Welcome to Electric Literature's submissions hub!
We have a number of categories, including Essays, Recommended Reading, and The Commuter. Please scroll down for information and guidelines on the category you are interested in.
Looking for member submissions? You received an email with the members only submission links when you joined. If you can't find that email or believe you never received it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include the full name associated with your membership so we can confirm your subscription.
The Commuter Prose, Poetry, and Graphic Narrative Submissions — CLOSED for new submissions
The Commuter is our home for poetry, flash, graphic, and experimental narratives. It publishes weekly on Monday morning, and has showcased the likes of Caroline Hadilaksono, Aleksandar Hemon, Jonathan Lethem, Lindsay Hunter, Tahirah Alexander Green, and Julia Wertz.
Please keep the following guidelines in mind:
- For Prose, submit one or more pieces, either standalone or connected, in a single document. The total word count should not exceed 1500 words. We encourage writers to push boundaries.
- For Poetry, submit 4–6 poems in a single document, and please limit the page count to 8. Keep in mind that due to our digital platform, not all poems may render exactly as they appear in a PDF.
- For Graphic Narrative, we are interested in both traditional and non-traditional forms of visual storytelling. Submit up to 3 pieces of narrative illustration, comics, mixed media narrative, or genre-negative oddments. For comics, each piece should contain a minimum of 3 panels. The total page count of your submission should not exceed 20 pages.
- Please submit all genres in .doc, .docx, or PDF.
- Please submit only once per category.
- Work previously published in any form cannot be considered.
- Please include your email address.
- If your work is selected, we offer a total payment of $100.
- Writers with a submission pending with Recommended Reading may still submit to The Commuter.
All submissions will be accepted through our Submittable page. For a sense of the kind of work we publish, check out recent issues of The Commuter, our 280-character contest winners, and Recommended Reading’s 300th issue.
For candid advice from our editors on how to make your poems, flash, graphic, and experimental narratives stand out, watch our video "How to Get Published in The Commuter."
Recommended Reading General Fiction Submissions — CLOSED for new submissions
- Recommended Reading publishes fiction between 2,000 and 10,000 words. (For fiction shorter than 2,000 words, check for open submission periods to The Commuter.)
- Simultaneous submissions are accepted but please notify us immediately if a piece is accepted elsewhere. Work previously published in any form cannot be considered.
- Response time is six to eight months.
- Upon acceptance, we can offer authors $300 for publishing rights.
- During the general submissions periods, writers may submit one piece per period. (This does not apply to year-round submitting members. For more information on member submissions, please refer to the welcome email you received when you signed up as a member or reach out to email@example.com.)
- Writers with a submission pending with The Commuter can still submit to Recommended Reading.
- Please do not submit a story already previously rejected by Electric Literature, even if the story has been revised (unless you've been invited to do so by an EL editor).
Cultural Criticism Essays — Pitches for essays of cultural criticism may be submitted year-round via email
- For greater accessibility, Electric Literature does not require full drafts for submissions of cultural criticism. Instead, please send a detailed pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Pitches should describe the subject matter of the essay and give a sense of the argument you plan to make or the story you plan to tell. For more information watch our salon on how to pitch Electric Lit
- Subject matter should be linked to cultural property, such as: books, writing, narrative media (e.g., TV or film), fashion, food, music, or visual art
- We welcome thoughtful considerations of new releases, overlooked classics, and childhood favorites
- Essays of cultural criticism may braid personal narrative with analysis or critique
- Requests for Electric Literature to cover your book or your client’s book are not considered pitches
- If your pitch is time-sensitive or news-responsive, please indicate it in your subject line
- Please wait at least two weeks to send a follow-up email
General Nonfiction Essays — CLOSED for new submissions
- Submissions must be full drafts of personal essays submitted via Submittable
- While there are no restrictions on form or subject matter, submissions should center narrative and consider what it means to essay; in other words, write to interrogate, investigate, adventure, and introspect
- Submissions must be between 2,000 and 6,500 words in length
- Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know immediately if a submission is accepted elsewhere
- Previously published work will not be considered
- Response time is approximately six months
- Writers may submit once per submission period, but writers can have active submissions across other EL categories. (This does not apply to year-round submitting members. For more information on member submissions, please refer to the welcome email you received when you signed up as member, or email email@example.com.)
