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Submissions for issue 25 are now open! The submission period for issue 25 is between Sunday 18th November and Sunday 23rd December, so read our prompt below and get submitting!
Settle here. Lay your head down amongst the dirt and dust and know your home does not have to flourish to take root. Nestled under the mountain ash, gaze up at the brilliant stars peeking out from behind the leaves. Let the cold breeze soothe your sun kissed skin and send you to sleep.
Her toes dug into the rich earth, reaching down, down, down into the soil. Those who had come before called up through the ground and nourished her, passing on their essential elements so that she could live her fullest life in that place, then die and pass them on again to those who would come after. Her canopy stretched high above the surface into the sky, her roots held deep inside the earth, and she breathed the essence of that place, knowing she was one link in the chain that maintained the balance of life in her home. There is no place like it, as Dorothy said, and she felt it in her heart as the roots of her body met the roots of her soul, deep under the earth in the dark, warm, secret places, soil and soul completing each other’s cycle.
Charlotte stood in the backyard, watching her dad pack down soil around the freshly planted roses. The sweet smell of their petals permeated towards her as the afternoon breeze blew gently through their suburban front yard, mixing with the deliciously rich smells coming from their kitchen. Inside, her mother was preparing dinner – potato and leek soup – and quietly humming to herself as she went. “I better get these finished before your brother gets here. I don’t want his girlfriend’s parents to think we do things half-assed around here.” he said, wiping sweat off his brow with the back of his gloved hand. “They’re not gonna care, dad.” Charlotte replied, reaching down and sweeping off the dirt he had left on his forehead. “Do you know who her dad is, Charlotte?!” He looked panicked. “He hosts that bloody gardening show on ABC! We need to make a good first impression.” He climbed to his feet and stood, hands triumphantly on his hips and surveyed his hard work. “Marjorie! Come look at the roses!” he beckoned. A plump, middle aged woman trotted down the stairs of the verandah and walked over. “Looks great, Murray.” She paused, her eyes narrowing. “But they’re covered in aphids.”
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.
- 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
- 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 News 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 no 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.