FAQ

Miscellaneous
What is Ploughshares?
What is your contact information?
How can I contact one of your authors?
How do I request permission to reprint?

Submissions
Do you accept unsolicited submissions? If so, what types of manuscripts are you looking for?
When is the Ploughshares reading period?
Do I need to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE)?
Do I need to include a cover letter?
How much can I submit at one time? Can I submit poetry and fiction together?
Can I submit my manuscript online?
Why is there a fee for online submissions?
Can I submit work simultaneously to another publication?
Do you accept previously published work? What is your definition of previously published? Do self-publications count?
How should I submit if I'm an agent or working with an agent?
How long should I wait before I query about my submission?
I’ve revised my work since sending it to you and want to send in the new version. Is that okay?
Should I be targeting my work to a specific guest editor? What happens to my submission? Will the guest editor be reading it?
What do you pay, and what rights do you buy?

Subscriptions
How many issues of Ploughshares are published per year?
How do I subscribe?
When can I expect my first issue?
How can I tell when my subscription is going to expire?
I’ve moved but my issues of Ploughshares have not been forwarded. What happened?
How do I notify Ploughshares that my address has changed?
One of my issues was never delivered or arrived damaged. What should I do?
I'm receiving two copies. What’s going on?
How do I give a gift subscription?
How do I renew my subscription?
I renewed recently, but just got another renewal notice. Why?
How do I order back issues?
How do I access my digital issues/Solo?

Miscellaneous

What is Ploughshares?

Ploughshares is best known for our print literary journal, but we also publish the digital-first Ploughshares Solos series and annual print Solos Omnibus anthology, as well as the Ploughshares Blog and Newsletter.

Published three times per year, the journal features fiction, nonfiction, and poetry as well as a Look2 essay, an essay series that seeks to publish pieces about underappreciated or overlooked writers.  Two out of three issues per year are guest-edited by a prominent writer who explores different literary circles; the Winter issue of each year is staff-edited. Subscriptions to Ploughshares now include three issues of the literary journal and one volume of the Solos Omnibus.

Work first published in Ploughshares is selected continuously for annual prize anthologies such as The Best American Poetry, The Best American Short Stories, The O. Henry Awards, and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses.

Although we are affiliated with Emerson College, we are not a student publication. We are professionally staffed, and we hire a small number of student employees and interns who are often graduate and undergraduate students in Emerson’s Department of Writing, Literature and Publishing. We do not publish current Emerson College students, faculty, or staff. We receive over 1,000 submissions each month from writers all over the country and the world, and the authors we publish range from best-selling household names to new discoveries.

What is your contact information?

Ploughshares
Emerson College
120 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116

Phone: (617) 824-3757

Email: pshares@pshares.org

How can I contact one of your authors?

You may mail or email us a letter for the author, and we will forward it for you. We do not give out any contact information.

How do I request permission to reprint?

Please see our guidelines for reprint rights and photocopying for course adoption.

Submissions

Do you accept unsolicited submissions? If so, what types of manuscripts are you looking for?

We welcome unsolicited submissions. For the journal, we consider primarily poems, short stories, and personal essays. For the Ploughshares Solos series, we consider fiction and nonfiction. Novel excerpts are acceptable for both, if self-contained. Unsolicited book reviews and criticism are not considered for either.

Please familiarize yourself with issues of Ploughshares and the Solos series before submitting to us.

When is the Ploughshares reading period?

We accept submissions postmarked or submitted online between June 1 to January 15 for the literary journal and the Ploughshares Solos series. Any material mailed from January 16 through May 31 will be returned unread. We adhere strictly to these postmark dates.

Our Emerging Writer’s Contest runs from March 1 to May 15 and we accept submissions online only.  

Do I need to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE)?

No. Because we process all submissions through our online system, you must include your email address in your submission.  

If you are unable to provide an email address or if you would like your full manuscript returned, indicate this in your cover letter and include a SASE with adequate postage. If a manuscript arrives without an email address or a SASE, we will keep it for six months after the postmark date, then recycle it. 

Do I need to include a cover letter?

We prefer each submission to include a cover letter with your name, submission date, contact information, and a brief bio citing previous publications, if any. You do not need to describe your submission in the cover letter. 

If you are submitting online, include your cover letter as the first page of your document.  

How much can I submit at one time? Can I mail poetry and fiction or nonfiction together?

We do not consider multiple submissions. Please send one submission at a time, and wait to hear a response on the first before sending a second.

If I write flash fiction or flash nonfiction, how many pieces can I send at a time?

Although we don’t publish flash prose very often, we are happy to consider it. Please do not send more than one of these short pieces at a time.

How can I submit my manuscript online?

You may submit online via our submission manager, though we do charge a small service fee for use of this system. This is not a reading fee, but rather supports the use of the online system.

Why is there a fee for online submissions?

Online submissions during the regular reading period require a service charge of $3 to support the use of the online submission manager. These systems are not free for us to develop and maintain, and the service charge supports those costs. Subscribers are waived of the service charge because their subscription supports Ploughshares in other ways.

If you do not want to pay the fee for online submissions, you are welcome to submit a hard copy via postal mail .

Can I submit work simultaneously to Ploughshares and one or more other publications?

Yes. We ask that you indicate that a submission is simultaneous and notify us immediately if it is accepted elsewhere.

Do you accept previously published work? What is your definition of previously published? Do self-publications count?

