SUBMISSIONS

Chop! Chop! Cleaver's free submissions portal is currently open! Huzzah! 

Free submissions will remain open until July 31. They will close from August 1-August 31 (except the "Radio Plays" category, which will remain open.) If you have not heard back from us on your submission, it is likely being held over for consideration for a future issue. For inquiries, thwack us an email at editor@cleavermagazine.com.

In addition to free submissions year-round with occasional time-outs to catch up, we offer two other submissions options: 

  • In all genres, a voluntary $10.00 "tip-jar" fee will guarantee an expedited answer within two weeks. 
  • For fiction, flash, and nonfiction, a voluntary $25.00 "tip-jar" donation, which guarantees a two-week expedited answer plus a detailed personal response from one of our chief editors. We are not able to offer critiques for poetry at this time. 

Please note that while tip-jar submissions do not increase your piece's chances for selection, they do go a long way to help us sustain our quarterly magazine filled with thwackingly fine cutting-edge fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork.  We are grateful for you help!

But, you do not need to pay a fee to submit to Cleaver. Our free submissions portal is open at least 8 month a year. We are closed briefly in February, May, August, and November. We receive over 2500 submissions a year with an acceptance rate of slightly under 7%. 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 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 jgmcclure@cleavermagazine.com. Don’t submit craft essays through this portal.
  • If you are interested in writing reviews of small and independent press books, send a query to editor@cleavermagazine.com.
  • 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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Cleaver is seeking plays and monologues for our new Radio Play Division. Works should be approximately 7-10 minutes in length. If you are unclear of length, figure approximately 1 minute per page. The plays need not necessarily be formatted as radio dramas. All pieces should be self-contained and have a complete arc, (i.e., what changes in the world, what changes with the characters?)

Selected scripts will be fully produced by Cleaver using professional actors and will be featured on the site as downloadable podcasts. The scripts will be published along with the podcasts and a short essay by the playwright. Playwrights will receive an honorarium of $100 upon production.

TIP: Before submitting, familiarize yourself with the material Cleaver publishes so you will have a sense of our aesthetic. 

To submit: Upload a copy of your script and a brief bio/introduction. 

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

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 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 J.G. McClure: jgmcclure@cleavermagazine.com)

Ends on 7/31/2016$ 10.00 - 25.00
$ 10.00 - 25.00

During our free submission period you are invited to 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 and $25 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.) $25 submissions will receive a personal critique from the editors.


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

$10.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks. 
$25.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks plus a personal critique from a Cleaver editor. 

Ends on 7/31/2016$ 10.00
$ 10.00

During the period of free submissions, you are invited to 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. 
$25.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks plus a personal comment from a Cleaver editor. 

Ends on 7/31/2016$ 10.00 - 25.00
$ 10.00 - 25.00

During the period of free submissions, you are invited to 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 and $25 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.) $25 submissions will receive a personal critique from the editors.


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. 
$25.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks plus a personal critique from a Cleaver editor. 

Ends on 7/31/2016$ 10.00 - 25.00
$ 10.00 - 25.00

During the period of free submissions, you are invited to 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 and $25 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.) $25 submissions will receive a personal critique from the editors.


$10.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks. 
$25.00 submissions will receive a response within two weeks plus a personal critique from a Cleaver editor. 

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

(Craft essays submissions should be emailed directly to editor J.G. McClure: jgmcclure@cleavermagazine.com)


Do you love to read contemporary fiction? Poetry? Essays? Are you a literary tastemaker? Cleaver needs readers whose sensibilities click with our own to help us thwack! through our growing submissions pile 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: 2-6 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. 

Here's how to apply:
  • Upload your resume and a writing sample in the main genre you'd like to work with.
  • 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.