Submission Guidelines

Author: Jim
Nil Desperandum is actively searching for good quality short stories to narrate and distribute. And yes, we are a paying market.

Types of Work

We are looking for work which we feel elucidates life. Our tag line “Truth, Life, and the Human Condition” says it pretty well. We want stories which ask questions about why someone is the way they are. Or which answer those same questions. We want stories that will make the listener think not only about the lives in the story, but about their own lives as well. We want stories that will stir the soul, excite the emotions, and stimulate the mind.

That said, we are also genera-independant. Literary, historical, speculative (science fiction / fantasy), horror, romance, and etc. As long as it meets the description above, the specific genera does not specifically matter so much – so long as it makes sense in the context of the story and is not just for its own sake. People may behave differently in different situations and under different rules. Or they may not. If your work is going to take us somewhere beyond the everyday world most of us share, there should be a reason for doing so.

We have three categories of fiction we accept, based on the length of the work. The word counts are general guidelines, don’t get to hung up on meeting them exactly. If we like something, we’re going to take it even if the final word count is over or under by a few hundred words.

Novellas: We consider a novella anything between 10,000 and 20,000 words. Novellas are published serially, across either two or three episodes depending on the their length. We pay $70 for works of this length.

Short Fiction: We consider short fiction to be anywhere from 3,000 to 8,000 words. A work of short fiction will be published as a single episode. We pay $50 for works of this length.

Flash Fiction: Anything under 3,000 words is flash fiction. Flash fiction is generally published as small, interstitial episodes, although on occasion we may publish a longer episode collecting two or three flash fiction works. We pay $10 for works of this length.

We buy non-exclusive audio-only rights to narrate and then distribute that narrated version of your work. Whether it was previously published or not does not matter to us in the slightest.

How to submit

Send work which you would like us to consider to submissions @ Please send the work as plain-text-only. Any e-mails with attachments will be immediately deleted, without any response. Any e-mails with HTML formatting, embedded images, or other decoration may or may not be considered – but the extra work on the part of our editors to remove all that will only tend to make them predisposed to not accept the story.

Note: We have been having problems with submissions of longer, Novella-length works where the author’s e-mail provider is truncating the e-mail. If you are submitting a longer work, please e-mail us with an overview or synopsis of the story and we will respond with a request for the full story – which you can then send as a plain- or rich-text attachment to work around this.

Please use the title of the story and your name (e.g. “Strength of the Strong, by J. London”) as the Subject line of your e-mail.

In the body of the e-mail, please include the following items in this order:
  • Your full, legal name (who do we write the check to);
  • Your mailing address (where do we send the contract, and the check);
  • Your e-mail address;
  • A short bio (including previous publications you would like mentioned, whether or not this story has previously been published, and anything else you might like us to mention or know);
  • Title of the story;
  • Byline (optional, if you are using a pseudonym);
  • Approximate word count;
  • Text of the story (no formatting other than blank lines between paragraphs, and underscores for _emphasis_.

By submitting a work of fiction to Nil Desperandum, you are agreeing that:
  • You are the original creator of the work submitted;
  • You hold the copyright to the work submitted;
  • There is no prohibition from a previous contract or agreement on the transfer of non-exclusive audio rights to the work submitted;
What then?

We will review your submission, and generally try to make a decision within a few weeks. You will be notified of the decision, yes or no, via the e-mail address you provided in the submission. If your story is accepted, we will send you a contract for you to review, sign, and mail back to us. Once we receive the signed contract, we will send payment immediately via either paper check or PayPal (your choice). The story then goes into our distribution queue.

Once a story enters the distribution queue, it will be assigned a narrator and an editor. You may be contacted periodically throughout the production process if there are questions which need answering, or edits which we feel need to be made. The more you are available to assist us with this, the better the final result will be.
And then?
Nil Desperandum is released as a series of audio files, each one under the Creative Commons, Attribution, Non-Commercial, No-Derivives license. You can find details of this license elsewhere on our sight, but in short it means that you (and we) agree than anyone can take the content and send it around all they want so long as it is not changed, full credit is given to both the author (you) and the producer (us), and no money is made off the distribution. There is no expiration period. Once your work is out there, it will live under this license until it enters the public domain many many years from now.


If you have any questions or concerns regarding submissions, please e-mail them to editor @

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