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General Guidelines for All Categories


Writing Awards
The Electric Book Award (adult manuscript), Spark Book Award (YA manuscript), Luminaire Award (poetry and prose), and Charter Oak Award (history-themed) are chosen from all of the accepted submissions in their respective categories for the year. If you submit to any category, you are automatically entered for consideration in that category’s prize running, year-round. See our Code of Ethics below.

Deadlines
We have rolling deadlines from month to month for each category. We try to keep our submissions open year-round, but we occasionally have to close them if we get too far behind in reading and responding. Submissions for all of the abovementioned award categories must be turned in by November 30 each year to be considered for the next year’s awards. The Luminaire Award and Charter Oak Award are announced each spring. The Electric Book Award and The Spark Book Award are announced each summer.

Eligibility
Must be 18 or over to submit. International submissions welcome. All work must be in English; we do not do translations. All work must be the author’s own. All genres, styles, lengths, and themes considered; we do recommend that you become familiar with the work we publish. Both emerging and established writers welcome. Manuscripts and pieces may have more than one author. Illustrations or photographs inside a manuscript or piece are fine, if necessary to the book or piece. Staff members of Alternating Current may have pieces published on The Coil or submit pieces for blind submission consideration, but they may not win award prizes. Simultaneous submissions and previously published submissions accepted.

General Guidelines
•Simultaneous submissions are accepted.
DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE FILE OR IN THE FILE NAME.
•No cover pages with identifying information or acknowledgments within the file.
•Submit via our Submittable submissions manager. Do not send submissions via email.
•We do not issue refunds for incorrect submissions, double submissions, or withdrawals.

Transparency Questions & How Information Is Used
We ask for some sensitive information in our submission form, such as your race, sex, and cultural backgrounds, to help us work toward a balanced submission/acceptance rate, and, much like the VIDA Count, to know which groups of underrepresented voices we need to work harder to reach out to, and which portions of writing communities are submitting. PLEASE KNOW that this information is not made public, is not shown to the reading editors, is not factored into any judging process, and has no bearing whatsoever on whether or not your work is accepted. Work is accepted solely on the merit of the writing, regardless of race, sex, creed, orientation, or background. Only the Editor-in-Chief has access to this information, and its only purpose is to help us in our submission/acceptance transparency percentages. Please help us remain transparent by answering the questions honestly.

Before You Withdraw
If you submitted in the wrong category, uploaded the wrong file, put your name inside the document, or otherwise made a mistake, please DO NOT withdraw your submission from Submittable. Simply go to your submission, and request to EDIT it. We will open it up for editing, and you can make your changes, then close out the editing. If you just want to make minor edits to your manuscript because you spotted a missing comma, please refrain from doing so. Accepted manuscripts will have the opportunity for editing before publication, and minor errors are a fact of life and are not held against the author during the reading period. If your full manuscript is accepted elsewhere before you hear back from us, please withdraw your manuscript promptly. If only a portion or individual piece of your submission is accepted elsewhere, please DO NOT withdraw your submission; rather, just open your submission in Submittable and send us a note in the sidebar. There are no refunds for withdrawn manuscripts, and manuscripts submitted twice must pay all fees twice.

Fees
Our submission categories have fees indicated during regular reading months. Each category has at least one fee-free reading month, so if you cannot afford the fee, please mark your calendars and come back when the fee-free period is open. There are additional price tiers to receive feedback or expedited responses. Fees help pay administrative costs, and each submission comes with a copy of our latest published book fitting the respective category. There are no refunds on any submission. Authors may submit more than once during fee periods, but must pay a separate fee for each manuscript. Authors may submit only once during fee-free periods, and only once total across all free categories per month.

Free-Submission Periods & Marginalized Voices
Submissions of any kind can be submitted for free during our Submit Anything! Open-Reading Period in October and November of each year. There are no feedback or expedited services available for free submissions. Native Americans, LGBTQIA+, Minority Ethnics, and People of Color can submit anything year-round for free using the marginalized voices category. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONCE PER MONTH DURING FREE MONTHS AND ONLY ONCE PER MONTH TOTAL ACROSS ALL FREE CATEGORIES. We are only allotted 100 free submissions per month across all categories, so we close the portal once we meet our maximum. Allowing only one free submission ensures that everyone gets an equal chance to submit before we have to cap submissions.

After Submission
We will respond to EVERY submission. Responses can take up to 3 months. Do not follow up on your submission within 6 months. If we decline your submission, it isn’t personal. Please try again with something new. If we accept your manuscript, then it is automatically sent to the semifinalist round for your respective category award, and you’ll hear the results during award-announcement times. We often accept submissions several years out, so do not expect instant publication. DO NOT approach our Acquisitions Editor about your manuscript before he has read it, or it will be disqualified and rejected unread. We will not respond to any status-update queries about your submission; we receive hundreds of submissions each month, and responding to updates would take time and staff that we don’t have. We will notify you when we have new information on your piece, and yes, sometimes it may take a while. Make sure you add alt.current at gmail to your contacts list, so you receive our emails.

