Cleaver's free submissions portal is open! 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.comFree submissions will be closed from May 1- May 31. 

We receive about 2200 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 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 what we hope is a helpful critique from one or more of our editors. Sorry, we are not offering tip-jar submissions for poetry at this time. 

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 8 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 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
  • If you are an artist or graphic novelist looking to be featured, contact
  • One submission per genre at a time, please.
  • 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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