Thanks for thinking of us as a home for your work! Unsolicited submissions are the fossil fuel that keeps the Barrelhouse moped puttering along on the side of the literary highway.
Magazine Submission Guidelines
Please read these instructions before you submit. We know we aren’t reinventing the wheel here, but it will make it easier on all of us if you have a general sense for what we’re looking for and how we’d like to get it.
We accept submissions through the Submittable online submissions manager. That’s the only way we accept submissions.
No previously published work.
There is no maximum length, although we tend to publish stuff shorter than 8,000 words
Please submit only one piece at a time. Except for poetry. You can submit up to five poems. Everybody else — just one!
We pay $50 to each contributor to our print issues, as well as two contributor copies. So far, online contributors are paid primarily in karma. All contributors are also promised free beer, if we ever run into you in the flesh. If you don’t believe us about the free beer, ask around a little bit. We are frequently tipsy and imprudently generous.
We accept simultaneous submissions — you would have to be insane to be sending your stuff out to one place at a time, right? Seriously. We hope you’ll tell us as soon as possible if you place the work elsewhere, though.
It will probably take us two to three months to get back to you. We try to do that faster, but there are few of us and many of you.
About electronic files: Please only send us word or rich-text (.rtf) files. Seriously. If you send something in a file format that we can’t read, it greatly reduces your chances of publication. For poetry, please submit 3-5 poems as a single document.
Nonfiction Guidelines: novella length, now through march 1, 2017
For Barrelhouse issue 17, we are seeking submissions of non-fiction of novella length (here roughly defined as being in the range of 18,000-35,000 words). We want non-fiction pieces that dig deep, and take their time in exploring a topic. We want pieces that are long with a purpose, that demand the extra space to unfold and that would be diminished by being cut to fit the parameters of (most) online publishing.
As always, we require that essays we publish deal with popular culture in some way. That doesn’t mean you have to write a movie review, but it does mean we won’t publish your summer camp essay, unless Dee Snider was your camp counselor, or maybe you got into some serious games of Magic: The Gathering with your camp friends.
We are especially interested in pieces that will take liberties with the form, engage in hybrid forms, and aren’t afraid to get a little weird. Though we hope this doesn’t discourage people from submitting more traditional narrative pieces. We are choosing to leave all of this a little vague because we want to be surprised and honestly don’t quite know what to expect.
If you force us right now to define one element of non-fiction that gets us most excited, we will tell you that it’s a unique, engaging voice, one that makes us want to spend a lot of time inside the head of a smart, insightful person who can surprise us and maybe make us laugh. If you force us right now to define one other element of non-fiction that gets us excited, then we will tell you it’s feeling like we’ve been invited into some new world we knew nothing about but now we don’t want to leave. If you ask for another element, we’ll say: hey, just read the journal.
So send us your unclassifiables, those pieces that are too short for a book, too long for most journals, but still urgent, compelling, and interesting.
As always, we are eager to read submission from writers of color, LGBTQIA writers, and writers from other marginalized groups.
There are no submission fees. Contributors will be paid a rate higher than our usual rate, $150-200. The deadline is March 1.
PLEASE NOTE: During this period, we are exclusively seeking longer works. If you have a great short piece or a full-length book manuscript, we appreciate your interest, but it’s just not what we’re looking for this time.
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