MockingOwl Roost Submission Guidelines

We welcome works from both emerging and established authors and particularly encourage unrepresented artists and writers to submit.

Before submitting, please thoroughly read these guidelines and follow them closely. Submissions that do not follow the guidelines will either be asked to resubmit following the guidelines or automatically rejected.

Submission Forms

New submitters can find their form here.

Returning submitters will find their form here.

Editorial Calendar for 2021/2022

Themes are intentionally vague to leave the concept up to the artist/writer’s interpretation.

  • Issue I, Volume 4 – Community
  • Issue II, Volume 1 – Exploration
  • Issue II, Volume 2 – Discovery
  • Issue II, Volume 3 – Introspection
  • Issue II, Volume 4 – Yugen (Japanese) a profound awareness of the universe that triggers feelings too deep and mysterious for words.

Standard Submission Timelines

We are currently open for submission on Issue 1, Volume 4: Community. The submission form will close at midnight CST on August 15.

Open Submission Periods for the Themed MockingOwl Quarterly Magazine:

  • Volume 1 – October 1 to November 15
  • Volume 2 – January 1 to February 15
  • Volume 3 – April 1 to May 15
  • Volume 4 – July 1 to August 15

Open Submission Periods for the MockingOwl Blog (Unthemed):

  • Period 1 – February 16 to March 31
  • Period 2 – May 16 to June 30
  • Period 3 – August 16 to September 30
  • Period 4 – November 16 to December 31

Blog Series

  1. Things I Wish I Had Said – Is there some moment in time that lives in your memory, haunting you for what was left unsaid? Is there a critical argument you walked away from unsatisfied because of the words you couldn’t form on your tongue? Do you have regrets over never saying goodbye to someone you love? Did you leave a question unasked that could have saved your butt? This is where you can say those things. Must have a positive message ultimately. All guidelines on kindness toward one another must be followed. Should be between 400 and 800 words, full manuscript submitted. One sample in the series include Question Me an Answer and Dear Pastor Who Blamed Me for Being Abused.
  2. Positivity Corner – 300-450 words on a small aspect of life that makes life better. Some samples in the series include My Matcha Ritual, Writing Games, and The Power of a Pony Bead.
  3. Literary Travel – Trips you’ve made or plan to make because of the destination found in a book you loved. Manuscript should be between 800 and 1200 words. Example: The Isle of Arran.
  4. My Favorite Things (Photos/artwork) – This is an artwork/photography series of your favorite things. Images must be reasonably well-crafted and high-resolution for consideration. (I.e. These are not pixelated or blurry cell phone shots, though they don’t have to be professional.) Each photograph must be accompanied by a 300+ word artist statement about the photo/work. Samples in the series include The Tiger and Black Swans.

What We Publish

We have some specific things we’re looking for, but even if your work doesn’t fit these exactly, send it anyway. We’re dedicated to helping writers get published in almost any genre or type, even if it doesn’t fit our “norm.” We love unique!

  • Short fiction (under 5,000 words): Any genre except those listed in our “don’t publish” section
  • Flash fiction (250 words or fewer): Any genre except those listed in our “don’t publish” section
  • Opinion: On just about any topic out there
  • Poetry: Long and short form
  • Visual artwork: Any genre except those listed in our “don’t publish” section
  • Song lyrics: Any genre except those listed in our “don’t publish” section
  • Faith related: Any religion welcome. All works must be written respectfully of other faith viewpoints
  • Recipes, if they are part of a well-crafted story
  • Personal essays: Have an interesting essay? Tell us about it in a pitch or submit the full manuscript.
  • Book, music, film, and television reviews: Any genre except those listed in our “don’t publish” section below
  • Lengthy short stories and serialized fiction: If you have a serialized story or work of fiction longer than 5,000 words, feel free to pitch us. We love long-running, well-connected stories.
  • Columns: Have something useful to say on a specific topic in the art world? Have a thought-provoking column idea? We’re open to column pitches as well.
  • “Craft” articles: tips, tricks, and useful suggestions for crafting creative works, be they fiction, nonfiction, painting, sketching, theatre, etc.
  • Artist profiles: well-known or otherwise, we love hearing about artists and sharing their works with the world. This includes authors, performing, visual, graphic, and other types of creators.

