NOTE: Poetry submissions are currently closed as we search for a new editor. We are grateful for all that Jonathan Travelstead has done to support Cobalt Review and Cobalt Press for nearly a decade. He'll always be a part of this family. In the meantime, Publisher Andrew Keating will review current submissions for inclusion in the Cobalt Weekly.
Thank you for visiting Cobalt Review and Cobalt Press. Below are some general notes for our submitters. Please review these carefully, as well as those of the category to which you hope to contribute. Cobalt is not a one-size-fits-all operation. Each editor has their own style and preferences.
Note that our publication schedule has changed dramatically. We will no longer publish issues of collected works (with the exception of the annual baseball issue, which will continue to be released each fall). In August of 2019, we will launch the Cobalt Weekly, releasing the work of one author each week.
Submissions are reviewed on an erratic, rolling basis. We do not guarantee a response within 90 days or between 3 and 6 months. If our turnaround time is negatively affecting your chi, email us.
Some overall notes/requests:
- We don't mind simultaneous submissions, but it does make us feel a little put-off when someone withdraws a submission less than 24 hours after we receive it with the note accepted elsewhere. If you want us to dedicate a meaningful amounts of time to your work, we hope that you are appreciative of our time and effort in publishing it. Submit because you love what we do and because you believe your work is a good fit.
- Since we are moving to a site-based publishing format, you should be mindful of the average web reader's attention span. Each editor has their own guidelines, but an overall rule-of-thumb should be to keep it under 3,000 words.
- Combine multiple works into a single submission. If you are sending multiple works of prose, keep the cumulative word count under 3,000 words. Poetry should be limited to 3 poems and/or 5 total pages. We strongly encourage you not to submit the same work to multiple categories.
- We do not accept previously published work (except for the baseball issue). If you have any questions regarding these submission guidelines, or what we consider "previously published" contact email@example.com. You can send us other questions, too.
- We reserve the right to anthologize published work. Otherwise, all rights revert to the author.
- Your cover letter should be as brief and nondescript as possible. Simply include your contact information (phone number preferred if you are submitting a full-length manuscript). We do not look at cover letters unless we intend to accept the work. If you wish to include a bio, please keep it under 200 characters (including spaces/punctuation).
We want to expect the unexpected. We are looking for extraordinary tales and the not so extraordinary, but most importantly, work that exhibits well executed writing, writing so amazing that it makes even the mundane interesting.
To give you a sense of the kind of writing that excites me, here are ten essays that I love:
- D. Watkins, “Too Poor for Pop Culture”
- Jacqueline Kolosov, “Dust, Light, Life”
- Heidi Basarab, “Did Mother, Maybe, Not Know Best?”
- Melissa Febos, “Call My Name”
- Jeffrey Hammond, “Night’s Watch”
- Kerry Reilly, “Body Worlds”
- Tara Dapra, “Writing Memoir and Writing for Therapy: An Inquiry on the Functions of Reflection”
- David Rompf, “A Personal History of Staring”
- Richard Terrill, ”Who Was Bill Evans?”
- Jericho Parms, “A Chapter On Red”
All submissions of non-fiction should be 3,000 words or less. Writers are allowed (even encouraged!) to submit up to two pieces, so long as the total word count does not exceed the maximum. Please indicate your word count in the document, prior to the title of your piece.
Note: Please take the time to read the overall guidelines above. We promise that if you read them carefully, then we will read your submission carefully.
For me, a good story is one that sweeps me off my feet and transports me smack dab into the center of its world. First sentences are critical so make sure you’ve given yours ample attention. Unusual sensory details, simple words used in unconventional ways, and risk-taking all thrill me in fiction. I love stories with intense and complicated characters, stories about love and toddlers and life changes and outsiders. Although I’m not really a genre kind of gal, I have enjoyed stories with some fantasy elements, as long as the characters and relationships are grounded in authenticity. And if you can make me laugh out loud, you’re as good as in. Wondering whether your short fiction is a good fit for Cobalt?
Check out the following list of ten stories that make me want to quit my day job:
- Simon Rich, “I Love Girl”
- Anne Hebert, “Handy Tips on How to Behave at the Death of the World”
- T. Kira Madden, “The Greeter”
- Alexandra Chang, “Tseung Family Snapshot”
- Heather Pagano, “Mrs. Cattywompus and the Piebald Porcine Prize”
- Akhil Sharma, “You Are Happy?”
- Alicia Bruzzone, “Your Guide to the Perfect Mars Getaway”
- Raymond Carver, “Cathedral”
- Daisy Hernandez, “Bad Teeth”
- Langston Hughes, “One Friday Morning”
- Courtney Zoffness, “Peanuts Aren’t Nuts”
Please do not submit more than 3,000 words total. This can be a single work or multiple (combined into one submission), so long as the total word count is 3,000 words or less.
I ask, politely, that you take a moment and read the overall guidelines above. Scout’s honor: if you read them carefully, I will read your submission just as carefully.