Submission Guidelines

Welcome to Choeofpleirn Press' Submission Guidelines!

We publish four different journals a year but have specific deadlines for different types of works throughout the year. We also sponsor creative contests in each general category of potentially publishable work: poetry, fiction, nonfiction, drama, and art. See the Creative Contests page for more information.

Be certain to read the What We Are Looking For webpage for more details about our expectations for each genre.

Overall, we accept poetry and art submissions all year long, publishing various pieces in each of the journals we produce. While we accept short fiction at any time, we only publish it once a year in the Coneflower Cafe, which is our Spring journal. We will accept creative essays and scholarly essays at any time, but we only publish these works once a year in the Glacial Hills Review, which is our Summer journal. The same holds for drama; while we accept one-act plays and short screenplays at any time, we only publish them once a year in our journal, Rushing Thru the Dark, which is our Autumn journal.

We will award $100 prizes for the best of each category of creativity: poetry, short fiction, nonfiction, drama, and art, and will name the second and third prize winners in that end of year (aka Winter) journal, the Best of Choeofpleirn Press.

Realize that we accept all submissions to our journals for free, but we charge a reading fee for entering into each contest in order to support and to build the monetary value of those contests. Payment portals for the contests are at the bottom of this webpage.

We will only accept short fiction to be included in the first journal of the year, Coneflower Cafe, until February 28, 2021, but we won't announce the winner of the Ben Nyberg Fiction Contest until the final journal of the year, the Best of Choeofpleirn Press, in December 2021.

We prefer to receive creative nonfiction and scholarly essays between February and the end of May 2021, although we will accept non-contest submissions of such essays throughout the year, but the deadline for submission for those essays for the Phil Heldrich Nonfiction Award is a firm May 30, 2021. The Glacial Hills Review will feature the nonfiction work along with a few select poems and art.

We also prefer to receive the drama submissions between June and August of 2021, although we will accept non-contest submissions of one-act plays and short screenplays throughout the year, but the deadline for submission for entrance into the Susan Hansell Drama Award is a firm August 29, 2021, so we can publish the Rushing Thru the Dark journal by the end of September, 2021.

We will accept photographs (including photographs of other forms of art) and drawings through the year for inclusion in all four journals, but entrants to the Mary Cassat Art Competition must be received by August 29, 2021 to be considered.

We will accept poetry through the year for inclusion in all four journals, but entrants to the Derick Burleson Poetry Award must be received by August 29, 2021 to be considered.

The three top winners of all five competitions will be republished in the last journal of the year, Choeofpleirn Best of 2021, to better showcase all the talent we see. Only the top winner of each general category wins the $100 prize.


Choeofpleirn Press Criteria for submissions in each category:

For poetry, we are looking for poems that display the writer's natural voice and that are as well written as prose. We like poems that contain strong imagery and that often play with metaphor although we are not limited to these things because even poems containing a narrative will work for us. Poems in either an organic form or a traditional form are acceptable. Save your manuscript file with your surname and the words "poetry submission" in the title. Send only three poems (saved in one file) in one submission, and limit your poems to fifty lines or less. Send us your poetry manuscript(s) as one file as an attachment in doc, docx, rtf, or pdf at ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com. Include a cover letter containing a short one-paragraph biography with your submission. If you wish to enter the annual Derick Burleson Poetry Contest, you must pay the $15 contest fee below.

For short fiction, we are looking for stories containing between 3000 and 10,000 words that show originality, subtlety, wisdom, and appeal to broader perspectives, while adhering to typical story qualities (i.e. character development and a clear plot). The stories do not have to be high brow, but should maintain reader interest without resorting to gratuitous violence or fear to keep reader interest and without overtly moralizing its point for readers. Save your manuscript file with your surname and a portion of the work's title. Send us your manuscript as an attachment in doc, docx, rtf, or pdf at ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com. Include a cover letter containing a short one-paragraph biography with your submission. To enter the Ben Nyberg Fiction Contest, you must pay the $20 contest fee below.

For creative nonfiction, we want to see creative personal stories that reflect your own personal experiences in such a way that they provoke understanding in discerning readers. To that end, images much be specific, so that readers can feel they saw, felt, heard, witnessed what you saw, felt, heard, and witnessed. We also accept scholarly essays--from standard forms of literary analysis or persuasive argument to annotated bibliography essays that isolate a particular focused angle of research. No matter which type of essay you choose to submit, limit your work count to less than 15,000 words. Save your work in a file labeled with your Surname and a brief portion of your essay's title or the words "nonfiction submission" as the file name. Send us your manuscript as an attachment in doc, docx, rtf, or pdf at ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com. Include a cover letter containing a short one-paragraph biography with your submission. If you enter the Phil Heldrich Nonfiction Contest, you must pay the $20 contest fee below.

