Welcome to SLM: Where literature is treated like the art that it is and our contributors are treated with respect; our community is built on the foundation of mutual admiration and inspiration.
Transport me. Make me believe.
***UPDATED SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES AS OF JUNE 4TH, 2020:***
Yes, we are officially opening back up for submissions!!
I tend to have mixed feelings about prompts and themes, but I think we can all challenge ourselves with something different, so let’s do this! Let’s mix it up and have some damn fun with it!
What I want from you is: you.
I want raw, magnetic, compelling, truthful writing that makes you feel like you’re on fire (figuratively, of course. Not actually on fire), whether you choose to write to a prompt or you choose to write from your gut. And, I, for one, can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for me.
(If you know me or this publication at all, then you will know that I appreciate thinking that goes way beyond the obvious when it relates to themes and prompts.)
The Two Themes are:
Time: Interpret this one as you like; take it and run with it. Explore the concept of writing with a choppy timeline that somehow comes together in the end; explore themes that embody the present, past and future. I also found this one oh-so-fitting because of how time has seemed to run together while we’ve all been under quarantine.
Intangibles: Intangibles. I mean, what more can I say? They’re what we’re all in pursuit of! But it’s not as though we can go on a scavenger hunt for them and stash them away, only later to pull them from some secret drawer to access whenever we want.
The Two Writing Prompts are:
Ten Years: “Predict” for me, if you will, in your fictional account, the succession of events that will happen from tomorrow on until the year 2030. You can do this countless ways; start in the year 2030 and look back. You can start now and describe what your character sees happening next, etc, etc, etc. Let the words flow and see where it takes your character – what journey do they end up on? What paths or choices are they given?
Dreams: Where do we actually go in our dreams? Think beyond REM sleep and sleep disorders. I want this to be about the absolute and utter nonsense that we dream; but also about some of the strange coincidences that happen in our dreams. And then the, “too real to be a dream” dreams. Dive deep into this concept and create me something absolutely vivid and haunting.
ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE SENT TO: firstname.lastname@example.org
WHAT’S THE PROCESS? Just like before, I want you to put the name of the prompt/theme into the subject of your e-mail. If you are NOT writing to a prompt/theme, then please write, “no prompt” as the subject of your e-mail. I will stress that you should write an authentic message to me in the body of your e-mail – DO NOT try and pitch me. Don’t sell to me. I’m not that gal – I want you to be YOU. You may either paste your submission into the body of your e-mail or attach it was a Word document. Please, no PDFs; and I say no PDFs because if I accept your work, I cannot transfer it to the site for publishing.
WHAT’S THE RESPONSE TIME GOING TO LOOK LIKE? WHAT ABOUT THE 100 UNANSWERED MESSAGES I SENT YOU OVER THE LAST YEAR? Now, I have to preface this with: give me a little time, as I have a job and I have little ones AND I run this ship solo, you guys. There are only 23.56 hours in a day and depending on how many submissions I receive, it might take some time. And if you DID send me 100 messages and never heard back, that’s life, my friend! Send that shit to me again and let’s move on! But I am extremely excited about all of this. I believe my exact words a few hours ago were that I felt “pure, unbridled joy” at the mere thought of diving back into SLM and reconnecting with each and every one of you.
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.
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 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. Our time is also precious. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And any other anecdotal saying or epithet that you can think of may be inserted here, haha.
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. I’m talking to you, all the people who ask if I publish re-prints. Yes, yes, yes.