Guidelines

Reading Period

We accept submisssions to the journal from June 1, 2016 to January 15, 2017 at noon EST.  

Simultaneous vs. Multiple Submissions
We do not consider multiple submissions, so please send only one manuscript at a time, either by mail or online. Do not send a second submission until you have heard about the first. Simultaneous submissions to other journals are fine as long as they are identified as such and we are notified immediately upon acceptance elsewhere.

If you are working on submissions with an agent, or are an agent submitting work on behalf of an author, please read our note on simultaneous submissions with an agent.

Cover Letters
We encourage you to include a short cover letter with your submission. It should reference:

  • Major publications and awards
  • Any association or past correspondence with a guest or staff editor
  • Past publication in Ploughshares

Manuscript Guidelines

  • Typed, double-spaced (poetry may be single-spaced) pages.
  • Numbered pages.
  • If in hard copy, submit with text on one side of the page.
  • Fiction and nonfiction: Less than 6,000 words. Excerpts of longer works are welcome if self-contained. Significantly longer work can be submitted to the Ploughshares Solos series.
  • Poetry: Submit 1-5 pages at a time.

Translations are welcome if permission has been granted.

Unsolicited book reviews and criticism are not considered.

Queries to the Look2 Critical Essay series are occasionally welcome (see guidelines here).

Restrictions

  • We do not reprint previously published work.
  • We cannot accommodate revisions, changes of return address, or forgotten SASEs. We cannot be responsible for delay, loss, or damage.
  • We cannot print work written by individuals currently affiliated with Ploughshares or Emerson College as a volunteer screener, intern, student, staff member, or faculty member.

Submitting Online
If this is your first time submitting, you will need to create an account before uploading your document. To do this, click “My Account” at the top right corner of this page. 

  • There is a $3 service fee for online submissions (current subscribers may submit online without charge*). This is not a reading fee.
  • Upload your submission as a Word (.doc, .docx), rich-text format (.rtf) file, or PDF. No .Pages, .txt, or Open Office Documents.
  • Upload only one file containing one prose piece or one to five pages of poems. Include your full cover letter as the first page of the file
  • From the drop-down genre menu, be sure to select the appropriate genre of the work you are submitting.

*If you are a current subscriber, you will still be prompted to checkout, but you will not be required to enter your credit card information and will not be charged. 

Submit by Mail
We greatly prefer digital submissions, but you may mail submissions to:

Ploughshares
Emerson College
120 Boylston St.
Boston, MA 02116-4624

  • Mail your manuscript in a page-size manila envelope with your full name and address written on the outside (at least an inch down from the top, to account for USPS barcodes).
  • Identify the genre of your manuscript on the outside of the envelope.
  • You must include your email address in your cover letter.  All manuscript replies will be sent via email.
  • If you would like your full manuscript to be returned, indicate this in your cover letter and ensure that you include a self-addressed, stamped envelope (SASE) with adequate postage.
  • We cannot return manuscripts to international addresses, even with IRCs.
  • There is no service charge for mail submissions.

Unsolicited work sent directly to a guest editor's home or office will be ignored and discarded; guest editors are formally instructed not to read such work.

Accessing Your Submissions
You can view the status of your current submission as well as a list of your past submissions at any time by logging in to your account and clicking “My Submissions.”

Notifications and Queries
Expect three to five months for a decision (our backlog is heaviest during the fall and spring). We now receive well over a thousand manuscripts a month, so please be patient. We accept queries after five months have passed. Queries as well as withdrawal notifications should be sent via email or the mail. They should include:

  • Your name.
  • The date, genre, and title of the submission.
  • Whether the submission was sent by mail or online.
  • A SASE, if you send your query via mail.

Contributor Honorarium
Payment is upon publication:

  • $45/printed page, $90 minimum per title, $450 maximum per author.
  • Two contributor copies of the issue.
  • A one-year subscription.