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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature

Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in sending work to MacQueen’s Quinterly.

Our publisher takes to heart the advice from Poet’s Market: “Submission Guidelines are pure gold for the specific information they provide.” Thus, this page offers a vault-full of details that we hope you will find helpful.

This information is updated periodically.

Issue 5 (aka MacQ-5) Reading Period

Updated on 29 August 2020:

1–15 September (general submissions)
16–30 September (RESQ Writing Challenge)

MacQ-5 Launch Date: ~25 October 2020

Please scroll down for detailed guidelines...

Item 9 below lists the genres and forms we generally publish,
and Item 13 (Restrictions) describes what we’re not looking for.

See also our Ongoing Call for Haibun Stories and Tanka Tales.

Calendar for submissions in 2020:

MacQ-2 reading period:   1–14 February
MacQ-2 launch date:   15 March
MacQ-3 reading period:   10–25 April
MacQ-3 launched on:   14 May
MacQ-4 reading period:   16–30 June
MacQ-4 launched on:   27 July
MacQ-5 reading period:   1–15 Sept (general submissions)
16–30 Sept (RESQ Writing Challenge)
MacQ-5 launch date:   ~25 October
MacQ-6 reading period:   To be determined
MacQ-6 launch date:   ~1 January 2021

  1. Electronic Submissions via Submittable Only*: MacQ has no staff to process paper submissions, and, to our publisher’s eternal chagrin, several emailed submissions have gotten lost in her back-logged inbox!

    The link to our Submittable site appears at the bottom of this page.

    *Visual artworks may be submitted via email; please see Item 8 below for details.

  2. Please submit original, unpublished writing. If works appear anywhere else for folks to read and view, whether in print or electronic form—including on author websites, public sites such as Fictionaut and Facebook, and in blogs—then we consider them already published.

  3. We do solicit reprints of previously published works, but by invitations emailed to individual authors and artists.

  4. Payment: We award cash prizes and publication to winners and finalists in our themed competitions and writing challenges.

    In addition, for each issue of MacQ, one of the works accepted for publication through general submissions will receive an Editor’s Choice Award of $100 (one hundred U.S. dollars).

  5. Three categories of submissions are available for Issue 5: the first two are for general submissions and the third, for a writing challenge. All three include a submission fee as noted below.

    •   One work for $3 (USD): Upload a single file containing one flash-length, unpublished piece. Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, prose poetry, and poetic hybrids such haibun, tanka prose, haiga, taiga, and photo-poems will be considered.

      Simultaneous submissions are okay, but no reprints. (Re the latter, see item #3 above.)

    •   5[+] works for $5 (USD): Upload a single file containing up to five flash-length, unpublished pieces. Submission may contain any combination of the genres we publish.

      [+] Under this category, only one submission of up to five pieces per person will be considered. However, if you’re sending us micro-works like haiku, senryu, and tanka (or sequences thereof) and/or tiny fictions and “minimalist” haibun and tanka prose, then the more the merrier. Please include up to ten micro-works within a single file.

      Simultaneous submissions are okay, but no reprints. (Re the latter, see item #3 above.)

    •   The “RESQ” Writing Challenge: One Work for $3 (USD), with a max of three separate entries per person. Upload a single file per entry containing one flash-length, unpublished piece, which includes the word “qualmish” (as defined in the RESQ Guidelines; and which addresses the Romantic, the Erotic, and/or the Schmexy (sexiness that’s playful, humorous, gently sarcastic, and/or satirical).

      As with all of our writing challenges, NO simultaneous submissions and NO reprints. Entries must be original.

  6. Response time will vary, from a few hours or days, to three or four weeks, to six weeks (the latter, associated with our contests).

  7. Simultaneous submissions will be considered—but NOT during our contests and ekphrastic challenges.

    These days, we assume that the majority of general submissions are simultaneous. Even so, we ask: Please be professional and send us a message right away via Submittable when work(s) from your general submission get accepted by another venue.

    And please do NOT withdraw your submission of multiple pieces when only one or two have been accepted elsewhere. If you choose the “Withdraw” category in Submittable, then any other pieces in your original submission are no longer available for consideration. (And if you want the other pieces to be “active” again, then you would need to resubmit them.)

