Elegant Literature is a Canadian owned and operated business (legally "Elegant Media Publishing Corporation") dedicated to helping aspiring authors get their work into the world.
It is the first short fiction magazine to pay professional rates but not allow professionals to submit work.
If you're interested in my wacky take on 21st-century dragon riding, check it out here in their excellent third issue.
This is gonna take a while to feel real, isn't it?
How it all began
It’s difficult for a new writer to have their work accepted by fiction magazines. Most pay little to nothing, while publications that pay professional rates receive submissions from big name authors. This makes competition fierce, and the likelihood of having a story chosen is low. Not to mention the fact that readers are paying less subscription fees, reducing the magazines ability to purchase stories.
How about contests? Many contests can be entered for free, but the top prize might only be to publish the winning stories. Others charge per story submitted and pay the winners a few hundred dollars, keeping the profits for the organizers. Contests with large prizes mean competing with professional authors, if they even let unpublished writers enter.
It’s tough for an aspiring writer to see their work published in a “professional” setting.
Elegant Literature combined the best of both, and cut away the downsides.
We host a monthly contest alongside each issue of the magazine. The prize is significant enough to make it worth entering, and one small fee gives writers unlimited submissions. The profits from the contest are used to buy stories at professional rates. That means we don’t rely on advertising or subscription fees from readers, allowing us to give the magazine away for free, providing maximum reach for the new talent.
Excess profits are recycled back into the contest in order to increase the prize pool and allow Elegant Literature to buy more work from upcoming authors. This ensures the contest remains attractive, and we keep a stable submission/acceptance ratio no matter how big we grow.
Our favourite part? We only allow new writers to submit work. While that means we won’t have the prestige of publishing famous authors, it also makes us far less competitive than other magazines while still being considered “professional”.
And of course, we accept submissions to the magazine free of charge, just like any reputable publication.
How it's going
As of this writing, Elegant Literature has published seven issues of the magazine, containing 72 stories by new authors. The seventh issue is in production and the eighth is currently accepting submissions.
We have awarded thousands of dollars in prize money and are happily paying our authors the above-professional rate of 10 cents/word.
You can see the interviews with the past contest winners below, and read all 72 stories in the magazine for free.
Meet the founder
Creag is the founder and editor-in-chief of Elegant Literature. He is dedicated to helping new writers achieve success.
Creag is a writing coach and an avid reader who inhales novels at an alarming rate, preferring SF/F as the main staple of his diet. He resides in Toronto, Canada, but swims with sharks and motorcycles in monsoons whenever duty allows.
Creag started Elegant Literature to address the problems he saw for new writers in the short fiction market. He is extremely proud of what the business has accomplished so far, and the positive sentiments shared by the community mean the world to him.
Elegant Literature is a passion project and he currently takes no salary. He is the only staff member and enjoys wearing the many hats demanded of him.
Read an interview with Creag discussing speculative fiction in Authority Magazine.
Find him on Twitter where he talks about writing, storytelling, and creativity.