You can submit your own stories to Shade of the Morning Sun and earn fees and feedback!

Please read the following guidelines carefully:

Fees & rewards

Each story accepted is rewarded with a fee of 5 cent per word. 

Example: I would pay 500 US dollars for a 10,000 word story which was accepted for publication.

This is a one-time fee. You will not earn any additional royalties if I publish or monetize your story in other ways (see below).

Stories rejected will receive at minimum of 500 words of constructive feedback.

Note: I will only comment with 500 words or more on rejected full stories, not on pitches or ideas – although I will comment on those as well – but briefer (see below).

So you will either get a fee or constructive criticism for your efforts!

Furthermore, you are free to rework rejected stories for new short stories of your own, or perhaps chapters in a novel. So your effort will rarely be wasted even if I don’t accept your story this time around.

Please do read more below for more details on exactly how you are allowed to use rejected stories with my characters. Thanks.

Genre & style

The stories have to be contemporary fiction, which can be linked to other stories in on the Shade of the Morning Sun-site.

I’m looking for stories with human drama and insight. Think Andre Dubus III (House of Sand and Fog, The Garden of Last Days) as an example of the kind of stories I like and aspire to write myself.

You should at a minimum read the featured stories on the front page, to get a feel for what I actually write and the characters you might want to write about yourself.

Content & characters

Stories must be about any of the characters in Shade of the Morning Sun – Carrie, Jon, Lin, etc.

I’m particularly interested in stories that build existing Shade of the Morning Sun-characters and flesh out some of the less described periods in their lives, e.g. Carrie’s road trip (2000-2004) or Jon’s teen years with his brother on the streets in LA’s less savory neighborhoods.

Above all, you must strive to make readers care about the characters, no matter how f… up their lives (or actions) are. I am not perfect in this, but if anything I’d say that is my no. 1 goal – above pretty prose or trendy messages. It must be yours as well!

If you have ideas for new characters you’d like to introduce, it’s imperative that they have a meaningful relationship with the original cast. Write and ask about the merit of your story idea with a new character before you spend time on a submission!

Connections to other stories

Your story must connect meaningfully to at least one other existing story on this site.

Examples of “meaningful” connections would be:

– a story about a particular experience the characters refer to having had together in the past

– a direct sequel to the events in the story you link to

– a prequel to the story you link to

– a new story about one of the main characters in the story you link to but with the same theme, where you add to the existing character arc.

– or any other ideas you might have that fits the definition of “meaningful connection” (query first!).

I have a growing list of story leads which might serve as inspiration for you, but you are definitely not obligated to follow any of these!


Stories can be at any length, but I prefer stories between approx. 3,000-10,000 words.

Tell me about your idea before you submit

Don’t waste time on writing a story that is almost sure to be rejected either because of quality or because you get the characters wrong.

You can always ask me at beyourstory AT gmail DOT com if an idea for a story would have merit, or send me a few sample pages to read.

Just remember: A positive answer in no way obligates me to accept the final story.

Where to submit 

Submit stories by email only to beyourstory AT gmail DOT com marked “Submission” in the subject field.


Submissions are open all year round.

Turn around time

Expect a reply within 3 weeks at the most, unless I notify you otherwise. Life circumstances or a large number of submissions may cause longer reply times, but in those cases I will always let you know approximately when you can expect an answer.


Format must be Word 2007 or higher or Google Docs.


All stories must be in US English.


Shade of the Morning Sun will have non-exlusive rights to your story.

You agree that a copy of your original story must always be left on Shade of the Morning Sun for free to read by anyone who visits the site, but aside from that you are free to do with the story as you wish.

You can publish your story yourself in all formats you want to or pitch it to a magazine, digital or print, or to a traditional publisher.

But remember, other publishers have to be okay with the fact there there is always a copy of your story available for free on this site, which furthermore may be used by me for commercial publication later on – e.g. in a paperback anthology.

Some self-publishing channels, such as Kindle Unlimited, also currently demand exclusivity for your story.

Changes and edits to your story

Shade of the Morning Sun is not allowed to make changes in your story after publication, with one exception:

I might want to change minor portions of the story in the future if it fits better with other, newer stories that have come on to the site since you were published.

Such minor changes would usually be the inclusion of a paragraph or two which refer to a past story your character remembers, because myself or another author has written about this later on.

I will always consult with you before any such addition.

Likewise, you are also free to submit updates to your story at any time, say if you want to rework a paragraph or a page or perhaps even the structure of the story itself.

Once published on this site, however, I have veto over any changes you’d like to make, but if you have an idea for a change that will make for a better read, I’d probably agree with you in most cases.

Re-publication and rights

You will also give Shade of the Morning Sun rights to re-publish your story as part of a collection in any other format – print, audio, etc., should I at any time wish to do so.

I may make such a collection to sell commercially on the available markets. You will not receive any royalties, except for your original fee. Likewise I will not receive anything from whatever re-publication of your story you do, down the line.

In any case, this would be self-publishing for my part, if I chose to do such a project in the future (e.g. a paperback with the best Shade of the Morning Sun-stories). Your story published on this site will never be pitched to other, traditional publishers, obviously, but you on the other hand are free to do so within the limitations described under these guidelines.

Rejected stories and rights

You retain full rights over rejected stories to do with as you please, including offering them on other commercial markets – but with a few conditions.

If you for some reason wish to retain the names and literal likenesses of my characters in your rejected story for use elsewhere (say as a short story in an anthology), you must provide a credit and a link to for using my characters.

Obviously you may not pass my characters off as your own or try to copyright them as your own.

More likely, you will want to rework any rejected story with new names for the characters, and this, of course, you are absolutely free to do. If you get a reworked story published elsewhere (self-publishing or traditional publishing), feel free to drop me a line about it.

Even if your story wasn’t a good fit for this site this time around, I am only interested in your success and as much as I can I’d like to follow and root for the careers of everyone who takes the time to submit! 🙂


If you have any additional questions, write to Christopher Marcus: beyourstory AT gmail DOT com.