As of November 2015, PodCastle pays narrators for their work. Standard rates are $15 for flash-length stories (under 2000 words) and $30 for short stories between 2000 and 6000 words. Pay rates vary for full-cast readings and for longer works.
Narrators interested in more paid work may also consider auditioning with Strange Horizons, which also compensates readers.
How to Audition:
To audition, please fill out the following survey and attach an audio sample of yourself reading a piece of fiction, 5 minutes or less. Please include a pronunciation of your name in your recording. If you are proficient with any foreign languages or accents, feel free to include them in your demonstration. Our preferred technical specs and reading tips can be found here.
What to expect next:
We will review your recording, and offer you feedback if it's not quite what we're looking for, so you can audition again with a different setup or equipment later. Then your information goes into our narrator database to be used when we are looking for a reader.
Your contact information will also be shared with our sister podcasts (Escape Pod for science fiction, and PseudoPod for horror), as they share our narrator database. Narrations with them are still done on a volunteer (unpaid) basis, but narrator pay will be rolled out with them in the very near future.
When we find a story we'd like you to narrate, we send you a query letter with the text attached and give you a chance to read it and reject it if you're not interested or don't have the time. We try to do this at least 2 months before the due date, although there can be last minute rushes (which you're free to reject).
PodCastle is looking for quality fantasy fiction. If you’re a writer with a speculative short story that you’d like to hear narrated by one of our performers, we’d like to see it.
- Submit using Standard Manuscript Format. We accept files in .odt, .rtf, .docx or .doc format.
- Word count: up to 6,000 words.
- Occasionally, we run reprints in the novelette range (up to 17,000 words), although they are a harder sell. Query to firstname.lastname@example.org before submitting longer works.
- No multiple submissions.
- Simultaneous submissions are permitted; just mention it in your cover letter up front, and let us know if you sell it elsewhere first.
- Reprints are welcome, and strongly encouraged.
Payment and Rights
We pay $.06/word for original fiction up to 6000 words, $100 flat rate for reprints above 2000 words, and $20 flat rate for reprints below 2000 words (flash fiction).
We are happy to consider stories previously published on Patreon as reprints.
PodCastle buys nonexclusive audio rights, and nonexclusive electronic rights to distribute the audio file under a Creative Commons license.
Specifically, we use the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license. Briefly, this means that the entire world has permission to distribute the audio files for free, provided they give credit for it, don’t try to make money off of it, and don’t change it in any way. Transcribing it, extracting portions from it beyond fair use, and mashing it up are all prohibited.
This license applies only to our audio performance of your work, for which we’ve contracted and paid you. It does not apply to your story itself; you retain your copyright and all rights to any other use of the story.
What We Want
PodCastle is looking for fantasy stories. We’re open to all the sub-genres of fantasy, from magical realism to urban fantasy to slipstream to high fantasy, and everything in between. Fantastical or non-real content should be meaningful to the story.
We are an audio magazine. Our audience can’t skim past the boring parts. Ideally, fiction should have strong pacing, well-defined characters, engaging dialogue, clear action, and still be beautiful. Above all, we’re looking for stories that are fun to listen to. Humor is encouraged.
We hope to publish fiction reflecting the full range of settings and tropes found in fantasy fiction. We’d particularly like to see more stories set outside America, and stories that feature characters who represent a range of backgrounds and ethnicities.
Podcastle welcomes submissions from writers of all backgrounds. We are especially interested in seeing more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional publishing, including, but not limited to, women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States. Our goal is to publish fantasy that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.
How to Submit
In your cover letter, please include your legal name, byline (if different from your legal name), mailing address, and the story’s approximate word count and publication history. If you have any previous publications, feel free to list the most recent three, but this is optional and won’t affect your story’s consideration.
Once you’ve sent us your story, you will get an automated confirmation via email. Please query if you have not received this confirmation within 24 hours.
After three months, if you haven’t received a response, feel free to query by email.
By sending us your story you understand and agree that:
- You are the original creator of the work submitted to us;
- You are the copyright holder of the work;
- You are not prohibited by any prior agreement from the transfer of non-exclusive electronic and audio rights to the work;
- All information in the contact and cover sections of your submission is accurate and truthful;
- You accept sole responsibility for any false statements or encumbrances upon rights not disclosed to us.
If we buy your story we’ll send you a contract, and you’ll be bound to all of the above.
If you have questions, comments, or suggestions, send them to our staff at email@example.com. We’ll do our best to get back to you within a few days.
Thanks very much for your time, and we look forward to reading your fiction!
Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali and Jen R. Albert, Editors
and editorial staff