A Northwest Based Literary Journal

Submission Guidelines

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PoetryFictionFlash FictionNonfictionFlash NonfictionSubmission ProceduresBook Review RequestWithdrawals

At Tahoma Literary Review, we are writers ourselves, and we appreciate clear, candid submission guidelines. In the spirit of helping writers know whether their work may be a good fit for TLR, we offer detailed comments about our editorial preferences below. Beginning with the submission period for Issue 9, submitters will be able to download free pdf and epub versions of our current issue, or purchase the print version for only $5, when the submission is completed.

Please note that the editors read all submissions themselves. We select all the work to be published solely from the submissions queue, not via solicitations. Our response time is between one and three months. We ask that previous contributors to the Tahoma Literary Review wait one full reading period after publication of their work before submitting to us again.

We ask for first North American serial rights; all rights revert to the author upon publication. We sometimes wish to reprint work on our web site; if so we will ask for special permission to do so.

Looking for our information on payment? Find our payment, exposure, and fee policies here.

  • What Kelly is looking for in Poetry
    • In each submission, I am looking for a single, exquisitely written poem that surprises, challenges, and moves the reader. In your submission of 3 to 5 poems, please send a range of work rather than linked poems or poems that require extensive context to be best appreciated.
    • I am interested primarily in poems in the lyrical, formal, and narrative modes. I am less likely to be enthusiastic about experimental styles (though poets should feel free to take the preceding statement as a challenge to change my mind with finely crafted experimental work). Prose poems are welcomed with the caveat that I look primarily for lyrical qualities in prose poetry.
    • I’m not looking for work in translation at this time.
    • Long poems are especially welcome. Poems six or more printed pages in length will be compensated at twice our customary payment rate for poems.
    • Writers should feel free to submit work that ranges from the serious to the humorous, from the political to the personal, from the pop cultural to the historical, from the public to the private. While travel, nature, found, and ekphrastic poetry are less likely to appeal to my editorial tastes, excellent craft is my primary consideration.
    • I encourage writers from all backgrounds to submit work; I am committed to selecting poems from a range of writers who represent a diversity of gender, age, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and physical ability or disability.

  • What Joe is looking for in Fiction
    • Tell me a story in a way it’s never been told before; make me question what I believe. I’m mostly interested in stories that exhibit imaginative settings, unusual or marginalized characters, and high stakes.
    • I am always interested in well-written work, but I prefer you engage my intellect as well as my heart. For example, I love literary works of extraordinary depth. Show me characters driven by lifetimes of experience and complex motivations.
    • Precision in language is extremely important. Many stories fail not because the idea or the characters are weak, but because the language is vague, or the word choice does not create the intended image in the reader’s mind.
    • I will also consider science fiction, magical realism, and other so-called genre works, but only if they are highly intellectual in nature (think Borges and Calvino). That means they must be much more than spaceships, scary monsters (Cthulhu included), ripped bodices or other tropes. Note: If you are unsure of what magical realism is, see this explanation. I’d love to see some slipstream too.
    • Experimental writing is also welcome. If you are unsure of what experimental writing is, check out these examples in DoubleRoom by Jennifer K. Dick and Robert Lopez.
    • I am not particularly interested in stories that could be considered children’s or YA literature.
    • Word limit for fiction is 2,000 to 10,000 words. Want to submit something even longer? Query me using our Contact form.
    • Like Kelly, I believe in representing writing from diverse backgrounds, physical aspects and geographies.
    • Fiction submitters may select the Feedback Option to receive an assessment of their work, or a full critique. Complete details are listed on our Submittable page.
    • Finally, I try to respond to all submissions in approximately one month after they’re received. So if you don’t hear from me by then, it probably means your submission has been moved to a higher round of consideration.

