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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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).
Earl Weaver, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996, was manager of the Baltimore Orioles for 17 years. The legend, who died in 2013, once said that baseball is all "pitching, defense, and the three-run homer." This contest is dedicated to the Earl of Baltimore.
We welcome any written work that emphasizes the amazing game of baseball. This could include fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, one-act plays, scholarly essays, etc.
Only entries submitted through this category will be considered for the prize (if you submit baseball-themed works to other editors, they may or may not be forwarded to Andrew for baseball issue consideration). Works solicited by Cobalt may appear in the issue, but will not be prize-eligible.
For the 2021 season, we're introducing monthly themed prizes (deadlines on May 31, June 30, July 31). These themes will be decently limiting, so don't wait for a theme to come around before you submit for the overall prize (if you've already submitted something that matches a later theme, just email email@example.com, and we'll gladly consider it for the monthly prize). In other words: submit your best work, regardless of the monthly theme! Monthly themes will have no bearing on the overall prize.
Contest Guidelines & Prizes:
- One winner will be selected and awarded $200.00.
- Finalists and semifinalists will be published in the annual baseball issue.
- Given the digital format, we recommend a word count limit of 6,000 for prose submissions.
- Files should be submitted in .doc/.docx (preferred, to expedite editing) or PDF format.
- One story/essay/poem per entry. You may submit multiple works, but must enter them separately, paying separate entry fees.
- The entry fee for this contest is $7.00 per submission.
- We gladly accept previously-published work for the baseball issue and prize. Publication status will not in any way disqualify your work from winning the prize; however, Cobalt must have the ability to publish/reprint the work in order for it to be considered. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have eligibility questions.
- Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. MST on September 19, 2021.
- Submissions will be reviewed and accepted/declined on a rolling basis.
Monthly Themed Prizes:
- Each month, we will announce a new submission theme. The theme will be listed as a category option in the submission form. Check the box if your submission matches up.
- We will review themed works on a rolling basis and announce a theme winner in the following month.
- Theme winners will receive a $25 prize and guaranteed publication in the 2021 Baseball Issue.
- Theme winners are still eligible to receive the $200 overall writing prize; however, the overall prize will not necessarily be awarded to one of the theme winners.
- Current Theme, Deadline June 30: The Fundamentals. For young baseball players, summer is a time for focusing on the basics. This month, we're looking for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction about amateur baseball (or softball) and skill development: everything from little league to college ball to running drills in the backyard. If you have questions about this theme or whether your piece would qualify, send an email to email@example.com and we'll let you know.
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.