    Imagine how disappointing it can be for us to invest time and care in evaluating and choosing one or more of your works, only to discover when you reply to our acceptance letter that they were placed elsewhere already. Please rest assured that our goal is to respond with decisions as soon as we can.

  8. Visual Arts:

    •   We consider general submissions of black and white as well as color artwork. And we’re interested in a range of forms, such as (but not limited to) paintings, photographs, drawings, digital art, and sculpture.

    •   Images may be low to medium resolution (generally, 72 to 200 ppi).

    •   The “content column” at our website can accommodate images up to 440 pixels wide.

    •   While we will gladly consider artworks of all shapes, orientations, and aspect ratios, please keep our specifications in mind.

    •   Feel free to send up to five artworks, preferably as individual jpeg attachments to your email, to Clare MacQueen: MacQuinterly [at] gmail [dot] com. Note: Written works will NOT be considered via email, but only through Submittable.

    •   Please include in your email the title, date of creation, and media used for each artwork; along with a brief bio and links to any galleries you have, such as your own website, Artfinder, Facebook, Flickr, Saatchi, etc.

  9. The Kind of Writing We Need: Polished, evocative, literary works that balance “music and meaning” (to borrow from poet Richard Hugo) within a thousand words max, including the title (or up to 2,000 words for critical reviews, craft essays, and interviews, including title), and using forms such as these:

    •  Prose poems

    •  Micro-fiction (up to 500 words each)

    •  Flash fiction (501–1,000 words each)

    •  CNF, essays, memoirs, etc.

    •  Reviews, craft essays, and interviews (2,000 words max, including title)

    •  Fables, allegories, and parables, whether light or dark, written for adults

    •  Literary hybrids such as haibun, haibun stories, haiga, taiga, tanka prose, and tanka tales; for specific guidelines and tips, please see Ongoing Call for Haibun Stories and Tanka Tales

    •  Ekphrastic works, in every genre we publish: fiction, nonfiction, lineated and prose poetry, hybrids such as haibun and tanka forms, and visual arts

    •  Poetry, both free verse and formal, that travels the middle way between transparency and obscurity; i.e., accessible but with a measure of mystery

    TIP: As we consider submissions to our journal, awards such as the Pushcart, Best Microfiction, Best of the Net, and The Best Small Fictions loom over the decisions we make. We look for works that knock our socks off, that is, prize-worthy material. Regardless of the genre, we cherish a unique voice, fresh language, and the sly use of literary devices such as metaphor and irony. We hope to be side-swiped, poked in the ribs, and otherwise smitten by an arresting idea, a compelling narrative, an exquisite lyric, or a moving account, all of which thread the perfect line between the personal and the universal.

  10. Word counts do not include author’s bio and other identifying information, but are limited to text and title of each piece, and any Author Notes.

    •   However, lengthy footnotes from the author in critical essays, interviews, and reviews will appear with separate word counts, which do not affect the total word count of the piece itself. The same is true for notes from the publisher or from contributing editors. Word counts for any notes added by our editorial team will appear below the stats for each work (at the upper-right corner of the white content column of the webpage).

    •   Titles Do Matter! We occasionally receive submissions with a word count of “about a thousand,” only to discover that the author did not factor in, say, an eight-word title. Please be aware that we may decline such works, simply because we’re too busy to correspond with folks about which words to trim.

    •   For all genres except reviews, craft essays, and interviews (which may run up to 2,000 words, not counting footnotes), works must be no longer than a thousand words max—and the word count must include the title as well, because (1) the title is part of the work, and (2) we may want to nominate the work for competitions that have strict rules about word counts.

    •   By the way, one-word titles are fine with us.

  11. Subject Matter May Be Eclectic:

    •  The mundane and the marvelous...
    •  The ordinary and the extraordinary.
    •  Verisimilar fiction, as well as the surreal in moderate measure.
    •  Think outside the catacomb now and then—surprise us with a little sunshine, and even some humor.

  12. Examples:

    •   For a kajillion, see MacQ’s first four issues.

    •  Twelve issues of our “big sister” journal KYSO Flash are also freely available online, no subscription necessary. And perusing the last two issues especially, KF-11 and KF-12, will give you a good idea of the range of forms, styles, and themes we’re looking to publish here in MacQ as well.

