Write for us

Here are our full Writing Guidelines. You need to read that page no matter what you’re submitting.

Writing Guidelines

We currently accept submissions in all of the following categories:

  • Personal essays up to 3,000 words.
  • Essays about books, reading, or libraries up to 3,000 words.
  • Flash fiction up to 1,000 words.
  • Short fiction up to 3,000 words.
  • Poetry. Please send 2-5 poems per submission.
  • Book reviews between 750 and 2,000 words. Please read our page devoted to book review submissions for more information.

To submit a piece of writing, please email us at info (at) fourthandsycamore dot com. The subject line of your email should read [Last Name] [Writing Category] Submission (e.g. Smith Poetry Submission, or Jones Essay Submission). Treat the body of your email as your cover letter. There’s no need to be overly formal with this, just let us know a little of who you are, where you’re from, and where you’ve been published (if anywhere–be honest). Attach your writing submission as a single-spaced .doc or .docx file. Include only one prose piece or two to five poems in each submission. Wait to hear back from us before submitting something else. We will respond within four weeks.

Things we can promise you if you submit a piece of writing to us:

  1. We will thoughtfully read your piece.
  2. We will respond personally and respectfully as to whether or not we will publish the piece. You will hear from us no matter what.

Things we cannot promise you if you submit a piece of writing to us:

  1. Publication. When you submit a piece to us it is with the standard understanding we may decide it is not a good fit for our journal. A rejection is not a verdict on your skill as a writer, and you are encouraged to submit to us again.
  2. Fame. Also, fortune.

Fourth & Sycamore is not able at this time to pay you for your writing, but it’s something we’d like to work toward.

  • We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify us immediately if your piece is accepted somewhere else. As a general rule we do not accept reprints, but if you are upfront and honest about it and there are extenuating circumstances (you published it only on a small personal blog, the original publisher is now defunct and your piece no longer has a home, etcetera), we’re willing to think it over.
  • Fourth & Sycamore is a non-contractual site (meaning you don’t have to sign anything if we publish you), but all the common sense electronic publishing stuff applies. We claim first electronic rights to your piece, and non-exclusive electronic archival rights to host your piece on our site in perpetuity. The copyright on any published piece reverts to the author immediately upon publication. Your writing is your writing.
  • If you use Duotrope to track your writing submissions, you can find our listing here. If you use The Grinder, you can find our listing here.

Submitting Book Reviews

We publish fiction and poetry like any good lit journal, but book reviews are our bread and butter. We have several critics who write for us on an ongoing basis, but we’re greedy and we want more.

Which is where you come in. If you love to read and love to write (and are good at both), you should consider reviewing books for us.

Most of our current book reviews are of poetry, literary and small press fiction, YA fiction, and nonfiction books on topics such as gender and sexuality, film, and music. We’d love to diversify our reviews to include fiction and nonfiction of (almost) all genres to more fully meet the needs of our readers, and we’d also love more reviews in the categories we already provide, in order to have more voices contributing to our site. We would really love to develop relationships with talented writers who want to write reviews for us on an ongoing basis and don’t mind that (right now) we can’t pay for said reviews (it’s on our radar though).

If you’re interested, here’s what you need to do:

  • Read through some of the reviews currently on our site and get a feel for what we publish.
  • Read our writing guidelines in their entirety and follow them when submitting work.
  • If you are interested in writing a one-off review, please query us about the book you intend to write about before sending us the review. Approval of a query is not a guarantee we will accept the final piece.
  • If you are interested in writing reviews for us on an ongoing basis, email us at the address provided in the info (at) fourthsycamore dot com. Include a short bio, let us know why you want to write reviews for us, tell us about what you like to read (and would like to review), and let us know how often you would be interested in writing reviews. You also need to either include links to at least two pieces of your writing or attach two writing samples.
  • Understand there is an editorial process for being accepted. If we choose not to accept your submissions, or your bid to write regular reviews for us, please don’t take it personally. We sincerely appreciate your interest.

We are very excited to hear from you. Now get to work!

We look forward to reading your work. Write well, and write true. Put your heart into your writing, follow the above guidelines, and send us your best!