Direct your STORY, ARTICLE and ESSAY submissions
and all inquiries to Susan Ryan at
Direct your POETRY submissions to Sharon Richards at
(These are NOT hyperlinks -- you must copy or type the address into a new e-mail manually. Of course, remove the DIESPAMMERDIEDIE part of the e-mail address when you copy or type it into your e-mail.)
As a privately run and privately edited 'zine, Rooftop Sessions reserves
the right to accept or reject submissions at the discretion of the editor.
Submission does NOT guarantee publication.
Fan fiction writers submitting their work to Rooftop Sessions should abide by the following guidelines for their stories to be considered for publication. These guidelines are here for a reason -- PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY AND FOLLOW THEM!
The subject line of any submission e-mail containing an attachment must CLEARLY STATE the words "ROOFTOP SESSIONS SUBMISSION" (using those EXACT words) in the subject line or it will automatically go into the trash -- we have received too many virus-laden documents and cannot take the chance of receiving infected attachments. Poetry submissions must CLEARLY STATE the words "ROOFTOP SESSIONS POETRY SUBMISSION" (using those EXACT words). We will not open any document that is not clearly labeled as per these instructions and will TOSS any unidentifiable e-mails UNREAD.
Rooftop Sessions will NOT publish material that is already being posted elsewhere on the Internet. Please do not simply send the URL for a story you want to submit or send a story you are already publishing on your own site – we will NOT consider any story that is currently on any website other than the archives of a group (i.e., Yahoo Groups or similar). If you want to submit a story that is appearing elsewhere, it must be REMOVED from the other site BEFORE SUBMISSION!
Plagiarism is a serious offense and a crime! Stealing another writer's ideas, themes, storylines or dialogue (whether those of another fanfic author or ANY other author) is absolutely unacceptable, and should it be discovered that you have done so, even slightly, Rooftop Sessions will NEVER consider another submission from you under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Be certain that your stories don't bear too close a resemblance to someone else's before you hit that 'send' button!
Stories must be COMPLETE at the time of submission; in the case of a long one with several potential installments, the ENTIRE STORY must be submitted for consideration. DO NOT send one or two chapters with an indication that there is "more to come." We will not begin publishing a serialized work if we don't already have every single part of it, since we cannot be responsible for authors missing issue deadlines if something is not yet written.
Please write a proper submission letter - and please use PLAIN BLACK TYPE on a PLAIN WHITE BACKGROUND! A submission letter should be a COVER LETTER -- DO NOT put the cover letter information in your attached document. Otherwise, we are likely to send it back to you because we don't think you've followed the instructions. The editors should not have to go looking for the cover letter information anywhere but in the e-mail note. Put the required personal information in the body of your e-mail and the story ONLY as the attachment! Include your FULL NAME or PEN NAME, e-mail address, your website (if any), and a short (one paragraph) biography of yourself, as well as a short synopsis of your submission. This is not fanfiction.net or a Yahoogroup. Stories will NOT be accepted without some kind of FIRST and LAST name, whether your own or an alias. Any submission without a cover letter containing at least this basic information (and in the proper, readable format mentioned above) will be returned UNREAD to the sender and will not be considered for publication until it is submitted properly with ALL the required information.
Please do not try to come up with a "clever" or "cute" pen name. Calling yourself "George Lennon" or "John Starkey" or any other permutation of a Beatles-related name is not only contrived and lazy, it's just plain unprofessional. If you cannot do better than that for a pen name, it doesn't exactly place much hope in the quality of your story -- if you think you have written a professional-grade story, then you should be proud to put a professional-sounding name (whether your own or an alias) on it. (We completely understand that some people do not want their real names on the internet, particularly if they are underage. Pen names are fine, just try to come up with something that sounds like a real name!)
Stories written by more than one author are acceptable for submission. Please be sure to tell us if you want to use one created pen name or want the story published under all authors' names, and include bios and e-mail addresses for each author if you are using separate names.
Poetry is acceptable for submission. It is subject to the same guidelines regarding content (described herein) as short fiction.
Dramas (e.g., screenplays, plays, etc.) are acceptable as well. They are also subject to the same guidelines regarding content as short fiction.
Essays and short non-fiction pieces – personal reminiscences, stories about meeting one or more of the Beatles, etc. -- are also acceptable, and are subject to the same guidelines as all other submissions.
Romance is fine, but it is not the only genre we would like to see. Try something new -- science fiction, fantasy, mystery, history. You might be surprised at what you come up with!
