Inspired by the mission and role of the town common, an egalitarian gathering place, The Common aims to foster the global exchange of diverse ideas and experiences. As such, we welcome and encourage submissions from writers who are Black, Indigenous, people of color, disabled, LGBTQIA+-identifying, immigrant, international, and/or otherwise from communities underrepresented in U.S. literary magazines and journals. In an effort to remove barriers to access, The Common will waive submission fees for BIPOC writers for two weeks every summer.
For those who cannot access Submittable due to disability, or who require a fee waiver due to financial difficulty, please call 413-542-5453 or email email@example.com.
Reading periods for fiction, nonfiction, translations, and poetry:
- March 1 – June 1
- September 1 – December 1
Submissions from current print/digital subscribers to the magazine are accepted free year-round. [subscribe here starting at $12]
Dispatches are accepted year-round.
- Send up to five poems, or one prose piece, or three flash pieces per submission.
- Send previously unpublished works in English, and translations for which the translator has secured the rights.*
- Include title, word count, and contact details in your cover letter.
- Send simultaneous submissions, as long as you withdraw them immediately if they are accepted elsewhere. Poets may use Submittable's message feature to withdraw individual poems.
- Read The Common Online to get a feel for what we look for. Or check out these interviews with Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker.
- Be patient with us while we carefully consider your work. Our typical reading time is 8 months, but this varies widely. At least three readers review your work before an editor makes a final decision, so it takes time. You can always check your piece's status in Submittable.
- List any identifying information on your submission.
- Submit more than one submission per genre at a time. Wait for a response before submitting again. We will not read or consider multiple submissions, and Submittable cannot refund submission fees.
- Submit a piece over 10,000 words. Pieces over the word count will be withdrawn.
- Query about the status of your piece. Your Submittable account allows you to check the status yourself; if it does not show a decision, we are still considering it. Our typical reading time is 8 months, but that varies. Three readers review your work before an editor makes a decision, so we appreciate your patience while we consider carefully. Your piece isn't lost or being ignored, and querying will not expedite its consideration.
- Let financial hardship stop you from submitting. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if the submission fee presents a difficulty for you.
- Submit as a subscriber if you aren't a current subscriber. The submission will be withdrawn.
Payment & Publication
The Common charges a processing fee of $3 for essays, fiction, and poetry submissions. Dispatches are currently free to submit. Want to skip the fee? Subscribers submit for free year-round. Subscriptions start at only $12, and you can either subscribe here or or add-on a subscription through Submittable!
If you have a subscription or choose the add-on, make sure to submit to the Subscriber Submission category below, or you'll still be charged the $3 fee.
Fiction, nonfiction, translations, and poetry will be considered for print and online publication. $200 honorarium per prose piece, and $40 per poem.
Dispatches are notes, news, and impressions from around the world. Both prose and verse accepted, but must be nonfiction. Length: up to 800 words. They are accepted year-round and are published online only. $100 honorarium per dispatch.
About The Common
The Common seeks stories, essays, poems, and dispatches that embody a strong sense of place: pieces in which the setting is crucial to character, narrative, mood, and language. We receive many submissions about traveling in foreign countries and discourage writers from submitting conventional travelogues in which narrators report on experiences abroad without reflecting on larger themes.
These interviews with Editor in Chief Jennifer Acker discuss The Common's editorial vision. Read more at www.thecommononline.org.
* We wish to read only translations for which U.S. English-language rights are available. Please confirm that these rights are available before submitting your work. For more information on translation rights, please read Susan Bernofsky's primer here.
Dispatches are notes, news, and impressions from around the world. Both prose (nonfiction only) and verse accepted. Length: up to 800 words.
Include the title, piece location, and word count of the piece on the first page of your submission.
Dispatches are accepted year round and are published online only.
$100 honorarium paid upon acceptance.
Print and digital subscribers to The Common may submit year round in any genre for free. Your current subscription will be verified before the submission is considered. If you are not a subscriber, you may still submit through this option by adding on a subscription to this submission, from the options below. If you would like to see more subscription options, visit us at thecommononline.org/subscribe.
Word limit: 10,000 words. Longer submissions will be automatically withdrawn.
If you are a subscriber through Amazon, please include your purchase confirmation number, or send your online purchase receipt to email@example.com.
Please SPECIFY THE GENRE of your piece in the title AND in the description! All genres will be considered for both print and online publication.
Include the title, your name, email address, genre, and word count in your cover letter. Please no identifying information on your submission.