No, we do not publish any previously published work. Material that has appeared in any publication, print or web, would be considered previously published. This includes self-published work.

How should I submit if I'm an agent or working with an agent?

If you're an agent submitting on behalf of a writer, or if you're a writer working with an agent on literary journal submissions, we ask that you be cognizant of our simultaneous submissions policy. When submitting, please take into account our considerable lead time. Not only is our process of winnowing a shortlist for our guest editors (and allowing time for our guest editors to make their selections) a slow one, but work we accept likely will not be published for about a year. We cannot accept work that is due to be published elsewhere (in a collection or as a chapter of a novel, for example) before our publication date, and we unfortunately do not have the resources to pay reprint rights.

How long should I wait before I query about my submission?

Please wait three to five months before querying. Queries as well as withdrawal notifications should be sent via email, but we will also accept them via regular mail. If querying via mail, be sure to include a SASE. Please include your name as well as the date, genre, and title of the submission. 

I’ve revised my work since sending it to you and want to send in the new version. Is that okay?

Please send us only the absolute best representation of your work. Because of the volume of submissions we receive, we cannot accommodate revisions to pieces that have already been submitted. If you would like us to consider your revision, please withdraw your current submission and resubmit.

Should I target my work to a specific guest editor? What happens to my submission? Will the guest editor read it?

We do not recommend trying to target specific guest editors—our backlog is unpredictable, and staff editors are responsible for determining which work is most appropriate for our current guest editor(s).  Your submission will be screened by readers and staff editors, who select the most promising manuscripts to send to the guest editor.

What do you pay, and what rights do you buy?

For Ploughshares literary journal, we pay $25 per journal page; minimum payment is $50 and maximum payment is $250. For the Ploughshares Solos series, we pay $250. We purchase First Serial Rights. Copyright remains with the author. The author retains the authority to reprint the work elsewhere after it has appeared in Ploughshares—for example, in a short story collection or anthology—as long as Ploughshares is credited with first publication in the reprint.

Subscriptions

How many issues of Ploughshares are published per year?

We publish three issues a year, one Solos Omnibus a year, and nine Solos a year.

How do I subscribe?

You can subscribe online with a Visa or Mastercard through our secure server. If you prefer, you may also mail your check, money order, or Visa or MasterCard information (credit card number, expiration date, and CVV) to:

Ploughshares: Web Orders
Emerson College
120 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116

Checks should be payable to Ploughshares. Our rates are $35 for one year (three issues and one Solos Omnibus) or $55 for two years (six issues and two Solos Omnibus). All orders to Canada and Mexico are subject to a $15 annual shipping surcharge. All international orders outside Canada and Mexico are subject to a $35 annual shipping surcharge.

When can I expect my order or the first issue of my subscription?

Orders are usually shipped within two business days of receipt. Standard orders are shipped media mail, which takes 5-10 business days. Priority mail is available at an extra charge. Subscriptions begin with either the current or the next available issue and are shipped on the official publication date for each issue.

How can I tell when my subscription is going to expire?

We will notify you by mail or email in advance of your final issue with a renewal letter. Your expiration date is also printed on each issue’s mailing label. “Exp: Fall 2016,” for example, means that the Fall 2016 issue will be the final issue of your subscription.

I’ve moved but my issues of Ploughshares have not been forwarded. What happened?

Our issues are sent by Standard Mail (bulk/periodical), which the post office does not forward. It’s a mystery, actually, what happens to these issues—they’re not returned to our office, either, but are supposedly deposited into the "Dead File" in U.S.P.S. parlance. Please try to keep your address up-to-date with us. If you’ve moved and missed an issue, contact us and we’ll send a replacement to your new address.

How do I notify Ploughshares that my address has changed?

Please login to your account and change your shipping profile.

One of my issues is damaged or lost in the mail. What should I do?

Unfortunately, this does happen on occasion since the issues are shipped cross-country in bulk. Please contact us (by mail, email, or phone), and we’ll be happy to send a replacement right away.

I'm receiving two copies. What’s going on?

It’s possible that a renewal was incorrectly recorded as a new subscription in our old system. Contact us and we'll combine any duplicate records into one, extending your subscription for remaining issues to make up for the duplicate.

How do I give a gift subscription?

When you purchase a subscription online, you will be prompted to designate your subscription as a gift, include a gift message, and specify the recipient's name and address as you check out.

How do I renew my subscription?

You can renew online, by mail, or by calling the office. To renew online, please select the renewal type you would like here.

I renewed recently, but just got another renewal notice. Why?

The mailing list for a renewal letter is set in stone a couple weeks before the letter is actually mailed. If you renew during this two-week window, you'll unfortunately still receive the renewal letter even though your subscription has been renewed. Rest assured that we have received your renewal and you can recycle the duplicate notice. If you would like to confirm that we have received and processed your renewal, feel free to email pshares@pshares.org.

How do I order back issues?

All copies of Ploughshares are now available in digital format, and most are still available for purchase in hard copy at a substantial discount. Browse and purchase them here.

How do I access my digital issues/Solo? 

Log in to your Ploughshares account on your e-reader and go to the “Files” tab. From there, you should be able to see the digital file and download it directly onto your device. If you are having trouble downloading it directly to your device, you can connect your e-reader to your computer with a USB cord, download the file onto the computer, and then click and drag or sync it onto your device. To read your eBook on the computer, download Adobe Digital Editions. For information specific to your e-reader, check these websites: Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, Nook (Barnes and Noble), and Kobo.