What type of writing do you accept? Do you accept writing in any genre?
BACKWORDS Press accepts new and original submissions of either short prose or poetry. Short prose may be from either the fiction or creative nonfiction genre. We do accept hybrid work within the short prose or poetry genres. However, due to extreme space considerations, we cannot accept writing of any other genre.
Do you accept previously published work?
No. Please submit new and original work only. Submissions containing plagiarized or previously published work will be discarded.
Is there a fee to submit?
Yes, there is a $3 fee to submit to BACKWORDS Press. The money raised from submissions goes directly to the selected writers in the form of contest winnings.
What should I include in my submission?
Please see the embedded submission form. The form should include: (1) your name, as you wish it to appear in print; (2) your email address; (3) the date of your submission; (4) a word document attachment with your poetry or prose piece. Please title the file name of the attachment with “Contest Submission,” followed by the title of your piece. PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME IN THE BODY OF YOUR WORD DOCUMENT ATTACHMENT OR AS PART OF THE ATTACHMENT FILE NAME.
Can I submit two pieces? Do you accept submissions containing more than one work?
At this time, we are only accepting submissions that contain a single piece, new and original. Submissions containing more than a single piece will be returned to sender, with a request that the sender limit their submission in accordance with our guidelines; submissions not conforming to our guidelines will be discarded at the close of the submission period.
Can I submit writing from more than one genre?
No. Please limit your submission to only one work. Submissions containing more than a single piece will be returned to sender.
Do you accept simultaneous submissions?
Yes. If you are submitting simultaneously, please mark your submission “simultaneous” in your introductory email; should you wish to withdraw your submission at any point, be courteous and let us know.
When can I submit? When do you accept submissions?
You can submit to the Fall Issue anytime between June 1 and July 30. The deadline for Fall Issue submissions is 5 pm PDT on August 1. Spring Issue submissions can be sent between January 1 and February 28. The deadline for the Spring Issue is 5 pm PST on March 1.
When are submissions due? What’s the deadline to submit?
Fall Issue submissions are due at 5 pm PDT on August 1. Spring Issue submissions will be due At 5 PM PST on March 1. Submissions sent to us after the reading period will not be accepted, but are encouraged to re-submit for our next issue.
What file extensions do you accept?
Word .doc or .docx only. Please do not submit using another format. Unformatted and illegible submissions will be discarded.
Should I title my attachment in a certain way?
Please title the file name of the attachment with “Contest Submission,” followed by the title of your piece. PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE YOUR NAME IN THE BODY OF YOUR WORD DOCUMENT ATTACHMENT OR AS PART OF THE ATTACHMENT FILE NAME.
What format or font/size should I use for my submission? Do I need to use any specific margins?
Please look at past issues to get a sense of “fit.” For readability, try to keep your font size at 48-point. Of course, font sizes vary depending on typography, length of lines, and design elements. If your piece is selected, the Press Curators will work with you and a designer on formatting and overall look before your piece goes to press.
Why can’t I include my name on the document containing my submission?
BACKWORDS Press prides itself on artistic integrity. We solicit the best new and original short prose and poetry regardless of a writer’s publication credits and history, reputation, or lack thereof. That is why all submissions are read blindly.
But, blind submissions are not necessarily the most equitable process – what’s your reasoning?
We acknowledge that our editors are not free from bias. Bias is inherent in the systems that have perpetuated a literary history which highlights and celebrates a mostly white and male-dominant position and aesthetic. Therefore, to compensate for our human blind spots, we reach out to communities of color, queer writers, women writers, and experimental writers prior to the submission period and invite them to send us their work. This is to ensure that the pool of submissions is as diverse as possible, all while staying committed to the blind reading process explained above.
If I don’t include my name on the document containing my submission, why do you need to know what name I prefer to use?
Your name is included in the 300 character count, including piece, spaces, and title. We need to know your name to determine if your whole submission will fit on our shirts and tote bags.
Do I need to submit a bio when I send my submission?
No. Bios are requested from writers after they are selected for publication. We will also request a bio photo at that time.
When are your reading periods?
Our Press Curators read for the Fall Issue during the month of August. Spring submissions will be read in March.
When do you announce the winners?
Winners are announced in the month prior to the Issue release. For the Fall Issue, announcements will be made during the month of September, with the issue release in October. The Spring Issue winners will be announced in April, with the issue release in May.
How do I know if I’ve been selected to be featured? When do you contact the winners?
Winners will be contacted in September if being featured in the Fall Issue. Spring Issue winners will be contacted in April.
Will the BACKWORDS Press Curators edit my featured piece? Will I be able to edit my featured piece before it goes to print?
Generally, no. The Press Curators will not edit your piece, beyond any minimal formatting changes required by our aesthetic, such as font, size, or margins. You may be allotted time to edit your featured work on a case-by-case basis before it goes to print.
Is there any compensation offered to your featured writers?
Yes! Our featured writers receive two (2) complimentary t-shirts featuring their piece, in their chosen short-sleeve unisex size (XS/S/M/L/XL) and color (Black/Blue/Grey/White). Winners will also receive a $ prize for their selected piece. BACKWORDS Press also pays its writers 10% of every t-shirt sold featuring their piece.
How long will you sell a particular issue, and will I get compensated for the whole duration?
Each issue will be on-sale for essentially one calendar year, though this may be subject to change. The current Fall Issue will be retired as soon as next year’s Fall Issue is released; Spring Issues will work in the same manner. As long as we continue to feature your work, you will receive 10% of each t-shirt sold. BACKWORDS Press reserves the right to reprint old issues, etc., and our featured writers will also be paid (on the same scale) in the event of a re-printing.
If my piece is selected to be featured, when will I receive compensation?
Compensation can be dispensed in a single lump sum or in installments. If your piece is selected, our Press Curators will contact you regarding your preferred schedule of compensation.
How do you pay your writers? I thought you were a for-profit LLC.
BACKWORDS Press is indeed an LLC. We pay our writers by using a freelance writing contract. Terms such as “contest” and “winner” are primarily decorative in nature, but our writers aren’t exactly “employees” either. Rather, they are independent working artists who likely have jobs and careers all their own. We exist to help extend their reach.
What if I get rejected? Will you contact me to let me know?
Yes. We will contact you within 2-4 weeks following the end of the reading period for the current issue.
Do you provide edits or notes on rejected work?
No. Due to time constraints, we cannot provide marginalia on rejected work.
If I get rejected, can I resubmit the same piece at a future date?
Yes. You may submit the same piece during a future submission period. We recommend editing your piece again if it’s been previously submitted and rejected.
Please use the following information as a resource for submitting your work to our Curators at BACKWORDS Press. Have further questions after reading the FAQ? Contact