Submission Guidelines


            drafthorse welcomes unsolicited literary manuscripts and visual art.  Work submitted in February, March and April will be considered for the summer issue. Work submitted in August, September and October will be considered for the winter issue.  The next issue of drafthorse will publish in February 2013. 

What we're looking for:
            Our constant theme is “work and no work.”  While we’re open to various interpretations, we expect the subject to be fundamental to your submission in some way.  We are interested in how work, or the absence of it, affects people and communities on an intimate level.  While politics are inescapable, the magazine is not a platform for partisan blunderbussing. We will not consider submissions that do not relate to our theme in any way. For more on this, see our overview.

            We are particularly seeking original fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and visual art.  Fiction and creative non-fiction should be around 3000 words or less although we will consider exceptional longer works.  Prose submissions may include short excerpts from longer works, but an excerpt must stand-alone as a discrete work of prose.  Creative nonfiction may include essays, memoirs, literary journalism, interviews and opinion pieces but nothing overtly political even if we agree with you. Poets should submit up to five poems.

What we don't know we're looking for:
            If you’re a writer, artist, musician, filmmaker, etc. and have a submission that you believe is relevant for drafthorse but doesn’t fit within the guidelines stated above, we encourage you to query us.  We’re interested in various material that may be difficult to classify.  While we don’t accept reviews in their traditional form, we’re open to essays that include in-depth analysis of relevant books, albums, films, etc.  We want to incorporate more music and film in the future, and we’re open to your ideas about how to do that.

            Please submit only one prose piece at a time or up to four poems to [email protected].  Submissions may be sent in the body of your email or attached in an MS Word format.  Prose should be double-spaced.  Poems should be single-spaced.  All work should be submitted in a 12-point font, such as Times New Roman or Arial.

            Include a very short cover letter in the body of your email containing your biographical information and your previous publications, although it’s all right with us if you don’t have any previous publications. 

            Make certain your name and contact information are within the body of your email, as well as on the first page of any attached MS Word documents.  Include the genre and title(s) of your work in the subject line of your email.  If submitting in multiple genres during the same submission period, please do so in separate emails.

            For Visual Arts submissions, please see the additional guidelines below.

            It is our policy to only accept previously unpublished work unless solicited.  Please do not submit previously published material, which means published in other journals—print or online, as well as in blogs, personal websites or anywhere accessible to the general public.

            We're happy to consider simultaneous submissions, with the understanding that you will inform us if a piece is accepted by another publication and is no longer available.  Should that occur, please email us.  Be sure to include the name(s) of your submission and your own name and contact information.

            We are excited to feature known writers and artists who wish to lend their voices to the important subject of work, but we are just as excited to discover new and unknown writers and artists.  So much the better if drafthorse provides the first publication for a strong writer or visual artist.

            We recognize that literature’s job is to examine in an honest, intimate and authentic way how people live and how they respond to obstacles and adversity. In most cases, without that intimate and believable relationship, neither characters nor readers would have the room required to discover potential for redemption  or an opportunity to achieve an epiphany.  Sometimes that close look requires the inclusion of violence, sexual content or strong language in a piece of writing. We are not, however, interested in work that uses these elements gratuitously or for the sake of shock value. 

Response Time:
            We read manuscripts on a rolling basis during our submission periods.  We strive to respond to every submission in a timely manner, hopefully within four months.  If you have not heard from us by that time, please contact us to ensure we received your original submission. All submission responses come via electronic mail.

            drafthorse is not responsible for lost emails or corrupted file attachments, etc. Please do not send additional submissions until you’ve heard back from us.

            drafthorse acquires first rights for publication. Upon publication, all rights revert back to the author. We reserve the right to keep any work that we’ve published available in the drafthorse archives on our website. Should a piece first published in drafthorse be reprinted in another work, we request the later publication include an acknowledgment of drafthorse.

Visual Arts Submissions:
            Visual arts submissions should include a brief artist statement along with 5-10 representative sample images (resolution dpi, dimensions on longest side 1000 pixels) or link to a web portfolio. Visual arts submissions should be sent to [email protected].