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 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).

This second iteration of the +GAMMA RAYS prize is seeking to publish and promote first-time novelists.

Inspired by the final component of the beta decay nuclear equation for Cobalt-60, the +GAMMA RAYS Book Prize recognizes work that leaves an impression. I am most often drawn to literature that devastates, that sticks to my subconscious, that perhaps even mutates me a little. The winner of the +GAMMA RAYS prize will be a book that is transformative.

Up to three books will be selected for publication, and the author will receive a competitive book deal. In addition to a royalty-based contract, the winner and first-runner up will receive cash prizes of $250 and $100, respectively (not an advance). Cobalt will also designate a portion of the proceeds from each book published to a charity of the author's choosing. All selected authors will also receive a copy of the entire Cobalt Press catalog.

My approach as a publisher and editor is hands-on. I believe that the work is the product of the author, and that it is my job to assist the author in achieving his/her desired outcome. That relationship is critical. I ask a lot of questions, and I yield to the author's judgment. I will gladly provide contact information for authors I have worked with if you wish to know more about my editorial style.

We will accept manuscripts for publication as we encounter them, so you may receive an offer before the conclusion of the contest. 


  • The work, if published, must be the first published novel or novella written by the author. 
  • Co-authored works may be submitted to this contest. Additionally, if an author has co-authored a previously published book, they may submit their first single-author novel to this contest.
  • Previously published books will not be accepted. This includes self-published works.
  • Novel- or novella-length works will be considered.
  • Submissions close on December 31, 2019. Review will be conducted as manuscripts are received; however, given that full-length works take some time to properly consider, please anticipate turnaround take a few months. We currently anticipate concluding the contest in summer 2020.

Submission fees and such: If you just want to submit your manuscript, it's $7 bucks. We're in the process of relaunching our website and online store. Once that's done, a coupon code will be sent to all submitters to get severely discounted copies of our past books. No obligation to buy, but this is a great way to learn more about the types of books we love and publish.

Fees help us with our basic maintenance and contest offerings. Cobalt Press is a not-for-profit entity, and our team is 100% volunteer. Thank you for supporting Cobalt with your submission.

Questions? Contact Publisher Andrew Keating.

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:

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.

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:

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.

Poets are encouraged to submit to the editor they feel best matches the content of the submission.

Some guidelines to follow (more like rules):

  • No more than four poems.
  • Be sure your personal information is not in the actual submission. 
  • Please title aforementioned poems-- they deserve it!
  • We're not likely to publish a 20-page poem online, but if you want to take the chance, don't submit three more (just give us the one).
  • You can submit to one poetry editor or both. Should you be submitting to both editors, please note that in your cover letter.
  • If you submit to both editors, send different poems to each editor. 

Ten Poems That Send Jonathan Into a Mild Arrhythmia:

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.


Poets are encouraged to submit to the editor they feel best matches the content of the submission. If you submit to both editors, please send different poems to each.

Some guidelines to follow (more like rules):

  • No more than four poems, prettiest please.
  • We're not likely to publish a 40-page poem online, but if you want to take the chance, maybe don't submit three more (just give us the one).
  • Check the list below. Our editors have curated a range of poems that represent the aesthetic they are seeking to create in Cobalt.
  • Expect long turnaround times. To quote that famous internet opossum:  "I am very small, and I have no money, so you can imagine the kind of stress that I am under." We publish poetry once annually. It may be 4-5 months before you hear from us, but of course, we'll aim for quick responses as much as possible.

The Ways to Donora’s Heart

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.