Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Taking Submissions: Elegant Literature – January 2022 Window

January 31, 2022

Deadline: January 31st, 2022
Payment: $0.10 per word
Theme: Dire Days

Theme: Dire Days
Is the end of the world approaching? Some days, it sure feels like it. Many people worry about the future. Economies falter, wars rage, and environments are destroyed. It seems like every day brings news of a new disaster.

And to top it off there are personal struggles. That sinking sensation in our gut as the world seems to crumble around us. When it feels like nothing is going our way and every bad thing that could happen does. Dire days indeed, when we feel like throwing in the towel and calling it quits. It’s easy to give up when times are tough, but it’s the people who keep fighting even when the odds seem insurmountable who are hailed as heroes. Those are the ones we write stories about.

This call invites you to explore a dire situation, whatever that means to you. Mystery, fantasy, romance, crime. All genres are welcome.

Anyone can submit work to the magazine. It’s free. We don’t believe publications should charge authors to be published. However, we have a specific submission process you must adhere to in order to have your work considered.

Our submissions window opens on the first and closes at midnight on the final day of each month, just like our contest. The theme of each issue of the magazine is the same as the contest. All submissions to the contest are also treated as submissions to the magazine and are eligible to be published. In fact, we highly recommend submitting your work to the contest, as you could win $3,000 in addition to publication.

If you cannot, or choose not to submit to the contest, you are welcome to submit your work directly to the magazine. You will not be eligible to win the prize, but nor will you have to pay any fees, and you have an equal chance to be selected for publication as any other story submitted throughout the month.

We do have a uniquely streamlined publication process. Please take a moment to familiarize yourself, then check the FAQ for answers to any questions you might have. If you need more help, send us an email at [email protected].

Remember, submissions must follow this month’s theme.

To submit your work, make a free account and use the Non-Contest Submission Form.

Fiction Guidelines

Word Limit: 500 – 2000 words, excluding the title, no exceptions.

Pay Rate: Ten cents ($0.10) per word, including the title.

Genres: We accept all genres.

Rights: We claim first world electronic rights, and non-exclusive anthology and audio rights. We have one of the most favorable contracts for authors we know of, and also a uniquely streamlined publication process. Please take a minute and have a look at our easy-to-read overview here.

Copyright: You retain all copyrights to your work.

Simultaneous Submissions: Allowed.

Multiple Submissions: Allowed, providing they are different stories. We do not allow multiple submissions with different endings, or any similar minor alterations.

Acceptance/Rejection Timeline: One month from submission close. This ties into our streamlined publication process mentioned above.

Stories are evaluated on:

  1. Creativity. Surprising concepts and original twists are appreciated.
  2. Character. Who is often more important than what.
  3. Structure & Flow. 2000 words is not a lot. Keep the story moving.
  4. Quality Of Writing. Have someone edit your work. Twice.

Increase your chances of selection:

We see the same problems regularly while reading high volumes of stories, so keep this list in mind when writing and editing. Address these common issues and your work will stand out.

  1. Search and replace the following when appropriate: suddenly, started to, seems, that, had, just, simply, down, up, got, then.
  2. Also avoid: heart thudded, eyes flashed, blood pounded, ears screaming, chest heaving, tears streaking, mouth twisting, and the many other similar expressions. Use them when appropriate, but sparingly. We also see a lot of wry smiles, twitching lips, grinning, and gasping.
  3. Shifting tenses pulls the reader out of the story. Be careful to keep one tense throughout.
  4. Limbs are not distinct entities. They are a part of you. My eyes I surveyed the scene. Her hand She felt for the light switch.
  5. Eye color. People don’t usually notice it outside of intimate situations, and no one ever thinks about their own unprompted.
  6. When noting actions they must either a) advance the plot or b) reveal character/emotion. Example: pinching the bridge of your nose shows frustration and impatience. Quick-stepping into a shadowed alcove is a plot-related action. The character is hiding… will they be seen? Phrases like “stepping forward” or “I walked down the street” do not create tension, advance the plot, reveal character, or show emotion. Always ask if the action description serves a purpose and you will eliminate unnecessary words.
  7. Avoid backstory. There is limited space to tell your tale. Starting with a strong, action-forward scene should not be followed by the character thinking about how it all began when they were a kid.
  8. Stories about writers writing (or failing to write) are going to be hard sells.
  9. Stories that do not include the prompt word. It doesn’t matter how good your work is, you won’t be selected.

Submissions Process

Elegant Literature uses an online submission system only. Do not email, mail, fax, or text us. Do not attempt to send us your work over social media.

If you are submitting to the Magazine via the Contest you must create an Elegant+ account and go to the Contest Submission page. If you are not entering the contest, you must create a free account and navigate to the Non-Contest Submission page.

Fill in your author details. There is no need for a cover letter. Add your story details. Copy and paste your story into the box provided. You may upload a file only if there is bolding, italics, or other text effects because they will not copy/paste well. We accept .RTF, .DOC, or .DOCX formats.

If you are entering the contest do not include your name or other identifiable details in the uploaded file. Judges receive the stories without names attached so their judgments can be unbiased. If they open your file and see your name you will be disqualified from the contest, although you will still be eligible for publication.

You will receive confirmation through a thank you message displayed on screen. If you do not see it, or if you believe something has gone wrong, please send us a message through the Submission Issue contact form. Our team will work with you to resolve any concerns. Do not submit multiple times.


Your submissions and all personal information are confidential and will not be shared with anyone outside the Elegant Literature staff. Your story will be published using the Pen Name, author bio, and website/socials that you include on the form. We only publish what you include.

Art Submissions

We are looking for cover art! The cover for each issue will be used on the digital magazine and on our website (we do not have a print issue at this time). We buy the rights for those placements and for use in marketing that single issue. The artist retains all other rights.

Payment: $200. The artist’s biography, a link to their portfolio, and any other websites or socials will be included in the issue, as well as a picture of the artist if they so choose.

Interested parties should please send the url of their portfolio to [email protected].

Via: Elegant Literature.


January 31, 2022