MockingOwl Roost Submission Guidelines

Here at the MockingOwl Roost, we’re learning how to live into a lifestyle and creative process that involves healthy rest, lower stress levels, and fewer self-imposed restrictions. Because of this, we are shifting our submission period to a single, extended submission period for the year. Our new submission period will last for 3 months and will be used for commissioning content for the entire coming year.

Because of this change in the middle of our calendar, we are beginning this now and commissioning for the remainder of 2023 and all of 2024 from June 1 to August 31, 2023. During this time, we will be commissioning all non-staff contributed works for the MockingOwl Roost blog, special issues, and triannual issues as listed below.

Please see publication dates below for further details on what this looks like. 

Editorial Calendar for 2023-2024

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

The MockingOwl Roost is now open for submissions!

The forms are open from June 1 to August 31 for our new annual submission period. We are commissioning pieces for all of the following during this time.

June 1-21 ONLY: (Please tick box on submission form) Overcoming (publishing August 15, 2023)

June 1-August 31:

  • Unexpected Delights (Publishing December 15, 2023)
  • The MockingOwl Roost Blog (Publication TBD based on editorial process)
  • Holiday pieces (all holidays) – Blog or issue, depending on holiday
  • Joy (Publishing April 15, 2024)
  • Poetry Special 2024 (Publishing May 21, 2024)
  • Beauty (Publishing August 15, 2024)
  • SPECIAL ISSUE: Fantasy and science-fantasy FICTION ONLY (Publishing September 1, 2024)
  • Music & Light (Publishing December 15, 2024)

Please read guidelines below to learn more.

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 (unless they break our “we don’t publish” guidelines). 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!

  • Flash fiction (250 words or fewer): Any genre
  • Short fiction (under 5,000 words): Any genre
  • Lengthy short stories and serialized fiction: If you have a serialized story or work of fiction longer than 5,000 words, please send them along. We love long-running, well-connected stories.
  • Opinion: On just about any topic out there
  • Poetry: Long and short form
  • Visual artwork: Any genre
  • Song lyrics: Any genre
  • Faith related: Any religion welcome. All works must be written respectfully of other faith viewpoints
  • Recipes: If they are part of a well-crafted narrative
  • Personal essays: Have an interesting essay? Submit the full manuscript.
  • Book, music, film, and television reviews: Any genre except those listed in our “don’t publish” section below
  • “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. If such content is necessary for the story, it should happen “off page” or in allusions only.
  • Because we work with minors and have readers who are minors, we do not publish nudity in images or videos.
  • Nothing hate-related or bigoted (racist, sexist, anti-religion or anti-religious group, anti-political party, anti-LGBTQIA+, etc.).

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, Unconventional Choices, 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, Quokkas, and Black Swans.
  5. Fitness for Creatives – Fitness and wellness stories (including personal essays) geared towards fellow creatives in the audience. Be sure to check what we’ve published already in the series before you send us your piece. Examples: 5 Hikes for Inspiration and Yoga Poses for Creatives.

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 or in an upcoming special issue. 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 on a few conditions. Because of the many complications that accompany simultaneous submissions, we will accept them on conditions that
      1. If the piece is accepted elsewhere before we commission, you will let us know immediately.
      2. Once we have accepted a piece for publication, you will inform others that the piece is no longer available for publication.
      3. Once we begin the editing process, you may no longer withdraw the piece from our publication calendar. If issues arise due to legal reasons or other legitimate reasons, we will discuss the procedures at this time.
    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 15 poems, 45 images (including web comics, photography, and artwork pieces), 5 videos, 15 essays, 15 short stories/serialized fiction works, or 15 other works at this time, with a combination of no more than 20 written works. All poetry may be submitted together in a single file. All flash fiction or micro essays may be submitted together in a single file. All other works should be submitted in separate files.
        3. If you do not follow these limitations in submissions, you will be asked to resubmit following the guidelines or will automatically be rejected, depending on the editor’s discretion.
    5. You must submit your bio and headshot (or image to represent yourself) at time of submission. If you do not, we may reject your submission automatically or ask you to resubmit with the bio and headshot. There are no exceptions to this as we cannot publish a work without these. If you prefer to remain anonymous, please indicate this in the place where your bio should go on the submission form.
    6. 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.
    7. We only consider works that have been published on personal blogs and social media or have not before been published.
    8. All works should be submitted via the submission forms, each in a separate file. Please fill out the submission form here.
    9. 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 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.
    10. Magazine versus blog: We are not able to commission every piece that we love for the triannual 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 or in a special issue. Occasionally, works are unique and inspiring enough that we create special publication pieces around them, such as The Sleeper of R’Lyeh, which inspired a special mini issue.
    11. Response times: We guarantee a response within 3 months of the submission period’s closure and frequently respond far sooner (occasionally, same day, even!).
    12. If you have something to submit that doesn’t quite fit any of our stated expectations, feel free to submit to us anyway! We like breaking molds around here. The exceptions are anything that breaks our “do not publish” guidelines.
    13. Please note: We close the submission forms when our submission periods are closed. If you miss the period, you may submit during the next period, even if the piece was themed to the previous issue.
    14. 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.
    15. 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!
    16. Note: We never share your personal information with anyone outside of the editorial staff.
    17. 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.