I put together a list of what I think are pretty rad literary mags that are currently open for submissions from writers like us. I’ll keep this list current and updated(ish), so check back often! If you have a literary journal that you’d like featured here, shoot me an email and I’ll give you a peek.
Their site: www.storychord.com/
What they’re about:Every other Monday, Storychord features one story + one image + a one-song soundtrack — each by a different, underexposed artist — for a collaborative, multi-media storytelling experience.
What I think: Alright, it might be obvious by now that I’m a pretty big fan of collaboration, making Storychord near the top of my list. They bring together sounds, images, and words to create something that was never intentionally designed to be, yet is. It’s a fantastic marriage of sound, sight, and reflection that makes me jealous of their brilliance. It’s simple, it’s great, and it’s looking for submissions.
The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society
Their site: http://rpdsociety.com/
What they’re about: The Rain, Party, & Disaster Society is an online literary publication featuring works that are unlikely to be published by more mainstream publications. The RP&D Society strives to give representation to new ideas and thoughts, to challenge the reader and to question commonly accepted opinions, values, etiquette and ideas.
What I think: RPD is definitely an odd duck of a journal. Their submissions are only open during the beginnings of the month and they function as a workshop-based lit magazine, which means if you submit something that they like but needs a bit of tweaking, they’ll send it back to you with notes and suggestions to better your story. I don’t think it needs to be said that there aren’t a lot of presses out there that work like this, so submitting to these fellows sounds like a rather exciting opportunity.
Their site: www.lalitamba.com
What they’re about: Lalitamba is a contemporary journal of international writings for liberation. From page to page, you’ll find the writings of saints, wanderers, prison inmates, and award-winning novelists. These are the mystics of our time. They challenge us to live and to love without hesitation.
What I think: I love the idea behind the works they’re publishing: writings for liberation. This theme is especially pertinent today and is a constant focus in the media and in the writings of emerging authors detailing the current state of affairs around them, myself included. Liberation, rebellion, Lalitamba seems to be emphasizing precisely what grips the sociopolitical mindset and they’re doing it in all the right ways.
Apocrypha and Abstractions
Their site: https://apocryphaandabstractions.wordpress.com/
What they’re about: All fiction genres are acceptable to us, but we prefer literary minded stories that are dark and psychological, firmly grounded in the surreal, and that make a statement in the abstract.We like dark and difficult. We like despair and need and insatiable cravings. We like infatuation, obsession, and desire. We like socio-political statements, and we love psycho-drama. We enjoy the different and the interesting, and most of all, we value truth and beauty above all else, no matter how gruesome it is.
What I think: These guys emphasize flash fiction submissions – 500 words or less to be specific – in a variety of genres that are difficult to really pin down. While this might be a bit of a turn-off for most folks, I find the looseness of accepted genres exciting. More variety means more flavor and the possibility for exciting and unexpected work to be accepted.
Their Site: www.5x5litmag.org
What they’re about: Some of our long term goals are to encourage high school students to work on their creative writing. Encouragement comes in many different forms, from offering themes as a writing catalyst to providing scholarships for contest winners. Seeing their work in print and distributed nationwide may be the most encouraging.
What I think: Hell, inspiring the youth of this nation to spread their creative wings against all odds is pretty damn awesome. They feature fiction, poetry, comics, photography. Basically anything creative. Because of that, I give them two thumbs up.
Their Site: http://aminorpress.com/
What they’re about: We are partial to surrealist, experimental and quirky writing. For poetry, we lean toward the lyrical, eccentric, ambivalent and wildly imaginative.
What I think: Sounds pretty minimalist. But don’t let that fool you. These guys are high octane content-wise. The art they host is psychotic. The stories, terrifying. Yet it’s done with such class and finesse, it feels like I’m watching the press-version American Psycho. Really a superlative achievement.
The Bacon Review
Their Site: http://thebaconreview.com
What they’re about: We are aware that the commercial publishing industry is facing difficult times, and consequently, it’s often the case that good writing is not published and authors not promoted. It’s our goal to make excellent work available to you for free.
What I think: Being a bacon aficionado, I couldn’t help but check out this lit mag. Turns out, the stuff they publish is, well, exceptional. And they publish monthly! Very cool.
