan fiction. (Note: We don’t have a problem with people reading or writing fan fiction or media-based fiction, we’re just not legally allowed to consider publishing it.)

Lightspeed is not a market for poetry (though our sister-magazines Fantasy and Nightmare both publish poetry).

If you’re not sure if your story is suitable, don’t query; please just go ahead and submit it and let our editors decide.

If editor John Joseph Adams has previously rejected your story, please do not submit it to Lightspeed, unless it was rejected as being unsuitable for the market (due to theme, etc.) or unless it has been significantly revised to the extent that it is no longer the same story.

If one of our sister-magazines (Fantasy or Nightmare) has rejected your story (and John Joseph Adams isn't the one who rejected it), feel free to submit it to Lightspeed, assuming it's genre appropriate.

Lightspeed is a SFWA-qualifying professional market.