Proton Reader is a new, independent speculative fiction publishing company in northern California. We have a fully funded three-year plan to publish and market five anthologies by December 31st, 2024.

Our aim is to lift emerging voices, perspectives, and expressions in sci-fi & speculative fiction. Our founders are neurodiverse, bisexual, and happily married; we are especially excited to provide a publishing space for other ND writers from all walks of life.

For stories up to 20k words, we are offering

  • an advance of $0.08 per word up to $300


  • royalties of a pro rata share of 50% sales revenue

in exchange for

  • the right to publish your story first (first English language worldwide publication rights for twelve months; if we do not publish your story in that time, all rights revert back to you).
  • a promise that we will be the sole publisher of your story for six months (an exclusivity period of six months after publication)
  • the right to keep your story in the anthology (a nonexclusive perpetual license to keep your story published in the anthology only)
  • the right to pay you royalties from anthology sales (a nonexclusive perpetual license to pay you a pro rata share of the anthology’s sales revenue)

Our submission window will open January 1st, 2022, and close January 31st, 2022.
If you would like us to send you a reminder on December 31st, 2021, enter your email below:

Interested in being a slush reader?

If you’re interested in reading through stories and sharing the ones that stood out to you the most, we’ll be reaching out to interested folks in December, 2021. We’ll start as the submissions roll in early January, 2022, and we will have identified the stories to include in our first anthology by end of February.

If you want to reserve a spot, send an email to jesse at protonreader dot com with the subject “Reader.”

The Team

Jesse Lawson
Publisher & Editor-in-Chief

Jesse is the author of the science fiction novels Evolved and Burrow, and the non-fiction book Data Science in Higher Education. A full-stack developer for over a decade with a master’s degree in english, he’s also a musician, USMC veteran, and was on a few episodes of the show 24.

Sami Lawson
Managing Editor of Fiction

Sami is a freelance editor specializing in science & speculative fiction short stories and novellas. She was the chief columns editor at a progressive news magazine, studied early American journalism for her bachelor’s degree in history, and is a trained paralegal.