Seasonally-themed submissions (e.g., Christmas or Hanukkah, Valentine's Day, Halloween, Easter or Passover, etc.) must be received within the month prior to the month containing the holiday to be part of the correct monty's issue in a timely manner. Generally, the seasonal issues are October (for Halloween), December (for Christmas and Hanukkah), February (for Valentine's Day) and March or April (for Easter and Passover), which means themed submissions for those issues should be received no later than mid-September, November, January and February or March. Additionally, while tributes to John and George will certainly be accepted at any time, if you want them to appear at the time of their birthdays or in the months of the anniversaries of their deaths, the stories must arrive no later than within the month prior to the anniversary.
Keep in mind the "voice" of the Beatles as characters. Do your research, and do not attempt dialect if you cannot do it correctly!
Please remember that these are real people you are writing about, many of whom are still living, and be sensitive and cognizant of that fact. We will NOT accept any story that we feel is disrespectful or bashes any member of the Beatles, their families or their associates. (Fictional family members or associates made up for specific stories are exempt from this restriction.)
We will NOT accept "Martin Luther Lennon" stories, i.e., stories that treat John like a one-dimensional, sainted martyr of peace and love. Additionally, we will NOT accept any stories relating the gory details of John's murder in a graphic manner under the guise of fiction. (Discussing the murder in proper context within a story is acceptable, however, as is using the murderer's name in proper context, within reason.)
We will NOT accept "George at the Pearly Gates" stories. Additionally, we will NOT accept stories about George "as he lays dying."
We have recently been inundated with stories using the theme of John and/or George contacting fans from "beyond." While we will not necessarily reject such stories out of hand, we will only consider the most exceptional of these pieces at this time. Try other themes that might be more original.
We will NOT accept “crossover” fiction, i.e., fanfics involving the Beatles and other characters that are copyrighted properties belonging to others, e.g., Star Trek, Quantum Leap, Harry Potter, etc. Crossovers involving other "real people" are acceptable for consideration, provided they meet all other submission criteria.
Be sure your stories are coherent. If you're using a science fiction or fantasy setting, for example, keep the story within the reasonable realm of possibility without spiraling off into the ridiculous. Consistency and internal logic are very important.
We will NOT accept blatant and explicit pornography. If you do write about sexual situations of any ilk, make them tasteful, not crass. Sensuality is fine, extremely graphic sexual description full of coarse language is not. It IS possible to write a hot romantic story and even write about hot sex without using so-called "dirty words!" There's a fairly large amount of leeway regarding what we would consider to be excessive, but sinking into base anatomical description using vulgar names for body parts is a definite no-no.
We will NOT accept slash. However, stories with homosexual themes about people who were or are actually gay or incorporating gay fictional characters are acceptable for consideration, provided they adhere to all other submission guidelines, including those regarding coherence and sexual explicitness. (FYI -- "slash" does not mean "blood and guts." If you aren't sure what it is, then you probably don't write it!)
We will NOT accept extremely graphic, violent and bloody horror stories, though mild horror and suspense is fine. This includes stories in which any of the Beatles (or their families or associates) are physically harmed in an excessive and gory manner (e.g., "Paul in Pain" stories, torture stories). Additionally, we will NOT accept "Stalker Stories," particularly in light of what happened to John and George.
Strong language is allowed, within reason. We all know the Beatles were extremely profane at times, but they were also far more articulate than that. Use profanity judiciously and in proper context or it will be trimmed. You aren't impressing anyone by having every other word your characters utter be a foul one, and in fact it detracts from the story in most instances.
Unless there is a valid reason for it in the context of the story (and you can prove that valid reason to the editors), there is absolutely NO excuse for giving your character any name (first OR last) that belongs in any way to a Beatle himself (e.g., Winston O'Boogie, Hari Georgeson, Ognir Rrats, Paul Ramon), Beatle parent, sibling, wife, girlfriend, offspring or associate (unless, of course, you are writing about those specific people in the context of the story), nor a name that appears in any Beatles song or film (e.g., Julia, Anna, Michelle, Rita, Lucy, Ahme, Semolina Pilchard). There are plenty of other names in the world, and the use of "canonical" names without a very good reason is not clever, it is contrived and cliched.
