KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
“Flash isn’t a fad, it’s an art; and while I hope people can have fun with it, its pursuit should still be taken seriously.”
— Tara L. Masih, editor of Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction
Cicada, Mosaic Art by Michael Sweere
Cicada, ceramic-tile mosaic
© by Michael Sweere

Submission Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in submitting your work to KYSO Flash.

Publisher Clare MacQueen takes to heart the advice from Poet’s Market: “Submission Guidelines are pure gold for the specific information they provide.” Thus, this page offers a vault-full of details which we hope you will find helpful.

This information is updated periodically.

These guidelines are for submissions to the KYSO Flash online journal. Please note that KYSO Flash Press is not looking for book manuscripts at this time.

Issue 12 (Fall 2019) Submissions Period:

1 June 2019 thru 31 July 2019

Launch Date: 1 September 2019

NOTE: General submissions may close early depending on volume received.

Flash-Length Literature Needed:

Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Hybrid Forms

(See genres and forms under Item 9 below,
and the list of restrictions in Item 13.)
Please scroll down for detailed guidelines...
See also our Ongoing Call for Haibun Stories and Tanka Tales.

  1. Electronic Submissions via Submittable Only: We have no staff to process paper submissions, and, to our publisher’s eternal chagrin, emailed submissions have gotten lost in her back-logged inbox!

    (The link to our Submittable site appears at the bottom of this page.)

  2. Please submit original, unpublished writing. If works appear anywhere else for folks to read and view, whether in print or electronic form—including on author websites, public sites such as Fictionaut and Facebook, and in blogs—then we consider them already published.

  3. Reprints of published works may be solicited by invitation.

    We do consider republishing in order to give good works the greater exposure they deserve. However, reprints generally will not be included in our annual KYSO Flash Anthology, unless our editors have nominated them for awards such as the Pushcart Prize, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfiction which allow nominations of reprints.

  4. Payment: While we cannot offer cash payment for rights to publish works accepted via general submissions, we do award cash prizes and publication, both online and in print, to winners of our themed competitions. Plus, each contributor whose work is selected for reprinting in our annual print anthology will receive one complimentary copy (postage paid). For a limited time after the release of each anthology, we also offer folks a chance to order extra copies at a “Friends and Family” discount.

  5. Visual Arts:

    •   We consider general submissions of black and white as well as color artwork.

    •   If possible, images should be medium-resolution (200 ppi). Lower-res images may not print well in the anthology.

    •   Please note that our print anthology is 6x9 inches, portrait orientation, and we prefer not to rotate images to fit the page.

    •   In addition, the “content column” at our website can accommodate images up to 450 pixels wide.

    •   While we will gladly consider artworks of all shapes, orientations, and aspect ratios, please keep our specifications in mind.

    •   We will contact artists for permission if we need to crop or otherwise modify artworks in order to meet our printer’s specs.

    •   For Issue 12, please feel free to submit up to seven artworks via this link, beginning on the first of June 2019:
      Submittable Home Page

  6. Simultaneous submissions will be considered—except during our contests. Please be professional by letting us know upfront if your work is under consideration elsewhere. And please withdraw the piece(s) right away when accepted by another venue. Imagine how disappointing it can be for us to invest time and care in evaluating and choosing your work(s), only to discover when you reply to our acceptance letter that it (or they) have been placed elsewhere already.

  7. Response time varies from a few hours up to 90 days.

  8. Three categories of general submissions are available via our Submittable page:

    •   One piece for $2: Within this category, only one work may be uploaded within a single file. There is no limit on the total number of single-piece submissions from each writer, as long as each submission is accompanied by payment of two dollars.

    •   Up to three pieces for $3: A total of three works, in any combination of the genres we publish, may be uploaded within a single file. There is no limit on the total number of triple-piece submissions from each writer, as long as payment of three dollars accompanies each submission of up to three works.

    •   Up to seven pieces for $5: A total of seven works, in any combination of the genres we publish, may be uploaded within a single file. Under this category, we will consider only one submission of up to seven pieces.

  9. What We’re Looking For: Polished, evocative literary works that balance “music and meaning” (to borrow from poet Richard Hugo) within a thousand words max (or up to 2,000 words for critical reviews and craft essays), and using forms such as these:

    •  Prose poems

    •  Micro-fiction (up to 500 words each)

    •  Flash fiction (501–1,000 words each)

    •  CNF, essays, interviews, memoirs, etc.

    •  Reviews and craft essays (2,000 words max, including footnotes)

    •  Fables, allegories, and parables, whether light or dark, written for adults

    •  Hybrids such as haibun, haibun stories, haiga, tanka prose, and tanka tales; for specific guidelines and tips, please see Ongoing Call for Haibun Stories and Tanka Tales

    •  Ekphrastic works, in every genre we publish: fiction, nonfiction, lineated and prose poetry, hybrids such as haibun and tanka forms, and visual arts

    •  Poetry, both free verse and formal, that travels the middle way between transparency and obscurity; i.e., accessible but with a measure of mystery

    TIP: As we consider submissions to our journal, awards such as the Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, Best Microfiction, and Best of the Net loom over the decisions we make. We look for works that Knock Your Socks Off, that is, prize-worthy material. Regardless of the genre, we cherish a unique voice, fresh language, and the sly use of literary devices such as metaphor and irony. We hope to be side-swiped, poked in the ribs, and otherwise smitten by an arresting idea, a compelling narrative, an exquisite lyric, or a moving account, all of which thread the perfect line between the personal and the universal.

