Submissions

Written submissions for Issue 27 are open until the 9th of June

Case

The van barrelled down the highway, narrowly missing the “Woodstock, 5 MILES” sign on the roadside.
It was packed to the brim with musicians, groupies, equipment and the ever-present stench of stale smoke. Excited chatter was drowned out by the unhealthy hum of the engine, weighed down by the sheer quantity of bodies inside. The drummer reached over from the backseat and ripped open a case of beer, passing a bottle to each occupant.
“To the summer of love!” he raised his bottle in a toast.
“To the summer of love!” they all repeated in unison.

*

Black cases, blue cases, Hello Kitty cases, stickers for cases, expensive cases, cheap cases, hard cases, soft cases, cases with wheels, cases with extra pockets, cases with handles, cases with matching bags.. how could something so simple have so many different options.
Extrovert cases, introvert cases, shy cases, outgoing cases, quiet cases, loud cases…
how can something so complex have so few options.

*

As the detective stared down at the mangled corpse—the throat slit, eyeballs gouged out, hands cut off, teeth removed—that it was obvious that the same guy did this work: the guy who made a kill every night until he was locked away, the guy who was buried last week.
‘Looks like we’ve gotta copycat, Chief.’

*

Pack a case. Take an extra pair of undies for the flight just in case. Tell the people you surround yourself with that you love them (or wish you spent less time with them) in case you don’t get the chance again. Over-prepare but never sell yourself short.
Don’t confuse case files. That’s how Jane the Virgin got pregnant. Don’t open anything you find underneath someone else’s bed. It doesn’t belong to you. But I bet the best kept secrets hide there. Fine! Maybe a peek. But if anything has blood on it, wipe off your fingerprints, close the lid, and walk away. It’s not your case to solve. In fact, flee. Pack a case. Take an extra pair of undies for the flight just in case. Tell the people you surround yourself with that you love them…

 

Submission guidelines for writers

As much as we’d like to say, ‘let your creativity run free!’, we do have some rules and regulations to follow, but they’re pretty straightforward. If you’re unsure of any of the guidelines, feel free to contact us.

Please note

  • Whilst we do accept submissions from writers outside of Australia, priority will always be given to Australian writers
  • Please be aware that, as we are a publication for new and emerging authors, we give priority to authors with little or no publication history. If you have an extensive publication history and/or have authored and published several books, you are unlikely to be considered for publication and we suggest that you peruse our monthly Opportunities for Writers lists for more ideas of where to submit your work.
  • From issue 24 onward we will only be accepting one piece per author per issue. Please don’t send us more than one piece per issue as we will not accept your submission
    As the themes are quite loosely interpretive we will not reject your piece on lack of theme alone, but priority will be given to pieces that are at least obliquely to theme, and highest priority is given to pieces that are a creative interpretation of the theme; we want to see original and interesting works that take an idea and turn it into something wonderful
  • Priority will also be given to work that has not been accepted or published elsewhere – see note below about previously published work
  • Pieces with substantial spelling or grammatical errors will not be accepted. It is up to you to edit your submissions to a publishable standard – we will not do a thorough copy edit for you. Feedback provided is predominantly substantive
  • As this zine will be presented to the general public please be aware of the suitability of explicit content such as graphic violence, excessive coarse language, and triggering themes. If a piece is deemed to be offensive, triggering, or unnecessarily and excessively crude it will be rejected

Submission Formatting

  • We have a limit of 40 lines for poems, and 2000 words for short stories, flash fiction and reviews.
  • We only accept one piece of writing per author per issue. You may submit different or substantially edited work for consideration each new issue.
  • Please format your text in Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman size 10-12, with line spacing of 1.5.
  • Submissions must be written in English
  • Submissions should be in DOC (Microsoft Word) file or compatible format attached to your email. Please do not submit work in a PDF or image format. Do not submit your work in the body of the email.

How to Submit

  • Once you’ve read the above formatting guidelines you can submit your piece by email
  • In the body of your email please include a brief biography about yourself and your work, e.g. your writing career so far (even if this is your first submission anywhere ever!), where you live and where you found out about us (we’re always curious to know)
  • Please do not include your name anywhere in the submitted document – not the header or footer, the body text, or the file name. The file name should be the title of the piece. All submissions are critiqued blind – our editors do not know who has submitted what – so this step is essential
  • Attach your DOC file to your email. DO NOT submit your work in the body of the email
  • Send your submission to submissions[at]underground-writers.org

What Happens Next?

