Submissions

Storm Cellar is a nationally distributed literary arts magazine rooted in the Midwest, appearing in print and ebook editions. We want your prose, poems, chimeras, and ideas penned on envelopes in buses and train cars. The magazine aims to publish amazing work by new and established writers and artists, present a range of styles and approaches, and be as un-boring as it can. If you write one thing to be read while waiting for the all-clear to sound, send it here.

submit

  • We are currently seeking art/photos/images — up to 20 pages worth, any medium & style: upload here, or email a gallery link. [See what we’ve printed.]
  • We want really creative nonfictionthe creative-er the better.
  • We’re listening for under-represented voices — especially people of color who happen to have lived in the Midwest at some point. We’d like to hear from more authors who are indigenous, gender-nonconforming, trans, living off-grid, disabled, lgbq+, neuroatypical, border-straddling, impoverished, algorithms, or women writing confident & odd fiction.
  • We have been thinking about — global warming, Antifa + Black Bloc slashfic, rupture vs. rapture, Frankfurt’s type of bulls–t, Unhhhh, “weird fiction,” the boundaries of “Indian Country,” research poetry, Chicago public housing, Tangerine, N.K. Jemisin, The Obscene Bird of Night, giant burning heaps of cell phones in Guiyu, Link Wray’s ideal sound, Deep Dream, gardening under late capitalism, Lily K. Hoang.
  • Until May 1, 2018 (postmark date), incarcerated people may mail submissions with SASE/postcard for reply to Storm Cellar Editors, 1901 Saint Anthony Ave., St. Paul, MN 55104, USA. Manuscripts will not be returned. Label genre, number pages, single-spaced is fine; include a bio of no more than 50 words. Include a mailing address for print copy delivery if different from your return address. We seek literary content: stories, creative nonfiction/essays, and poems we otherwise could not read. We are not seeking newspaper-style reporting and opinion, nor items that endorse discrimination.

Subscribe … if you’re rad enough.

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FAQ / GUIDELINES:

PROCESS

Contact info?
Send correspondence to stormcellar { d o t } editor { a t } gmail. For unsolicited submissionsclick on this hand-crafted link to enjoy the online submission manager.

Subscriptions?
Through Submittable (accepts PayPal & cards): print &/or ebook (US)print &/or ebook (worldwide)ebook only. Single issues here.

I’m a physical artist/photographer?
Sweet, hook it up! Or email thumbnails. Pics of sculpture & performance are cool too.

What is this Midwest connection?
We’re from here. Given two pieces of equal worthiness, one connected (however tenuously) to the Midwest & one not, choose the one with the connection. The area includes at least Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Winnipeg. Solicitations may be regionally biased. That’s it: we’re trying to be inclusive, not create a regional competitor to Southern Writing or Bed-Stuy Writing or whatever.

What/how much can I send?
Submit no more than four times per year, one submission at a time. Writing must be unpublished and not posted online; art may have been posted online by you, sold as prints, or covered journalistically, but not otherwise published/used commercially. Length/Girth:

  • nonfiction or fiction up to 5000 words
  • flashes up to 1000 words each
  • poems up to 400 lines / 15 pages total
  • art/images/graphics: up to 20 pp.
  • hybrid works up to 15 pp.; pick a home genre & include some kind of explanation

If your work is accepted, please wait six months past publication before submitting again.

Format?
Double-space prose. Begin each poem or flash on a new page. Cover letters are optional; keep them short and to the point; evidence that you’ve read an issue or at least browsed the archive is always appreciated.

When is reading open?
Year-round. Occasional breaks from free subs due to volume.

How’s your response time?
12 weeks, often shorter. After three months, feel free to ask what’s up.

What are my chances?
In the last year, we’ve published (parts of) ~65 of ~2200 unsolicited submissions. Better percentage for CNF, worse for individual poems.

Do you pay?
Flash contest winners are paid. Regular contributors receive a print and an ebook copy of the issue they’re in, a discount, and big heart emojis forever.

Simultaneous submissions?
Please. But if you don’t notify us upon acceptance elsewhere we will put a darkk magykk hex on you. To withdraw part of a submission, add a note under the Activity tab within Submittable.

About those bios…?
For contributor notes, we need an artist’s bio, 50 words max. We may edit it (usually for length). We generally omit prize nominations/runners-up/finalists. Say something about where you’re from/at.

What’s your deal on copyright?
When an author or artist agrees to our offer of publication of a work, Storm Cellar thereby acquires worldwide first serial rights and limited, perpetual, nonexclusive, online rights. We don’t use formal contracts, but rather make a “handshake agreement” regarding your work. Here is an informal statement:

  1. Serial rights: until we publish your accepted work in our print and electronic editions, no one else may publish or republish it anywhere. We will publish both editions of each issue at the same time. We will construe this agreement to allow use of excerpts or images for journalistic purposes, and regarding images to exclude rights over pre-existing re-publication agreements, and regarding writing to exclude agreements to publish as part of an omnibus of your work.
  2. Online rights: we may include your accepted work in a message, or put it on our website as a freely readable/downloadable archive/feature/sample/promo/news-post/etc., whole or in part, now or in the future. We will construe this to allow use of images in such “messages” as social media avatars and profile header photos. We will do our best to embed attribution in image exif data and attribute written works visibly.
  3. Serial rights revert to the author immediately upon publication, or when 18 months have passed, whichever is soonest.
  4. We do not hold copyright for future anthologies/best-ofs, but we do consider ebook editions to be continuously “in print.”
  5. Contributors kindly will acknowledge Storm Cellar as first publisher in all subsequent republication. Contributors grant us permission to submit their accepted works to republication venues (such as Poetry Daily or Electric Literature) and to awards.

