submission guidelines



Due to operational costs, we must charge a $3.00 fee for each submission, and we strongly encourage you to read the submission guidelines on this page before sending your work our way.

Manuscripts for the print magazine are read from September 1 to December 1 and from January 15 to April 15. Please address your submissions to the appropriate editor (i.e. Nonfiction Editor, Fiction Editor, Poetry Editor).  Simultaneous submissions are accepted; writers must notify The Normal School immediately if the work is accepted elsewhere. We consider only previously unpublished work. We also do not accept email submissions. Please do not contact our editors regarding a submission via their personal email addresses or social media. Hard-copy submissions are NO LONGER ACCEPTED.

Basic Guidelines for Print Magazine Submissions

  • All manuscripts must be double-spaced for fiction and nonfiction. Poetry may be single-spaced.
  • All manuscripts should be formatted in a readable (12 point) font, with at least 1 inch margins.
  • Please include a brief cover letter. Remind us if we know you.
  • Be sure your full name and contact information (including email) appear on the manuscript.



creative nonfiction

We consider memoir, personal essays, and creative nonfiction with contemporary styles and an attention to language, form, and consciousness. We are particularly interested in essays that challenge established norms for the genre or that don’t seem to fit in easy categories of classification. We also like some more traditional sorts of essays and reportage. Submissions over 10,000 words are discouraged.


We consider literary short fiction with contemporary themes and styles. We tend to prefer character-driven work and pieces that explore marginalized voices. Submissions over 7,000 words are strongly discouraged.


We consider poetry of any style. Please limit poetry submissions to no more than five poems. Please limit the number of cat poems (unless, of course, they are really, really good cat poems).



TNSOL is particularly interested in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that is under 2000 words, topical, current, and compelling. We are focused on publishing writing by diverse and traditionally under-represented voices and perspectives; we are interested in content that challenges the status quo.

We are also currently seeking submissions of comics, graphic fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, photo and video essays, spoken word pieces, and audio prose and poetry–the kind of multi-media writing and art we can’t easily publish in our print magazine.