- Upon acceptance, we can offer authors $100 for publishing rights, with 90-day exclusivity
- For more information on what we’re looking for, please watch our salon on EL’s General Nonfiction Program
Manuscript Consultations — OPEN December 1 to December 31, or until the submission cap of 30 is met
Up to 30 writers may enroll to receive a comprehensive manuscript review, with detailed notes, and a video call with an EL editor. Before enrolling, please review the full description of the manuscript consultation, as well as our roster of editors (viewable here).
- We have 30 available slots, with 5 slots reserved for EL members at a 5% discount. The remaining 25 slots will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Learn more about becoming an EL member here.
- Enrollment begins at 7 AM PST on December 1, 2023 and closes at midnight PST on December 31, 2023, or when the 30 slots have been filled.
- After you purchase the manuscript consultation here, we will send you a private Submittable link to submit your manuscript.
- Once you have purchased a manuscript consultation, your slot is secured, and you have until January 31 to submit your manuscript.
- To purchase a manuscript consultation as a gift, simply forward the confirmation email that contains the submission link to the gift recipient.
This opportunity will also serve as an important fundraiser for Electric Lit, a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Proceeds will be used to pay staff salaries, writer fees, and help us continue to edit, nurture, and publish over 500 writers annually. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Recommended Reading, EL’s weekly fiction magazine, publishes one story a week: a mix of original work, forgotten classics, and forthcoming excerpts, each with a personal foreword by today’s best writers. Readers must commit to reading ten stories per week, ranging in length from 2,000 to 8,000 words.
- The Commuter, EL’s weekly magazine of flash fiction, poetry, and graphic narratives, publishes one piece of original work per week, as well as occasional forthcoming excerpts. Readers must commit to reading ten pieces of flash prose or poetry per week.
- EL publishes a selection of original creative nonfiction nearly every day of the week on wide-ranging topics, including but not limited to culture, literature, industry, craft, and personal narrative. Readers must commit to reading ten essays per week, running in length from 2,000 to 5,000 words.
Electric Literature receives a large volume of submissions in all categories, and a committed corps of volunteer readers is essential to helping the editors find new, unknown, and/or overlooked talent.
All reader positions are volunteer and require a commitment to complete reading assignments on a weekly basis for approximately six months. Readers will work remotely and on their own schedules (as long as they meet the weekly deadline). Current readers are not allowed to submit their own work for consideration in the category they are reading in.
- Reading ten pieces per week, ranging from 2,000 to 8,000 words for Recommended Reading and 2,000 to 5,000 words for essays. Submissions for The Commuter vary in length, but a poetry submission typically contains three poems or two to three pieces of flash fiction.
- Providing concise but thorough responses (one to two paragraphs) for each submission, with a clear YES or NO recommendation for each.
- Meeting weekly reading deadlines, and clearly communicating with editorial staff when scheduling conflicts arise.
The ideal applicant is:
- An avid and attentive reader
- A proactive and responsive communicator
- Self-motivated and able to meet deadlines
- Able to express themself clearly in writing
- A regular reader of the category who is familiar with its back catalogue
- An educational background in literature and/or professional experience in literary criticism, editing, and creative writing is a plus, but not required
- An active participant in their local literary scene, and an avid reader of contemporary writing
This is a volunteer position that requires a commitment of approximately six hours a week for six months, with an opportunity to renew. Readers will work remotely and on their own schedules (as long as they meet the weekly deadline).
Current readers are not allowed to submit their own work for consideration in the category they are reading in. Discussion of submissions outside Electric Literature is strictly prohibited, and will result in immediate termination.
For a sense of the kind of submissions you’ll be reading, visit our website and take a look at literary magazines and essays.
If you are interested in reading for Recommended Reading, please submit your resume and a two-paragraph response/critique of a story published in Recommended Reading. If your resume is selected, the application process will also include a reading test.
If you are interested in reading for The Commuter, please submit your resume and a one-paragraph response/critique of a piece of flash fiction or poetry published in The Commuter.
If you are interested in reading nonfiction essays, please submit your resume and a two-paragraph response/critique of an essay published on our website. If your resume is selected, the application process will also include a reading test.
Applications will be accepted year-round, and we will review and take on new readers as needed.