Writer’s Guidelines for Submissions

NOTES Magazine is interested in short fiction, personal essays, and poetry as well as submissions for our public columns The Accidental Anthropologist and Notes From a Schmuck. At this time, we prefer submissions to be posted here at Grace Notes. However, some authors are not comfortable posting publicly and if you are one of them, please visit our Grace Notes Books site for direct submission options.


Competition entrants are only permitted to post 2 entries per category (per contest). If you have already reached your max for contest submissions but have addition work you would like to submit to Notes, please follow these directions:

1.     Go to the “Post or Edit Entries” tab in the user menu and click “Post” as you would for a regular contest entry.

2.     Title your submission and paste it into the submission form as you would for contest entry.

3.     Categorize your submission as fiction, CNF, or poetry as you would for a regular entry-BUT, add the additional category of “Magazine Submission”.

4.     After you have published your submission, please check to make sure that it has 2tags: one indicating the genre and another indicating it as a submission.
Fiction & Creative Essays:
NOTES does not have genre restrictions but we do have very specific desires in terms of style.
We publish stories that celebrate a blending of the best qualities from both ‘literary’ and ‘mainstream’ stylings. Work submitted to us should have the engaging and realistic characters, vivid settings, and fast-paced storylines found in mainstream writing. We are not hung up on “plot” in the sense that we look specifically for “thriller” or “horror” or “coming of age” but we do seek stories that have a strong sense of being “About Something”– even if that something is simply life or love or friendship. We don’t want to read a story that leaves us thinking, “That was beautifully written… but what was the point?” BUT these qualities should be combined with the thoughtful prose and unique language often found in the “literary” genre.
NOTES celebrates balance in the works we publish. Finding mainstream stories to often be engaging but empty and the literary genre to be beautiful but often slow and dull– we seek the slipstream, the middle ground, the best of both worlds. This is our only true criteria aside from asking that your submission be in professional condition, free of typos and grammatical errors (for the most part at least) and in a legible 12 pt. font.
Makes life easier on our editors!
We do prefer pieces under 3000 words for layout purposes but will work with longer stories of exceptional quality. Response could take from 1 month to 2months depending on the number of submissions we are currently considering. However, we have no issue with simultaneous submissions and ask only that authors notify us if another publisher picks up the story.

If you submit your poetry directly through Grace Notes Books, please send no more than three poems at a time and do not submit again until you have heard back from us on your initial submission. If you submit through Notes &Grace Notes.Com, please follow N&GN’s entry rules. We would love to see your poetry if– and ONLY if– your work does NOT:
1. Contain the phrase “My Soul” or “Your Soul” or the word “soul” in any way, shape, or form– especially in the title. We’re also not real big on the words (or words in the realm of) enlightenment, spirit, or spirituality. It’s not that we have an issue with spiritual poetry in particular but we find these words are often the product of passionate poets who might not have learned to mine their minds for unique perspectives and subtle themes. Also, “heart” or “my heart” might not earn you any points here unless you’ve managed a minor miracle with them. We find that poems that contain these words/phrases tend to me more exclusively introspective than the type of poetry we’re interested in and are usually (although not always) an immediate indicator of poor expression.
2. Does not contain centered poems, boldsunderlines, a variety of fonts, or an unusual amount of italics.
3. Does not use a single word, phrase, or sentence repeated over and over. For instance: IamGodandGodisme. I am God and God is me. I. Am. God. And. God. Is.Me…(repeat, rinse, repeat to amount to 500 words.)
Yes, we’ve seen this as an actual example– and, no, we don’t think it’s amazingly creative. Sorry.

Public Columns: 
To submit to our public columns, see samples of The Accidental Anthropologist or Notes from a Schmuck listed under Entries àMagazine Submissions. To submit to either column the author must mimic to tone of the fictitious author (Claire and Irving, our cartoon characters). To get a feel for their unique voices, visit the profiles under “Browse users” in the user menu (top left). If you have done so and feel your piece fits the bill post it under the proper category. Submissions for these columns should always be titled with the name of the column itself and include a subtitle relevant to your article.

Length guidelines for these public columns are as flexible as those for fiction/creative nonfiction but we do prefer pieces less than 2500 words-for layout purposes. But we’ve never turned away a brilliant piece of writing because it was too long and we’re not going to start now. We also prefer pieces that are no less than 700 words-but if you’ve accomplished something awesome in less? We want to see it.


Yes, we are paying authors! We are authors too, and we know how nice it is to be paid for your work. Payments for future issues will be an honorarium based on available funds until we are more established and can pay more upon first acceptance. All contributors will always receive a free contributor copy as well.

Editorial Procedures:

NOTES Magazine and the Grace Notes Foundation prides itself on helping promising authors reach their greatest heights. With that mission in mind, we do not offer publishing opportunities only to those pieces in pristine condition but also to those who (with proper guidance) show great potential of crossing into greatness.

Our editors may send out revisions notes to potential contributors to assist in the editing process and to work a piece into publish-ready condition. We would rather work with a great writer to produce a perfect story than publish lesser works that are more “technically” well written. However, we place high value on maintain voice and style and our editors will never ask an author to make changes they are uncomfortable with, will never revise a submission on the author’s behalf (our editors correct only grammatical issues), and are open to discussion pertaining to revision. Ultimately, at Grave Notes, the author is always in control of their work.

Potential contributors retain all rights and may decline the revision suggestions made by our editors. However, this may hurt an author’s chances of being published in NOTES Magazine, depending on how crucial the suggested re-writes were in terms of keeping up with our high standards to produce a magazine unlike any other. Author’s receiving revision notes from our editors will also be informed of the importance we are placing on their revisions.


By submitting to Notes Magazine or entering our monthly competition you are accepting that you have read and understand our guidelines and policies regarding publication.