Halfway Down the Stairs publishes poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and book reviews. New issues are published quarterly (March, June, September, and December), and each issue is themed. We publish primarily literary and mainstream work, but accept work in most genres, with children’s literature and erotica as the exceptions.
Please note we are a non-paying market.
Our March 2020 issue (our fiftieth!) will be themed Milestones. Submissions are open from December 1, 2019 through February 1, 2020.
We also consider submissions of photography where relevant to the theme. Photography submissions guidelines are available here.
SUBMISSIONS PAGE CONTENTS:
- Theme Calendar
- General Guidelines
- Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction Guidelines
- Submissions Process
- Publication Details
Our upcoming themes are as follows:
March 2020 issue (our 50th issue!)
June 2020 issue
Theme: Upside Down
We only accept submissions for themes during our specified submission periods, which are:
- March 1st – May 1st for June issue
- June 1st – August 1st for September issue
- September 1st – November 1st for December issue
- December 1st – February 1st for March issue
- We are looking for serious writers with an appreciation for language and the craft of writing. We want fiction with memorable characters and realistic plots, poetry that is fresh and original, and nonfiction that is both thoughtful and entertaining.
- We will accept only writing that has been proofread for spelling and grammar. Trust us on this one. We keep our virtual machete very sharp for people who are grammatically challenged, and we are not afraid to use it.
- We also consider submissions of photography where relevant to the theme.
- We are not interested in explicit sexual content, gratuitous violence, or repetitive swearing, unless it is essential to the plot and not included solely for shock value.
- Please do not send us any of the following: poetry that sounds like it ought to be on a Hallmark card, poetry you copied from a Hallmark card, how-to articles, first drafts of anything, fanfiction, anything full of sentimentality, or religious and/or political propaganda disguised as fiction.
- This ought to be obvious, but only send us your own work. If you send us anything plagiarized, remember we have a machete.
- We do not accept previously published work. This includes not only formal publications in print and online journals, but any pieces you may have posted to a blog, personal website, etc. If it’s already available to the public in some form, we do not accept it.
- We do accept simultaneous submissions, but please let us know immediately if your piece is accepted by another journal.
- As above, we do not consider or accept submissions outside the specified submission period.
- The editors are all responsive to shameless flattery and to gifts of chocolate.
Authors submitting written work are welcome to submit companion photos alongside their written work, or to indicate what type of image they visualize alongside their work; however, the editors reserve the right to make independent decisions about the image used or to decline the photos, even if they accept the written work. Our photography submissions guidelines are available here.
We accept poetry of roughly 500 words or less, although we are not terribly strict about this guideline. We are rarely willing to be lenient with the theme when it comes to poetry, and will do so only if the submission is very good.
Please note that we only accept three poems at any one time from a single author and, for the most part, publish only one poem from any one author per edition.
We accept fiction of roughly 5,000 words or less related to the theme of the issue. The fiction editors are looking mostly for short stories, but we are happy to consider well-crafted flash fiction. We don’t want to be too strict with the guidelines, because we appreciate originality, creativity, and stories that are off the beaten path. We like stories that grab us from the beginning, make us think, and keep us enthralled. Stories should be written confidently and fluidly, avoiding too many adjectives or too much dialogue. We will be negatively distracted by poor grammar/spelling, clichés, and a lack of editing.
Please submit only one piece of fiction at a time, and ensure stories are formatted as requested below.
We accept creative nonfiction of 3,000 words or less. Halfway Down the Stairs is specifically looking for essays and memoir with a strong voice and a unique point of view. We publish well-written, honest writing that inspires emotion. Humor is also appreciated.
We are not looking for stream of consciousness rants of a political or religious nature. Save those for your blog. We respond negatively to spelling and grammatical errors, so please proofread your work closely if you wish to have it seriously considered.
As of March 1, 2018, we will begin accepting submissions outside of the issue theme. Submissions within the theme are still encouraged, but high quality submissions outside the theme will also be considered for publication. Please note this only applies to nonfiction submissions.
Please submit only one piece of nonfiction at a time.
- Please send all writing submissions to halfway . stairs @ gmail . com.
- Your subject line should look like this: submission, genre, and title of your piece. (Example: “Submission, Fiction, Monsoon Nights.”) If you are submitting multiple poems, state the number of poetry submissions instead of the title of the piece. (Example: “Submission, Three Poems by William C. Fredrikson.”) Please do not submit multiple genres in a single e-mail; if you would like to submit poetry and fiction, send us two separate e-mails.
- Within the body of your e-mail, give us the following information: the title(s) of your submission(s), the name under which you wish to be published, your e-mail address, if the piece you are submitting has ever been published elsewhere, if the piece you are submitting is a simultaneous submission, and a brief introduction written in the 3rd person point of view. If you are submitting multiple poems, include these statements at the beginning of your e-mail, and follow it with the actual poems. Example:
by William C. Fredrikson.
No, the submitted poems have never published elsewhere.
Monsoon Nights is not a simultaneous submission. Elsewhere and Lady Luck are both simultaneous submissions.William C. Fredrikson teaches grade seven social studies in British Columbia. His students think he looks exactly like Jack Nicholson. In his spare time, William enjoys playing the guitar, reading Hemingway, studying World War II history, and making fun of reality television.
If we do choose to publish your piece, we will also publish your biography. Your e-mail address is confidential, and we will never publish it or give it out.
- After your introduction, please post your piece within the body of your e-mail. Please do not send your work as an attachment. Please single space your work, double spacing between paragraphs. Please do not indent your paragraphs.
- Optional: Let us know how you found us. We’re curious as to where our readers and writers are coming from.
- Optional: Let us know if there’s a kind of image you visualize with your piece, or even if you have an image you would like us to use if it is published (photography submission guidelines are below). We reserve the right to choose alternatives – but we are happy to consider your suggestions.
We aim to respond to all submissions within four weeks of receipt, and you will never wait more than three months for a response.
Upon publishing your work, Halfway Down the Stairs will require exclusive electronic rights to it for 3 months, or the length of one issue. After the three month period is over, we will request nonexclusive electronic rights so we may include it in our archives.