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Audience

Ember is a semiannual journal of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for all age groups. Submissions for and by readers aged 10 to 18 are strongly encouraged.

How to Submit

Submissions are managed through our Submission Manager, powered by Submittable . If you submit by e-mail, we will direct you to use our Submission Manager instead. A link to the submission manager can be found at the bottom of this page, after you have read through the submission guidelines.

We encourage all submitters to view our statistics and track their submissions on Duotrope.

Track your submissions at Duotrope

Formats

Poetry
Most forms are considered, both metered and unmetered, traditional and experimental. Poems from 3 to 100 lines have the best chance of acceptance. You may submit up to three poems at a time, but a separate submission form must be completed for each poem.
Short Stories
Short Stories up to 12,000 words will be considered. However, more important than word count is the quality of your work: we are looking for excellent, polished writing that pulls us into an engaging story.
Flash Fiction
The ideal length for Flash Fiction submissions is about 500 to 750 words, but pieces up to 1500 words may be submitted in this category. Remember that Flash Fiction is not the same as “vignette;” even very short works should still present an interesting and compelling story.
Creative Non-Fiction
Creative Non-Fiction is the beautiful union of exposition and literature. Tell us a true story, and tell it well. Word count limits are the same as for Short Stories.

Content Tips & Suggestions

Profanity, Vulgarity, Sex, and Violence
As an all-ages publication, our refusal to print profanity/vulgarity is based on an understanding of our audience, not on censorship. Similarly, while allusions to the occurrence of love and sex, anger and violence may be integral to some stories, we tend to err on the side of making Ember accessible to middle-grade readers. Submissions with graphic and/or explicit descriptions of sex or violence will be rejected without comment.
Prose: Great Stories, Compelling Characters
Ember is looking for great writing that tells a compelling story, regardless of length. Even very short pieces, like flash fiction, should tell a story, though there will certainly be fewer dramatic elements developed than we’d see in a longer piece or novel. The presence of “story” is what distinguishes flash fiction from “vignette.”
Poetry: Paint With Language
For poetry, we also look for a story, but the story may be implied. Of course, there is a lot more flexibility for poetry, and some styles tend to emphasize descriptive language over storytelling. We’ve also seen some poetry submissions which go too far, focusing so much on story that they are little more than prose stories with poem-style line breaks. So, for poetry, we tend to use the very subjective measure of accepting poems which make us say, “Wow!”
Be Accessible, Not Condescending
We believe that even our younger readers are smart and capable of advanced reasoning and interpretation. However, not every accepted piece will be appropriate for or of interest to ten-year-olds, who are the youngest readers in our target audience. Many readers will simply skip over stories and poems which exceed their developmental maturity. Submissions with the best chance of acceptance will be meaningful on some level to both older and younger readers without being condescending. We also consider works which require some maturity for full comprehension, so long as the content is not inappropriate for younger readers who might choose to explore the more advanced pieces.

Rights & Rates

We pay 2 cents per word or $20 per work, whichever is more, for worldwide first publication rights in English. You retain all other rights (including other languages, audio, and reprint rights), but we ask that you not reprint the work in another publication for six months after it first appears in Ember. See our Rights & Rates page for details.
submittable-submit-button-poetrysubmittable-submit-button-prose

56 thoughts on “Submission Guidelines

  1. Hi
    I’m a retired teacher and emerging writer aged 10 +++++. Will you kick me out?
    I have right now many evil embers in my short horror story. Will you let me in?
    Thank you!

  2. Hi. I submitted a piece back on August 17 of last year. It’s still showing ‘in progress’ on Submittable, but I wanted to make sure it didn’t somehow get lost in the slush pile. Thanks so much for your time. The story is called “Like Chocolate”.

    1. With Submittable, it’s almost impossible to lose a submission, ever! We definitely still have your submission and are considering it.

      1. Thanks! Just for my own obsessive curiosity, how long should I expect to wait to hear back from the editor once I submit?

      2. Usually when we decline and have feedback, it’s a few weeks (most of the time, less than six). The more we like something, the longer we’ll keep discussing it. However, because we’re all volunteers, sometimes the response times vary and can get very, very long.

