Bone & Ink is now open for submissions for our October issue. Submissions will be open for this issue from September 15, 2018 to October 24, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. PDT, and will be published on the site beginning October 1 and going until October 31. Depending on how many submissions we get/accept, I plan to publish at least one piece per day, if not more. We’re also always open for non-themed submissions, but those will not be published until vol. 7 opens in November.
For this issue, I’m looking for the spooky, the strange, the terrifying, the macabre; the whimsical, witchy, melancholy, and creepy-cute. I want your bits of childhood Halloween nostalgia so vivid I can smell the pumpkin guts and candy corn and candle wax, feel the crisp air on my face and hear the rustle-crunch of dead leaves beneath my boots. I want stories of haunted places and haunted people; ancestral ghosts and places where trauma occurred. I want retellings of urban (and suburban and rural) legends—the girl who lives in the mirror, the man beneath the stairs, your creepshows and cryptids. I want your revenge ghosts, your spells and rituals (told in a poetic or narrative form). I want your essays about your favorite horror films, your homages to Ray Bradbury and Shirley Jackson. I want your murder ballads, your cemetery polkas, your country death songs, your exquisite corpses. I want your photos of ghostly orbs and spooky old barns, your drawings of witches and monsters. I want you to tell me about that time your friends dared you to go inside the abandoned house everyone swore was haunted; about the places where the veil between worlds is thinner. I want your poems about being a teenage witch in the suburbs, stealing spell books from the mall and raiding your mom’s spice cupboard for ingredients; your odes to your favorite-ever Halloween costume, how it made you feel more yourself than your everyday clothes. I want your tales of Mischief Night pranks and slumber party ouija board summonings.
I do not want: gratuitous violence against women—I like dead girl stories and slasher flicks as much as the next person, but if the crux of the story or piece of art is misogynistic violence, we’re not gonna publish it. I don’t want gratuitous violence or gore, period—a little gore is fine, but no splatterporn, y’know? Speaking of porn—sex/sexuality/nudity are fine, but no straight-up porn or erotica, please. And absolutely no sexism, racism, homophobia, or transphobia. (Also, be cognizant of cultural appropriation. I’m not going to tell you what you can and can’t write about, just be careful when writing about traditions that aren’t yours.)
We accept submissions of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, visual art, and hybrid forms. We accept any form of poetry, from prosepoetry to free and blank verse to formal rhymed and metered poems, and everything in between. Fiction-wise I like both flash fic and longer short stories; both genre fiction and ‘literary’ fiction and especially the place where those two arbitrary categories blur. (I’m not going to assign a maximum word count, but use your discretion. If your story is much over ten pages, this might not be the place for it.) For non-fiction, it’s much the same: I like flash CNF and longer personal essays/memoir—no official word count, but don’t, like, submit a whole dang manuscript. (Oh, but we do accept excerpts from longer works, be they poetry or prose, fiction or non, so long as the excerpt can stand on its own.) For visual art I want anything and everything—comix, pen and ink drawings, collages, paintings, photographs, etc. Hybrid works covers everything from visual poems to lyric essays to speculative memoirs and beyond. All that said: we mostly get poetry submissions, and damn, we love poetry, keep sending it—but I’m dying for more fiction and CNF and visual art.
To submit: send no more than six shorter written pieces, poems, or visual art, and no more than three longer written works to firstname.lastname@example.org. Subject: Bone & Ink Submission_[Your Name]_[Halloween Issue]_[Specify Poetry/Fiction/Non-Fiction/Hybrid/Visual Art]. In the body of the email, include a third-person bio, and links to your website/blog/social media page/etc., if applicable. Cover letters are nice; just a few sentences will do. Attach written work as a .doc, .docx, or .pages file, or include it in the body of the email. If the formatting doesn’t copy+paste well, please attach the work as .jpeg files. Visual art should also be in .jpeg format. All work must be previously unpublished (this includes work published on personal websites and blogs). Simultaneous submissions are fine, but let us know immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. If you have pieces in more than one category, go ahead and submit in more than one category—but please send each category in a separate email (i.e. one for poetry, one for CNF, one for art), and please, send no more than one submission per category. You can expect a response within 2-3 weeks. If a month has passed and you have not received a response, feel free to query.
I can’t wait to see your spookiest stuff.
Pumpkin patch image by Jim Choate, found on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/XXDUNS
Witch image by Flood G., found on Flickr: https://flic.kr/p/pjpKq8