Privacy policy?
Yes: (a) we won’t sell or give your contact or personal info to advertisers nor the public; (b) we will, in general, keep private any medical or other potentially sensitive info that happens to be revealed to us, but all correspondence is subject to publication. So don’t be a jerk.

When will I see my work in print?
We try not to accept work more than 12 months ahead; most acceptances go in the next-published issue. Contributors’ copies go out usually within a couple weeks of press time.

What’s with the impersonal response?
We have a tiny, volunteer staff and many submissions. Please understand that we simply cannot respond to every submission with comment, let alone critique. Personal responses are accordingly rare.

Do you tell everyone to submit again?
If we tell you this, we mean it.

Can I send something by mail?
Only if it’s bearer bonds.

Press?
Read reviews of SC 4.3SC 4.1, SC 3.1 (superpowers, SC 2.2 (includes an interview), and SC 2.1.

PRODUCT

A Duotrope self-interview with the editors is here. The Managing Editor bluffed his way through “Six Questions For…” here. If you subscribe to the Sapling newsletter, we’re interviewed in #355.

Reviews or translations?
We may publish your reviews of pretty much anything (and we mean anything) if we find them funny, or they have cultural merit on their own terms (see essays). We may print your translations of very short works. In either case, please email.

How about essays?
We like lyric(-al) and narrative(-ish) essays, and wilder forms too. (See “The ‘F-Word’” in Gulf Coast 25.1.) We don’t think essays must be “personal”; we’re not opposed to items like this. On the other hand, footnoted academic studies and lit crit are right out.

What is creative nonfiction?
(1) What it says on the tin. Please craft your work. Please do not D’Agata your facts. (2) Narrative should have story-coherence, but we have a thing for formal play, collage effects, lists, hermit crabs, and other nonlinear methods. (3) Eula Biss, Sarah Manguso, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Audrey Petty, Zadie Smith, Monica Berlin, Judith Butler, Edwidge Danticat, Stephanie Dickinson, Joan Didion, Roxane Gay, Stephen J. Gould, José Angel Araguz, B.J. Hollars, Pico Iyer, Ben Langston, Amy Leach, Michael Martone, Ander Monson, Daniel Nester, Susan Orlean, George Orwell, Natania Rosenfeld, Sheryl St. Germain, Nicole Walker, David Foster Wallace, Ludwig Wittgenstein.

My work is experimental? It’s genre-bending?
It is? Cool beans! (When mixing fiction with non-, mention that in a cover letter.)

What do you mean by “flash”?
That is an excellent question, which you can help answer by submitting it to us.

Describe your ideal of fiction?
(1) Stories that matter, stories you would make time to read even if you didn’t write them, even if Game of Thrones is on, even if you’re in the truck on the way to the hospital to deliver your second baby. (2) Something unique, something weird (whatever that means); narratives that tap deep human experience, or absolutely refuse universalization. (3) A great idea demands great execution, exposition is not action, stories need plot, the reader can think for herself. We prefer you cut to the chase and sink our battleship with beautiful sentences. We write too, and want to die a little of jealousy over your short pants stories.

Genre fiction?
Yes to stories with genre or fantastic elements — that is, even more fantastic than “magic realism.” We’ve published a story with a dragon in it. We are not interested in merely genre work. Think Isaac Asimov’s “The Last Question,” Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box,” N.K. Jemisin, and Kelly Link. (We agree that “literary” names a genre, but you know what we mean.)

What sort of poetry do you like?
(1) Read a past issue. (2) We want to see invention. We get tired of pocket-size epiphanies and diary entries. Send us what surprised you when you wrote it. Something larger than itself. We want you to save our lives and blow our minds and eat us alive and keep us up at night, except without clichés. (3) Any form; we care about prosody, but we think rhyme and meter are hard. Narrative, lyric, post-whatever, partyknife — it’s all good. (Even anti-affect “conceptual poetry.”) We lurv, e.g., Cummings, C.D. Wright, Tranströmer, Bishop, Claudia Rankine, D.A. Powell, Jericho Brown, Jane Hirschfield, and Rae Armantrout. Recently, Sawako Nakayasu, Lo Kwa Mei-en, and Saeed Jones have blasted our socks off.

Visual art? What kind?
What have you got? We have standards, but no filters. Please remember: the print magazine is half-letter size.

Are my rowdy styles a good fit for yours?
We don’t put a lot of stock in consistency for consistency’s sake. You can order back issues from us (downloads are cheap). You’ll find samples, and some things to avoid, in our archive.

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