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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 $16]
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- Send previously unpublished works in English, and translations for which the translator has secured the rights.*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 Pieces over the word count will be withdrawn.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 around 12 months for fiction and essay, and about 8 months for other genres. 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 email@example.com 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, and $2 for dispatches. 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.
For the rest of the world, China’s 2008 Summer Olympics—with its $40 billion budget, dramatic “Bird’s Nest” stadium, and the lavish spectacle of its opening ceremony—marked the ascension of a new economic superpower onto the modern stage. Since then, new generations of Chinese youth have come of age into a society constantly rippling with changes, inundated with globalization, technology, and consumerism. The West continues to view China with curiosity, suspicion, and a sense of enigma as the country rapidly industrialized and urbanized, and its economic and political influence continues to shift. Yet Chinese literature translated into English is still predominantly written by older authors from the period of WW2, Maoism, and the Cultural Revolution, while neglecting the up-and-coming generation of Chinese artists, now dealing with wholly different lifestyles and sets of concerns.
The Common is seeking work about youth and contemporary culture from writers with a strong tie to Mainland China. What are the existential questions of this new generation, who are often globalized, tech-savvy, highly skeptical, inundated with media and consumerism, living in a society changing by the minute?
(Please note: Due to the focus of this folio, we are limiting the submissions to works by writers who have strong ties to Mainland China.)
This folio is being edited by Cleo Qian. Cleo (she/her) is a queer writer born in California. She is the author of the short story collection LET'S GO LET'S GO LET'S GO, which was one of TIME Magazine's 100 Best Books of 2023 and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.
Submissions: We are seeking fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and translation by younger-generation Chinese authors and artists and highlighting aspects of their lives or the current cultural scene of China that is underexplored for an English-reading audience.
Please submit 2-3 poems (no more than 7 pages) and prose up to 4,000 words. Each author should submit only once. The Submittable portal will be open from February 1-March 31 or until we hit 80 submissions, whichever comes first. If submitting translations, please ensure you have permission to publish. Pieces selected for publication will be compensated.
The folio is anticipated to be published in September 2024.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.