The Town Drunk  
We are currently closed to submissions.

The Town Drunk publishes lighthearted and humorous short stories that contain an element of science fiction, fantasy, or the supernatural. Horror tropes are welcome, but they must receive a lighthearted treatment. Cross-genre work is also welcome. Most importantly, we seek to offer stories that are fun to read, leaving our readers smiling and eager to share what they've read.

Please note that we only publish short stories at this time. We do not accept poetry, scripts, or nonfiction.

Content Preferences
We look for quality, accessible writing and original ideas. We prefer strong plots with lively characters and satisfying endings. The more humor, the better, but a story does not have to be laugh-out-loud funny for us to use it.

Check out our Hard Sells for story forms and concepts that are not likely to work for us.

Regarding sensitive content:
  • Violence is acceptable, as long as it's not gratuitous. We are not interested in gore.
  • Sexual content is also acceptable, as long as it's not explicit. We do not want to see erotica or porn.
  • Profanity must justify its existence.
  • We will not accept works we judge to be blatantly offensive to people of a particular race, gender, or sexual orientation.
We also cannot accept fan fiction or stories using copyrighted characters or universes.

Length Limits
Submissions must be between 500 and 5,000 words in length. To us, a “word” is six characters, counting spaces. (Why we count words the way we do.) Submissions shorter than 500 words or longer than 5,000 words will be rejected unread.

Payment Terms
We pay a flat rate of US$35. This entitles us to First Worldwide Electronic Rights, and we retain exclusive rights for three months. After that time, we may archive the story on our website indefinitely, unless the author requests otherwise. We pay on publication. U.S. authors may choose between check or PayPal payment; special payment arrangements can be made for non-U.S. authors.

Response Time
Historically, we’ve been able to turn around most rejections in under a week. Very promising stories often take a month or more to fully evaluate. Please wait at least one month before querying about a submission.

We encourage writers to submit their response times to Andrew Burt’s Response Time Tracker and Duotrope.

Reprint submissions are welcome, but please query first. Our pay rate is the same for reprints as it is for previously unpublished stories.

  • We do not accept multiple submissions. Please submit only one story at a time.
  • We discourage simultaneous submissions. We want to give each submission the careful attention it deserves, and that takes time, and even so we do not feel our response time is unreasonable. We ask that you be courteous and patient in this regard.
  • Please prepare your submission as a file in Rich Text Format (rtf). No other document format will be accepted. (Why?)
  • Please use Standard Manuscript Format. It’s a good habit, and it makes it easier for our copyeditor to format accepted works for publication.
  • A cover letter is unnecessary and will most likely be ignored.
  • Finally, please use our submission form to upload your RTF document for consideration.
We look forward to seeing your work!
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