Welcome to our tips page for submissions to The Florida Review and Aquifer: The Florida Review Online. We strive to give all the work submitted to our print and online publications the depth of attention they deserve, and to do so in a timely fashion. It will help us to do so, if you follow our guidelines.
The first point is to please be careful when you go to our Submittable page. We have separate submission streams for 1) the Leiby Chapbook Award, 2) our Editors’ Awards contests in Poetry, Fiction, and Essay, 3) general submissions for the print magazine, and 4) general submissions for the online magazine. In addition to contemporary literature, we have categories for visual arts portfolios, cover art, and various types of multimedia features. We will get to your submission even if it’s submitted in an incorrect category, but it may delay the process. Plus, submissions in our general categories will NOT be considered as contest submissions, even if the contest is referenced in your cover letter. So, please be careful when you select your submissions category in Submittable.
Please also note that our print Florida Review submissions are open year-round, whereas our Aquifer submissions will be open on an intermittent, rolling basis and may sometimes be closed.
In addition, please respect our length guidelines. The Florida Review (unlike many publications) continues to accept longer manuscripts (and even really long ones for our chapbook contest). However, we will not consider manuscripts outside of the lengths in our guidelines, and we will not consider more than 5 poems at a time.
We ask that employees and students of the University of Central Florida (who might be known to one or more of our editorial staff) do not submit to us until at least five years after they graduate or leave employment of the university, though we reserve the right to publish such writers under special circumstances, such as the Pulse-themed section of 40.2.
After reviewing our submissions guidelines below, or on the appropriate contest page (Editors’ Awards or Leiby Chapbook Contest), go to Submit Your Work for the link to Submittable. And thanks for sharing your work with The Florida Review and Aquifer!
Fiction & Nonfiction
We look for stories and essays in which the mysteries emerge out of human personality and interaction. In other words, character-driven pieces that make us think about our lives in new ways. We like sophisticated humor and dark irony.
We do not consider typical genre fiction (sci-fi, romance, action, or fantasy), though that doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy magic and mayhem and futuristic visions when they are fully imagined in a non-stereotypical, character-driven, and beautiful way. What we look for is insight into the human condition and richness of perspective. We tend toward the maximal rather than the minimal in our preferences, but also firmly believe that each story has to find its own form and style, and that the minute we state a firm preference we’ll find the perfect story that will upend our claims.
In the realm of nonfiction, we publish mainly memoirs and personal essays, but also welcome submissions of literary journalism, especially if based in experience. We also encourage creative nonfiction submissions that inhabit borderlands between fact and fiction and that experiment with form. We do not publish scholarly essays at this time.
We prefer prose that is between 3 and 25 manuscript pages (750 to 6,500 words), but will consider up 8,000 words without a query. Do understand how difficult it is for us to commit the pages or online space for longer work, and the therefore increased excellence demanded of it. We are one of fewer and fewer magazines that consider this longer work, and it takes a lot out of us to read long submissions that haven’t been through enough revisions. Please make sure that it is ready and that every word counts.
Please submit only one short story or essay at a time. However, we will read up to three short-shorts, as long as the total page count remains under 15 pages (3,750 words). We consider novel or memoir excerpts only if they stand alone.
We’re interested in well-crafted poems that sing and take risks—in style or subject. We’re interested in traditional forms and free verse, any length.
Please submit no more than five poems at one time. We will only read the first five poems that you send.
We look for graphic narratives that show both artistic and literary merit. Currently, we are able to consider black and white only for The Florida Review print magazine. However, we can consider both black-and-white and color works for Aquifer: The Florida Review Online. (Although we will be able to use color work online, if and when we create an anthology of online work in print, we will have to convert any color work to black and white.)
Note that we have only one combined submission stream for graphic narratives in Submittable, covering both print and online magazines. This allows us to choose which work will work best in print and which online. If you have a preference one way or the other, please let us know in your cover letter.