Their Site: https://fiddleblack.org/
What they’re about: Each month, Fiddleblack releases a selection of fiction and narrative nonfiction. The work we publish in our digital journal comes largely from unsolicited submissions from writers like you. The characteristic spirit behind Fiddleblack is our pursuit of creative work that considers self and place with regard for spatial bounds and existentialism, respectively.We’re also quite fond of our two native ideas: “antipastoralism” and “concept horror.” Consider either a possible arena for direct configurations ofself and place.
What I think: Another monthly publisher, Fiddleblack feels, if anything, to be a highly conceptual journal. They seem to focus on the oddities and the “phantastic” elements of the world. Definitely worth a look and a submission or two. Anyone publishing underground lit like that deserves recognition.
Their site: http://palookamag.com/home
What they’re about: We’re determined to find those writers and artists who are hungry and relevant, flying under the radar, producing great works that are going unnoticed by other magazines. We read absolutely everything sent to us, word-for-word, right down to the very last juicy sentence. This is a magazine for everyone, but we’re really into publishing the up-and-comer, the underdog in the literary battle royale. Give us your best shot.
What I think: Firstly, we just want to note that the cover to the left there for their fourth released journal is just plain AWESOME. Secondly, the journal itself feels so intimate and friendly, it reminds me of my grandma’s apple pies. They host chapbook contests, author featurettes, and a bunch of other really neat things that makes me think that Palooka is a really nice place to be.
Their site: http://anchorandplumepress.com/
What they’re about: At Kindred we believe in the power of story to bring people together. We believe stories are written to be shared, to change people, to shape culture, to spark a desire to know and be known. It is in the creation and celebration of story in all its forms: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and visual that we celebrate home. In embracing the idea of home, we celebrate the messy, the meaningful, the people, and places we hold near and dear to our hearts.
What I think: Kindred is great because it emphasizes the simple beauty of life. A lot of journals emphasize serious plotting and crisis, which is good, don’t get me wrong. But to be offered the opportunity to tell a tale of a simpler moment is refreshing and not to be missed.
Their Site: http://unshodquills.com/
What they’re about: Unshod Quills is a quarterly literary and arts journal born to showcase the efforts of writers and artists huddled together against the lonely effort of creation. All contributions to Unshod Quills are based on topics assigned by the editors, and the art and writing on the website are connected by those themes.
What I think: Unshod Quills is interesting in that the themes they choose, while somewhat unrelated, have the capacity to tie together to create a very interesting narrative that can be woven between different authors. The themes for their current open submissions are Envy–Epitaph–Bras–Sugar–Comic Book–Life Cycle. Interesting…
300 Days of Sun
Their site: http://300dos.wordpress.com/
What they’re about: 300 Days of Sun is a student run literary journal sponsored by the Nevada State College. It is a print journal featuring poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction, and visual art. 300 Days of Sun seeks original poetry, prose, creative non-fiction, art, and photography from authors and artists living in the Southwest (Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico & Utah). Send us something smart and well-planned, or something clever and spontaneous. Surprise us.
What I think: New on the block and staffed with students, I can’t help but feel a certain kinship towards 300 Days of Sun. They’re kicking off the first literary journal Nevada State College has seen, so I feel it’s important to give them a solid welcoming.
The Zodiac Review
Their site: http://www.thezodiacreview.com/
What they’re about: A significant number of readers and writers are increasingly searching for that certain something that’s missing from both the strictly guarded world of purely literary fiction and the many worlds of sharply defined genre fiction: a publishing home where the two realms meet. The need for a hospitable publication in hybrid territory is growing. The Zodiac Review is here to meet that need.
What I think: The Zodiac Review really stands out from a lot of lit mags in that, according to their website, the editors in charge of reading submissions will provide feedback to you about your work, regardless of whether they accept it or not. This is a great resource that is well worth utilizing as feedback from any source should be welcomed with open arms.
Goose Goose Press
Their Site: http://goosegoosepress.com/
What They’re About: We are a small start-up press that focuses entirely on digital products. We adore short science fiction stories and enjoy reading each and every submission even if we don’t make an offer. Yes, we’re small and we’re new. But, we never ask for money from our authors. We operate on an advance and royalty model unless we are attempting to purchase all rights (only in non-fiction). Our advances are always non-recourse (we’ll never ask for the advance back, even if the royalties don’t cover the advance).
What I Think: Hot off the WordPress, Goose Goose Press is a new face in the world of small press publishing. What makes them stand out from among most other small presses (including our modest set-up here) is that they actually pay authors for their work without asking for a submission fee! Crazy? I think so, which is why I like them already.