  • Within a week you will receive confirmation that we have received your submission. If you have not received a confirmation email after a week, check that you have met all the submission criteria above (i.e. you’ve attached your work in the correct format and included the correct information in the body of your email) and resend your submission.
  • Do not expect a reply regarding the state of your submission – included or not – until submissions have closed. This just means that we have not yet decided which pieces will be included in the zine.
  • Once the submission period closes your submission will be read by our editors. Only after they have read your work will they be given any details about who you are; such as whether your work has been published before or where you are based (as per note above).
  • Each one of our editors will read every submission. With all our different tastes and styles, we’ll then decide as a group which submissions we think will work best for the issue.
  • We will then send feedback on all submissions, whether we have accepted them for publication or not.
  • If we do accept your submission, you’ll then be paired with one of our editors and guided through the editorial and publication processes. The editorial process is to make any minor amendments that may be required before publication. This is the time when we check for spelling or grammar errors, or flow and syntax, or when we may have feedback that we think will make your story stronger that you may wish to incorporate.
  • If we do not accept your submission, you are free to substantially edit the piece and submit it next issue, but we retain the right to refuse to include a piece until the editors deem it suitable. Please do not submit the same piece twice – all submissions must be significantly different from each other for consideration and are much more favourably looked upon if they adhere to the theme, if even obliquely.

A few reminders

  • All work sent to us must be the original work of the author or the author must own the rights to have the work published
  • Submitting content to us may mean that your work is not available for publishing in other journals or in competitions. It’s best to do some research about this, and let us know if a piece is accepted somewhere else before we publish it.

Payment

  • All submissions published in the Underground Writers zine from Issue 17 onwards will be paid a flat rate of AUD$50 regardless of length, style, or previous publishing experience.
  • As we are a free, un-funded, not-for-profit, volunteer organisation we rely entirely on our fabulous Patreon supporters to pay our writers. The more money we make through Patreon the more writers we can afford to publish: it’s as simple and as difficult as that. So if you like what we do and want us to keep doing it please consider supporting us on Patreon. There are a number of rewards and all of our regular Patrons receive our original content first: all book reviews, TBR lists, interviews, blog posts, and of course our issue releases are delivered to our supporters before anyone else!

Submission guidelines for artists

As much as we’d like to say, ‘let your creativity run free!’, we do have some rules and regulations to follow, but they’re pretty straightforward. If you’re unsure of any of the guidelines, feel free to contact us.

Please note

  • All work sent to us must be the original work of the artist and the artist must own the rights to have the work published
  • You will also be asked to provide a personal bio and blurb for your art of up to 80 words which will be placed inside the cover.
  • You will be credited with the design of the cover both in the zine and through our media channels.
  • In submitting your idea for consideration you agree that your artwork may be used on our website and social media for promotion of the Issue and for Underground Writers

What We Need

  • Style: should be all black and white and we are open to interpretation of the theme
  • Size: The zine is A5 and the cover needs to be a wraparound so the entire artwork must be A4 landscape. It is your choice to make one image that works as a wraparound for the whole cover or to make one image for the front and one for the back or even an image for the front that can be flipped to be the back cover as well.
  • Space needs to be allowed for the words ‘Underground Writers’ and ‘Issue xx’ which will be in either black or white and will be overlaid on the artwork when the zine is put together.

How to Submit

  • Rather than submitting completed artwork, we ask that you submit your idea or concept in writing along with a sample of previous work that represents the style you would use for the piece.
  • Please note that we do not ask artists to submit a draft of their idea before we commit to commissioning as we do not support the practice of asking for work for free without guarantee of payment.
  • The editorial team will choose the idea or concept that we feel best matches our theme and aesthetic following the submission closing date.

Timeline

  • Within one week after submissions have closed you will be notified whether or not your proposal has been chosen. 
  • If you have been commissioned, we will require a draft of your design within 1 week and the completed work within 2 weeks.
  • Upon completion, your artwork will become the face of Underground Writers for the quarter until the next Issue is produced and will be shared across social media and our website with credit to you at all times. You will also be invited to share your artwork across your own platforms as long as it links back to the Underground Writers website or social media channels.

Payment

  • We pay $100 for the full cover design and the right to display your artwork across our social media, website and for use in promoting Underground Writers and the zine.
  • As we are a free, un-funded, not-for-profit, volunteer organisation we rely entirely on our fabulous Patreon supporters to pay our contributors. The more money we make through Patreon the more writers and artists we can afford to publish: it’s as simple and as difficult as that. So if you like what we do and want us to keep doing it please consider supporting us on Patreon. There are a number of rewards and all of our regular Patrons receive our original content first: all book reviews, TBR lists, interviews, blog posts, and of course our issue releases are delivered to our supporters before anyone else!