MockingOwl Roost Submission Guidelines

The MockingOwl Roost is currently closed to all other submissions. We will open for a MAGAZINE submission period from July 16 to 31, and holiday content for the BLOG on August 1 (Autumn Equinox, Rosh Hashanah, Halloween, Christmas, Eid al-Ahda, Diwali, Yom Kippur, Oktoberfest, New Year’s, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, etc.). Please review themes carefully below, as well as potential holiday topics before submitting during these periods.

Submissions for Our Editorial Calendar for 2024/2025

We will be publishing the following issues and content throughout 2024 and 2025.

  • The MockingOwl Roost Blog (near-monthly submissions)
  • Dragon Scales and Other Tails – All Things Dragons (publishing February 15, 2025) – OPEN July 16-31
  • Elementary, My Dear Marple – Cozy Mystery (publishing March 15, 2025) – OPEN July 16-31
  • All the World’s a Stage – All Things Theatre/Performance (publishing May 15, 2025) – OPEN July 16-31
  • Yonder Goes the Tumbleweed – Old West Historical Fiction (publishing July 15, 2025) – OPEN July 16-31
  • Among the Distant Stars – Star-themed Science Fiction (publishing August 15, 2025) – OPEN July 16-31
  • Breath of Nature – Nature-themed Poetry Special (publishing October 15, 2025) – OPEN July 16-31
  • Time Warped My Love – Time Travel Romance (publishing December 15, 2025) – OPEN July 16-31

We Will Publish These Issues in 2024

  • Beauty – Triannual Standard Issue (July 15, 2024)
  • Fantasy Fiction Special Issue #2 (August 15, 2024)
  • The Winner’s Circle (September 15, 2024) – CONTEST WINNERS ONLY
  • Domestic Violence Awareness Special (October 15)
  • Music & Light – Triannual Standard Issue (December 15, 2024)

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 disparage 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 or graphic emotional detail. If such content is necessary for the story, it should happen “off page” or in allusions only.
  • Anything objectifying of human beings.
  • Any works containing nudity. Because we work with minors and have readers who are minors, we do not publish nudity in images or videos.
  • Anything that has been published by another publication or publishing house. The exceptions to this are self-publication on your own blog or social media, or former publication that is now defunct.
  • Anything 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.
  6. Wellness for Creatives – We’re embarking on a new blog series centered around well-being, mental health, and self-care for creatives. Please indicate your pieces is intended for this series in the “anything else” or comments section of the form.

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 longer than 3 pages should be submitted in a separate document.
        2. On all submission files, include your full name and the title of the work.
        3. 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.
        4. 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. Please prepare a 100-word or short bio for your submission. These, along with a headshot or image to represent self, should be submitted on the form. If you wish to remain anonymous, simply make a note of this.
    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: Every piece submitted is considered for all current themes, the blog, and special projects. Editors determine the best placement for each accepted work.
    11. Response times: We guarantee a response within 1 month 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.