Submission Guidelines

General Requests

Sugared Water reads April 1 – July 1 and October 1 – January 1.

We request a brief cover letter with all submissions. This should include:

- your name as you wish it to appear.
- contact information including email address and mailing address.
- brief bio (50 words or fewer) including (no more than 5) previous publications.

Optionally, tell us a little something interesting about you. Tell us who you love to read. It’s helpful if the cover letter makes up the very first page of your submission document.

Please send us only your original works—no translations of other authors. We accept simultaneous submissions, of course. All work submitted to us must be previously unpublished.

Simultaneous Submissions are fine by us, but do let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere and needs to be withdrawn. (To do this, simply use the ‘Add Note’ feature on your submission at Submittable.)

We request First North American Serial Rights. Your rights revert back to you, the author/artist, upon publication. For participation in our magazine, you will receive one contributor copy of the issue in which your work appears.

We accept submissions in the following formats: .rtf, .doc, or .docx via Submittable. For artworks, we prefer .jpg.


We’d be delighted to sample 5 of your finest poems (no more than 6 pages in your entire submission), narrative or lyric, experimental or grounded. We look forward to leaping with you, discovering as you lead us along the page.

We dig prose poems and little free verse poems, haiku or sonnet—even broken sonnets! Give us your decayed, sugar-crusted little black hearts. Write to us about sun-warmed planks and hollow bones. Don’t be afraid to bury the grotesque right next to the beautiful. It’s the change we’re looking for, the surprise hidden just under the surface.

Be sure your name and contact information appear on every page, and please submit all poems in one .rtf, .doc, or .docx. Poems should be spaced as you’d like them to appear. (NOTE: Due do our production size and layout, long lines won’t always appear as they do in 12 point font. We’ll ask for your approval on layout before printing line alterations.)


Hybrid forms are our favorite thing—don’t be afraid to throw in some genre with your literary works. Here be fans of speculative fiction. We dig the literary stuff too, don’t let our fairy tales fool you.

Give us your briar patches and shady ladies, your heroes and literary tales. (If you dare to send us a story with a unicorn, she better be a chain smoker.) We ain’t afraid of tarot. We will consider up to 4,500 words, but our happy place is right around 2,500 or fewer.

Our fiction gnomes get upset when things show up without paragraphs or proper manuscript format. Flagrant lack or proofreading or a failure to observe legible fonts will likely lead to instant rejection. Comic Sans is a travesty. Violators will make us cry buckets of unattractive, snotty tears.

Creative Nonfiction

Yes, we love the lyric essay. We adore character sketches, journal entries, letters, and flash nonfiction. We’ll try experimental prose forms and things that blend and bend the lines of reality whilst remaining true at the heart. We’ll check out your braided essays and hermit crabs, your lists and even your word maps. Stun us with the beauty of your words.

Submit up to 4,500 words, but wow us if you do. We prefer shorter works from 500 – 3,000 words.


All media considered, though we have a bit of a soft spot for the figurative, narrative, or documentary style. Don’t be afraid to write on photographs and scribble over paintings (but do not do it in MS Paint or Gump or Lt. Dan, or whatever the PC nerds are using these days). Layers are wonderful, and we’d love to see the things you’ve been hiding in your sketchbooks.

We will consider artwork based on web ready .jpgs, and will request printable, high resolution files should we wish to go further.

The only color artwork we’ll use is the cover, so be sure whatever you send us is high contrast enough to also look smashing in black & white, unless you’re specifically aiming to be a cover girl or guy.

We will consider between 1 and 5 images at a time. Each artwork must be submitted individually with a cover letter (feel free to use the same cover letter for each artwork, but be sure contact info is included). Artist statements are appreciated. There are several artists on staff, so we’re into that kind of thing.

Please, no watermarks over the images—we will not print your work without confirmation from you, the artist, and large watermarks are incredibly intrusive. Please send us images, not a link to a portfolio.


Sequential art makes our little hearts go pitty-pat. Have a small comic? One panel? Three panels? Several pages? Send us a sample! Please send web-ready images (72 ppi) and we’ll let you know if we’d like to see printable files. We will consider between 1 and 5 images (or pages) at a time.

Be sure the work stands alone, even if it’s part of a larger series. Do not send us comics that are too cutesy, unless it’s like one of those psychotic lolcats. (Do not send actual lolcats, though.)

Each artwork can be submitted individually with a cover letter. Artist statements are fab, so send one if you have one.

Be sure to include a 50 word bio & blog/web link if you’d like.


Simultaneous Submissions are fine by us, but please let us know if your work is accepted elsewhere and needs to be withdrawn.

Please wait for our response to your first packet before sending additional submissions in any given genre. (You may, for example, submit 5 poems and 4,000 words of fiction if you like.)

Please do not withdraw submissions multiple times to make small edits to work. Multiple edits on the same piece inspire us to reject things, because they clearly weren’t ready for us in the first place.

Payment & Rights

We request First North American Serial Rights. Your rights revert back to you, the author/artist, upon publication. For participation in our magazine, you will receive one (1) contributor copy of the issue in which your work appears.

Special Editions

Every now and then, Sugared Water will make a call for special themed limited editions. Please check our blog for specifics.

Open through April 1, 2014: Sugared Water – Art of Letters.

7 thoughts on “Submission Guidelines

  1. S. A. Gerber- says:

    Ladies and or Gentlemen,
    Can I submit in hard copy, or to employ a trendy phrase, “snail mail”? I’m a bit ‘old school’, but will try electric submission if no other option. (Only did it once). Look forward to your aggravated response.
    S. A. Gerber-
    Stray Farm

  2. Does writing which has appeared on a blog fall under the category of “previously published?” I ask because some sites say they won’t accept something previously published, but if asked will tell you that they don’t care if it’s been published in a blog.

  3. If my brain has had modern art-influenced instantiations of its neural pathways generously built and funded by the NSA, is this previous publication?

    • That sounds more like wine induced origin story, and I’m afraid SW just isn’t that complicated, but modern art is an influence we can get behind. If you can translate that into a poem, then you might have something for us, as long as you don’t use the word instantiations.

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