For drama, we want to see your most interesting human interactions with strong dialog and scene descriptions for either your one-act play or your short screenplay. Follow this sample template (right click to open the link in a new window) for creating your drama submissions, which should be fewer than 20 pages for one-act plays and fewer than 90 pages for short screenplays. Save your work in a file labeled with your Surname and a brief portion of your play's title or the words "drama submission" as the file name. Send us your manuscript as an attachment in doc, docx, rtf, or pdf at ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com. Include a cover letter containing a short one-paragraph biography with your submission. Entrants for the Drama Award must pay the $20 reading fee below.

For works of art, we are looking for clear images in your photographs or drawings (which could be of an artwork you created in another medium) that evoke a clear response; titles for the artwork help viewers understand the art (even if the artist does not understand her/his own art). Future writers should have no problem writing 1000 words about your photos or drawings. We ask that you limit your submissions to three images saved as either jpg or png files and provide an explanation of the work in your submission email, so we can easily identify what we are looking at and how you approached the work. Save each image file with your Surname and a portion of the work's title. Send us your images as an attachment in doc, docx, rtf, or pdf at ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com. Include a cover letter containing a short one-paragraph biography with your submission. To enter the Mary Cassat Art Contest, submitters must pay the $15 contest fee below.

See our What We Are Looking For webpage for additional advice.


Other Important Information:

All submissions must be sent to us as attachments, using png or jpg files for art and doc, docx, rtf, or pdf for poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and drama, through our business email: ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com.

Anyone who writes work in Pages should have their work converted to doc, docx, rtf, or pdf. If you choose to enter one of the monetary contests, you must pay the contest fee through the payment portal at the bottom of this page or at the bottom of the Creative Contests page. Do not forget to also email us your manuscript at ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com following the Submission Guidelines above.

We will copyright each journal, but creators of each piece we choose to publish will receive a free pdf file of that published journal. We ask that every winner of each contest allow us publication rights to the winning work for both the original journal it appears in and for the Choeofpleirn Best of issue, published in December of each year.

We will also work with Amazon to create print-on-demand versions of each journal that each creator can purchase to give to friends and family. The Amazon edition be full color to better highlight the artwork.

Only the top winner of each general creative category receives the $100 prize.

We prefer that you do not send us works that are being considered for publication elsewhere, but, should your work be published somewhere else first, please notify us as soon as possible, so we can withdraw your work from our publication process.

Include a short (100 words or less) biography, written in third person (i.e. Jane Doe writes...), for yourself with your submission, including author webpages or blogs, publication history and educational successes, or any other relevant information that you feel you should share with us about yourself. This biography will be published in the same journal that your work appears in, if your work is accepted for publication, so it is another great way for your readers to follow your successes.

Choeofpleirn Press editors are highly opinionated English majors who understand the subjective and competitive nature of publication, but we promise to do our best to read every work as objectively as possible, and will never base our judgment on nationality, race, religion, or gender.

We look forward to publishing outstanding work written by outstanding writers and scholars from around the world.

Whatever you do, keep writing!


Recommendations for NonBinary Characters:

As English professors, we have struggled to teach our students how important number and counting are to American English grammar, but the recommendation of using third person plural pronouns (they/them/theirs) to refer to nonbinary individuals is threatening to create more problems toward that effort. So here are our recommended pronouns writers should use to refer to individual (singular) people in your writing who do not identify as either female or male; note that you can use these singular pronouns, as well, when you want to disguise the gender of the individual you are referring to in your story, poem, or drama:

  • xi = she or he for nonbinary individuals

  • xir = her or him for nonbinary individuals

  • xirs = hers or his for nonbinary individuals

NOTE: We are encouraging these spellings of these new pronouns because of the following history of the X as a symbol of neutrality: First, Americans who converted to Islam took the name X as part of their new names to cancel the "slave name" they were once given. Later, Latinos/as needed a way to more easily express one gender with the word, so chose Latinx to signify any person of Latin American origin of either gender. Now, X has come to signal, not just a change, but a way of conveying a group of people without specifying gender. We debated about using xe instead of xi, but xe could be taken by spelling checkers as a mispelling of axe, so we settled on xi, xir, and xirs to better denote the three forms of singular pronoun in a non-gender specific way. We hope others will follow our example.


Entering the Creative Contests or Purchasing Individual Journals or Subscribing to Choeofpleirn Press for a Year

Use the Paypal payment box below (you can use your credit card, if you prefer by using the black debit/credit button) to submit your payments for the creative contest you would like to enter. Select which creative contest in which you would like to enter your manuscript.

You can also use the Paypal payment box on the Subscription page to subscribe to all four journals for one year or to one journal for four years for $24. Please email us at ChoeofpleirnPress@gmail.com to indicate your subscription preferences. You may purchase individual journals for $6 each. Be certain to specify which journal you want and what year it was published in your email to us.

Thank you for seeking a home for your creative work with Choeofpleirn Press!

If you would like to further assist our publication efforts, but would rather do so anonymously, please donate what you can.