Submission Guidelines

Black Heart accepts submissions in all genres of previously unpublished works of short fiction, with a word count of 2,500 words max.

As of 2017, we publish triannual (three times per year) themed issues, beginning with our DISARM anthology released in April 2017, followed by our August 2017 Summer’s End issue. December’s “Holiday Hell” issue will be published during the first week of December. Additional info will be added to this page as new themes are developed.

Please read and abide by the specific guidelines and submission windows listed below. We look forward to reading your work.

SHORT FICTION

Short pieces to a maximum of 2,500 words are accepted. All genres are considered, but stories must relate (however loosely) to the themes provided below. We do NOT read novel excerpts. Please send only one story per issue. Simultaneous submissions (i.e. sending the same piece to several different publications) are fine; simply withdraw your piece from our submissions 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.

APRIL 2018 THEME: A World Without Men

  • Submissions Open: December 1, 2017
  • Submissions Close: February 25, 2018
  • Projected Publication Date: April 2018

All female and female-identified writers are encouraged to contribute their ideas about what A World Without Men would look like, including the good, the bad, and the likely unforeseen. We live in a world that, daily, tells women we are not good enough. Worse, that we never WILL be good enough, because we are not men. It’s not that we are simply different, whether biologically or emotionally. We are second-class simply because. Black Heart would like you to envision a world where women are not second-class, simply because. So, whether this means that all men simply vanish tomorrow, they are somehow mysteriously killed off, they’re abducted by man-hungry space aliens, or we ladies are magically transported to a Themyscira-like island bubble, let’s talk. Ponder what that world would be like. Who would we be? What would we do? How would we learn, lead, struggle? What would our values be like? Would automatic Matriarchy be any better/worse/different than automatic Patriarchy? Tell us a story. Make it a good one.

AUGUST 2018 THEME: Sugar High

Summer’s a time of light reading, so let’s get fluffy like cotton candy and ponder the theme of Sugar High. Consider caffeine, sweeteners natural and lab-made, the way endorphins lift our moods, and our tech mimics the rush of those chemicals to the brain, causing us to click click click, more more more. Where would we be without sugar, as a society? What’s your favorite candy or sweet treat? What kinds of things (legal only, please!) get you high, inspire you, lift your spirits, improve your mood, get your heart racing, move you forward day after day? Explore the light or the dark side (or both!) of a sugary rush. Think about the sticky sweetness of youth, as well as the bittersweetness of aging. Mix your metaphors, color outside the lines, think pink, or just swirl us a candy-colored landscape in your imagination.

  • SUBMISSIONS OPEN: April 1, 2018
  • SUBMISSIONS CLOSE: July 1, 2018

DECEMBER 2018 THEME: We’ll Always Have Paris (Or Will We?)

Paris, City of Lights, city of love and romance. Mythical, magical Paris. Foreign, exotic Paris. Political, passionate Paris. What’s your myth about Paris? What’s your reality? What do you think of when you think of Paris? Tell us a story, set near the Seine, the Louvre, Notre-Dame, the Champs-Élysées – anywhere, so long as it features Paris past, present, future… or only in your dreams.

  • SUBMISSIONS OPEN: August 6, 2018
  • SUBMISSIONS CLOSE: October 28, 2018

Submit your short fiction here.

POETRY

We are currently CLOSED to poetry submissions at this time.

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Response Time

Our new set-up is designed to eliminate lagging response times. We will only accept pieces for each issue during a certain window of time: March 31 to June 30 for the August issue; July 31 to October 31 for the December issue; and December 1, 2017 to February 25, 2018 for the April issue. All pieces will receive a response, according to their order of submission. Pieces submitted for each issue will receive notification by the first of the month of publication, at the latest. Please do NOT submit pieces for the December issue until the appropriate submission window opens, as they will be discarded for not addressing the correct theme.

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. Contributors to our anthologies and issues will receive electronic copies of the collection in which their piece appears. (We do not typically publish print versions of our magazine or anthologies.)

Other

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 stature.

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 (poetry and short fiction submissions are routed to different editors). If one of your pieces is accepted elsewhere, please use the submissions system to inform us and/or remove pieces from our queue as necessary. Stories that surpass our stated word limits will not be read.

(Last updated 2 November 2017)

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