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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Updated: 18 Oct 2021

Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in sending your 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 11 (aka MacQ-11) Reading Periods:

General Submissions:
13–19 November 2021 (7 days)

“Triple-Q” Writing Challenge:
22 November thru 5 December 2021 (14 days)

MacQ-11 Launch Date:

No later than 1 January 2022

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 2021:

MacQ-7 reading period:   1–21 February
MacQ-7 launched on:   24 March
MacQ-8 reading period:   1–15 May
MacQ-8 launched on:   12 June
MacQ-9 reading period:   1–14 July
MacQ-9 launched on:   15 August
MacQ-10 reading period:   5–15 September
MacQ-10 launched on:   7 October
MacQ-11 reading periods:   13–19 November; and
22 Nov thru 5 Dec
MacQ-11 launch date:   ~1 January 2022

(For historical data, see Submissions Calendar.)

  1. Electronic Submissions via Submittable Only: This is because 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.)

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 Please submit original, unpublished writing.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

  3. Reprints: We solicit reprints of previously published works by contacting individual authors and artists directly.

  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 and/or Solicited Mss. will receive an Editor’s Choice Award of $100 (one hundred U.S. dollars).

  5. Three categories of general submissions were available for Issue 10. Fees are in USD: “1 Work for $3,” “Up to 4 Works for $4,” and “5+ Works for $5” *

    Flash-length works of fiction, nonfiction, prose poetry, poetic hybrids such as haibun and tanka prose, lineated poetry, and sequences of micro-poems (e.g., cherita, haiku, senryu, tanka, etc.) will be considered.

    Just a tip: MacQ rarely publishes individual micro-poems like haiku and tanka (unless they’re ekphrastic or within artworks like haiga and taiga). Thus, multiples and/or sequences of those by the same author are more likely to be accepted.

    *5+ Works for $5: This category has two options. First, if you want to send us works that are each between 500 and 1,000 words long (including title and any epigraphs), then please upload no more than five pieces within a single file.

    Second option: If you want to send us micro-poems and/or tiny fictions and “minimalist” haibun and tanka prose that are fewer than 500 words each, then the more the merrier! We will gladly consider up to a dozen micro-works uploaded within a single file. As mentioned above, we rarely publish individual micro-poems, which means that multiples and sequences have a better chance of acceptance.

  6. Response time for submissions will vary, from a few hours or a couple of weeks up to 90 days.

  7. Simultaneous submissions will be considered—but not for 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 publisher’s goal is to respond with decisions as soon as possible.

  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.

    •   Please embed artworks within a single Word document, uploaded via our Submittable site. Please include below each artwork its title (if none, please indicate “untitled”), date of creation, and media used. We would also like to see links to any online 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 (up to 2,000 words each, including title)

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

    •  Literary hybrids such as haibun, haibun stories, haiga, taiga, chaiga, 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 (for tips on what we’re looking for, please see Ephective Ekphrastics: A Guide to Verbalizing Art by Jack Cooper and Clare MacQueen)

    •  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 Prize, 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 (as well as any epigraphs).

    •   Lengthy footnotes provided by authors 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 each, not counting footnotes), works must be no longer than a thousand words each—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 10 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 (unless they’re ekphrastic). 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, sequences, and split sequences of the aforementioned forms of micro-poetry will be happily considered.

    •  No pornography, although we’re happy to publish erotica and works that contain explicit sexual themes and language. Examples: Alexis Rhone Fancher’s Below our bedroom window in Issue 8 of MacQ, 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 “anonymously” and cannot do so if we recognize author’s name or reputation. No worries: Submittable keeps track of everything nicely by assigning a number to each submission received.

    •  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—our overwhelmed publisher often has no time to read them, much less reply to them. But if you do include a cover letter, please do not explain your work upfront or, worse, spoil any surprises in it by giving things away in your letter. Upfront explanations can create bias in the reader, which may or may not work in the writer’s favor. We strongly prefer that your 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, lineated poems, and poetic hybrids such as haibun and tanka forms may be single spaced, of course.

  15. Our shameless ambition? For our online visitors’ viewing and reading pleasure, we aim to offer a few 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 writing and artworks. Thank you!

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