Fiction: We seek character-driven fiction with original voices and strong settings. We do not publish genre fiction (romance, sci-fi, horror). We have only occasionally published flash fiction. While we are always interested in creative explorations in style, we do lean toward classic short stories.
Nonfiction: We are looking for essays that reach beyond the standard ‘illness narrative’ to develop a topic in an engaging and original manner. Incorporate thoughtful and creative analysis that allows anecdotes to serve a larger purpose. (Please, no academic discourses or works with footnotes. )
Poetry: We encourage poems that are accessible to a wide audience. Characteristics we look for are vivid writing, strong narrative, and rendering the familiar new. We encourage you to peruse back issues in our archive to get a sense of our ethos.
We happily consider simultaneous submissions, but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
Manuscripts can only be accepted electronically via Submittable.
Fiction/nonfiction word max is 5,000 words, (though most of our published prose is in the range of 2,000-4,000 words.) Please submit no more than three poems. Each poem should be on a separate page within a single document.
There is a $5 fee per general submission but it’s waived for current subscribers. (If you are not a current subscriber, you can subscribe when you submit your work and take advantage of free submission.) These fees help BLR fund publication of the journal, but if it’s a hardship for you, please contact us.
We strive to provide several reviewers for each manuscript and kindly ask your patience in this necessarily slow process. But if you have not heard from us within five months, feel free to inquire about your manuscript.
BLR pays $75 for poetry and $150 for prose. Published authors will receive two copies of the issue in which their work appears, plus an additional 1-year subscription to BLR. There is an author discount for purchasing extra copies.
All submissions must be of previously unpublished work.* BLR acquires First North American rights, and the right to reprint in anthologies and online. After publication, all other rights revert to the author and the work may be reprinted as long as appropriate acknowledgement to BLR is made.
(*For BLR, “published work” means published in print in North America, or published on the Internet in electronic journals, e-zines, academic websites, and other “public” or “official” websites. Works posted on personal blogs or websites will be considered on a case-by-case basis. We ask that authors be honest about web postings. If a work is discovered to have been posted or published elsewhere–and not openly acknowledged by the author in advance–we will remove it from consideration.)