Submissions guidelines have been recently revised. Please review carefully.
The official guidelines are always those in the current issue.
Blackbird prefers submissions to come through
Please read the following guidelines before you go to that address to send us your work.
Blackbird is published twice a year. Our reading period is from November 15, 2016 to April 15, 2017. Unsolicited submissions received outside of the reading period will be disregarded.
First, please read what we’ve already published as a guide to the quality of work that is of interest to us, and then submit your own work.
Poetry: Send up to six poems at a time. Single-space, please; set your poem as you want it to appear on the printed page. (If submitting online, put all poems into one document, as the submissions software will not allow you to submit individual poems separately.)
Fiction: Double-space, please. We primarily look for short stories, but novel excerpts are acceptable if self-contained.
Nonfiction: Double-space, please. We primarily look for personal essays, but memoir excerpts are acceptable if self-contained. Unsolicited book reviews and criticism are not considered.
Gallery: Plays are accepted. We do not accept unsolicited visual art work, but if you produce video essays, please query us about your work.
- Send one prose piece or two to six poems at a time, and please submit genres separately.
- Blackbird does not accept previously published work.
- Simultaneous submissions are acceptable so long as they are indicated as such and we are immediately notified upon acceptance elsewhere.
- Translations are welcome so long as permissions have been obtained from the author.
- Online submissions are strongly preferred, though Blackbird will accept submissions by regular mail; mailed submissions may take longer to process.
- We are able to publish long works in all genres, but query Blackbird before you send a prose piece over 8,000 words or a poem exceeding 10 pages.
- Send your submission by using http://www.blackbirdsubmissions.vcu.edu. The text there will direct you how to fill out the provided data fields. Once you have registered with the online submissions system, you will also be able to check in to view your submission, withdraw a submission, or query about a submission.
- Upload only one file, containing one prose piece or two to six poems. If you have a legitimate association with a guest or staff editor or have been previously published in the magazine, you may address that editor by name in the “Comments” box. You should also paste a brief citation of publications and awards (less than 50 words), if any, into the “Comments” box. A longer citation of credits may be included in your cover letter, which should be included as the first page of your submission file. Submissions must be uploaded as a Word (.doc) or rich-text format (.rtf) file. If you are not familiar with this format, simply do a Google search for “Saving files in rich text format.” Mac users, please be sure you save your file so the filename includes the “.rtf” file extension. Any files that don’t adhere to our guidelines will be immediately withdrawn from consideration. More instructions are on the first login page.
- File title should read last name_first name_genre
- When using our online submissions page, please be sure to add Blackbird’s email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) to your spam blocker software so that you can receive correspondence from us.
Submitting via Regular Mail
- Mail your manuscripts in a page-size manila envelope, your full name and address on the outside, to “Editor, Poetry” or “Editor, Fiction” or “Editor, Nonfiction” or “Editor, Plays.”
- Include a cover letter, which should include:
your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number.
the title(s) of submitted work.
- All manuscripts and correspondence regarding submissions should be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) for a response.
- Mail submissions to:
VCU Department of English
P.O. Box 843082
Richmond, VA 23284-3082
Note: Except in special cases, we will read online submissions first, thus your work will move through our process more quickly if you have submitted online.
Expect six months for a decision, longer if you submit just before the summer break. Do not query until at least six months have passed.
If work is accepted for publication, you must provide an electronic copy as a .doc (Word) or .rtf (rich text format) if you have not already done so. Payment is after publication.
All published work will be archived online.
Direct all queries to: