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)
(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
See also our Ongoing Call for Haibun Stories and Tanka Tales.
Calendar for submissions in 2020:
|MacQ-2 reading period:
|MacQ-2 launch date:
|MacQ-3 reading period:
|MacQ-3 launched on:
|MacQ-4 reading period:
|MacQ-4 launched on:
|MacQ-5 reading period:
||1–15 Sept (general submissions)
16–30 Sept (RESQ Writing Challenge)
|MacQ-5 launch date:
|MacQ-6 reading period:
||To be determined
|MacQ-6 launch date:
||~1 January 2021
- 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
- Please submit original, unpublished writing.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.
- We do solicit reprints of previously published works, but by
invitations emailed to individual authors and artists.
- 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.
- 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one flash-length, unpublished piece.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.
- Response time will vary, from a few hours or days, to three or
four weeks, to six weeks (the latter, associated with our contests).
- 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.
- 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,
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.
- 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:
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.
⚡ Prose poems
(up to 500 words each)
⚡ Flash fiction
(501–1,000 words each)
⚡ CNF, essays, memoirs,
⚡ 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
- 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.
- Subject Matter May Be Eclectic:
⚡ The mundane and
⚡ The ordinary and
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. ☺
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-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.
⚡ 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
⚡ 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
- ⚡ 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,
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
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
Ladies Night, which won first prize in the
KYSO Flash Triple-F Writing Challenge.
- 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
- ⚡ 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
- ⚡ 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.
- 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!