Submission Guidelines

Starting immediately, Black Heart is CLOSED to regular submissions until August 1st.
Read on for information on how to submit to our Anti-Gun anthology instead.

In the wake of only our latest most-deadly shooting here in the U.S. – the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting that left 50 dead and more wounded – we feel it’s time to take action.

No more “thoughts and prayers.”

No more fuzzy sentiments.

No more excuses.

No more bullshit.

We’re looking for stories to include in an Anti-Gun anthology, which will wholly benefit the Gun Control Lobby. (See Everytown for Gun Safety for more info on our proposed beneficiary.)

What We Need

  • Stories (factual or fictional) of 2,500 words or less that relate in some way to themes of gun violence, gun control, the NRA and gun lobbies/lobbyists – please, no revenge fantasies; we are looking for anti-gun sentiments here
  • Poems of any length on the same subjects (epics are discouraged, but do take as much space as you need to say what you feel)

Submission Deadline

We are looking to get this anthology together as quickly as possible and out into the world, so it can start making a difference. Therefore, our deadline for submissions is July 31, midnight PST. Our goal is to have the book published by September 2016 at the very latest.

How to Submit

Send your work to us via Submittable.

Get Involved

If you would like to volunteer your time and talent as a beta reader, cover designer, interior formatter (for print), proofreader, or similar, we also need your help! Please request to join our Facebook group to be kept in the loop for these opportunities.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to working together to make a difference with this anthology.


Black Heart accepts short fiction, poetry and literarily-oriented nonfiction as indicated below. Pick your poison:


SHORT FICTION: Short pieces to a maximum of 1,500 words are accepted. All genres are considered. We do NOT accept novel excerpts. Please send only one story at a time, and wait for a response to that piece before submitting another. Simultaneous submissions (i.e. sending the same piece to several different publications) are fine; simply withdraw your piece from our system if it is accepted elsewhere. Writers have a choice between Fee and Free submissions; fee-based submissions will receive brief feedback on submitted work, whereas free submissions will only receive a form acceptance or rejection letter. Submit short fiction here.

POETRY: Poetry submissions of up to 3 poems in one document are accepted. We do not care for epic or rhyming poetry. Poems that require special formatting are also frowned upon, as our site does not support convoluted text orientation. Writers have a choice between Fee and Free submissions; fee-based submissions will receive brief feedback on submitted work, whereas free submissions will only receive a form acceptance or rejection letter. Submit your poetry here.


AUTHOR INTERVIEWS: Are you a fiction writer? Have you recently published a book? We want to interview you! The easiest way to do this is to fill out our Author Interview form. Once completed, we’ll email you with the date your interview will be posted, along with any additional info we need.

*NEW* BEST BOOK I EVER READ: What’s the best book you ever read? If you’re a book lover, this question is nearly impossible to answer. But if pressed, perhaps to the “desert island” scenario, what’s your absolute favorite book — one you can (and do) read again and again? It could be a children’s story, a classic tale, or even the most recent book you’ve read. (Just as long as you don’t claim it’s the Bible, like all the lazy politicos do!) Tell us what makes this book so special to you, why you always need to have a copy on your bookshelf, what makes it worth reading once or a thousand times, or why you’d love to trade places with its main character. Tell us, with humor and heart, exactly what makes it The Best Book You Ever Read. In 2,000 words or less. Then, send it here.

BOOK REVIEWS: We accept strongly opinionated reviews of new books (published within the past year) and soon-to-be-released titles of the indie, self-published and small press persuasion. We do NOT review academic titles, nonfiction of any kind, children’s or YA literature. Reviews should be a maximum of 600 words, with at least 2/3 of the review dedicated to an honest, personal response to the title in question. (That means DON’T just summarize the book!) Please send only previously unpublished reviews for consideration. Also note that reviews MAY NOT be written by anyone with conflicts of interest (i.e. close personal friends of the author, or by the author him/herself), and should end on a positive note, recommending at least two similar works if the overall verdict is negative. To query concerning a title that interests you, or if you are an author looking to connect with one of our in-house reviewers, please use our contact form to reach our Reviews Editors with your request. For more instructions on how to write kick-ass reviews, please refer to this blog post from Men With Pens before submitting your finished piece here. If you would like to write regular reviews for us, please query with clips.

