Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing publishes two digital issues per year, in spring and fall. We publish work by both emerging and established writers.

Compose accepts:

  • fiction
  • poetry
  • creative nonfiction
  • articles on the craft and business of writing—both practical and inspirational
  • interviews with established writers, literary agents, editors, etc.
  • excerpts from traditionally published works
  • photography and artwork

Reading Periods

We read submissions year-round and accept work via Submittable only (except for features—see below).

Simultaneous Submissions

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please immediately withdraw your submission directly within Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere. To withdraw a portion of a poetry submission or flash fiction submission, log in to your Submittable account, click on your submission, and add a note under the "Activity" tab. 

Definition of Previously Unpublished

Our definition of “previously unpublished” is that the piece has not appeared anywhere in print or online, at any time. This includes blogs and publicly accessible forums. Excerpts from traditionally published books should not have been previously published online.

Republishing the Same Author

Our policy is to not publish work by the same author in consecutive issues. If you have been published in Compose, please refrain from submitting further work until at least one issue has passed since your piece was published.

Author Rights

In all cases, we ask for the right to display and archive work in multiple electronic formats such as on our website, and in PDF and .epub formats. All rights revert back to the author upon publication. If we are the first to publish your work, we very much appreciate any reprints acknowledging that the piece was first published in Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing.

For poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction and features, we acquire First Rights to the work (i.e. the piece must not have been previously published in print or online).

For excerpts from traditionally published books, we acquire First Internet Rights (i.e. the excerpt in question has never before been published on the Internet.)

For artwork, we acquire Non-Exclusive Electronic Rights (i.e. the work may be previously published elsewhere, in print or online).

Payment

At this time we are unable to pay our contributors. We are a free publication that charges no submission fees, and all of our editors are volunteers.

Response Times

We will respond to submissions as quickly as possible. If you don’t receive a response within sixteen weeks, please contact us.

Manuscript Guidelines

Our preferred manuscript format is as follows:

  • double-spaced (except for poetry)
  • 12-point Times New Roman font
  • name and contact information on the first page
  • word count on first page (except for poetry)
  • brief cover letter in the box provided in Submittable
  • attachments should be in .doc, .rtf or .odt formats


Please submit one previously unpublished piece of fiction up to 4500 words in length, or up to three pieces of micro/flash fiction all in one document. To withdraw a portion of your submission, log in to your Submittable account, click on your submission, and add a note under the "Activity" tab. To withdraw the entire submission, click "Withdraw".

Please submit up to six previously unpublished poems, all in one document. (Note: There are some limitations in formatting poetry for the Web. We may not be able to accommodate unusual formatting in some cases, but we will discuss this with you if we foresee a problem.) To withdraw a poem from your submission, log in to your Submittable account, click on your submission, and add a note under the "Activity" tab. To withdraw the entire submission, click "Withdraw".

Please submit one previously unpublished piece of creative nonfiction, up to 4500 words. Submissions can be withdrawn directly in Submittable.

Please submit excerpts from traditionally published books, and include the name of the publisher, the publication date, and any other important information. Excerpts must stand on their own as complete stories, essays, or poems. Submissions can be withdrawn directly in Submittable.

Please submit five high-resolution files of photography/artwork. Materials may have been previously published in print or online. To withdraw a portion of your submission, log in to your Submittable account, click on your submission, and add a note under the "Activity" tab. To withdraw the entire submission, click "Withdraw".