Also consider whether the name you want to use is itself an anachronism; if your heroine is supposed to be 20 years old in 1964, find a list of names that were commonly used in 1944 and name her accordingly -- do not call her by a glaringly out-of-time appellation (e.g., Kayla, Caitlin, Harmony, Tiffany, Brittney, etc.) that would be more appropriate for a girl born in 1985 or later. The same goes for any other names that are inappropriate to the time and place in which your story is set (unless your character is a time-traveller or from a different country or planet). PLEASE do some research!
Watch out for other historical anachronisms and regional errors. The world was not always the highly wired and technologically-advanced place it is now, even 40 short years ago, and when the Beatles themselves were babies, television hadn't even been around for five years and most working-class British families certainly did not have one! For example, a character wouldn't use the Pill before 1960, pull out a cell phone in 1964, wear a micro-miniskirt before 1968, use a VCR before 1978, refer to AIDS in 1980, listen to a CD before 1985 or use telephone voicemail before 1990. There were no home PCs or iPods in 1964! Similarly, you can't ski to work in Denver, go to a fast-food drive-through in Midtown Manhattan or go to a modern American-style shopping mall in 1960s England. If you're not sure something existed at a certain time or place, look it up and GET IT RIGHT!
Keep in mind the old Writers' Workshop adage: write what you know. If you use your own experiences as the basis for your fictional adventures, you will have a much better story.
Open. Longer works will be serialized.
In light of all the recent computer virus scares, we prefer .RTF files, since they cannot harbor viruses. (You can save Word documents as .RTF files using the pull down menu when you save them.) However, .DOC or .TXT attachments are okay, provided you have scanned them for infection. You can also cut and paste your story into an e-mail, but it will then be formatted as the editor sees fit, so if you have special formatting this might not be your best option.
Please check your documents for viruses BEFORE SUBMISSION. If we receive an infected document, we will NEVER accept another submission from you under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!
Sloppy manuscripts turn us off in a big way. No typos, and watch your grammar, please! Check your spelling! If we like a story but think it needs grammatical punching up, we'll return it to you for fixing and look at it again when you're done.
We hope to read your story and accept or reject it as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, we can't say as to how long this process will work out to in practice. The editors have real lives and responsibilities that must sometimes take precedence over anything else. We will, however, do our best to acknowledge receipt of your story as soon as we receive it.
If you do not hear from us in some capacity by two weeks after you send your submission, by all means send us another note. But whatever you do, do NOT make the follow-up letter nasty and argumentative! E-mail can be unreliable, and sometimes things get lost in cyberspace. Don't just assume we're being rude if you don't hear from us immediately -- your submission could have simply not arrived.
Rejections are an unfortunate fact of life for writers. Please do NOT send repeated argumentative and nasty messages demanding to know the reasons why if your story is rejected with a standard form letter -- if you do, future submissions from you will NEVER be considered under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. These guidelines are here for a reason, and the editors will not be browbeaten into accepting stories that are not up to our standards!
Rooftop Sessions reserves the right to lightly edit accepted works without consulting the author. If the editor feels that a necessary change will drastically alter the meaning of something, the change will be submitted to the author for approval. Rooftop Sessions also reserves the right to re-title works, though we will discuss options with the author if at all possible.
Rooftop Sessions is meant as a showplace for talented writers. Authors retain copyrights, and we do not take any publication rights, except as they relate to the temporary display of a story in the e-zine. Rooftop Sessions takes First Electronic Rights for one month. During that time, you may not place the story elsewhere on the Internet, although you can try to place the story in a print venue. Afterwards, your work will be moved into the Archives, where it will remain until you request its removal, and it may not be placed elsewhere on the Internet without permission from the Rooftop Sessions editors as long as it remains in the Archives.
If we decide to publish a book of Rooftop Sessions stories, you will be asked to sign a release allowing us to include your work in the book, but you will still retain all copyright to your story. There is no guarantee that a book will be published, nor is there a guarantee that your work will be selected for inclusion in a book even if it appears on the website – selection is at the discretion of the editor. Stories will remain up at the discretion of the editor after publication in a bound book. If you are under the age of 18 and your story is selected for inclusion in a bound book, your parent or guardian will also have to sign the release form.
At this point, nothing but glory. We hope to become a paying 'zine someday! However, if your work does appear in a Rooftop Sessions compilation book, you will receive one Contributor's Copy as payment.
Copyright 2000-2005 Susan Ryan
Guidelines Last Updated August 2005
Return to Rooftop Sessions Current Issue
Return to Rooftop Sessions Archive