Work should be submitted via Submittable as a jpeg or pdf file. Please note that for work accepted for publication, we may need jpeg or other file forms of 300 dpi or better quality. If you have any technical issues, please query us at email@example.com.
Digital Stories, Electronic Literature, and Interactive Narrative
The Florida Review has a tradition of recognizing new art forms–we were one of the first literary magazines to publish graphic narrative, and, before that, to open our pages to creative nonfiction. Now we would like to recognize that digital stories are a growing art form as well and publish some of the best in our new web magazine, Aquifer: The Florida Review Online. Compelling personal narratives concerning a variety of topics will be considered for online publication.
Submit 3-5 minute digital stories that combine images, voiceover narration, and, as appropriate, music, sound effects, and/or video. Digital stories should be submitted in .MP4 or .MOV format, and authors should include a title screen that lists story title and full author name, as well as a credits screen at the end that lists all image and other content sources unless they are the property of the storyteller (for example, personal photographs). Please ensure that you have the right to use and share online all digital story content before submitting. Please note that before publishing any work, we will ask for a signed publication agreement that confirms you have acquired permission for use of any visual, auditory, or other work not your own included in your digital story, and that you accept full responsibility for doing so.
In addition, we have recently begun to consider other forms of multimedia work, including HTML and hypertext works, electronic literature, interactive narrative, and other forms of storytelling that involve digital and video tools. If you have a piece that utilizes digital tools in a different file format than those listed here, please query Natalie Underberg-Goode at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Submissions should be experimental works of film or video that are 15 minutes or less and utilize moving images as a means to poetic expression, formal exploration, or abstract and open-ended narratives. Compelling, personal works that push the boundaries of cinematic convention will also be considered for publication.
Submit film or video works as Vimeo or YouTube links and include any passwords required for viewing. Works accepted for publication will require an .MP4 or .MOV file that will be uploaded and hosted on Aquifer’s YouTube channel long term.
There are no requirements for year of completion or premiere status, but please note these videos will be available to the public online for an extended period of time. We recommend entries be works that have completed any intended festival screenings and do not have plans for future distribution.
Please ensure that you have the right to use and share all film and video content before submitting. Please note that before publishing any work, we will ask for a signed publication agreement that confirms you have acquired permission for use of any visual, auditory, or other work not your own included in your film or video, and that you accept full responsibility for doing so.
Visual artists are encouraged to submit two-dimensional works in any medium for a color cover for or black-and-white spread within The Florida Review. We prefer submissions on Submittable, but also accept work on CD-ROM (U.S. mail at the address above) or via a web link (email@example.com). Please note we will not open any e-mail attachments.
We are now accepting submissions for Visual Art Portfolios for publication in Aquifer: The Florida Review Online. Submit online here.
Book Reviews and Interviews
All of our book reviews and interviews are published in Aquifer: The Online Florida Review as of 2017 in order to offer the widest possible readership for authors who have new books. We also often connect reviews and/or interviews with new work by authors featured in either and we will sometimes be connecting reviews and/or interviews to literary content in the print magazine and/or the online magazine to create a healthy synergy.
The Florida Review seeks reviews of recent full-length books, especially those published by small literary and university presses. Length: 500-1000 words. Books should have been published in the past two years, and we greatly prefer reviews of full-length books rather than chapbooks. We do not review self-published books, but we tend to prefer small-press books as opposed to ones that will already have been reviewed by the mainstream press unless they have something new to add to existing reviews.
Please submit book reviews via Submittable. You may first query our book review editor through our firstname.lastname@example.org email about the suitability of a particular book for review, but please understand that we do not have staff reviewers to assign.
We also consider review essays–more extensive examinations of multiple works that go beyond straightforward reviews. You may especially want to query before submitting a longer review essay.
If you are interested in interviewing an author for us, please send a query or submit here.
Withdrawals & Queries
For Submittable submissions, please go into Submittable and withdraw your manuscript there. For general queries, send us an email at email@example.com. You may also send a letter via postal mail, but in order to receive a response, please include a self-addressed stamped envelope.