We happily accept simultaneous submissions providing you notify us in a timely manner if a piece is accepted elsewhere with a note in Submittable. We also read blind—only looking at cover letters after reading and deciding upon the piece so do not include your name in the file name or in the document.  

We are currently under a healthy backlog, but if you haven't heard from us within 12 months drop a note in your submission to check that we're still breathing.  

Additionally, all submissions will have an option to receive a few short notes from the editor about the pieces submitted, and suggestions of writers we think you'd enjoy or other magazines you might try with your writing, because hey, we're submitting writers too. Even if your piece isn't for us it might be absolutely perfect elsewhere. A rejection is in no way a value judgement on the piece—it merely doesn't fit into the vision we have for the current issue/s. 

We pay our authors $30 per piece published ($100 for features) and run various contests throughout the year.

Hard Sells: For poetry: Hard end rhyme (but a well disguised rhyme via enjambment is another story), A preponderance of abstractions, Archaic syntactical inversions. That's about it. For prose: Bland writing. Straightforward is fine, and genre writing is fine as long as there's more to it that just a series of events and world building—there should be a 'point' or a reason to read the story or poem other than just being a short diversion. As always, edit ruthlessly and send us your best stuff. 

Writers we admire: Too many to name, but a couple dozen or so would be Campbell McGrath, Kurt Vonnegut, Amy Hempel, Li-Young Lee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Russell Edson, James Tate, Barry Hannah, Denis Johnson, Kim Addonizio, Yusef Komunyakaa, Charles Harper Webb, Dorianne Laux,  Luis Alberto Urrea, David Kirby, Cormac McCarthy, Tobias Wolff, Stephen Dunn, Frank O'Hara, Tim O'Brien, Lydia Davis, Virgil Suarez, Richard Siken, Dean Young, Kay Ryan, Charles Simic, Steve Kowit, Barbara Hamby, Denise Duhamel, Gaylord Brewer, Emma Bolden, Gerald Locklin, Raymond Carver, Theodore Roethke, Marilyn Chin, Nick Flynn, Nick Lantz, Gary Snyder, Flannery O'Connor , T.R. Hummer, D.A. Powell, T.C. Boyle and, oh, I don't know, how about some W.S. Merwin since we're doing the initials. 


Summer Solstice Reading Window 


Summer Solstice/Birthday TINY WINDOW:

On June 20th for the Summer Solstice, and in honor of Coastal Shelf ostensibly turning 1 (and my personal birthday), we’re doing a 1-day submission window. Because we’re so backed up with feedback submissions, this window will not include feedback, and be for just one piece of either flash prose (1000 words and under—hybrid pieces highly encouraged) or one poem (60 lines or under). These pieces, like all others will be read blindly.

There is no theme but I have a list of things I’d like to see: Something quirky/weird/surreal. Something witty. Something with an interesting title. Something that’s ‘love it or hate it’ (you’ve read the journal, we have eclectic tastes). I like the idea of getting an awesome piece of writing for our/my ‘birthday’ (I mean, we’re of course paying the regular $30). Set your calendar alert. Send us something funky and beautiful.

For pieces that have been published in print but not online. 


Submit 1 prose piece under 3000 words or 1-3 poems under 100 lines 

Pay it Forward Submission fees go entirely toward paying authors. Pay it Forward Submissions will also receive more detailed feedback than a standard submission as well as good karma.

Poetry should be under  80 lines. Submit 1-5 pieces.

Fiction/NonFiction should be under 2000 words. Submit up to three (3) short prose pieces, or if they're under 600 words up to six (6). 

Long Form should be just one (1) piece under 6000 words for prose, or poetry 80-300 lines.

Coastal Shelf