BOOK TO MOVIE REVIEWS: Ever read a brilliant book that was turned into a movie? Of course you have! But what we want to know is, did you think the book was better than the movie or vice-versa? (No, seriously… Fight Club? WAY better movie. The Fantastic Mr. Fox? Great book, great movie.) Compare and contrast your favorite book to its film counterpart (or pick one version if, like Hamlet, there are many), and give it to us straight. Was it a faithful representation? A unique take on the book’s quirks, but with the director’s own flair? Or just a total piece of celluloid garbage? They can’t all be perfect, but boy do they try. Tell us what you liked about the book AND the movie, even if it wasn’t quite the way you envisioned it all in your head. And tell us what you would’ve done differently, if you’d had the director’s chair! All reviews should focus on the transition from book to movie, not the other way around, and give a final verdict about whether you preferred the book or the movie. All books turned into films are up for grabs, with two caveats: NO TOLKIEN, and NO STEPHEN KING. (Sorry, we just can’t handle their rabid fans.) Got a review of 600 words? Sock it to us here.

CHARACTER CRUSHES: In addition to our more traditional book reviews (see above), we are also seeking Character Crush pieces, which highlight the “crush-worthy” aspects of classic literary characters. Whether you are turned on by Tinker Bell, have a thing for Holden Caulfield, or crush on Coco Darling, we want to know more about all the characters that drive you crazy. Classic literature is full of crushable characters. Tell us about the ones you love, whether imitating their own style or using whatever format feels most natural to you. Past crushes have been written in verse (the ode being an excellent literary technique), as well as distant editorial prose, openly gushing love letters, and more. Characters most wanted include: Catherine & Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights), Anna & Vronsky (Anna Karenina), Romeo & Juliet, Rhett & Scarlett (Gone With the Wind), Emma, Anne of Green Gables, Le Petit Prince, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza (Love in the Time of Cholera), etc. Check our archives to see if your character has already been written up, then hit us with your best shot here.

VENOMOUS VILLAINS: A partner to our Character Crushes (see above), we are also seeking odes to the dark side, heralding literature’s greatest villains. From true evildoers to antagonists that agonize us, we want to know what makes your favorite Big Bad tick – in your most non-academic manner possible (remember: this is meant to be a personal, persuasive essay, not a book report for your college prof). Characters most wanted include: Satan (various representations), Iago (Othello), Miss Havisham (Great Expectations), Professor Moriarty (“The Final Problem”), Richard III, Humbert Humbert (Lolita), Helen Grayle/Velma Valento (Farewell, My Lovely), The Judge (Blood Meridian), and witches of all kinds. Examples of villain pieces already published on our site include Mr. Hyde, Lady Macbeth and Tom Buchanan. Write what you feel – with an emphasis on the literary versions of these characters, as opposed to filmic variants – then hit us with your best shot here.

OPEN LETTERS TO FAMOUS WRITERS: We’re looking for your open letters to famous writers – living or dead – with something curious to say. While we’re not looking for fan mail that merely gushes over the writer’s prose, we’d love to get a glimpse of what you enjoyed about their work, as well as some interesting questions you’d like answered, or maybe even a few conspiracy theories. Pick a writer who’s inspired you, and tell them why you look up to them. Or send hate mail to the writers you loathe! It’s all up for grabs – just don’t get us sued. Ready to tell the writers of the world what you really think of them? Submit here.


Response Time

Varies. We are going through some editorial shifts, and response times can be up to 6 months. We understand this is a long time to wait for a reply, which is why we accept simultaneous submissions. Please be patient; we read every piece submitted in the order it’s received.


No monetary payment is available, as Black Heart’s day-to-day activities – like those of most literary magazines – are run on the sunshine and rainbows that emanate from our volunteer staffers’ asses.


Please do not send us work that you would not want to see published on our site. This may sound obvious, but note that we will not “unpublish” your work if you have a change of heart. Consider our website as written in pen, not pencil – just like the rest of the Internet – and use a pseudonym if you must.

Black Heart reserves the right to edit all pieces considered for publication, both for obvious typographical/spelling/grammatical errors and for alignment with our internal style guide and overall editorial vision. The editing process remains the same for all submitters, regardless of perceived stature and cover letter name-drops.

Writers intent on making our editors’ lives difficult will be added to a blacklist that fires all email from said writers directly into the sun. Piss off our editors at your own peril.

If you don’t like or agree with any of these policies, we cordially invite you to submit your work elsewhere.

How to Submit

Send us your best work via our submissions manager. Options are available for each genre; please choose appropriately (i.e. make sure your “poetry” submission is actually a poem and not a short story, as they will be routed to different editors). Stories that surpass our stated word limits will not be read.

(Last updated 13 June 2016)

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed