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Tales of the Talisman Writer's Guidelines
Updated, January 2015

Please note that Tales of the Talisman is on hiatus and not accepting submissions until further notice.

Please see the news page for any updates since this posted date.

Tales of the Talisman is not seeking novel-length submissions at this time. Guidelines for artists are at the bottom of the page

TALES OF THE TALISMAN (formerly Hadrosaur Tales) is a literary journal published quarterly by Hadrosaur Productions. The format is a 90-page, perfect-bound, printed magazine.

The hadrosaur talisman logo is inspired by a duckbilled dinosaur called a tsintaosaurus. These dinosaurs looked remarkably like early depictions of unicorns. We chose this blending of the creature of science and fantasy as the symbol of our magazine and press devoted to publishing the finest quality speculative fiction.

Needs: Science Fiction, fantasy, and horror short stories up to 6000 words and poems up to 50 lines. Send only complete manuscripts. Postal submissions should be prepared in standard manuscript format as described in most writer reference books such as Writer's Market. Detailed guidelines for preparing and sending electronic mail submissions are at the bottom of this document. A submission is one short story or a packet of five (or fewer) poems.

Artwork: If you are interested in doing artwork for Tales of the Talisman, contact our art director, Laura Givens via e-mail at: lauragive@comcast.net. For more information about artwork, see the artist guidelines.

When to submit:Our annual reading periods begin January 1 and again on July 1. We read until a set of issues is full. Generally that happens within six weeks of the beginning of the reading period. We will post when we open or close to submissions on our news page and on our Facebook page. Submitting when we're closed will only result in a returned, unread manuscript. Please note, we reserve the right to cancel reading periods if we feel circumstances warrant such an action.

Tips: Let your imagination soar to its greatest heights and write down the results. Above all we are looking for thought-provoking ideas and good writing. Speculative fiction set in the past, present, and future are welcome. Admittedly, science fiction, fantasy and horror are broad genres that overlap many other genres. We welcome cross-genre stories, but they must have some element of science fiction or fantasy. We have published western/fantasy cross-genre stories, horror/science fiction cross genre-stories, and more. Because of this, feel free to send cross-genre stories during any reading period that would fit one or more of the genres of your story.

Do not send: Stories with graphic violence (good horror is about atmosphere and emotion, not cheap gross outs, and absolutely do not send us stories with violence to children). Please avoid clichéd or overdone ideas. That said, we really like stories that take the conventions of science fiction and fantasy and stand them on their head, exploring them seriously and intelligently from new perspectives. Do not send stories or poems with essentially no science fictional or fantasy elements. That includes the horror stories; I can read about serial killers in the newspaper, they do not belong on the pages of Tales of the Talisman. Do not send stories or poems with copyrighted characters unless you are the copyright holder. Sex and erotica in submissions are OK, as long as its necessary to the work and tastefully presented.

Simultaneous and Multiple Submissions: We do not accept simultaneous or multiple submissions. Please note the definition of a submission under "Needs" above. If you send a submission to us, don't send it elsewhere. If you send a submission to us, don't send another until you've heard a response. We want one story at a time. Often that will mean you only get to submit one story per reading period. Please make it your best one!

Reprints: We do consider reprints. However, we prefer to publish original fiction and poetry. If given the choice between unpublished fiction and previously published fiction of equal quality, we will go with the unpublished work. However, if you have a fabulous reprint, feel free to send it and we'll have a look.

Rights: We buy one-time rights for all material. Please inform us if the story or poem would be a reprint. We like to credit first publication of material where possible.

Payment: We pay $10.00 per published story and $4.00 per published poem or the equivalent. Contributors also receive one copy of the issue in which their work appears.

Response time: We attempt to respond to all submissions in a timely manner. If a submission simply doesn't grab us, you may see a response in a few days. If we like something and we're seriously considering it, it may take a couple of months depending on where we are in the buying cycle. Don't take a quick response as meaning your submission was "bad." We've been selecting stories for over a dozen years, we can spot strong contenders rather quickly. Also, just because a submission doesn't work for us, doesn't mean it won't work for someone else. If you haven't heard a response to your submission in about six weeks, it doesn't hurt to query.

Queries: It is never necessary to query before sending a submission as long as you follow these guidelines. If you want to ask about something you have submitted, it is extremely important to include the following information: When you sent the submission and to what address you sent the submission.

Books for review: If you would like your book reviewed in Tales of the Talisman please email hadrosaur@zianet.com and tell us about it. If we agree to review the book, we will send instructions telling you how to get it to one of our reviewers. We assume no responsibility for unsolicited review copies.

