Can I submit self-published work?
No if it has appeared online — to social media, a blog or website, shared it through an email list or electronic newsletter.
Yes if it has appeared in print and been sold or given to 50 or fewer friends and family.
Does the 40-line limit on poetry include the breaks between lines?
I write poetry with long lines. Is that a problem?
No. Though because of the page size, it may result in the line being broken at the right margin, with the rest of the line indented under it.
How do you want prose formatted?
Double-spaced in a legible font, with page numbers. Include word count. Max is 4000 words.
You can submit multiple prose pieces as long as the combined word count doesn’t exceed the 4,000-word limit.
Please note that we no longer accept submissions of both poetry and prose from the same writer (for the same issue).
What should I include in my cover letter?
Tell us about yourself. Our publication is unique because all of our over-50 authors have led full lives before we meet them. We’re more interested in you as a person and less as a list of publications, and our editors enjoy your letters as much as your writing.
Your requirements say you want contact information on every page?
Yes please! At least your name and an email. Paper has a way of scattering, and we want to be able to contact you if your submission gets separated from your cover letter. This goes for electronic submissions too because we print out some of those.
What will you disqualify me for?
If your submission is missing something we will make every effort to contact you. We won’t accept previously published material, email submissions, and contest entries submitted without the fee.
How can I check if you received my submission?
If you’re submitting by snail mail, please don’t ask us to confirm receipt of your submission. We are now regularly receiving too many submissions for our small staff to search through the files, but we want you to be reassured that your work is reaching us too. There are a few ways you can check we received it:
—If submitting to the contest, wait for your check to cash (please allow three weeks).
—Send your submission with tracking.
—Enclose a self-addressed stamped postcard we can drop in the mail upon receipt of your submission (in addition to the SASE for your results).
If these measures fail, you may write to us.
Do you publish new, unpublished writers?
Yes, all the time!
Do you accept posthumous work?
For the Open Issue, yes! So long as the work meets our requirements and you are respecting the belated’s wishes. We often receive work from children and spouses who are looking to publishing their loved one’s poems and stories. Please indicate this information in your cover letter and include a bio of the author. We do not accept posthumous entries for the Poetry Contest.
Can I submit on behalf of a friend or family member who needs assistance?
With their permission, absolutely. Please indicate in the cover letter who to contact for results or questions.
Who is reading my work?
No one under age 50. We don’t have “slush piles” or a gateway of interns. Your work will be read by someone of age—50 or older (usually older). Almost always it’s our founding editors Mary and Kendra. Sometimes, when it looks like we’re not on track to finish reading, we’ll bring on trusted readers. All final decisions must be unanimous between the co-editors.
What are your editors looking for?
New writing, unlike what we’ve published recently. We receive a lot of submissions on similar topics—loss, caring for a parent, declining health, war stories, and transitions from independence to home care, grandparenting—so there is more competition due to volume. Keep that in mind. We have a special interest in immigrant stories and giving voice to marginalized people.
About your deadline?
It’s a postmark deadline. We will continue to take submissions that arrive past the deadline, so long as the mail piece is postmarked with the deadline date.
When can I expect to hear back?
We try to get our notifications out within 6-8 weeks of the deadline. Please wait until this time has passed before writing to inquire about results (but if you don’t hear anything, please do write to us. See below.)
I didn’t receive a notification letter. How can I find out the results?
We’re sorry you didn’t hear from us. We take great care to reply to everybody who sends us work. If you submitted an email for notification, please first check your spam folders before emailing us an inquiry. If it’s not there, do email us.
I still have questions.
You can email firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member will answer as soon as possible. Please allow us a couple of business days to respond, especially at peak times (right before or after a deadline). We will be away the month of August for a much needed vacation, so that we ask that you wait until September with your questions!