SUBMISSIONS 

Cleaver Magazine offers free submissions year-round. You don't have to pay to submit to Cleaver.

If you have a submission still in the queue and have not heard back from us, assume it has been held over for consideration for another issue. For inquiries, thwack us an email: editor@cleavermagazine.com.

We receive about 2500 submissions a year with an acceptance rate of slightly under 8%. Submissions are read by our editorial team in chronological order as we make our way through the queue. The wait time for an answer will vary from a few days to several months, but be assured that we read every submission. 

A voluntary $10.00 "tip-jar" fee will guarantee an expedited answer within two weeks. A voluntary $25.00 "tip-jar" donation will guarantee a two-week expedited answer and personal response, including a critique from one or more of our editors. Sorry, we are not offering $25 tip-jar submissions for poetry at this time, but you can still get an expedited response for $10 (or if you just want to give us a tip of the hat.) 

Paying a fee does not increase your chances for acceptance, but it does go a long way to help us sustain our quarterly magazine filled with thwackingly fine cutting-edge fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork.

But you do not need to pay a fee to submit to Cleaver. We accept free submissions 12 months a year. 

A few general notes:

  • If you submitted a manuscript and have not heard back from us, assume your work is still unread in the queue or is undergoing editorial consideration.
  • For queries about craft essays, contact our editors directly (see http://www.cleavermagazine.com/about/masthead/.) Don’t submit craft essays through this portal.
  • For travel essays, contact our travel essays editor directly (see http://www.cleavermagazine.com/about/masthead/.)
  • If you are interested in writing reviews of small and independent press books, contact our editors direction. (see http://www.cleavermagazine.com/about/masthead/.)
  • If you are an artist or graphic novelist looking to be featured, contact editor@cleavermagazine.com.
  • Please don't send us emailed submissions of poetry, fiction, flash, or creative nonfiction (unless you have been specifically requested to do so by an editor.) Unsolicited emailed submissions are deleted unread. Submissions mailed to our US Post Office box are recycled, unopened.

Poets, if you need to withdraw single poems from a batch submission, please follow these instructions:

  1. Log into your Submittable account and go to your Submissions tab.
  2. Click on the Activity tab.
  3. In the text box tell us which poem(s) you are withdrawing.

General Guidelines

Cleaver accepts simultaneous submissions, with immediate notification if work is accepted elsewhere. Previously published work is generally not accepted but we will occasionally consider work shared on personal blogs/websites or work previously published in a limited print-only edition.

  • Include your name and full contact information with each submission.
  • We'd like to get to know you, so include brief bio.
  • Prose submissions should be single-spaced. We'll still read double-spaced mss, but it's harder for us to read double-spaced mss. through the Submittable interface, so please be nice to our eyes!
  • Please include word count at the top of the document.
  • Please wait to hear back from us before submitting a new unsolicited manuscript.
  • We operate on a butter knife budget and are unable to pay authors for work at this time. In return for your literary labors, we offer respectful and thwackingly stylish curation.

Our response time is generally 2-4 months for fiction, flash, and essays and 2-12 months for poetry. Occasionally we will respond much faster. We have an all-volunteer staff and many submissions, so please be patient.

All rights revert to the author upon publication. If you republish your work in a print or other journal, please credit Cleaver for the first publication.

If you submit to Cleaver you will automatically be added to our list for a free email subscription. If you do not wish to receive a subscription, let us know in your author's note.


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LIFE AS ACTIVISM originated from a need for action, protest, and solidarity. We began this feature seeking works with the theme #ResistTrump. Now we are looking for a broader spectrum of work with social justice themes.

November: “Healthcare in America”

Submit work:

  • that speaks to the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or health-insurance, in general;
  • that showcases the strength of individuals and/or family members overcoming the obstacles associated with mental health; or,
  • that highlights moments or incidents where general self-care was ignored due to lack of funds, lack of access, or lack of public awareness or acceptance.

December: “When the Water Comes…”

Submit work: 

  • that speaks to the power of water, or lack thereof; or,
  • that showcases the ability of individuals or communities to endure or overcome.

January: “Surviving Academia.”

Inspired by a recent podcast shared on NPR.com regarding the growing number of homeless college students in the US.