    •  And/or check out A Few of Clare’s Favorites, which lists contemporary works that our publisher enjoys re-reading.

  13. Restrictions:

    •  No limericks, unless integral to a larger work.

    •  No gratuitous violence: remember, less is more.

    •  No “hate lit” (such as racial & gender-based rants).

    •  No children’s stories; our target readers are adults.

    •  No hard-core fantasy, horror, romance, or sci-fi, though we happily consider fabulism in moderation.

    •  We rarely publish individual haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, or cherita. We prefer those that appear within longer forms such as haibun and tanka prose, or within haiga (the combination of poetry and visual art). Linked poems and sequences of the aforementioned forms of micro-poetry will be considered.

    •  No pornography, although we’re happy to publish erotica and works that contain explicit sexual themes and language. (Examples: Alexis Rhone Fancher’s Morning Wood in Issue 2 of KYSO Flash (aka KF-2), and I Prefer Pussy in KF-6; see also This Close by Dorianne Laux, and First Sex by Sharon Olds, published elsewhere.)

    •  No evangelism, religious proselytizing, or spiritual intolerance, although spiritual themes are encouraged, and literary works from a range of spiritual traditions are welcomed.

    •  With the exception of critical reviews, craft essays, and interviews, no works that contain copyrighted material created by third parties—unless also accompanied by a copy of the permission agreement between author and copyright holder. Copyrighted material refers to quotations, lines from poems, song lyrics, photographs of paintings and other artworks, etc.

      To reiterate, third-party quotations, with full and proper attribution, are acceptable and even expected in critical reviews and craft essays. PLEASE, have mercy on our busy publisher (she’s a production army of one, with limited time for research), and include your sources! Plus links if at all possible. Thanks so much!

    •  No gratuitous use of obscenities and vulgarities: Every word counts in short forms. Often, there’s little room for profanity. Of course, an occasional “fuck” can be quite useful and appropriate, in more ways than one. And “shit” has become all-purpose. But when such words are overused, they can weaken the work.

      For an exception to that “shitty rule,” see Bob Lucky’s poem Shit (an adjective; a noun; a verb), a Sonnet.

      And for a skillful example of balanced and appropriate usage of more “industrial-strength” profanity, please see Tara Laskowski’s micro-fiction Ladies Night, which won first prize in the KYSO Flash Triple-F Writing Challenge.

  14. Manuscript Formatting:

    •  NOTE: Author’s name, contact info, and bio should NOT appear on submitted works (with the exception of Solicited Manuscripts), but should be entered in the appropriate boxes provided by Submittable. We prefer to read “blind” and cannot do so if we recognize author’s name or reputation. No worries: Submittable keeps track of everything by assigning a unique identifying number to each submission we receive.

    •  An 11- or 12-point, sans-serif font such as Verdana is easiest to read online. Please, no serif and script fonts. Fancy fonts fatigue the eyes and the brain, as confirmed by usability studies. However, if a specific font is integral to your work (for example, to forms of concrete poetry), then we’ll consider those.

    •  For the most part, cover letters are not needed. If you do include one, please do NOT explain your work upfront or, worse, spoil any surprises in it by giving things away in a cover letter. Upfront explanations can create bias in the reader, which may or may not work toward the writer’s favor. We strongly prefer that the work be allowed to speak for itself.

    •  Manuscripts should include at least one-inch margins.

    •  After the title of each piece in your document, please include in brackets the genre or general category (flash fiction, memoir, CNF, prose poem, haibun, etc.) that you would like your work to be listed under. If experimental or mixed, then kindly specify which genres or sub-genres form the hybrid.

    •  Manuscript pages should be numbered sequentially.

    •  Double space prose works such as flash fiction, essays, and reviews. Tiny fictions, prose poems, and poetic hybrids such as haibun may be single spaced, of course.

    •  Submit poems and poetic forms with line breaks and other formatting as you would prefer the piece(s) to appear onscreen.

  15. Our shameless ambition? For our online visitors’ viewing and reading pleasure, we aim to offer at least two hundred memorable works each year. To that end, we will gladly consider scads of submissions as we search for the editors’ Holy Grail, those gems that will make us weep and holler and laugh, or even speak in tongues, all in admiration of their creators.

We look forward to seeing your best writing and artworks. Thank you!

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