Their Site: http://waxingpress.com/
What They’re About: Based out of Cincinnati, OH, Waxing Press is an independent small book publisher. We prize, above all else, literary excellence and work that pushes the bounds of what fiction does, what fiction can do and what fiction should do. Writing that is deeply intellectual. Work with big ideas, and navigates risk and experimentation with a masterful hand.
What I Think: Waxing Press is another brand new publisher looking to make waves. They’re currently holding a contest, asking for writers to submit novellas or even full-fledged novels if you have them, with the prospect of a publishing deal! And with the NaNoWriMo kicking around every year, this is definitely a press you’ll want to stay in contact with once that November Novel is polished off.
Their Site: http://www.geist.com/
What They’re About: Geist is a magazine of ideas and culture made in Canada with a strong literary focus and a sense of humour. The Geist tone is intelligent, plain-talking, inclusive and offbeat. Each issue represents a convergence of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, photography, art, reviews, little-known facts of interest, cartography, and the legendary Geist crossword puzzle.
What I Think: Geist has been around for quite a while, but with such a prolific publishing schedule, they’re definitely worth a bit of attention. Their website is great and their style is nothing but comical class. The only catch is that, if you’re submitting something, either you have to be Canadian or your subject has to relate to Canada in someway. If you’ve got neither of these things working in your favor, then it’s time to put pen to paper and have at it! If you’re having trouble, try using this writing prompt – “A new superhero has shown his face, and it is Canadian.”
Their Site: http://linezero.org/
What They’re About: Line Zero is an emerging, independent print journal dedicated to writing and the arts. Unlike any other publication of its kind, Line Zero features the hybrid content of a traditional literary journal and a collection of editorial essays on art, writing, music, publishing, photography, creative writing reference, book and tech reviews, and art events.
What I Think: Line Zero is a slick, relatively new press that has a definite eye for cool. Their covers for previous publications (of course I judge by covers) are awesome and their quarterly publication schedule keeps them always on the lookout for the next big author, aka – you.
Their Site: http://pitheadchapel.com/
What They’re About: Pithead Chapel is looking for engaging stories told in honest voices. Most of all, we want to feel something. We want to reach the last word and immediately crave more. We want your work to leave a brilliant bruise.
What I Think: Pithead Journal is definitely a labor of passion. Put together by artists and writers who simply love the arts and the voices found therein, they grind out monthly issues without any signs of slowing. Because of their breakneck publishing record, they’re definitely a group of folks who are always looking for the kinds of exemplary work I know you pump out with equal ferocity.
the light ekphrastic
Their site: http://thelightekphrastic.com/
What they’re about: The Light Ekphrastic is a quarterly online journal dedicated to the creation of new written and visual artworks through collaboration between artists. For each issue, writers and artists will be paired, each creating a new poem, story, photograph, painting or other piece of artwork inspired by work previously created by their partner artist.
What I think: What a cool idea! Pairing up writers with artists and having them work off of each other is such a great concept for a literary journal because really bridges the gap in terms of cohesion between the written word and the visual. By bringing the two different artists together, a community is formed, new friendships are (hopefully) made, and the journal produces something very cohesive.
Their site: http://permafrostmag.com/
What they’re about: Permafrost is housed at the University of Alaska Fairbanks MFA program, and run by dedicated creative writing graduate students. We publish a winter print issue as well as a spring online issue, both of which features compelling poetry, fiction, and literary nonfiction by established writers and new voices alike. In Alaska, our unique environment shapes our perspective, but Permafrost seeks original voices from all over the world.
What I think: I’m a big fan of college journals because these are the journals run by people who usually are unpaid and thus must really enjoy what they’re doing. They’re also the journals that, generally, have the longest lifespans, which means getting your work into something as established as Permafrost can be a definite plus on your list of publications.
Their site: http://www.petrichorreview.com/
What they’re about: We are a bi-annual online arts & literature journal, here to assert ourselves and our tastes in the evolving literary-Internet market. We don’t care where you’ve been published before or where you went to school. We care about what you do outside of being a writer, your likes, dislikes, secret dreams, what you ate for breakfast.
What I think: Petrichor is a pleasant little journal made up of folks who seem to care most about what kinds of odd facets of life you’re experiencing at the moment, rather than any kinds of superficial titles you might hold. It makes me smile and feel like someone might actually take a genuine interest in me, rather than in my CV.