About Feedback
Our feedback is brutally, sincerely honest. It’s not always sweet, and it’s not always kind. It’s rarely going to be in your favor, but it will make you a better writer. Listen: We pride ourselves on that, and we aim to keep it that way. We don’t hold your hand or coddle you. IF YOU CANNOT TAKE TOUGH CRITICISM, DO NOT ASK FOR FEEDBACK. Because we will not apologize for stating how we feel about something that is truly subjective. That does not mean someone else will feel the same, and it is not personal. We will not answer emails pertaining to hurt feelings from tough criticism.

The Difference between Feedback, Critiques, and Editing
FEEDBACK for submissions comes in the form of very brief notes, usually a small paragraph, of why we did or didn’t accept your work. It will be subject to the taste of our reading panel, and it will only be feedback on the part of your submission that the readers read. Readers are only required to read the first 40 pages or first 3 chapters of your submission, and if they know at that point that it’s not a good fit for us, they won’t read further, but they will only provide feedback on what they’ve read. CRITIQUES are where our reading panel can dive deeper into a piece or a portion of a longer work. Those selections will be read thoroughly from start to finish, and critiques will be brutally honest and generally one or two pages in length. EDITING is line-by-line, adding comments and suggestions, and fixing all grammar, punctuation, spelling, and formatting errors of a piece, no matter its length. We are currently not open for editing outside of our accepted Alternating Current Press titles, but we will have our editing services open soon, once we have the staff for it.

Payment
We pay for all the material we publish. Specifics are listed under each category below.

Snail Mail Submissions
For all categories, we do accept snail mail submissions if that is the only submission option available to you. There is no need to pay extra for priority shipping. All category rules apply to snail mail submissions, as well. Leave manuscripts unbound; no fancy stapling jobs, please. Include a cover letter. Fees must still be paid. For check and mailing address information, click here. Include SASE envelope or an email address for response. Manuscripts will only be returned with proper return postage provided. If your manuscript is selected, you must send us an electronic copy; we will not transcribe by hand. *It is important to note for transparency that manuscripts submitted via snail mail cannot be read blind. If selected, however, the finalist round will be read blind.*




Special Projects & Anthologies



Projects
From time to time, we will have open calls for submissions for special projects and anthologies. Please check back here frequently to see what special projects we are working on. Please note that we are only allotted a certain number of free submissions per month, so we occasionally have to close free submissions before the end of the month if we reach our cap. If that is the case, just come back next month, and submit early.


Undeniable: Writers Respond to Climate Change
We are seeking fiction, nonfiction, hybrid, or poetry that addresses the theme of climate change, especially in a unique way. Peri-apocalyptic stories of the near-future, poems about the fracking or rising rivers right in your own backyard, etc. The idea is to talk about what’s happening to our planet in order to effect change, and change happens through writing and reading. Some ideas of climate change can be terrifying and can really shake and wake people up. That’s what we’re seeking. We are looking for creative writing more than scholarly writing. And we are definitely looking for the human element. SUBMIT HERE.

There is no reading fee. We will accept approximately 10-30 pieces for this collection, depending on length. There is a $200 bar allotment for the anthology, and all authors published in the issue receive an even division of that amount upon publication in an opt-in system, along with a digital copy of the completed anthology in all formats, and an author-discount price for print versions (without obligation). All profits from the book will go to Natural Resources Defense Council. There is currently no deadline; as we approach our maximum amount of accepted pieces, we will make a deadline. Acceptances and declines will be notified right away. For prose and hybrid most resembling prose, please follow prose guidelines. For poetry and hybrid most resembling poetry, please follow poetry guidelines. You can ignore stated page and word counts; we are more concerned with you submitting the best work that fits the theme, without restrictions. All work must be submitted blind. Previously published work is considered. You may submit as many pieces as you’d like, but please submit them all at once, in one single submission, and only submit to free categories once per month. Work that does not fit the theme will be rejected. All work is considered for our Luminaire Awards for Best Prose and Best Poetry. Some accepted pieces may be published on The Coil, as well. We are especially interested in hearing perspectives on this theme from People of Color and Native Americans.

For writers on the front lines of climate change, please also see the Climate Observers Award, a microgrant sponsored by Places Journal.


