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Mostly Boring Stuff You Should Know Before You Send Us Anything 

We accept previously unpublished submissions of Rare Flash Fiction and Well-Done Poetry via Submittable. We do not accept submissions via email. All email submissions will be deleted unread. Sometimes we accept reprints from authors we solicit, but only because we like them a lot. Simultaneous submissions are fine. If we accept your work, please wait 60 days before submitting again. That may be annoying. We’re sorry.

Genres

Flash: We want your flash fiction to udderly wow us. We’re bored on this godforsaken farm. Help us pass the time without so much corn whiskey. 

Poetry: We want your very best free and formal verse. We want poetry that makes us pause mid-chew, we want to be moo-ved. We’re also partial to grazing on prose poems and the experimental. 150 lines max per submission. Better not send us rhyming poems or we’ll give you the hoof.

Themes

We want: strange literary, magical realism, speculative, slipstream, utopian and dystopian, bizarro, apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, and just plain weird fictions. So, surprise and delight us. Pretty please.

We do NOT want: racist, sexist, homophobic, or otherwise offensive work containing gratuitous violence, gore, misogyny, rape, molestation, etc. We reserve the right to not respond to such submissions.

Response Times & Feedback

Feel free to query after three months, although it probably won’t take that long.

Due to the volume of submissions received, it is not always possible to offer feedback. 

Fees & Payment

Cease, Cows is a labor of love. It is run by volunteers and free to read. We promote our contributors on social media and provide regular opportunities to submit work for free. Our hosting expenses and Submittable plan are made possible by tip jar submissions or by charging a small fee for expedited responses. We’d love to pay staff and contributors, but typically only generate enough funds to cover the costs of maintaining the site. 

Other Info 

All works of original fiction and poetry are published with the permission of the individual authors, and all copyright to a work remains with its author. We do request that our authors acknowledge Cease, Cows as the first place to feature a work if it appears elsewhere in the future. Work published on our site may not be reproduced without permission, per standard copyright laws.

Cease, Cows nominates work for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, and Best Microfiction.

Accompanying Artwork 

Works of art appearing on our site are used courtesy of Flickr members who have listed their media under Creative Commons licenses. Works will always be attributed under the artist’s legal name when available, or their Flickr pseudonym when not, using the work’s original title (if any), along with a link back to the Flickr page where the piece was originally posted. Photos may be resized. Because we like things to fit nicely. Like our shoes.

68 Comments

  1. Jacqueline Kate Goldblatt Jacqueline Kate Goldblatt

    Hello! I have a piece published in my university’s arts and culture magazine. It was published online, but as it is affiliated with a school club, it doesn’t get much online traffic. Can I submit the piece? I also have a print piece published by the magazine as well, though our circulation was limited. Sorry if I’m being a pain.

    • Not a pain at all! Thank you for checking first before submitting. It’s appreciated. 🙂

      To answer your question, if it has already appeared online, we’d have to say no to that one. If the print piece saw any circulation outside of the university we’d have to pass on that one as well.

  2. Brooke Tiedt Brooke Tiedt

    Hi cows! My flash fiction was in a high school newspaper with no online copy, and circluation limited to the high school. Does this count as “previously published” or can I submit my story to you? Thanks!

    • You can submit that! Thanks for checking, though!

  3. Hey Cows!
    So, I was published on your site in November 2016 (yay!), which was, of course, awesome. Just a quick query – do you hold exclusive rights for a length of time at all? I’m looking to submit the same piece of fiction for an award that accepts reprints.
    Thanks in advance!
    Lots of bovine love,
    Amy
    X

    • Hi, Amy!

      Upon acceptance, our authors grant us a non-exclusive right to publish, edit, and archive their work on our website. All copyright to a work remains with the author. We do request, however, that authors acknowledge Cease, Cows as the first place to feature a work if it is published elsewhere. Hope this answers your question!

      Best,
      CC Staff

      • Hey guys!
        Thanks so much for this response. This does indeed answer my query!
        All my best,
        Amy

  4. I pay a visit every day some web pages and blogs to
    read posts, but this blog offers quality based writing.

  5. Do you guys mind if my stories for the Short Scary Story contest get a bit gory? By a bit I mean loads of blood and guts… Hey! Who doesn’t love some guts in their scary stories?!

    • Please, god, yes! Also, the cows may have a crush on you.

