Cicada, ceramic-tile mosaic
© by Michael Sweere
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.
Please note that this information is updated periodically.
Issue 8 Reading Period for General Submissions:
15 May 2017 through 15 July 2017
Launch Date: 1 September 2017
Please scroll down for detailed guidelines...
NOTE: Reading period for general submissions may close
depending upon number of works received.
Ongoing Call for Haibun Stories and Tanka Tales
15 May 2017 through 15 July 2017
- Electronic Submissions via Submittable Only: We have no
staff to process paper submissions, and emailed submissions have gotten lost
in our publisher’s back-logged inbox, to her chagrin. (She received a
mind-boggling 1200 emails re KYSO Flash during the four-month period
from April through July 2016, and found time to write only 800 in reply.)
(The link to our Submittable site appears at the bottom of this page.)
- Please submit original, unpublished writing.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.
- 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 and Best Small Fictions which allow
nominations of reprints.
- Payment: While we cannot offer payment for rights to publish
works accepted via general submissions, we do award cash prizes (and
publication) to winners of our themed competitions. Plus, each author and
artist whose work is selected for our print anthologies will receive one
complimentary copy. We may also offer authors and artists several copies for
purchase at a “Friends and Family” discount.
- Visual Arts:
We accept submissions of black and white as well as color artwork, up
to five pieces in each submission.
Images should be medium- to high-resolution.
Please note that our print anthology is 6 x 9 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 art of all shapes, orientations, and
aspect ratios, please keep our specifications in mind.
We will contact artists for permission, if we later need to crop or
otherwise modify artworks in order to meet our printer’s specs.
- Simultaneous submissions are accepted for general submissions
only—but not for our competitions. Please let us know upfront if a
general submission is under consideration elsewhere. And please
withdraw the work right away if it’s accepted by another venue. Imagine
how disappointing it can be for us to invest time and care in evaluating and
choosing work, only to discover when you reply to our acceptance letter that
the work’s been placed elsewhere already.
- Response time varies from a few days, up to four months during
As of 5 November 2016, Duotrope listed 41 reports for KYSO Flash
filed within the previous 12 months, which resulted in these response data: a
minimum of zero days to respond [i.e., within hours], a mean average of 33.4
days, a median of 21 days, and a max of 86 days. We’re grateful
to those who took time to submit 41 reports. And, of course, we would
love to see more writers reporting to Duotrope their experiences with us
during the next 12 months. At the risk of stating the obvious, more reports
will increase the accuracy and usefulness of response data. ☺
- Multiple submissions are accepted. Although this policy may
change without notice, there is no limit on the number of submissions from
each contributor. The admin fee of $5 (USD) for general submissions covers
a max of five pieces uploaded via Submittable. Each additional submission (of
up to five pieces) must include an additional admin fee.
- 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 2,500 words for reviews),
and using forms such as these:
TIP: As we consider submissions to our journal, awards such
as the Pushcart, Best Small Fictions, 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
⚡ Prose poems
(up to 500 words each)
⚡ Flash fiction
(501–1,000 words per piece)
⚡ CNF, essays, craft essays,
interviews, memoirs, etc.
⚡ Reviews (up to 2,500 words
each, 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
⚡ 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
- 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 an eight-word
title (for example). 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 (which can run up to 2,500 words long),
our thousand-word max is “set in stone” and must
include title as well as text, because (1) the title is part
of the work, and (2) we may want to nominate the work for competitions
with strict rules about word counts.
By the way, one-word titles are fine with us.
- Subject Matter May Be Eclectic:
⚡ The mundane and
⚡ The ordinary and
fiction, as well as the surreal in moderate measure.
⚡ Think outside the
catacomb now and then—surprise us with a little sunshine.
- ⚡ Six 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. If you prefer to read works in print instead, we have
four anthologies available.
- ⚡ We also offer a list of
Works We Like. These pieces are published elsewhere online, and
the list links directly to each one.
⚡ 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.
⚡ No individual haiku, senryu,
tanka, and cherita, except within longer forms such as haibun and tanka
prose, or within haiga (the combination of poetry and visual art).
Linked haiku, senryu, cherita, and/or tanka sequences will also be
⚡ No pornography, although we
will consider erotica and works which contain explicit sexual themes
and language. (Examples:
Morning Wood and
I Prefer Pussy by Alexis Rhone Fancher,
This Close by Dorianne Laux, and
First Sex by Sharon Olds.)
- ⚡ No evangelism, religious
proselytizing, or spiritual intolerance, although spiritual themes are
encouraged, and literary works from all spiritual traditions are
- ⚡ 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, brief quotations 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,
Night, which won first prize in our Triple-F Writing Challenge.
- Manuscript Formatting:
- ⚡ 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 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.
- ⚡ REVISED (15 NOV
2016): Author’s name and contact information 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.
- ⚡ REVISED (15 NOV
2016): Please do NOT include a bio with your submission. This
will help ensure impartiality as your work is considered. We will ask
for bios later from authors and artists whose works are accepted.
- ⚡ 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
- ⚡ 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.
- 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
To that end, we will gladly read hundreds and hundreds 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!