        If you haven’t heard from us in a few months, we’re probably deciding whether we can work with you to edit the piece for perfection—and thinking about which collection it fits best in.

  3. Hello! I submitted a story to Spark back before there was the Secondary Consideration statement in the submission manager. The story was rejected for Spark several months ago, but one of the readers commented that it might be a good fit for Ember. Would it be acceptable for me to now submit the same story to Ember, or should I work off the assumption that if the editor thought it would be a good fit for Ember, it would have been considered? I don’t want to submit something I shouldn’t, but I also don’t want to miss any opportunities. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Jessica! When a staff reader suggests a piece might be a better fit in a different publication we own, I get a chance to look at it to decide if it would indeed fit somewhere else and is ready to be published there. Whenever we feel that a piece would fit better somewhere other than the publication it was submitted to, we contact the author and ask whether the change is okay.

      If you submitted it and got feedback that it might be a better fit in Ember, I definitely looked at it. If it was declined, it might need a bit of revision and time before you try submitting again, but if you do incorporate any of the staff notes and feel that it’s ready to try a second time, you may submit to Ember instead. Some of our staff readers review submissions for multiple publications, and some focus just on one—like Ember—so you will at least get different insights on the second try.

    1. Generally not; we are looking for genuinely unpublished work to include in our collections. When we do make exceptions, it tends to be by invitation.

      We’d love to consider something you’ve written that hasn’t been published, though!

    1. While we ask that submitters limit their submissions to “one story or three poems,” if you occasionally submit a combination like you’ve described (one story and two poems) we won’t kick them out of the submission queue.

  4. I have a question: what would be considered graphic violence? I’m planning to write a tragedy. For the short story, what would happen if the story was too long?

    1. Hi Aprille! Apologies for the delayed response.
      Our limit for story length is 12,000 words. If it’s slightly longer than that and you think it may be a good fit for us, it’s best to query with the editor before submitting. We don’t accept works which are graphically violent though, by which we mean writing which dwells on violent acts at the expense of focusing on character and developing a good storyline. Our readers range in age from ten up to adult, so keeping that in mind may help you determine what is and isn’t acceptable. I hope that helps anyway!

    1. Hi Maggie! Apologies for the delay in replying – response time is generally within a month, but may be longer if we’re holding a piece for consideration. Feel free to query via Submittable if it goes longer than a couple of months before you hear back from us.

  5. What happens if we submitted more than one story? Will you accept the first and disregard any others. I apologize, I didn’t read the fine print.

  6. Hey!! I am 13 years young, and I just created a story called The Nagasaki Mission! My teachers said I could upload my story to this website and you guys would check it out? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Evan, thanks! As long as you used Submittable to send us your work, we look forward to checking it out soon. There’s no facility for uploading work directly to the website though.

  7. would you accept submissions on religious stories? I am thinking of writing one, a “religious book” about someone’s life

    1. Hi Hannah,
      My apologies for the delayed reply – I have only just had notification of your question!
      In answer to your query: Ember isn’t set up as a religious publication per se, but there are many other outlets for those kinds of works which a short browse online would soon show up. However, if the storyline is such that it transcends the religious elements, and it has good detailed character studies, a well-developed plotline and great descriptions (all the things we normally look out for) we’d certainly consider it!

    1. While we are happy to review a revised piece once, we do ask that you wait at least 30 days before resubmitting it.

  8. Hi, do you accept flash fiction dealing with African-American issues, but it’s told for an audience of 8-10 ages?

    1. While eight to ten barely hits the youngest end of our target audience, we accept flash fiction dealing with a broad spectrum of issues. If it makes a great story and is accessible to younger readers in both theme and content, we are interested in reading and considering it.

  9. Do you accept short stories which are about a special occasion like Christmas even though they are submitted in Summer or a different season?

  10. Hi, if I’ve already submitted a piece to Spark (and I’m still waiting for a response), can I still submit a different piece to Ember? Thanks!

    1. If it’s a different piece, then yes. You probably saw already when submitting that a piece submitted to Spark may be automatically considered for Ember if it’s a better fit, but we don’t mind when you submit a different work to Ember while one is being considered for Spark or Zetetic.

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