• Why Underground Writers? What makes us different from other Australian literary journals, ie. Voiceworks or Overland?

We are not a big operation; we run entirely on volunteers who share a passion for good writing. Our ‘zine is free to submit and free to download, and we always offer feedback to our submitters, something offered by no other publication we know of. We have recently started paying  our writers, something that we’re passionate about and have been working towards from the beginning. Our goal is to be that first step, the first place a new writer is published, and our priorities are to be approachable and supportive to anyone who wants to write, no matter their format or content. However, we don’t receive funding, grants, or advertising revenue; we pay our writers entirely through the generosity of our Patreon supporters, which often limits the number of submissions we can accept for publication. 

  • How did Underground start?

Underground started out as a ‘Hey, wouldn’t that be cool?’ back in August 2009 between the ‘zine’s five original editors. Their writing class had finished and they were chatting in their local coffee shop when they confessed their worst fear:  being  intimidated by the big literary journals, but still wanting to get work out there for people to read. They thought it would be cool if there was a nice alternative, so, after two hours of brainstorming, they were laying the foundations of Underground. Two weeks later and they were taking their first steps into the world of ‘zine publishing. Volunteer editors have come and gone and only one of the original founders is still involved, but the idea and the passion remains.

  • Where can I find copies of Underground?

Here on the website on the Issues page. If you would like to be emailed issues hot off the press, you can find the subscribe button at the bottom of this page!

  • Do you charge for submissions or issues?

We do not charge for issues, and we do not charge to submit to Underground as we are a volunteer-run not-for-profit organisation. We don’t receive funding, grants, or advertising revenue; we pay our writers entirely through the generosity of our Patreon supporters, which often limits the number of submissions we can accept for publication, but it is important to us to pay for publication, so we scrape through each issue and hope wildly for a magical unicorn to arrive and hand us a million dollars so we can pay our writers and illustrators for the next hundred years! 

  • I want to submit something, but it’s been published elsewhere. What do I do?

It depends: where is ‘elsewhere’? If it’s just a simple blog post somewhere we might be able to look past it. If it’s another ‘zine or a journal, though, that’s where it gets tricky. The best course of action would be to drop us a line explaining the situation and we’ll figure it out from there. Please be aware that submitting to us may affect your chances in other journals. We’ve contacted all the major literary journals and asked about this situation, and they gave us the same response we’ve just given. Get in touch with them and explain what’s going on, and hey, you might get lucky!

  • How does the submissions process work?

Before submitting your work to us, read through the Submissions page and make sure your work is in the correct format – there’s nothing we dislike more than having to reject a submission because it’s in the wrong format, or in an unreadable font, or far too long for the ‘zine – the list stretches on.
When you’re confident that your submission is up to scratch, email it to us and we will let you know that we’ve received it. Come end of submissions (also known as ‘oh my goodness, so much to read’ time), all our editors convene in a mighty council and review each piece, debating the merits of each one and generating a pile of (hopefully) helpful feedback for the author. Between the submission deadline and the issue release date we will contact you and let you know if your submission has been accepted or not. There’s many reasons a piece could be rejected; don’t assume just because we couldn’t fit you in that you’re a bad writer! Once we’ve picked our pieces, the layout design begins. Once we’ve squeezed as much writing goodness in as possible everything is passed around for final checks before the issue is released to you!


  • What else does Underground do?

We release an interview with someone working professionally in the field of writing and publishing every second month, and each month release book reviews, blog posts and To Be Read lists, and all of these are wrapped neatly into our monthly email newsletter, along with a round-up of upcoming opportunities for writers: competitions, prizes, awards and calls for submissions from Australia and around the world, with an emphasis on opportunities that are paid and/or are aimed at a particular minority. 

  • What do I get if I support Underground on Patreon?

Our Patreon page has the full breakdown of rewards, but basically: no matter how much you pledge, all Patreon supporters are the first to receive all of our original content, that’s all new issues, blog posts, To Be Read lists, interviews and reviews. This material is released to the public several days later, but you’ll always know that you had it first 😉

  • Is there some sort of mailing list I can join?

You bet there is! At the bottom of this page you will find a ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ box. You’ll receive our monthly newsletter containing all of our original content and you’ll receive each new issue of the Underground Writers zine when it’s released to the public!