Submission Guidelines

Down & Out: The Magazine is open for submissions, but WAIT! Please read these guidelines FULLY before you send anything! The better you understand what we’re looking for before you submit, the better for all of us. Especially our staff.

First, and always, we’re looking for QUALITY stories. It sounds obvious, but give serious thought to this. As long as there have been fiction magazines, especially paying ones, there’s been the idea of new authors to “SUBMIT! SUBMIT! SUBMIT!” The only way you can guarantee your work won’t get accepted is to not submit it, right? Wrong!

There’s a better way to get rejected—send something before it’s ready, before it’s quite up to professional standards, before it’s been adequately proofed, before someone other than yourself or a close relative likes it. Send a manuscript before it’s ready and that’s what gets noted against your name in our files….

So bearing that in mind, here are a few rules, including a recap of the above:

1) Quality stories are a must. Please do not send a story on a whim and a prayer. If I had a dollar for everyone who told me their stories were “ready” only for me to read them and not get past the third paragraph….. So: make sure your stories are ready. If you don’t know what that means, they’re not there yet.

2) Please no vignettes, pastiches, cliches, or ripoffs of other people’s work. No excerpts or extracts, either published or not. All stories must be ORIGINAL.

3) Stories should be in the three to five thousand word range, but don’t be afraid to use the number of words you have to in order to tell your story. Also keep in mind that it’s very hard to write short. Some very big novelists in the field have told me flat out they just can’t do it. And that’s okay; I can certainly understand that. It’s a completely different mindset. See Rule No. 1.

4) Submissions should be in .doc format with a cover letter explaining who you are and what, if any, your previous writing credits may be. If you don’t have any, it’s okay, don’t make anything up. If you’re already published, I’ll be embarrassed if I don’t recognize your name right off, so I just won’t cop to it. Please single-space the manuscripts, include a cover page with name, address, contact info, and number of words. In the body, please include page numbers in the header as well as your last name and either the full title or enough keywords to make it easily identifiable.

5) Please don’t use any tab characters. For indents, use your word processor’s paragraph formatting features to automatically indent new paragraphs at .2” and not to skip a line between paragraphs. Also, please leave one inch margins all around the page. I like to print things up and write on them, so this helps.

6) Start at Rule No. 1 and re-read.

There. Now, if you’re sure you’re ready to submit, let ‘er fly to submissions@downandoutmagazine.com. If you have any questions or comments, let us know, either at that same address or at rick@downandoutmagazine.com.