Submit work:

  • that speaks to the endurance and strength of students forced to overcome the rising cost of education, including adult learners struggling to pay for school and provide for their family;
  • that tackles the topic of decreasing access to livable wages for adjuncts and faculty; or,
  • that celebrates parents and family members who put their own lives and homes on the line to support students.

Submit fiction, flash, and nonfiction up to 1500 words.

Manuscripts should be single-spaced.

Submit up to three pieces of poetry no longer than one page each.

*Literary work only. 

*Rhetorically strong essays are of particular interest.

Click here for more information on submission guidelines.

Submit up to 5 poems in a single document. If you need to withdraw one or more poems in the batch, don't email our editor. 

Instructions for single-poem withdraws:

1. Log into your Submittable account and go to your Submissions tab.

2. Click on the Activity tab. 

3. In the text box tell us which poem(s) you are withdrawing.


Submit one story up to 4000 words. Manuscripts should be single-spaced. Literary fiction only. 

Submit micro-fiction or short essays (up to 900 words). Manuscripts should be single-spaced. 

Submit creative nonfiction) up to 3000 words. Manuscripts should be single-spaced

(Craft essays submissions should be emailed directly to editor Lisa Romeo. More information here.)

You may pay a voluntary submission fee to expedite our reading of your manuscript. Payment does not increase your chances for acceptance, but it does go a long way to help us sustain our quarterly magazine filled with thwackingly fine cutting-edge fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork.

$10 submissions will receive an expedited reading with a guaranteed response (accept or decline) within two weeks (generally faster and often in less than one week.) 

Submit up to 5 poems in a single document. If you need to withdraw one or more poems in the batch:

1. Log into your Submittable account and go to your Submissions tab.

2. Click on the Activity tab. 

3. In the text box tell us which poem(s) you are withdrawing.

$10.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks. 

You may pay a voluntary submission fee to expedite our reading of your manuscript. Payment does not increase your chances for acceptance, but it does go a long way to help us sustain our quarterly magazine filled with thwackingly fine cutting-edge fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork.

$10 receive an expedited reading with a guaranteed response (accept or decline) within two weeks (generally faster and often in less than one week.) 


Submit stories up to 3000 words. Manuscripts should be single-spaced

$10.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks. 

You may pay a voluntary submission fee to expedite our reading of your manuscript. Payment does not increase your chances for acceptance, but it does go a long way to help us sustain our quarterly magazine filled with thwackingly fine cutting-edge fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork.

$10 submissions will receive an expedited reading with a guaranteed response (accept or decline) within two weeks (generally faster and often in less than one week.) 


Submit micro-fiction or short essays (up to 900 words). Manuscripts should be single-spaced. 

$10.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks. 

You may pay a voluntary submission fee to expedite our reading of your manuscript. Payment does not increase your chances for acceptance, but it does go a long way to help us sustain our quarterly magazine filled with thwackingly fine cutting-edge fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork.

$10 submissions will receive an expedited reading with a guaranteed response (accept or decline) within two weeks (generally faster and often in less than one week.) 

Submit creative nonfiction) up to 3000 words. Manuscripts should be single-spaced.

Do you love to read contemporary fiction? Poetry? Essays? Are you a literary tastemaker? Cleaver needs readers and editors whose sensibilities click with our own to help us thwack! through our growing submissions pile and to copyedit and proofread the pieces we accept.

Editorial interns read and vote on submissions, help us proofread the issue before it goes live, and write at least one book review. Time commitment: 6-10 hours/week (or more if you would like.) We can work with your college or university to provide academic credit for a semester-long internship at Cleaver. 

If you are past the "intern" stage and would like to be considered for our editorial staff, use the editorial internship application, but let us know in your cover letter that you are applying to be part of our regular staff.

Here's how to apply:
  • Upload your resume and a writing sample in the main genre you'd like to work with. Let us know other relevant skills including your familiarity with web platforms, and other tools. (Don't worry, technical savvy is not a prerequisite, but if you have it, we're thrilled to know.)
  • Write a cover letter telling us about yourself and why you'd like to be on the Cleaver team. Be sure to explain which genres you're comfortable evaluating and editing.