What: Our only criteria is quality, so whether you specialize in hybrid genres, minimalist experimental short stories, or strict Petrarchan sonnets, if it’s done well, we want to see it.  We believe that literature is best when it’s varied and captures the full range of styles and experiences, and gravitate to the idea of being dynamic, eclectic, and refreshing with our selections. 

Poetry: up to five poems, no more than seven pages total, per submission.

Fiction: a maximum of 5000 words.  This can be one long piece, or several short pieces.  Please double-space your work, in 10 – 12 point font.

Aphorisms: How much literature can fit in a standard text message?  You get 160 glorious characters of space to use as profoundly as you can for the body of your submission.  If you’re skeptical of the parameters, consider that Ezra Pound’s “In a Station at the Metro” could fit within these guidelines twice.  You may enter a maximum of 10 aphorisms per submission.

Artwork: If you are interested in sharing your artwork with us, please note that the only art we feature is what we display on our cover each issue, or on the covers of the handful of chapbooks we publish. You may submit through Submittable, and we’ll browse the work submitted periodically, when needed – but we don’t typically decline artwork. This sounds kind of weird, to just leave artwork under consideration indefinitely, but it’s hard to predict in advance what kind of visuals will best match the work we publish. Artists are, of course, welcome to withdraw their work should they change their minds.

When: We are open for submissions to our annual issue from February 15 – June 15 annually.

How: Submission manager: https://papernautilus.submittable.com/submit

Please include a brief (~50-75 word), 3rd-person bio in the cover letter field of the Submittable form (rather than the submission itself). We are more than happy to consider simultaneous submissions – just please be prompt about updating us on any works that have been snatched up elsewhere in the notes feature in Submittable, which is the best way to alert us.

Where: You can always find us on the internet (even if we don’t post as much as some other accounts): Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Paper.Nautilus Twitter: @APaperNautilus

Caveats: Of course, there are some restrictions.  We cannot accept any previously published works; we obtain First Edition Serial rights, so all rights will revert back to the author upon publication in Paper Nautilus.  We currently do not accept the following: creative non-fiction, translations, drama (plays), book reviews, or interviews.

We are sometimes slow to respond to the work you submit. We’re sorry to keep you waiting, but know that we’re so grateful for your patience.

We have historically read submissions “blind,” or without the author’s name included on the work itself, and at this time, continue to do so. However, there have been a number of arguments that make an excellent case against this practice, and so we are discussing our current process and therefore may be revisiting this approach in the future. We will update here with any changes.


16 Responses to “Submission Guidelines”

  1. These following dates have me scratching my head….

    Please submit only once per genre during each submission period (09/01 – 08/31)

    • Hi Janet:

      Sorry, that can be kind of confusing! What that means is that we accept submissions year-round, but that you can only submit once between September 1st through the following August 31st, because submissions received after August 31st are considered for the following issue.

      So a better way to say it is probably: please only submit once for each issue, and submissions for new issues begin every September.

      Does that help?

  2. Bob said

    Re: Aphorisms
    The example you give of Pound’s “Metro” is more of a haiku.
    Aren’t aphorisms more like proverbs?
    e.g. “Wet bird, perched on a rain-wetted branch, sings in the dark.”
    vs. Aphorism:
    “A wet bird never flies at night.”
    Which is closer to what you’re looking for?

    • Hi Bob:

      Thanks for your question; this seems to be one that a lot of people have. We’re looking for works that more closely resemble your first example rather than your second.

      We realize that “aphorisms,” as a definition, mean something entirely other than what we’re asking for. That’s our fault for categorizing these super short-shorts as something that already exists. We were hoping that by calling them aphorisms, they would evoke certain qualities that the proverb-kind have, such as brevity, sudden insight, and an almost confidence in their declaration.

      So yes, “Wet bird, perched on a rain-wetted branch, sings in the dark.” You may have just helped us clarify for our other readers, so thank you!

  3. Darren said

    Re: not accepting previously published work. Do you define previously published work, pieces that have appeared on that author’s personal blog?

  4. Laura Peterson said

    May I submit both a poem as an entry for your poetry prize and up to five poems (perhaps including the same poem that’s submitted for the prize) for your first issue, or would that be considered a multiple submission? Thanks!

    • Hi Laura:
      Yes, you can submit to both the contest, as well as the general submissions – even if one of the poems is included in both, since only the judge of the contest will be reading contest entries. We look forward to reading your work!

  5. bench jacken fleece reduziert
    Fine know-how! I have been searching for things like this for a time today. Thank you!

  6. ncpoetrycouncilofnc said

    Do authors who contribute work to Paper Nautilus receive any complimentary copies?

  7. So how exactly do I submit? I checked everywhere for an email…? Are we supposed to send our work to the submission manager’s email address or. Thanks, and sorry to bother with a silly question.

    -Angelique Clark

  8. Keith McCulloch said

    Some questions for Ms. Magini-
    This may be in the wrong place but here goes: The printed chapbooks appear to be 20 to 30 pages. The limit on submission length is 5000 words which would be 8-10 pages single spaced.
    How many stories go in each chapbook or is it one story-one writer or most likely I’m missing something. A helping hand would be great.

    • Hi Keith,
      Great question. These guidelines are aimed at our annual literary periodical (which we’re taking a break from right now). The chapbook guidelines can be found under the menu for each. To save you the trouble, both chapbook contests have a range of 16-24 pages at the time you submit it, rather than worrying about word count. Hope this helps!

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