Submission Guidelines

Black Heart accepts short fiction, poetry and literarily-oriented nonfiction as indicated below. We are also looking for scans or photos of handwritten letters for our “Love Letters from the Internet,” and reviews of your favorite books that have been made into movies for our “Book to Movie Reviews” section. 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. If you MUST submit such works, please include an image file in addition to your text document. (You may also want to check out The Bleed, a journal devoted to visual and concrete poetry, for a better fit.) 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.

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 300 words, with at least 2/3 of the review dedicated to an honest, personal response to the title in question. (That means you only have 100 words to summarize the book, and the other 200 words should be your opinion of what you read.) Please send only previously unpublished reviews for consideration.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 or herself), and should end on a positive note, recommending at least 2 additional, 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.

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, Gatsby & Daisy (The Great Gatsby), 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.

VIVACIOUS 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”), Count Dracula, Richard III, Lady Macbeth, Humbert Humbert (Lolita), Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest), Helen Grayle/Velma Valento (Farewell, My Lovely), The Judge (Blood Meridian), and witches of all kinds. This is a brand-new section, so we haven’t got any examples for you yet. 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.

LOVE LETTERS FROM THE INTERNET: In an effort to preserve the ancient arts of handwriting and penmanship (yes, we mean with actual, real-world pens), we are introducing a new section called “Love Letters from the Internet.” This section will contain only handwritten works, featured on the site as scanned images of actual paper, along with a typed transcription for those hard-to-read items. Love Letters will feature a selection of well-written, short prose on any topic (fictional or nonfictional) of up to 1 paper page (approximately 250 words). For creative inspiration, please see Letters of Note. Then, submit your own scanned image of a handwritten piece (along with your typed transcription) here.

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 500-600 words? Sock it to us here.

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Response Time

Varies. We typically respond within 1 to 4 weeks, but as we are currently going through editorial staff changes, we may require up to 3 months to respond. If you haven’t received a response after 3 months and believe the submissions system trolls may have eaten your work, email us and we’ll get right back to you.

Payment

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.

Other

Black Heart reserves the right to edit all pieces considered for publication, both for obvious errors and for alignment with our editorial vision. We do not care whether you have been previously published or not; the editing process remains the same for all submissions. 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 limit will not be read.

(Last updated 2 January 2014)

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