Submission Guidelines

General Requests

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

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

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

Please send us only your original works—no translations of other authors. All work submitted to us must be previously unpublished.

We accept submissions in the following formats: .rtf, .doc, or .docx, all works in one file. For artworks, we prefer .jpgs.


We’d be delighted to sample 3 to 5 of your finest poems.

We’re delighted by narrative & lyric, experimental or grounded, and prose poems too. We dig prose poems and little free verse poems, haiku or modern sonnets! We look forward to leaping with you, discovering as you lead us along the page.

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.

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.)

Things we don’t usually accept:
– double spaced poems (rare is the poem that can stand up to a stanza break after every line)
– poems with lines scattered all over the page (our format doesn’t allow for this)
– poems shaped like a guitar (or other centered object d’art)

Please don’t send:
– centered poetry
– poems about angels
– poems about sports
– poems about masturbatory acts


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. If you can manage some delicious micros, we’re down for that.

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.

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. We really dislike courier fonts, so please stick with Garamond or Times New Roman.

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).

If you send in illos, please try to send things that can stand alone OR as a cluster. We like to accept more than one piece by each artist.

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, and that’s always screenprinted and based on simple drawings (converted to stencils that we hand paint onto our screens), 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. Don’t forget your cover letter! Artist statements are appreciated. The editor has a fine arts degree, so we’re into that. :)

Comics, Sequential Art & Illustrated Narratives

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.

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


Simultaneous Submissions are allowed & encouraged, 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. We may ask to archive your work on our website/blog, but will always ask your permission first.

Special Editions

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

July 15 – August 25, 2014: Sugared Water – Myth+Magic.

Past Special Editions:
Closed April 1, 2014: Sugared Water – Art of Letters.

16 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.

  4. Tina Barton says:

    I would like to submit poetry. In your guidelines, you request name and contact info on every page. Is it every page or every poem or every complete poetry submission? The reason I ask is that name and contact info on every page is usually not requested or desired.

    Thank you!

    • Some places request it and some do not. We ask for it b/c we often print physical copies of our final round picks to pass around and make notes on. If your name isn’t on the poem, we just have to type it there anyway, so it saves us time.

  5. Godefroy D. says:

    Hello :) About the poetry submission : is it 5 poems minimum ? Or will you consider a submission with 2 or 3 pieces as well ?

  6. lidy says:

    Do you consider writing posted within the forums for discussion in classes.

    • Do you mean work posted on closed sites like Blackboard forums, where only the class has access for a limited time? If you’d like to post us details in your cover letter. If it’s just pieces workshopped in a private site, we might consider it.

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