Their site: http://anobiumlit.com/
What they’re about: We started with a small goal: to publish. Give writers a place to send their writing ‒ experimental and hybrid writing generally pishaw’d by the Academic scene (which has somehow gotten its tendrils stuck around the many boughs of Literature per se) ‒ get it read, and possibly get it published. Simple.
What I think: I love this press. The folks here are very cool, with great designs for all of their journals and published works. Their ideas regarding the kinds of things worth publishing ring right alongside our own, so it’s difficult for me to not feel a kind of kinship with them when I visit their site.
Their site: http://giganticsequins.com/
What they’re about: Gigantic Sequins is a not-for-profit literary-arts journal. We are print-based and publish one summer and one winter issue. Our black & white journal is known for its quality writing as well as its unique design and aesthetic. We accept work from unpublished writers in addition to those who have an already established voice. We enjoy publishing writers who have their hands in various sorts of figurative creative cookie jars. We are interested in cultivating an artistic community over a widespread area through our biannual journal and enjoy promoting our past and our current contributors’ achievements.
What I think: Very artsy (but in a good way!), Gigantic Sequins creates really beautiful journals filled with exquisite artwork that are only in black and white! So artists out there, take heed and pay attention to your shadowing. What I also really dig about these guys is the fact that they work to create a community by giving little shout-outs and promotions for contributors who happen to accomplish something outside of Gigantic Sequins. It’s things like that that definitely make this journal one you’ll want to become a part of.
Their site: http://emdashliterarymagazine.com
What they’re about: Em Dash Literary Magazine is a quarterly online literary magazine that publishes exceptional writing and art with an emotional impact and vivid imagery—work that leaves us with our own figurative em dash.
What I think: Still a relatively young journal, Em Dash has a lot going for it – a dedicated editorial staff, a killer masthead journal, and plenty more. They’ve been featured on a couple of top notch literary magazine websites (Duotrope, Every Writer’s Resource, etc.) and we’re sure they aren’t stopping there.
Their site: http://www.lore-online.com/
What they’re about: We will consider short stories that can be classified broadly as belonging to the Horror, Science Fiction or Fantasy genres. Expand our horizons, challenge or fine-tune convention. We love well-done genre blending and bending, too, like John W. Campbell, Jr.’s “Who Goes There?,” H.P. Lovecraft’s “At The Mountains of Madness,” Philip K. Dick’s “The King of the Elves,” and C.S. Lewis’s “Space” trilogy. Other authors whose work we enjoy include Jorge Luis Borges, Harlan Ellison, R.E. Howard, Shirley Jackson, M.R. James, Brian McNaughton, Clifford D. Simak, Clark Ashton Smith, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
What I think: A really awesome, well-established lit mag, LORE is all about innovation in genres that are filled with cliches. Turning from the YA tropes of shining vampire boyfriends and shallow, large-jugged women, LORE sets its sights on convention-challenging work that inspires new insights into worlds we thought we knew.
The Gravity of the Thing
Their site: http://thegravityofthething.com/
What they’re about: The Gravity of the Thing is an online quarterly literary magazine that publishes writing and poetry that works to affect change, that entertains and challenges—that does its fucking job. Stories occur in many mediums, so every issue presents a variety of short stories, poetry, flash fiction, six-word stories, and photography. Experience serves the writing, it doesn’t earn publication—the words do. We publish writers of varying experience, with unvaryingly substantive words.
What I think: Pretty intense stuff over here at The Gravity of the Thing. However, I think it’s appropriate given the name of the lit mag itself. A very serious art form takes place in this journal, and I believe that it’s well worth a look if true elegance fits your style.
The Abstract Quill
Their site: http://theabstractquill.com/
What they’re about: Dedicated to quality fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork — The Abstract Quill looks to publish the best and most promising works of past and future generations. We consider all genres and are always on the hunt for compelling non-fiction work. Speculative, dystopian, and literary work are particular areas of interest to the Editors.
What I think: This lit mag brings some really great work to the table. Not only are the covers for all of their journals phenomenal, but in each journal they include a rather high profile interview with a writer or artist that is currently in the spotlight (such as Isaac Marion who wrote Warm Bodies). It’s a really fantastic idea that I hope will catch on with other journals out there whose dense prose sometimes tends to push readers away.