What We Don’t Publish

Do not submit any of the following:

  • Any works, visual or otherwise, that are disparaging of any person, group, nation, or etc.
  • Anything containing graphic violence, excessive blood, or gore.
  • Anything containing erotica or rape. A piece may reference such topics to make a point or share a personal experience, but nothing shall be fleshed out in graphic detail.
  • Nothing hate-related or bigoted (racist, sexist, anti-religion, anti-political party, anti-LGBTQIA+, etc.).

General Guidelines and Useful Information

    1. There is no reading fee for submissions to the MockingOwl Roost.
    2. Themes: For the quarterly issue, we nearly exclusively publish works that meet the theme. However, we may determine that the piece works for a future issue or may be publishable for the blog. We will accept serials and the occasional non-themed piece for the quarterly, as well. So, if you’re not sure it fits, submit anyway – we’ll let the editors decide!
    3. We accept simultaneous submissions. If we accept your submission for publication, we expect you to withdraw from other publications until the publication period has passed (the specified issue for the quarterly magazine or timeline given by the commissioning editor for the blog). If your submission is accepted elsewhere before we accept, and/or you choose to publish elsewhere, we will not hold it against you – just please inform us of the change of availability for your submitted work.
    4. We gladly accept multiple submissions, with these limitations:
        1. Each piece shall be in a separate file, labeled with title and author.
        2. You may submit up to 10 poems, 15 images, 5 essays, or 5 works of fiction per issue. If submitting various types of works in a single issue, you may submit up to 7 items.
    5. We claim First Rights (the right to publish your story for the first time, with a 60-day period wherein the work is not published elsewhere) and Non-Exclusive Archival Rights (meaning we have the right to keep a copy of the story on our website/magazine). Writers and artists maintain all rights to their works.
    6. We only consider works that have been published on personal blogs and social media or have not before been published.
    7. All works should be submitted via the submission forms, each in a separate file. but one submission. If you are a new contributor, your form is here. If you’re a returning contributor, please fill in this form.
    8. We respond to every submission, whether we accept it for publication or not. It may take a little time, but our goal is to always provide some insight into rejections to help authors and artists improve their writing/creating or pitching skills. Sometimes works are well-written/created as is, but do not fit our publication. If that is the case, this will be noted as well.
    9. Magazine versus blog: We are not able to commission every piece that we love for the quarterly publication. However, we may be interested in publishing your work on the blog or we may determine the piece would be suitable for a future issue of the quarterly magazine. If either of these options arise, they will be discussed with you.
    10. Response times: Submissions during the reading period will be reviewed and responded to within one month of the submission period closing. Pitches will be the first priority to allow the writer appropriate time to submit drafts or pitch elsewhere. Though we will respond to every submission/pitch, we will not be able to give feedback on everything.
    11. If you have something to submit or pitch that doesn’t quite fit any of our stated expectations, feel free to pitch us anyway! We like breaking molds around here.
    12. Please note: We close the submission forms when our submission periods are closed. If you miss the period, you may simply attempt submission for a future issue or submit for the blog, which will open shortly for submissions.
    13. Current pay rates: Since we are in the initial stages of starting this publication, we are unable to pay anyone for their submissions at this time. However, that will be changing as soon as we finalize some funding. The guidelines will be updated at that point. We believe that all artists should be paid well for their work – so we will be as generous as possible if/when we have a budget.
    14. If we let you know that a piece doesn’t work for us but we invite you to submit/pitch again, please do! We really mean it!
    15. Note: We never share your personal information with anyone outside of the editorial staff.
    16. We give all authors/artists a short bio (100 words or less), social media plug (often many), and link(s) to whatever website or social media account(s) you would like. Please be sure to include any and all links you’d like shared in the submission form.
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