Guidelines for Spellbound & Spindles

The guidelines below are for a special issue of Spellbound—a children’s fantasy e-zine for 8-12 year olds—and Spindles—a companion adult anthology.

Submissions are now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted, everyone who commented below, and everyone who spread the word.

The Table of Contents for both anthologies can be found here.

Both anthologies will feature fairy tales retold to feature POC, LGBT and disabled characters, as well as non-Western European and non-North American settings.  We are looking for poetry and fiction, as well as artwork for both books.  Detailed guidelines are below, please read through them before submitting.  It is worth it to read through the comments below also, especially if you have a question because it might have already been answered there.

Please note: Spindles is NOT an erotica anthology.  Also, the emphasis on diversity and fairy tale retellings outlined in the paragraph above applies to all the content we’ll be publishing: fiction, poetry and artwork.

What do we mean by fairy tale?

ETA 4/13/2014: There’s been valid criticism of our criteria on what constitutes fairy tales. What’s been posted to the guidelines so far (the link to the Aarne-Thompson classification system below) has its limits–and is very Euro-centric. Because we want this project to be as inclusive and diverse as possible, I’m searching out other examples and lists I can point to and reference when looking at if what is and isn’t a fairy tale. My search isn’t turning up any master list but there is this: List of Fairy Tales. I’ll keep looking over the next couple of weeks and post when and if I find better references.

A general definition of the term “fairy tale” is hard to come by, and often one has to fall back on the old, “You know it when you see it.”  However, we’re relying on the Aarne-Thompson classification list for the bulk of our source material.  This is not a definitive list, and there may be fairy tales that aren’t there.  However, it is a good starting point.  When in doubt, feel free to ask.  Note, however, fairy tales for the purpose of these anthologies does not include: mythology, fables, riddles or nursery rhymes.

We are now open to submissions.  The reading period runs from October 1, 2013 to April 30, 2014.

The deadline for poetry submissions has been extended to May 15, 2014.  This is only for poetry submissions.  The deadline for fiction and art submissions is still April 30, 2014.

All submissions sent during the reading period will get a response.


Fiction Editor: Raechel Henderson

Spellbound word limit = 2,500
Spindles word limit = 5,000
Payment = 5 cents per word; 2.5 cents per word for reprints
Rights bought: First World English-language Rights
Multiple submissions welcome, but please send one story per e-mail
No simultaneous submissions

Stories should follow the standard fairy tale structure or match the structure of the fairy tale they are retelling, but can be placed in any time period. We’ll only be publishing one version of each story (so one Cinderella, on Snow White, etc.) so authors are encouraged to submit as many different stories as they want. We are looking for fairy tales from all over the world; not just Grimm and Anderson.

Please send fiction submissions to submissions@eggplantproductions.comSend submissions in the body of the e-mail. No attachments!


Poetry Editor: Marcie Tentchoff

Payment = $1 per line to a maximum of $40 / $20 minimum; $20 for reprints
Rights bought: First World English-language Rights
Multiple submissions okay
No simultaneous submissions

We are looking for short poems. Poem can exceed 40 lines, but will be paid at the maximum amount. Please keep in mind that longer poems are a hard sell.

We will gladly read either free verse or traditionally rhyming poetry, but we are not interested in poems which toss masses of meaningless and conflicting imagery at the reader, in the hope that he or she will be able to make some sense out of the muddled result. We expect rhymes and meter in traditional poetry to be neither forced nor strained. Likewise, all poetry, even free verse, should flow well and have a musical quality.

From Marcie: “One thing I want for Spindles (and any fairytale based issue of Spellbound) is for the poets/authors to let us know, perhaps at the end, what story they are working with. I’ve read a lot of fairytales, but I can’t promise to know them all, and I’d like to be able to read up on any they use that I might not be familiar with.

“Other than that, I’d love to see some versions of non-Grimm works… things from around the world.”

We’ll look at up to five (5) poems at one time from poets.

Send poetry submissions to


Art Director: Samantha Press

1. ALL forms of art welcome – painting, digital art, photography, papercraft, felted dioramas, anything.

1.1. With regards to Spellbound, remember, this is for a children’s e-zine: we are looking for fun, visually-arresting images without explicit violence, gore, or adult-themed nudity.
1.2. We are accepting submissions for spot illustrations (color or b&w).
1.3. If you are mailing in your application, please do not include originals – all physical applications will be kept on file.
1.4. Please, do not attach really high-resolution files to your email or submit images with watermarks that obscure the fine detail of your work. Any art you send us will not be used by the company without your express permission to do so.
1.5. We are especially interested in spotlighting both diverse works and voices.
1.6. We absolutely encourage those without publication credits to submit their portfolios/work for consideration. Skill is the primary factor in evaluation, not experience.
1.7. Fanart in portfolios is not a limitation; an artist’s “inventiveness” in transforming pre-existing stories is a positive sign, given this project’s goals.

2. Please include your resume &/or pricing guide / standard rates, if you have either.

3. Please be patient. You will receive a response within 2-4 weeks after we receive your submission.

We look forward to seeing your work!

Email us at or send physical applications to: Eggplant Literary Productions c/o Sam Haney Press, 5333 Century Ave. #6, Middleton, WI 53562.

All contributors will receive a hardcover and ePub copy of the anthology they are published in.

You can read a sample copy of the contract here.

Current TOC




    • Jacinta and the Cornstalk by Kari Castor





There’s a blog post about fiction submissions received and responded to here.

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