  10. Word counts do not include author’s bio and other identifying information, but are limited to text and title of each piece, and any footnotes from the author.

    •   Notes from the editor, publisher, and/or webmaster may appear with their own word counts, which do not affect the word-count of the piece itself. Numbers for any notes added by our editorial team will appear under the stats for each work (at the upper-right corner of the white content column of the web-page).

    •   Titles Do Matter! We occasionally receive submissions with a word count of “about a thousand,” only to discover that the author did not factor in, say, an eight-word title. Please be aware that we may decline such works, simply because we’re too busy to correspond with folks about which words to trim.

    •   For all genres except reviews and craft essays (which can run up to 2,000 words long), works must be no longer than a thousand words max—and the word count must include the title as well as the text, because (1) the title is part of the work, and (2) we may want to nominate the work for competitions that have strict rules about word counts.

    •   By the way, one-word titles are fine with us.

  11. Subject Matter May Be Eclectic:

    •  The mundane and the marvelous...
    •  The ordinary and the extraordinary.
    •  Verisimilar fiction, as well as the surreal in moderate measure.
    •  Think outside the catacomb now and then—surprise us with a little sunshine.

  12. Examples:

    •  Ten issues of KYSO Flash are freely available online, no subscription necessary, and reading them will give you a good idea of what we’re looking for.

    •  We also offer a list of Contemporary Works We Like. These pieces are published elsewhere online, and the list links directly to each one.

  13. Restrictions:

    •  No limericks, unless integral to a larger work.

    •  No gratuitous violence: remember, less is more.

    •  No “hate lit” (such as racial & gender-based rants).

    •  No children’s stories; our target readers are adults.

    •  No hard-core fantasy, horror, romance, or sci-fi, though we happily consider fabulism in moderation.

    •  We rarely publish individual haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka, or cherita. We prefer those that appear within longer forms such as haibun and tanka prose, or within haiga (the combination of poetry and visual art). Linked poems and sequences of the aforementioned forms of micro-poetry are happily considered.

    •  No pornography, although we do publish erotica and works that contain explicit sexual themes and language. (Examples: Alexis Rhone Fancher’s Morning Wood (in KYSO Flash, Issue 2) and I Prefer Pussy (in KF-6); see also This Close by Dorianne Laux, and First Sex by Sharon Olds, published elsewhere.)

    •  No evangelism, religious proselytizing, or spiritual intolerance, although spiritual themes are encouraged, and literary works from all spiritual traditions are welcomed.

    •  No works, except for critical reviews and craft essays, that contain copyrighted material created by third parties—unless also accompanied by a copy of the permission agreement between author and copyright holder. Copyrighted material refers to quotations, lines from poems, song lyrics, photographs of paintings and other artworks, etc.

      To reiterate, third-party quotations, with full attribution, are acceptable in critical reviews and craft essays.

    •  No gratuitous use of obscenities and vulgarities: Every word counts in short forms. Often, there’s little room for profanity. Of course, an occasional “fuck” can be quite useful and appropriate, in more ways than one. And “shit” has become all-purpose. But when such words are overused, they can weaken the work.

      For a skillful example of balanced and appropriate usage of profanity, please see Tara Laskowski’s micro-fiction, Ladies Night, which won first prize in our Triple-F Writing Challenge.

  14. Manuscript Formatting:

    •  NOTE: Author’s name, contact info, and bio should NOT appear on submitted works, but should be entered in the appropriate boxes provided by Submittable. We prefer to read “blind” and cannot do so if we recognize the name or reputation of the author.

    •  An 11- or 12-point, sans-serif font such as Verdana is easiest to read online. Please, no serif and script fonts. Fancy fonts fatigue the eyes and the brain, as confirmed by usability studies. However, if a specific font is integral to the layout of your work, then please send us details in a brief cover letter.

    •  For the most part, cover letters are not needed. Of course, you’re welcome to include a brief note if you prefer—but please do not explain your work upfront or, worse, spoil any surprises in it by giving things away in a cover letter. Upfront explanations can create bias in the reader, which may or may not work toward the writer’s favor. We strongly prefer that the work be allowed to speak for itself.

    •  Manuscripts should include at least one-inch margins.

    •  After the title of each piece in your document, please include in brackets the genre or general category (flash fiction, memoir, CNF, prose poem, haibun, etc.). If experimental or mixed, then kindly specify which genres or sub-genres form the hybrid.

    •  Manuscript pages should be numbered sequentially.

    •  Double space prose works, except for prose poems, which may be single spaced. Haibun and tanka forms may be single spaced as well.

    •  Submit all forms of lineated poetry with line breaks and other formatting as you would prefer the piece(s) to appear onscreen or in print.

  15. Our shameless ambition? For our online visitors’ viewing and reading pleasure, we aim to offer a minimum of 100 memorable works each year, or enough content to fill the soft-cover KYSO Flash Anthology each December.

    To that end, we will gladly consider scads of submissions as we search for the editors’ Holy Grail, those gems that will make us weep and holler and laugh, or even speak in tongues, all in admiration of their creators.


So please, Knock Your Self Out and send us your best work.
We look forward to it. Thank you!

Submittable Home Page

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