Havok Publishing
FAQ featured image

Author FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

How do I get author-specific news about Havok opportunities?

Subscribe to our mostly-monthly author newsletter.

What happens when my story is acquired?

The whole process is explained here: When We Acquire Your Story.

Do I need a Havok membership to respond to comments on my story?

No. On the day your story is published, it is free to the world and any reader can comment without a Havok membership.

It might look like the comments aren’t going through at first, but that’s only because they get held for moderation. We will approve them once we see them, so go ahead and interact with your readers and encourage your friends and family to comment on your story as well. (Unfortunately, non-members cannot reply directly to each comment, but they can post comments in general. We’re still working on a technical solution that will allow non-members to use the Reply function.)

After the free day, your story goes into the members-only collection and then you need a membership to view it and to leave comments.

Does my story have to get a lot of votes to make it into the season anthology?

No. Havok is not a popularity contest, it’s a professional writing contest.

How do stories get selected for the season anthology?

Each month, our editors select the strongest two stories for each genre. The editorial judging criteria is writing quality, entertainment value, and originality. Our three veteran co-founders, affectionately known as Cerberus, weigh in as judges as well, ranking stories by additional criteria such as suitability for the themed anthology collection. Occasionally, when two stories are very closely tied, we weigh reader response via votes and comments to break ties. Anthologies are published in April and September, and winning stories are announced a month or two before the release.

Important to note: The 30 stories included in each seasonal anthology are determined via this monthly mini-contest for each genre. Your story isn’t up against all ~20 stories for the month or all 120 stories for the season, but only up against the other ~4 that were published in that genre for that month.

A word to the wise: Do not waste your time trying to track your votes and story rating and compare it with other stories to guess in advance whether your story will be included. In any situation where only 30 of 120 stories will be selected, disappointment for some is inevitable. As mentioned above, Havok is not a popularity contest. Story quality and the selections of our professional judges are the deciding factors for all but one of the anthology stories. Reader ratings only drive the Readers’ Choice award winner and it’s a weighted scale, not the pure numbers you may be able to glean from the website.

We used to (and maybe will continue occasionally, as staffing allows) to share a Weekend Scoreboard to applaud stories that garnered extra attention via editor picks, reader response, etc. If your story tops the Scoreboard for a certain month, then celebrate! You have done well! But Scoreboard posts are a snapshot in time of reader reactions (comments and story ratings), and no guarantee of a place in the anthology. Rejection is part of the author life, but here at Havok we hope you’ll see every mention of your story on our Scoreboard or other posts as a reason to celebrate, even if it doesn’t end up in the anthology.

Bottom line: Havok’s  goal is to assemble a book full of stories with a cohesive theme readers will find full of variety and satisfying emotional experiences… and to spotlight as many talented authors as we can! Even stories that don’t “win” their way into an anthology still have the chance of catching the attention of our story podcast team and getting another day in the spotlight via audio narration. We are constantly seeking ways to promote our authors and their stories. No system is perfect, but we do our best to get close!

How do you decide which stories win the season prizes?

The Editors’ Choice Award is selected by our editors. There may or may not be gladiatorial fighting among them to determine whose favorite story actually wins. The first rule of editorial fight club is that you don’t talk…oops.

The Readers’ Choice Award is given to the anthology story with the highest reader ranking (votes, shares, and comments) from our readers. Sometimes this story is already on the winner list, but sometimes it’s a surprise. This is the chance for a story that didn’t wow our professional judges but captured the hearts of the masses to rise up and be noticed.

Will I get paid for my story?

If your story is a contest winner (selected for an anthology), yes.

Why don’t you pay authors for stories you publish on your website?

There’s only one thing holding us back: we can’t afford to yet. It is part of our growth plan to offer payment for every story acquisition, and to offer professional industry-standard rates.

If you publish my story on your website, when do I have the right to publish it again elsewhere?

Havok retains the exclusive first electronic and audio rights to all Daily Flash stories for six months from the publication date on our website. After that six-month exclusivity period ends, you have full rights to your story again unless your story is selected for an anthology. If selected, we retain the exclusive rights to your story through a six-month period following the anthology release date. Other terms are delineated in our contract, which we will send to you upon acquisition of your story.

Why do I have to write to your theme to be published with Havok?

Here at Havok Publishing, we like themes. Readers of anthologies like themes. Themes allow writers to flex their creative muscles and come up with a story they might not have written otherwise. Themes allow us to collect stories that belong together while showcasing their authors’ creativity. Between our monthly themes and daily genres, we offer unlimited mashups. We’ve made our themes intentionally broad to not pigeonhole authors—just set your mind free and see where you end up. That’s the kind of story that excites us!

(If you don’t like the term “theme”, think of them as writing prompts.)

How often can I submit to Havok?

Submit early and often, we always say! If you have five wildly different ideas for the same month’s subtheme, write and submit them all. If you decide you want to write something for each Havok daily genre (Mystery Monday, Techno Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Thriller Thursday, Fantasy Friday), go for it! All we ask is that you submit your best work and meet our Submission Guidelines.

P.S. Submit as many different stories as you like–but only submit the same story once during a submission period, unless specifically instructed to re-submit by one of our staff. If you think your story might fit several of our genres and aren’t sure which one to specify, don’t worry! Once we receive a story submission, it goes first to the editorial genre team you specify but then also may be considered by other teams if it’s a better fit elsewhere within Havok’s genres.

How can I tell when submissions are open and closed?

Submissions generally open 2-3 months before each theme starts and close one month before publication date–unless we still have publication slots open for that month. In that case, submissions will stay open as long as needed to fill the days with quality stories. So stories will always have the highest chance of acquisition if they’re submitted earlier rather than later. We will update our themes page with openings/closings, and keep our followers updated on social media with current needs and story prompts. We post all six themes at the start of each season, so you have plenty of time to plan ahead if you’re a writer who need several months to work on a story.

I requested feedback but just got a form rejection. What do I do?

Feel free to reply to the email and ask whether feedback is available for your story. It’s possible that the attachment was overlooked.

Does Havok allow simultaneous submissions?

Absolutely! Feel free to submit the same story to Havok and other story publishers at the same time. But please do us a favor and let us know if your story is accepted elsewhere. Not only do we want to congratulate you, but we’ll need to let our editors know that your story is no longer available.

P.S. Submit to as many different publishers as you like–but only submit the same story once during a submission period to Havok, unless specifically instructed to re-submit by one of our staff. If you think your story might fit several of our genres and aren’t sure which one to specify, don’t worry! Once we receive a story submission, it goes first to the editorial genre team you specify but then also may be considered by other teams if it’s a better fit elsewhere within Havok’s genres.

I think one of Havok’s stories plagiarizes my work. Who do I talk to?

Fill out our contact form with a brief summary of the situation and we will contact you with next steps. We take plagiarism very seriously here at Havok.