  • What Yi Shun is looking for in Nonfiction
    • Be brave. Send me the stuff that you never thought would get published anywhere. Send me the thing you have to take a deep breath over before submitting or running by your critique group. I’m always interested in hearing different viewpoints from different sectors of society, and work in different forms, too: I’ll read lyrical essays; experimental essays; narrative nonfiction.
    • Be professional. Polish your work; make sure it’s clean, and somewhere below the 6,000-word mark. (It’s okay to swear in your work, though. That’s not the kind of “clean” I mean.) I won’t read anything that’s remotely misogynistic, racist, or bigoted.
    • Be concise. Ranting, raving, or emotive logorrhea were never good ways to get important ideas across, so leave those on the cutting-room floor. I believe in brevity, and know it is possible to get to the point in less than 200 words, so if you have flash nonfiction, I’m happy to read that, too.
    • I’m not looking for the following: Book reviews, academic work, or cultural criticism.
    • Submitters may select the Feedback Option to receive my assessment of their work. Complete details are listed on our Submittable page.

  • What the editors are looking for in Flash
    • We are looking for pieces that combine the lyricism of poetry with the impact of short story. Use of language is as important to us as sense of story. Send us stories that surprise, challenge, and move the reader.
    • You may send 1 or 2 pieces of flash fiction or flash nonfiction, with a total word count of not more than 2,000, in your submission.
    • Please do not send prose poems for this category. Prose poetry should still be submitted as poetry.
    • The total word limit is 2,000. This is a strict limit, since we consider 2,000+ words a short story. For flash, we prefer between 500 and 1,000 words.
    • As with our other categories, we encourage writers from all backgrounds to submit work; we are committed to selecting work from a range of writers who represent a diversity of gender, age, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and physical ability or disability.
    • Submissions of flash are eligible for the Feedback Option. Complete details are listed on our Submittable page.

  • Submission Procedures
  • All submissions must be made via our submissions manager. We do not accept submissions via post or email. If this limitation presents a hardship, please contact the publishers.
  • Please use Times or Times New Roman font, 12 point type with one inch margins. Please don’t use the dreaded Courier font or anything scripty or obnoxious.
  • Word or pdf files only, please. It’s helpful to have your name and contact information on the first page of your submission. Subsequent pages should include your last name and the page number in the header (but we won’t get upset if you don’t).
  • For fiction submissions, please submit one short story or novel excerpt between 2,000 and 10,000 words, double-spaced.
  • Novel excerpts may be under contract to a publisher or agent for future publication. In such cases we will need written permission from the contractor before publication in TLR.
  • For poetry submissions, please submit 3 to 5 poems in a single document. There are no length restrictions on individual poems.
  • For nonfiction submissions, please submit one nonfiction piece of between 2,000 and 6,000 words, double-spaced.
  • For flash fiction or flash nonfiction submissions, please submit 1 to 2 pieces in a single document. The word limit is 2,000 total.
  • We do not accept previously published material. This includes publication in any public venue, including print, web, and personal blogs.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted.
  • Prose Withdrawals: If your work is accepted elsewhere while it is still under consideration at TLR,withdraw it via Submittable and we will offer to open your submission so you can upload a different file without having to pay the submission fee.
  • Poetry Withdrawals: If you need to withdraw a single poem from consideration, please notify us via our Contact form. (Do not use the Submittable “withdraw” feature unless you wish to withdraw all of your poems).
  • Do Not Post an Editing or Withdrawal Request on Submittable: Submittable does not alert publications to these notes, so we won’t see them until we review your submission. Use email or our Contact form to request a change.
  • Please wait to hear back from us before submitting again.
  • At this time, we do not publish screenplays, translations, or reviews. Check back for changes to this policy, as we will likely add more submission categories in the future.
  • Cover letters are welcome, and we enjoy reading them. But don’t tell us what your submission is about, tell us what you’re about.
  • The fee to submit poetry and flash fiction is $4.
  • The fee to submit fiction and nonfiction is $5.
  • If these submission fees present a hardship, please contact publisher (at) tahomaliteraryreview (dot) com, and we will try to help.
  • A submission that includes the feedback option is $7 for fiction and nonfiction, and $6 for flash. A submission that includes a full critique is $35-$45, depending on length.