Call for Submissions: Schoolbooks & Sorcery




Take high school. It’s weird, confusing, complicated, and frustrating. It’s a time of growth and change, when teens start discovering what they’re made of and who they want to be. Now throw in magic. What happens? That’s the premise of this new YA anthology. Schoolbooks & Sorcery is what happens when you take all the normal ups and downs of high school, inject a healthy dose of magic, shake, stir, and serve.

Editor Michael M. Jones (Scheherazade’s Façade) is looking for YA urban fantasy stories which incorporate the themes of sorcery, magic, and enchantment. The magic can come from within, as an intrinsic ability or a family trait, or from without, in the form of talismans, training, or teaching. Protagonists can be wizards, witches, sorcerers, magicians, shamans, apprentices, or practitioners of more esoteric traditions. Whether they pick it up on their own (accidentally or on purpose), learn from a master, or go to school for institutionalized training, they’ll be involved with magic to some degree. Or, of course, the protagonist could be without magic, and stumble into a world beyond their immediate knowledge. If authors wish to set something in a magical school of their own devising, or in a previously-established setting, that’s perfectly fine. But it doesn’t necessarily need to be set at a school, magical or otherwise, so long as the main characters are of the right age set.

Just about every culture has some sort of tradition involving people who dabble in the supernatural to one end or another, and there’s a vast amount of potential left to be tapped in this genre, especially with teenage protagonists. Whether they’re wizards-in-training, voodoo princesses, the last descendant of an infamous historical figure, the newest apprentice in the family business, or just someone in the wrong place at the right time, the stories are endless.

Schoolbooks & Sorcery is also designed to be a queer-friendly YA anthology, embracing the full spectrum of sexuality and gender identification, while offering a wide selection of satisfying, entertaining, fascinating, powerful stories in which the mundane and the magical overlap and interact. Stories are encouraged to take place in the overlapping area between urban fantasy, high school, and LGBTQ issues and themes. Stories should send the message that it’s not just okay to be gay, it’s okay to be gay and to have the same crazy, wicked, scary, seductive, exciting, magical, strange, funny, romantic, dark adventures as everyone else. We’re looking for stories which are all-inclusive, with the characters writers have been dying to write and readers clearly want to see, diverse and interesting, with an underlying current of tolerance and acceptance. Obviously, we’re looking for a wide range of themes, tones, and voices.



All stories should be between 2000-7000 words.

All stories must involve magic, and those who practice magic. This covers wizards, witches, sorcerers, magicians, shamans, and other traditions not specifically mentioned. This covers self-taught characters, those whose power is intrinsic or passed down through a family, those who find objects of power or books of spells, those who study with a teacher, those who go to school for magic, and so on. Other paranormal elements, such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, or fairies, are welcome, as long as they don’t overshadow the primary theme.

Paranormal romance elements are also welcome, but this is not specifically intended as a romance anthology. Romance is good, but not necessary.

All stories must be considered YA.

Stories should be set in modern times/on Earth, but authors are encouraged to use a variety of settings, cultures, and influences to flesh out their characters and world building. Again, one of the primary goals here is to explore diversity.

While LGBTQ elements are not required, they are highly encouraged, as are protagonists who defy traditional roles and labels. (As in “girls doing boy things” and “boys doing girl things”.) More importantly: no story will be turned away for containing LGBTQ characters or elements, unless it violates the other guidelines.

Stories will not be censored for language, drinking, drugs or sexual situations; however, such things must be in moderation, appropriate to the circumstances, and tastefully handled. In movie rating terms, stories would thus fall into the PG-13 range. (To be handled as necessary. We’re not afraid of some bad words now and again…)

All stories will maintain a positive atmosphere concerning sexuality, gender, race, religion, and so on. While individual characters (most likely antagonists) may express biased, prejudiced, or phobic sentiments, or characters may deal with negative situations, the ultimate goal is to promote tolerance, acceptance, and positivity.

PLEASE NOTE: I have already seen a number of stories which address bullying. While I’m still open to considering stories incorporating this theme, I’d like to see some more variety to help round things out.

DEADLINE: August 15, 2014

SUBMISSION ADDRESS: All submissions may be sent to Please address any questions or queries to that address as well.Submissions should be sent as an attachment, as .rtf or .doc.

PAYMENT: Payment will start out at 2 cents a word. However, this is just the minimum. Once the anthology is completed and the Table of Contents either finalized or close to finalized, we will be running a Kickstarter campaign to boost sales, create pre-release buzz, attract pre-sales, and to acquire the funds to pay 5 cents a word. So while at this moment in time we can promise 2 cents a word, our end goal (one which is entirely within the realm of possibility) is 5 cents a word, or professional rate. If you have any questions about how this can work, or need more information on how Kickstarter works, please feel free to talk to the editor. Again: you are not being asked to do something for nothing. You’re not being asked for money or freebies. All we ask of you is a little patience and flexibility for this stage of the project, and the use of your name as a contributing author to attract fans and potential backers. Payment will be made after the end of the Kickstarter period, before the actual publication date. (Because the SFWA pro rate increases to 6 cents a word as of July 1, 2014, we may end up shooting for this goal instead. This has not been finalized.)

FORMATS: Schoolbooks & Sorcery will be released simultaneously as a trade paperback and an ebook, by Gressive Press, an imprint of Circlet Press.


Michael M. Jones was the YA reviewer for Science Fiction Chronicle and Realms of Fantasy. These days, he reviews YA for Publishers Weekly and He is also the editor of Scheherazade’s Façade: Fantastical Tales of Gender Bending, Cross-Dressing, and Transformation (Gressive Press, 2012). His fiction has appeared in anthologies from DAW, Baen, Raven Electrick Ink, Norilana, Circlet, and Cleis Press. He can be found online at


Call for Submissions: Schoolbooks & Sorcery — 10 Comments

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  3. I am just curious about this. I am a self published author and am going to submit something for this project. However, need it be edited first and second, are all submissions going to BE published?

    Chris Predmore

    • First off, all submissions should be properly edited before being sent in. That means you send your best possible story, not a first draft that hasn’t been fine-tuned and polished. That means a thorough spelling and grammar check as well. A few typos are understandable, but it’s only professional to send an editor a clean piece for submission.

      Second, no. Not all submissions will be published. This anthology has limited space and those final few slots are going to be pretty competitive. However, I’m not playing favorites with regards to authors–I’ll be looking for the best possible mix of stories, regardless of who sends it in.

      Hope that helps.

    • While questions should be sent to the address posted in the guidelines, I’ll answer this as it’s relevant to anyone coming here in a last-minute deadline panic. :)

      I will accept stories submitted through the end of August 15th, 2014. If you can get them in before I wake up on Saturday the 16th, I’ll still let it slide. But no later than that. No extensions, no excuses, no mercy.

  4. Hi, Michael.

    I sent in a submission, but didn’t receive acknowledgement of receipt. I know you probably have a vast amount of entries to wade through, but I was wondering if you have any thoughts about a possible timeline for confirmation of submission or even acceptance/ rejection. I’m really excited about this anthology!


    • Again, questions about this anthology should be sent to the email address listed in the guidelines, which is checked regularly and responded to promptly (well, save for actual submissions…)

      But in the interests of relevance to anyone else coming here with the same question: Reading is ongoing as time, energy, and other deadlines allow, now that all submissions are in. At this time, I don’t have a strict response timeline…although I’m hoping to have things winnowed down significantly by the start of September. Rejections will go out swiftly. Stories held for consideration will take longer, especially once I force them to compete in cage matches to determine survivors.

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