Submission Guidelines

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-1-46-21-pmCommuterLit.com is looking for short stories, memoir, novel excerpts and poetry (one poem or a series of poems), in any genre, with a word count of 500 to 4,000.

How to submit
All submissions are through our Submittable service using the link below. You may submit more than one manuscript, but please send only one submission at a time. Poets: please submit one poem (or series if it is meant to be posted together) at a time. Attach the manuscript as a MS Word.doc file or a .rtf file (preferred).

Manuscript Format
Use a 12 or 14 pt font size, Helvetica or Times New Roman. Single space your copy and number your pages. At the top of your manuscript include: Title of the piece, your name, your contact information/email address, word count, if the piece has been published before and if so when and where. On all subsequent pages include, in a footer or header, your name and the title of your piece.

Please! Please! Follow these formatting rules — and we guarantee to read and get back to you faster about your submission!

1. Single space between sentences — get rid of the double spaces!

2. No paragraph indents

3. For our U.K. friends: Use double-quotation marks — not single

4. For our American & U.K. friends: Our spelling is based on the Canadian Oxford Dictionary. That means: centre, neighbour, colour, defence etc . . . , but realize, etc . . . Set your SpellCheck to Canadian English.

5. We follow Canadian Press style for numbers: spell out one to nine, use numbers for the rest.

6. Leave a single space on both sides of a long dash.

Please don’t do these things when submitting
When reviewing submissions, these are the things that drive us crazy and make us want to reject submissions out of hand.

1. Not following our manuscript formatting guidelines. Please do so.

2. Inconsistent author name. We get submissions that have one name on the email address; something different on the signature in the cover letter; yet another variation in the manuscript file; and if we accept it, yet another name in their contributor’s bio. Which one do we use on the website?

Now, we understand that the email address might be a little different, but there is no excuse for the others. We don’t care is you want to use a nickname or a shortened form of your name, or initials (with or without periods and spaces in between), or a first name and an initial, or you want to include your middle name, or hyphenate your last name  — just use the same variation throughout. If you want to use a pseudonym than tell us that in no uncertain terms. Please, please be consistent!

3. Inconsistent manuscript titles. Sometimes the file name in the Submittable queue is different from the title mentioned in the cover letter or the title line in the file. This happens often with novel excerpts—please use the title of the novel, and again, please be consistent.

4. Multiple submissions of the same story (with slight variations). Please don’t do this — it’s very confusing. Or if you must, withdraw the older version from the Submittable queue. And, please, we know writers are forever tinkering with their copy, but once a piece has been accepted, do not send us a newer “better version”. We accepted the version we read originally.

When we’ll get back to you
CommuterLit.com knows that you don’t want to wait six months to find out whether your manuscript is accepted for publication. So we’re going to do our best for you.

Upon submitting, you’ll be notified by return email that CommuterLit.com has received your manuscript. If you’ve paid for a critique, our aim is to email you that critique by no later than three weeks. And if you’ve paid for a query letter critique, we’ll get back to you in a week.

Email notification of acceptance/rejection of all submissions (those who have opted for the critique service and those who have not) will be sent in two to three months.

Let’s be clear, whether or not you are accepted for online publication by CommuterLit.com is not dependent on whether you have paid for a critique. Though, in all honesty, manuscripts scheduled for a critique will probably get read first.

Find out more about CommuterLit.com‘s Editorial and Critique Services

Find out more about Why you should write for CommuterLit.com

Find out more about CommuterLit.com‘s Rewrite Workshops


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