Quarterly issues now online!
Any short fiction and poetry submitted to us from June 10, 2014 onward will now be considered for publication in our new quarterly issues, publishing in September, December, March and June. Short fiction and poetry, as well as all nonfiction pieces, will continue to be published on our website throughout the year, with an annual “Best of Black Heart” issue collecting together the website’s greatest hits together in one volume. Acceptance letters will indicate whether your piece will be published on the website or in the digital issues, for clarity’s sake. Got questions about the new format? Drop us a line.
Black Heart accepts short fiction, poetry and literarily-oriented nonfiction as indicated below. Pick your poison:
ARTWORK: Submissions are currently open for artwork to be included in our December 2014 digital issue, with the theme of “The Best of Black Heart.” We are interested in photos, drawings, paintings, collages, digital pieces and other visual artwork that fits the Black Heart ethos. You don’t need to be a professional artist to submit, but your work should be polished enough for publication (i.e. do not send us doodles on lined notebook paper). Submit up to 5 images by November 30 here.
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.
OPEN LETTERS TO FAMOUS WRITERS: A new section as of July 2014, 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.
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.
Varies. We typically respond within 4 weeks, but as we are currently going through restructuring and 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 back to you as soon as we can.
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.
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 18 October 2014)