Retell It Like It Is: Classic Fairytales Retold by People of Color
We believe it is important for readers to see themselves reflected on the page. After truly realizing how few characters in classic fairytales are people of color, we wanted to make an anthology of fairytales where readers of color could see themselves on the pages. We are seeking retellings and rewritings of classic fairytales that FEATURE people of color or different ethnic or cultural backgrounds (non-white) as the characters and that are WRITTEN by people of color or different ethnic or cultural backgrounds (non-white). The original source material should be recognizable but not copied; we will reward creativity and uniqueness in the retelling and rewriting. We are looking for heart, the human condition, truth, diversity, overarching metaphors and allegories, deeper meanings and morals. We are not seeking work aimed at children. Please note that we are looking for retellings of classic fairytales that are in the public domain; obscure characters and stories are fine and encouraged, but we are not seeking original fairytales that have not previously existed in a different form. Please also note that we are not seeking poetry for this collection. SUBMIT HERE.

Because we do not want multiple stories from the same source material within the same collection, once a piece has been accepted that springs from a classic fairytale, we will list that source material here, and we will no longer be reading pieces from that source (so please don’t submit them, once we are closed for them!). We are no longer looking for:
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Hansel and Gretel
There is no reading fee. We will accept approximately 10-30 pieces for this collection, depending on length. There is a $200 bar allotment for the anthology, and all authors published in the issue receive an even division of that amount upon publication in an opt-in system, along with a digital copy of the completed anthology in all formats, and an author-discount price for print versions (without obligation). All profits from the book will go to Room to Read. There is currently no deadline; as we approach our maximum amount of accepted pieces, we will make a deadline. Acceptances and declines will be notified right away. Please follow our standard prose guidelines, although you can ignore stated word counts; we are more concerned with you submitting the best work that fits the theme, without restrictions. All work must be submitted blind. Previously published work is considered. You may submit as many pieces as you’d like, but please submit them all at once, in one single submission, and only submit to free categories once per month. Work that does not fit the theme will be rejected. All work is considered for our Luminaire Award for Best Prose. Some accepted pieces may be published on The Coil, as well.

For Microgrants for Marginalized Writers, please click here.


Spectral Lines: Poems about Scientists
At the intersection of science and poetry, strange things happen. There exists such a bizarre human experience and shared understanding, that we can’t help but admire and celebrate it. That’s what we’re hoping to achieve with this anthology. We want your poetry, prose poems, and hybrid work (that leans toward poetry) for an anthology of poetry about scientists. We are looking for the fundamentals of those scientists, a feeling, an atmosphere, something humanistic that breathes life into their beings, into their work. We are not looking for “biographies with line breaks.” Heavier consideration will be placed on poetry about female scientists, scientists of color, and more obscure subjects. Scientists can be dead or alive, and “scientist” is a very liberal term that can range anywhere from biologists to computer techs to inventors to chemists and beyond. Please note that we are not seeking prose for this collection. SUBMIT HERE.

Because we do not want more than 2 poems about the same scientist within the same collection, once 2 poems have been accepted about the same person, we will list that scientist’s name here, and we will no longer be reading pieces about that individual (so please don’t submit them, once we are closed for them!). We are no longer looking for:
Galileo Galilei
Marie Curie
There is no reading fee. We will accept approximately 40-50 poems for this collection, depending on length. There is a $200 bar allotment for the anthology, and all authors published in the issue receive an even division of that amount upon publication in an opt-in system, along with a digital copy of the completed anthology in all formats, and an author-discount price for print versions (without obligation). There is currently no deadline; as we approach our maximum amount of accepted pieces, we will make a deadline. Acceptances and declines will be notified right away. Please follow our standard poetry guidelines, although you can ignore stated page counts; we are more concerned with you submitting the best work that fits the theme, without restrictions. All work must be submitted blind. Previously published work is considered. You may submit as many pieces as you’d like, but please submit them all at once, in one single submission, and only submit to free categories once per month. Work that does not fit the theme will be rejected. All work is considered for our Luminaire Award for Best Poetry. Some accepted pieces may be published on The Coil, as well.


On Being LGBT+ in Rural Areas and LGBT+ in the Deep South
Being gay in San Francisco is hard enough; being gay on a farm in Indiana might be even harder. We are seeking creative nonfiction and personal essays on the experience of being LGBTQIA+ in rural areas and on the experience of being LGBTQIA+ in the Deep South. Please note that these are two separate anthologies that will be part of a series; while you may submit to both anthologies (within one submission, please), each author or piece will only be selected for one anthology. That selection is up to the editor’s discretion. We want work with heart and work with passion. We want funny pieces, happy pieces, and pieces that tear us apart. We want true experiences that help us step inside your world and out of ours. Through the stories of our lives, we can teach others compassion, tolerance, and humanity. That’s what we’re seeking. This series is for nonfiction only; we are not accepting poetry or fiction. “Rural” is purposely left open to interpretation. If you don’t know if your story fits in the Deep South, then it doesn’t fit in the Deep South. SUBMIT HERE.