Sample copies: Sample copies of Tales of the Talisman are available for $8.00. Make checks payable to "Hadrosaur Productions." Sample copies are also available from our website at: http://talesofthetalisman.com

Our address:

Hadrosaur Productions
c/o David L. Summers
P.O. Box 2194
Mesilla Park, NM 88047-2194

For e-mail submissions: hadrosaur@zianet.com

Important instructions and updates for e-mail submissions: Unfortunately, spam advertisers and hackers who propagate viruses have forced us to implement the following guidelines for e-mail submissions:

  • Embed your work in the body of the e-mail and format stories as plain text with a blank line between paragraphs or send your stories as an RTF attachment. All other attachments will not be read. Do not send Microsoft .doc files.
  • All submissions should include a physical, mailing address in the body of the e-mail. This is very helpful in the event that your internet service provider goes down and we can't get a response to you via e-mail. Also, if we accept your story, we need the address to ship contributor copies and payment.
  • Don't forget to include the word count for story submissions. (Not necessary for poetry submissions.)
  • If your e-mail looks like SPAM, it's likely I'm going to delete it.
  • Please include the words "Talisman submission" in the subject line to help us recognize your e-mail as a submission.
  • Like postal mail, e-mail can be mis-routed and even lost. E-mail submissions are done at the author's risk.
  • As a general rule, we will no longer comment on email rejections. We provide email submissions for the convenience of authors because postal rates, especially international postal rates, are quite high. Tales of the Talisman's mission is to provide the best fiction and poetry to readers, not to be a critique service to writers.

    Tales of the Talisman Artist Guidelines
    Updated, May 2006

    Please direct all art inquiries to Laura Givens at lauragive@comcast.net.

    After a story has been assigned, I must see a rough sketch or a written description before you start on the final illustration. If you work digitally, please send a first draft before going into too much detail. Please keep all illustrations to a PG-13 rating. Interior illustrations will all be in Black & White and must be in a form that will reproduce well. Any medium is acceptable as long as it conforms to these standards. Covers will be in full color. All story submissions should be directed to David Lee Summers at hadrosaur@zianet.com For more information about writing submissions, please see the writer's guidelines.

    I would like a classy feel for our artwork. Personally, I prefer a polished look that evokes some part of the story assigned. Scratchy works tend to reproduce poorly. Pencil art often loses a lot of its charm after a couple of scans. Markers can easily look splotchy and messy once scanned. However, if you can pull off a scratchy illustration done with intricate pencil shading and big areas of black marker, and knock my socks off, I will accept it in a heartbeat! These are guidelines after all, not hard and fast rules.

    It has become advisable with our present printer, to maintain a high level of contrast and avoid dark grays as they will come out a muddy dark mess. Ultimately, it's your call, but use caution.

    The Hard and fast Rules:

    All artwork is to be sent to me at lauragive@comcast.net. Upon receipt, I will evaluate the artwork and consult with the artist if any adjustments are required for publication.

    All digital artwork should be produced at a minimum of 300 DPI in J-peg format. First drafts should be reduced to 150 DPI and sent to the above address. Final art should be sent at 300 DPI.

    All finished pieces in other media must be converted to 300 DPI, in J-peg format, after scanning and sent to the above address. Roughs may be sent at 150 DPI.

    All finished assignments are due within 6 weeks of when they are received. If you foresee any problems with this, please notify me at once and we will discuss the situation. All artists should sign their finished work.

    The Dimensions:

    Cover art... 8.75" X 11.5"
    Final trim size will be 8.5" X 11"... Color
    The upper 1/3 should contain no essential elements thus leaving space for the logo.

    Full Page Illustrations... 6.656" X 8.874"... B&W (with a .75" neutral space at the top for text)
    OR ... 6.656" X 8.135"... B&W (with no neutral space at the top)

    Half Page Illustrations... 6.656" X 4.5"... B&W

    Flash Fiction Illustrations... 3.125" X 4.5"... B&W

    Cartoons and Spot Illustrations... 6.656" X 2.5"... B&W


    Payment for art is $10 upon receipt of the work and one copy of the issue you will appear in. You also have the option of ad space in that issue instead of the cash payment and you will still receive a copy of the issue. Please inform me when you turn in your art which option you would like.

    Advertising alternative for artists:

    For one illustration, we do a 3" tall by 3.125" wide ad. It should be sent as a 300 dpi J-peg image. For two illustrations, it would be a half-page ad: 4.5" by 6.656"

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