One heartening thing for budding writers at the moment is the number of ways to build up a publishing CV. The internet has made it possible for anyone to be a publisher, and many people have seized the chance to launch online literary journals, all seeking out quality work. Funnily enough, even though this removes all restrictions in terms of prohibitive printing costs, the trend for many of these newer journals seems to be to specialise in micro-fiction.
So here are a few lesser known, and in some cases brand new journals, to tantalise with your words. As ever, my list is by no means definitive, just some interesting journaly corners I wanted to shine a light on because they’re not yet terribly well known and are currently open for submissions. Incidentally, if you don’t use Twitter, it might be a good idea to acquaint yourself with it as this is often the way such journals put out submission calls.
New kids on the writer’s block
This year has kicked off with several new journals-in-the-making seeking submissions:
Flash & Cinder, edited by Bath Spa University creative writing student Matthew Thorpe-Coles, aims to showcase flash fiction and poetry. The theme for issue 1 is ‘Spirit’, however you choose to interpret that. You can submit up to three pieces, either of flash, poetry, or a mix. Flash fiction should be a maximum of 750 words, poems no longer than 32 lines. Send submissions to email@example.com by March 31.
Northern Ireland magazine The Bangor Literary Journal is accepting contributions on the theme of ‘Firsts’ for their launch issue. They seek flash fiction of 200 words max and poetry of 40 lines max. As part of the launch, there’s also a 40-word competition (with poetry and flash fiction categories). Entries are £2 or £5 for three, and the prizes are publication in the journal with an accompanying feature about each winner, plus an invitation to read at the launch. The closing date for submissions is January 31.
For writers of historical fiction, this is surely an inspired first – FlashBack Fiction is a new literary journal that celebrates the past. They describe what they’re looking for as: “…anything from traditional storytelling to all manner of experiment and play, as long as the work engages with the historical in some way. We welcome unusual perspectives, magical realism, fabulism, alternate histories, and things that don’t seem to fit comfortably in any particular box.” While the editors don’t want to put too many restrictions on the definition of ‘historical’, the preference is for work set pre-21st century. There is a maximum word count of 500 words, with no minimum. No closing date has been set as yet, but a couple of weeks’ notice will be given when time’s running out.
Not so new journals
Synaesthesia literary and arts magazine has been so inundated with work for their upcoming issue that they’ve brought their submission closing date forward to January 24. Still, you have a couple of days left if you’d like to contribute fiction, creative non-fiction or poetry on the theme of ‘You, Me’. Short stories and non-fiction pieces should be a maximum of 2,500 words (flash fiction also welcomed), while poetry has no length restriction – they just ask that it isn’t “men adoring women from afar”.
UK journal Haverthorn (also known as HVTN) has two submission windows in the year, and they are currently accepting work for their summer issue until January 31. Short fiction of 3,000 words max, poetry and theory are welcome. They describe their ideal submissions as “writing that resists simple classification and easy escape, writing greater on the inside and than the sum of its parts”.
The New Flash Fiction Review is accepting submissions for issue 11 until February 1. You can send them up to three flash pieces of max 1,000 words each. There is also a call for a 7 Banned Words Microfiction challenge. As this stems from a recent Trump administration directive, those banned words aren’t necessarily the kind you might suspect. Details here.
Déraciné is another recent addition to the literary scene. It describes itself as a Gothic literary magazine and features dark, psychological fiction, poetry and art. It is open to submissions for its second issue until March 10. Short stories can be up to a luxurious 8,000 words, flash fiction up to 1,000 words. No maximum length is given on poetry submissions, and you can send a maximum of four at a time. There’s no stated theme, though I would imagine the darker the better. Issue 1 is available to read on the website to get a feel for the kind of work the editors are seeking.
Ellipsis Zine has separate submission windows for their magazine and online content. They are currently open for website submissions until March 28. You can submit fiction or creative non-fiction of up to 1,000 words on any theme. [EDIT 30/1: the editor has just posted on the site that he has decided to suspend the mag for the foreseeable future, so please don’t submit and if you already have, your work is now freed up to submit elsewhere.]
And finally, The Cabinet of Heed is a new Irish journal which has a fast-moving rolling submission – miss one issue and the next one will be along in a flash. In the space of just a couple of months, editor Simon Webster has produced three issues, with issue four apparently already filling up. The great thing about this journal is that you find out within a week whether your work has been accepted or not, none of this three-month refreshing-your-emails business. You can send flash fiction or short stories of up to 4,000 words, and up to four poems.
Have I missed anything that would be a good addition to this list? Let me know in the Comments section!