  6. RE: Scary story submission. “Authors Publish” site says you want a cover letter and bio. Submission rules say not to include anything that would identify the author. Which is correct? Thanks.

    • We just ask that there not be identifying info within the attachment/story. Thanks for asking!

  7. You guys are the tits. Other magazines pail in comparison. Also, when will you be open for submissions? Duotrope thinks you’re open now.

    • Thanks! We just closed for the summer. We’ll reopen in late August or early September.

  8. Love that you leave these questions up here! I had two questions and they were answered above. Great idea!

  9. Hello 🙂 I understand no more than 1500 words, but is there a minimum?

    • and..sorry for I did not remember when I asked the first question….Do you send out an alert email when you are open to receive flash fiction w/out it costing $3? I noticed submission was closed until August for no charge, is this correct?

      • We sure don’t, sorry. Just check back in late August. Thanks for the interest!

      • With regards to ‘Katg67davsgrl’s comment that was left, am I correct in thinking I have to pay you for each submission I was to send in?? Please could you clarify.

        Thanks,

        ~ Victoria

        • In the past, we’ve charged for feedback and editing, but our categories are free now.

          • Thanks for getting back to me on that, much appreciated.

            Another question I wish to ask, is why if you accept and publish a work on your site does it have to be removed from ones own blog??

            Thanks in advance,

            Victoria.

          • For legalities, unless we have solicited a piece, we cannot accept it if it is currently published. But 30 days after we publish it, you can publish it on your own blog. Nearly all zines and journals have this caveat now. Thanks for asking.

  10. I just want to make sure this is correct:

    You DON’T want standard manuscript format? Double-space, etc. You just want it as I wish it to appear on the page?

    • Either is fine, really. We’ll do our best to make it look the way you want it to look. We’re not terribly picky. 🙂

  11. Question regarding submissions: if I previously posted it on my blog, does that count as previously published? Juliana Lightle

    • If accepted for publication, we would just ask you to remove it.

  12. I’m reckoning my prose poem is a prose poem. There are no line breaks. But then I see your Submittable guidelines further outlaw stanza breaks. I’ve got some discrete paragraphs going on. So does that mean you’d rather me pass it off as flash fiction?

    • If you feel it’s a prose poem, go ahead and submit it as such. We’re okay with the separate-paragraph look in our prose poems.

  13. lillyracer12 lillyracer12

    Hello, quick question. Do proems centered around mental illnesses (anxiety, eating disorders, bipolar disorder, etc.) fall into the topics/genres that you’re looking for?

    • Theoretically, sure, they can. We don’t have certain preferred topics (or censored topics, beyond the obvious) as much as we prefer a story be somehow surreal or weird. If the only unusual thing about the story is the character’s state of mind, it’s unlikely to be a good fit.

  14. stutteringcynic stutteringcynic

    And thank you for the quick reply.

  15. What do the editors think of adult themes? Not gratuitous, but just a smudge on the adult side?

    • Hi there! Yes, that’s just fine. If it’s fiction, we do need to also have a surreal element of some sort. Thanks for inquiring!

  16. So… Just want to make sure I understand the rules. I’m sending in a prose poem today. This means that I have to wait 30 or 60 days (depending on whether it gets accepted) to send in the flash fiction story I have because it’s a separate category. Am I right?

    • Hi Leslie. If you’re sending in a prose poem for our submissions bomb from 8-9pm tonight, then you won’t have to wait to send in your flash piece. Pieces submitted after pieces submitted during bombs are excused from the 30 and 60-day waiting periods. We’re about to announce it, stay tuned.

  17. I submitted a flash story, but wondered if I could submit another one at the same time (though it’d have to be as a separate submission)?

    thanks!

    • Hi there. If the total number of words doesn’t exceed 1500, you can send in the other. Thanks for inquiring.

  18. Does “previously unpublished” include blogs? I have a prose poem on my blog I’d love to send to you and would lovingly take it down from the blog if you like it enough.

  19. I have a good cow poem. It’s not a prose poem. Is that acceptable?

    • Hi Mary! We only accept prose poems at this time. Thinks for thinking of us, though.

  20. What a mooving piece…but now to steer the convo to branding: are you hardcopy and electronic?

  21. […] Click here to submit to Cease, Cows. Submission Info: We accept previously-unpublished submissions in three categories: Rare Flash (500 words and under), Medium Flash (500 – 1500 words), and Well-D…  […]

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