"Bear Publications," in spite of its rather generic-sounding name, is a specialized publisher--in three different ways:
1. We publish sort story anthologies and collections. We do not publish novels. Novellas we might publish as part of an anthology of other works. We are not committed to anthologies on a specific theme--some of our anthologies fall in that category, some don't. We are not opposed to publishing an anthology of works by a single author, but most of our books have been multi-author works. We accept previously-published works for the Mythic Orbits series but otherwise are seeking original stories (with some exceptions).
We do not have specific rules for how a short story should be written. Novels have distinct beginnings, middles, and endings, but we do not agree short stories are the same--a short tale has at a minimum an exposition and a resolution. In general, the exposition or ending of a great short tale reaches its point (if it has a final plot twist) or comes to a resolution in the last line or two. But not all excellent short tales do that.
We have friends who are involved in the publication of flash fiction, which is generally seen as 1,000 words or less. As we do not wish to be in competition with them in any way, we generally accept stories of 1,000 words or more. We do not have an upper limit for story size, but a story past 10,000 words is probably too long for us--though we have in the past made exceptions for longer tales of extraordinary merit.
"Generally" was in the paragraph above because in some cases we might make a rare exception and include a flash fiction story. Especially for an author who as written multiple short stories of various lengths which you are interested in us publishing an anthology (or more properly, a "collection") of your work--if some of those tales are flash fiction, don't allow that to stop you from submitting to us.
2. We are a Christian publisher. "Christian" can mean a lot of things potentially, but we mean it in a broad sense. Stories that specifically defame Christianity are not welcome unless they have some other extraordinary merit. A general alignment with Christian morality is appreciated in a story, but we are willing to publish stories with zero detectable "Christian" content or morality at all, especially if such a story is not metaphorically trying to poke Christianity in the eye with a stick or is blatantly or subtly promoting other religions. Stories resonate with moral messages in myriad ways, but sometimes a tale, especially a short story, can be read in multiple ways and winds up being essentially amoral. Amoral is fine if it's a good story.
Amoral is fine but immoral is not. We do not publish erotica and generally prefer clean fiction over graphic profanity and violence. But there is no specific content checklist or doctrinal test for stories we consider for publication. Writing is an art and the rules are variables, not fixed integers. Stories in which some sexuality is included or some graphic language or violence will not be ruled out in advance. If such situations are integral to the story and make internal sense, especially if they are part of an overall positive theme, they may be something we want to publish. We feel we know what is "too much" when we see it.
While we do deliberately promote the work of Christian authors, we allow authors to self-identify as Christian. We are not going to decide whether or not a writer is genuine in personal faith in Christ or pick favorite denominations. If you say you are a Christian you will be taken at your word unless you give a specific reason for us to think otherwise. If you are not a Christian and want to submit to us, we may be interested in your stories provided they have merit, but you might be more comfortable seeking publication someplace else.
After saying that we might be interested in the work of non-Christians or work that is only vaguely moral, you might think we are not interested in work that is overtly Christian or evangelistic. On the contrary, we delight in finding stories with overt Christian themes, provided they are well-written. Any evangelism is welcome in a story as long as it is natural to the tale, not dropped in artificially or in a ham-fisted way. Good writing is priority one.
3. We are a speculative fiction publisher. Like "Christian," "speculative fiction" can mean a pile of things. Originally coined as a word by Robert A. Heinlein to describe the combination of science fiction and fantasy, those two genres remain our favorites. But speculative fiction can also mean alternate history, paranormal, supernatural, horror, magical realism, and more. We are interested in all of the above at least a bit. Ghost stories are not personal favorites, but there are exceptions to that general rule.
Quality short stories is what
we are mainly interested in. Quality first. We feel we know good short stories when we see them and more than anything else, that's what we want.
OUR VISION is to produce excellent short story anthologies and collections primarily by Christian authors or which generally point the way to God, where being "preachy" is neither artificially forced into stories nor is excluded from them in advance. We believe there is a massive untapped reserve of excellent short stories that meet this general principle. We believe finding great stories and publishing them is work that honors God, even when such tales are not specifically or overly Christian.
The "OUR VISION" section above explains what sorts of stories we are interested in. Other questions we'll put in "Frequently Asked Questions" format:
1. I have written a lot of short stories you might like and am interested in an anthology (or collection) of my work. How do I proceed?
Start by sending a message telling about yourself a bit (a brief author bio) and include in the same message a description of the specific stories you would want to put in the anthology/collection. The description should be relatively brief. The length of the story, the title, what it's generally about, the genre it falls in, Christian themes, if any.
Will respond with a request to send the actual stories if we're interested. NOTE that we are accepting submissions for author anthologies year round.
2. I have a few stories already written Bear Publications might be interested in--what do I do?
The Mythic Orbits series publishes the best in speculative fiction stories by Christian authors. Check back at this site if you are interested in submissions for Mythic Orbits 2017. We plan to release that anthology in December of 2017, if God allows that to be possible, and open submissions in August.
3. I'm interested in writing
new short stories to be included in upcoming Bear Publications anthologies. How do I do that?
We have planned book projects for the 2017, though these plans are subject to change. Probably in March/April 2017 we'll announce we are accepting submissions for the Mines of Mercury anthology, which is part of the Terraformed Interplanetary series, begun by Medieval Mars. This series requires writing for a specific story world; specific guidelines will be shared when the time comes.
Other projects will be announced as they come up.
4. What format do you want submitted stories to be in?
Electronic submission of files via email attachments. Documents should be indented or block format paragraphs, single-spaced, with an extra space between paragraphs. Save and send your story files in RTF format.
Be sure your story has a header of some kind that includes the story title, author name, and total number of words.
5. Which email address should I use for my submission?
The email address email@example.com is specifically for receiving story submissions.
6. I have a question about submission guidelines not included here. What do I do?
Use the CONTACT US tab on this page or send us an email , firstname.lastname@example.org.