Welcome to Electric Literature's submissions hub! 

We have a number of categories, including Essays, Novel Gazing, Recommended Reading, and The Commuter. Please scroll down for information and guidelines on the category you are interested in. 


The Commuter—open for POETRY from June 5th (12:00am) through June 12th (11:59 pm) 

The Commuter is our new home for poetry, flash, graphic, and experimental narratives. It publishes weekly on Monday morning, and has already showcased the likes of Noy HollandLulu MillerMeg PokrasssShelly Oria and Nelly Reifler, and more. 

For poetry submissions, please keep the following guidelines in mind:   

  • Submit 3–5 poems in a single document, and please limit the page count to 8.
  • Please submit all genres in .doc, .docx, or PDF.
  • If your work is selected, we can offer a total payment of $100.

When we are looking for poetry and graphic narrative, please keep the following guidelines in mind:

  • For Prose, submit 3–5 poems in a single document, and please limit the page count to 8.
  • 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, or mixed media narrative. For comics, each piece should contain a minimum of 3 panels. The total page count of your submission should not exceed 15 pages.

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.


Recommended Reading General FictionClosed.

Submissions to Recommended Reading are closed, but members of Electric Literature can submit year-round. Join today!

  • Recommended Reading publishes fiction between 1,500 and 10,000 words. (For fiction shorter than 1,500 words, check for open submission periods to the Recommended Reading Commuter.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted but please notify us immediately if a piece is accepted elsewhere.
  • Upon acceptance, we can offer authors $300 for publishing rights.
  • During general submissions periods, writers may submit one piece per opening period. (This does not apply to year-round submitting members. For more information on members submissions, please visit the members hub.)

Novel Gazing—open for submissions from Thursday, March 7th (12:00am) through Monday, March 24 (11:59pm). 

Novel Gazing is Electric Literature’s personal essay series on the way that stories and reading shape our lives.

For this round of Novel Gazing, Electric Lit’s personal essay series about the way stories shape our lives, tell us about a book (or movie, or show, or other narrative media) that shifted your opinion. This could be a huge change — the book that convinced you God existed, or didn’t; the play that altered your political perspective; the movie that convinced you to have kids — or a small one. Tell us about the stories that revolutionized your outlook on your family, on your career, on your own creative output. Tell us about the opinions you thought were unshakeable, until you encountered the story that turned everything upside down.

You may want to read some earlier Novel Gazing essays to get a feel for the series. Some recent favorites include essays about moving on from grief with the help of an AIDS memoir, about learning the wrong lessons from 200-year-old erotica, and about realizing that the romances of young adult literature aren’t written for you.

  • Essays should not be longer than 4,000 words or shorter than 800
  • Payment is $100 per piece. 
  • Non-women are welcome to submit their work.
  • Read more about our vision for this series here and here.


Essays—CLOSED

We’re particularly interested in pieces that examine the intersection of the literary experience and other creative endeavors: film, fine art, music, video games, science, tech, architecture. 

  • Payment for essays is $100. 
  • Length is up to you, but we suggest aiming for 1,500–4,000 words.
  • To see what kind of essays we have published, visit our site

Please title your submission in a way that highlights its connection to the world of literature, the role of narrative in our lives, or the power of storytelling. Essays that do not reflect directly on the world of literature, books, or the role of narrative in our lives cannot be considered. 


Electric Literature has partnered with Academy for Teachers to host the 2020 “Stories Out of School” Flash Fiction Contest

Teachers have one of the most fascinating, difficult, and important jobs on the planet, and their work days are filled with stories. Yet teachers seldom appear in fiction. This annual contest was created to inspire honest, unsentimental stories about teachers and the rich and complex world of schools. This year, the Academy for Teachers has partnered with Electric Literature to publish the winning entry. 

There are two criteria for submissions: 

  • The story’s protagonist or its narrator must be a teacher. 
  • The story must be between 6 and 749 words long.
  • Use 12-point Arial font and double space. Put your name, email address, phone number, and the story’s word count in the upper left corner. You must be 18 years or older to submit.

Submissions open July 15 and the deadline to submit is October 1.

The first-prize winner will receive $1,000 and the story will be published online in The Commuter, our home for brief, diverting, and innovative writing. The second-prize winner will receive $500. 

Susan Choi will judge this year’s contest. She’s the author of five novels: My Education, A Person of Interest, The Foreign Student, American Woman, and, most recently, Trust Exercise. She is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and the PEN/W.G. Sebald award. 

Electric Literature