BYLINES does not post opportunities that require a submission fee. Learn more.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Cunning Linguists call for submissions

web site

Deadline: September 1, 2021

Let’s stretch our erotic vocabulary with the sexiest words in print!

For our fourth anthology, The New Smut Project seeks diverse, feminist, body-positive erotica exploring the seductive potential of:

  • Reading a sexy story to yourself, or to a lover. Writing a sexy story for yourself, or for a lover, or for a friend. Reading a story that wasn’t intended to be sexy but, well, it turns out you’ve got a new kink.
  • The narratives we construct about our sex and love lives, or have constructed for us, or deconstruct. The patterns we and our cultures make and break.
  • Sexy thoughts we have about other people’s stories and characters—yes, send us your fanfiction! For legal reasons, please stick to works in the public domain.
  • Literary structures: write an epistolary story collecting the steamy letters a 19th century abolitionist sent to his boyfriend. Take it into the 21st century with sexts. Or the 23rd century with a hologram.
  • Write a story entirely in dialogue. Write a sex scene that also works as slam poetry. Write a story that travels back in time with each scene—paraphrasing Sam Goldwyn (well, allegedly), open with an orgasm and then work us up to a climax.
  • Make love to and with your favorite words. Or take a new look at your less favorite. Which is sexier—dirty talk or sonnets? Quote Shakespeare in sexts. Make pillow talk about all the dirty words in Shakespeare. Convince us moist is actually a turn-on. Is it a dick or a cock? Is her sex better than her pussy or vice versa? And is cuntan insult or a term of worship?
  • Write with and about the words that send a shiver down the spine, that make a heart skip beats or knees go weak. 
  • Write about the feeling of finally finding the right word to describe your sexuality.
  • What about wordplay? What’s the sexiest literary device—parallelism? Zeugma? Alliteration? Even a good pun gets us laughing, and laughter can be sexy. Or dare we say, puns can make us moan as well as groan.
  • What about wordlessness—pleasure that sends lovers beyond words? The use of nonverbal communication?
  • And what about the unspeakable? Reveal what someone has never been able to talk about. What’s more naked than the truth?–Maybe the right lie?
Keep in mind that, alongside this anthology’s focus on words, the most erotic stories are sensual—texture, taste, and scent play a role in addition to sights and sounds. We don’t have as many words for smell as we do for vision, but what can we do with the words we have? Perhaps you can coin new words. Plus there’s synesthesia, and a sixth sense, or seventh sense… For many, isn’t reading itself a form of synesthesia, transforming sight into sound? And how do telepaths talk dirty?

Length and Payment:

$30 for flash fiction up to 1,000 words
$100 for short stories from 2,500—6,000 words

(Wordcount requirements aren’t firm if you’re within rounding distance. Or query first.)
Contributors will also receive a free ebook copy of the anthology and a discount on paperback copies.

Submission deadline: September 1, 2021. Final decisions will be made by November 2021.

Genre, pairing:

Just about any, and any. Contemporary, historical, speculative fiction, romance, mystery, literary character study, prose poem—really, the only genre we don’t accept is erotic horror because it’s led to too many submissions that don’t fit the rest of our guidelines or our mission. Paranormal takes on creatures like ghosts and vampires, as well as stories with a bittersweet tinge (we do want the “sweet” along with the bitter—we love stories that show a sense of compassion) will be considered!

No limits on the gender or number of participants, so long as they are 18+ and express their affirmative consent.

More details below the cut:

Heat level: This is an erotic collection, so submissions should be arousing. But how explicitly you want to portray the sex, and what counts as sex, is up to you—be as blunt or oblique, straightforward or experimental, as you desire.


We EAGERLY seek stories that are:
Inclusive and feminist
Too sexy for most literary magazines, but too literary (or too feminist and norm-busting) for Penthouse

And stories that feature:
Safer sex
Realistic sexuality
Kinky and/or poly characters
Rapport, warmth, creativity, and a sense of humor (we want to laugh with the characters, not at them)
“Tasteful” word choice (think “come” rather than “cum”).
Characterization, action + reaction, dialogue, and other ingredients that take an erotic story from a list of mechanical actions to an interaction between living, breathing, panting people.

We want to publish stories by authors and about characters from around the world, from diverse racial and class backgrounds, of diverse body types, abilities, and ages. #OwnVoices welcome.

Although all stories will be copyedited before going to print, please make sure your piece is as polished as possible before submission. Every word should count. Your story will have an advantage if you punctuate dialogue correctly.

We welcome literal—and literate—pretentious wankery. But not wankers: we’re interested in sex as a positive force in people’s lives. This doesn’t mean it has to be perfect or uncomplicated, but characters shouldn’t be punished for enjoying consensual sex.

For more ideas to spark your imagination, check out our list of Easy (and Hard) Sells. To see even more of what we like—and find out what we have yet to cover—pick up our previous anthologies.

Stories in which characters don’t express their consent to the sex and/or kink. Writers who submit stories about nonconsensual sex may have their email addresses blocked without notice.
Stories about sexually active characters younger than 18. We’re not interested in characters pursuing people who are “barely legal,” either.
Concepts reliant on transphobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, ableism, fatphobia, and other asshole moves (but we’ll consider stories where these prejudices form part of a character’s lived experience).
Work under copyright that is not your own (including quoted song lyrics) – if the story can stand without the copyrighted quote, please send it that way.

Sex involving professionals in their working capacity—such as sex between therapists or doctors and their patients & sex between professors and students. It’s awesome to see stories following sex workers in their personal lives, but stories in which the narrator hires a sex worker aren’t generally of interest to us.
Stories reliant on deception (including cheating/infidelity) will be a hard sell, with rare possible exceptions.
Stories about sex while drunk, buzzed, or high will often be a harder sell than stories that aren’t about that (though drinking a glass of wine while flirting isn’t out-of-bounds).

Multiple submissions: We’ll look at 2 stories per author.

Simultaneous submissions: No, please.

Rights requested: To include your story in our ebook and print anthology, with no new competing publications for one year. Reprints are accepted. So are translations of stories into English and excerpts from longer pieces. In your cover letter, please give the details of any previous publication and confirm that you can offer reprint rights.

How to submit: Send up to 2 stories to newsmutproject(at), with each story as a separate .doc or .rtf file, Google Drive link, or in the body of an email. In the subject line, include the story’s title and the word “Submission” to keep your email safe from the spam filter (ex, “Submission: My Super Sexy Story”). For your cover letter, Strange Horizons’ examples are excellent. We’re excited to publish #OwnVoices stories, so you can include that information as well.

Submissions will be read by Alex Freeman, Guinevere Chase, and T.C. Mill.

Questions, suggestions, updates, and more information: Contact us at newsmutproject(at) Answers to frequently asked questions are posted in the q&a tag on this blog. For updates and more info, you can sign up for our newsletter through MailChimp, follow us here on Tumblr, or follow editor T.C. Mill on Twitter or Facebook.

Blog Archive