Welcome to the new SLM: A tailored, individualized approach to showcasing raw, unbridled and never before seen talent that truly embodies the spirit of expansive thinking, broad vernaculars, and prolific, excellent writing.
Transport me. Make me believe.
Prompt # 1 (Running for the month of February): Write a story in which five characters (it doesn’t have to be exactly five) are trapped in a house or a building because of an emergency, such as a severe winter storm.
*Any submissions sent for this prompt must have TRAPPED in the subject line.*
Prompt # 2 (Running for the month of March): Write a story that begins with your protagonist knocking on their ex’s front door.
*Any submissions sent for this prompt must have DOOR in the subject line.*
Prompt # 3 (Running for the month of April): Write a story that takes place at a rest stop and captures its limbo-like vibe.
*Any submissions sent for this prompt must have REST STOP in the subject line.*
**NOTE: The ‘FUTURE’ prompt is, at the moment, running sort of open-ended, so for those of you who are still emailing back and forth with me about your future piece, please note that this new prompt schedule will not affect your work. **
*NO simultaneous submissions (I CANNOT, for the life of me, dedicate my time to reading 24 pages, start typing an acceptance letter, only to be interrupted by the same author already sending me an email that their work has been accepted elsewhere. If you want to be a part of this tight-knit network, then be apart of it.)
*I will run ONE theme at a time: in the body of your email, put the theme it is being submitted to or it will be promptly discarded.
I will explain our current theme in the paragraph that follows. This theme / writing prompt will run until I say otherwise – it was originally set to end at the close of 2017, but life happened and so, for the time being, the theme will remain open ended.
SLM’s current open-ended theme (writing prompt, rather) is: You wake up 500 years in the future. Through your protagonist, show how and what it is like. Imagine that your protagonist has been in a coma and is waking up to see what the world is like 500 years from now. This will make ALL submissions different from one another; no two will be alike. It will show me your writing style, your outlook, your tone, and your ability to make strong, defined characters by how you interpret this writing prompt.
Instead of sending them to the PREVIOUS submissions email or to my personal email, please email them to me and/or Nikki rae Spano at firstname.lastname@example.org – I know this is a change from the previous submissions email and from my personal email, but we’ll just all have to learn to adapt and go through a bit of a transition for a while.
**For now, disregard the submissions and submissions FAQ page on the site. This is your guide for the time being. Feel free to comment and ask questions in the comment section below. There is a lot of work that I have left to do on this site to make it what I want it to be again. However, I’m starting small and working my way back up.**
Start writing! Inspire me, wow me, fight for your work, and make me believe in this industry again.
Sick: (adj.) exceptionally awesome
What we want: Our tagline is “Bringing the real, keeping the weird” and we have begun focusing our acceptances on works that do just that. We want to feel Real Life in your stories, poetry, photography, et cetera, while simultaneously feeling the ground tilt under our feet. Take reality and twist it.
What we WON’T TOLERATE or ACCEPT:
-Vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake (i.e., think: an endless, nonsensical Urban Dictionary. No, no and no.)
-Deeply disturbing ideals and/or fantasies (If it responsibly requires a trigger warning, we will not publish it.)
What we ARE: A literary magazine that’s run by, at the moment, one genius savvy, omnipotent accessible, and real human being goddess who believes in the power and potential of the written word.
What we are NOT: Easy access. This is why Kelly has implemented a new rule – no simultaneous submissions. This is not because we want to retain any rights to your work. On the contrary, we want YOU to retain the rights to it. Kelly cannot and will not carefully read and reread a 24 page, single-spaced story, begin typing a glorious acceptance email, only to be interrupted by the author of said story emailing her that it has already been accepted elsewhere. It’s not fair to what we do and it’s a waste of Kelly’s valuable time that could have been spent on Writer B, who is passionate about only submitting to SLM, and has some stellar work ready to be read.
We’re passionate about changing the way the contemporary literature scene is perceived and available to new, emerging writers, as well as established writers. This does not mean that we are any one writer’s personal publishing house. We foster a welcoming community of supportive, caring writers who are honored to be here, who are appreciative to be published in our magazine, and who share in our vision. However, we do not care how impressive your list of publications is, and we do not care how many letters come after your name. We have a responsibility to our readers and writers to publish only what we feel fulfills Sick Lit Magazine’s vision.
Fiction/creative non-fiction/flash-fiction: Send your submissions in a Word doc, with the type of writing in the subject line. These will be read by our Editor-in-Chief, founder, creator, CEO, whatever you want to call her, Kelly. She does prefer to be addressed directly, as she takes each and every submission seriously.
Poetry/photography/miscellaneous: Send your submissions in the body of the email, or in a Word doc, with the type of submission in the subject line. These will be read by Kelly, if you wish to address her directly.
Themed Submissions: We occasionally offer themes to help challenge our writers. If you choose to write for a theme, remember our tagline “Bringing the real, keeping the weird.” Write outside the box. We want to see creative interpretations of the themes, not just creative stories strictly within them.
How do I format my cover letter?
We don’t have many expectations for your cover letter (or that you write one at all; this isn’t a job interview. Write what you want to me, Kelly, in the body of your email). All we ask is that you be real about who you are. We want to see your personality come through, not the mask the industry makes us all wear. We’re writers, too, and we know the difference. “Bringing the real” starts with your email. On the other hand, if your email is obviously cut-and-pasted to many other publications, or worse, you say nothing at all, we’re going to read your work with a scowl, and that’s not a good start.
What’s your word-count limit? We don’t have a limit, but we reserve the right to reject lengthy pieces on a case-by-case basis. We also reserve the right to break larger pieces into several publications spanning several days, in a serial publication style at our discretion.
How soon can I expect a response? Anywhere from a few hours to a week, but if a month passes with no word from us, please bring it to our attention. We address every submission, so if you don’t hear back, that is NOT an automatic rejection. Give us a nudge after 30 days; we won’t mind. We DO mind, however, if you nudge us incessantly every day after you’ve sent us your work. Please, please, for the LOVE OF GOD, don’t do that.
How do I send a second/third/fiftieth submission? ALWAYS send a new submission in a separate email. Do not hit “reply” and consider it a new submission. Start over from the beginning by composing a new email. We use Gmail, which keeps all threaded emails grouped together. Your new submission will get lost in our filing system. Mostly because Kelly HAS no filing system and prefers to work out of her own organized chaos.
We do not retain any rights to your work. Even though we may have edited it, you wrote it and it’s yours. You may re-post, re-publish and do whatever you would like with it. We DO NOT accept simultaneous submissions; but we do accept previously published material.