There is no reading fee. We will accept approximately 10-20 essays for each collection, depending on length. There is a $200 bar allotment for each anthology, and all authors published in each issue receive an even division of that amount upon publication in an opt-in system, along with a digital copy of their completed respective anthology in all formats, and an author-discount price for print versions (without obligation). All profits from the book will go to the Human Rights Campaign and Broadway Cares: Equity Fights AIDS. There is currently no deadline for either anthology; as we approach our maximum amount of accepted pieces, we will make deadlines. Acceptances and declines will be notified right away. Please follow our standard prose guidelines, although you can ignore stated word counts; we are more concerned with you submitting the best work that fits the theme, without restrictions. All work must be submitted blind. Previously published work is considered. You may submit as many pieces as you’d like, but please submit them all at once, in one single submission, and only submit to free categories once per month. Work that does not fit the theme will be rejected. All work is considered for our Luminaire Award for Best Prose. Some accepted pieces may be published on The Coil, as well. This series is edited by Amanda Jean. Do not approach the series editor if your work is under consideration for the anthologies. Direct questions to our regular help center.


Recommended Reading for Diverse Voices: Series
This is our annual anthology series where guest celebrity writers of color hand-select their favorite pieces by other writers of color to collect in an annual volume used in universities and book clubs for diverse reads. Guest editors for this series are selected by invitation only and have at least one published book of acclaim. If you are interested in finding out more about the series or being a guest editor, please email us.




Manuscripts (Adult)



Electric Book Award
The Electric Book Award is chosen from all of our accepted manuscripts (adult) for the year. Read more about the prize here.

Eligibility
Manuscripts geared toward adult readers only in this category. All genres, styles, lengths, and themes considered. Individual pieces within the manuscript may have been previously published, but the manuscript as a whole must be unpublished. We do not take unsolicited book reprints.

Guidelines
•Manuscripts can be poetry, fiction (novels, novellas, short stories, or hybrid collections), or creative nonfiction that has a purpose.
DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE MANUSCRIPT OR IN THE FILE NAME.
•No cover pages with identifying information or acknowledgments within the manuscript.

Fees
There is a $5.99 fee for each manuscript submitted during non-free reading periods. Each submission comes with a copy of our latest published book.

Free-Submission Periods
Manuscripts can be submitted for free during our Submit Anything! Open-Reading Period in October and November of each year. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONCE PER MONTH DURING FREE MONTHS, AND ONLY ONCE PER MONTH TO ANY FREE CATEGORY TOTAL.

Payment
All selected manuscripts receive a $100 honorarium, 5 complimentary print copies, complimentary digital copies, royalties, an at-cost discount (without obligation) for print editions, and a standard contract. We submit our books to annual monetary writing and book prizes, send books out for review, and set up marketing tools, such as book trailers, audiobooks, press kits, reading guides, interviews, posters, and book tours, both virtual and physical. The Electric Book Award winner receives a $200 honorarium and 10 complimentary print copies.




Manuscripts (Young Adult)



Spark Book Award
The Spark Book Award is chosen from all of our accepted manuscripts (young adult) for the year. Read more about the prize here.

About YA Themes
We are looking for YOUNG ADULT (Golly, we hate that term.) manuscripts that feature themes of science, mathematics, engineering, invention, computing, or history in a new, creative, and engaging way, and that do not talk down to readers. Our aim is to get impressionable minds interested in science and history at a point in their lives when it could make a difference—the very foundations of our human nature, our roots, why we’re here, and from whence we came. WE ARE NOT INTERESTED IN YOUNG ADULT BOOKS ON OTHER THEMES. We are NOT interested in religious angles.

Eligibility
Manuscripts geared toward young-adult (YA) readers only in this category. Manuscripts must noticeably fit the abovementioned themes. All genres, styles, lengths, and subjects within the themes considered. Individual pieces within the manuscript may have been previously published, but the manuscript as a whole must be unpublished. We do not take unsolicited book reprints.

Guidelines
•Manuscripts can be poetry, fiction (novels, novellas, short stories, or hybrid collections), or creative nonfiction that has a neat hook.
DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE MANUSCRIPT OR IN THE FILE NAME.
•No cover pages with identifying information or acknowledgments within the manuscript.
•Manuscripts must be geared toward YA readers and focus on the abovementioned themes.

Fees
There is a $4.99 fee for each manuscript submitted during non-free reading periods. Each submission comes with a copy of our latest published YA book.

Free-Submission Periods
Manuscripts can be submitted for free during our Submit Anything! Open-Reading Period in October and November of each year. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONCE PER MONTH DURING FREE MONTHS, AND ONLY ONCE PER MONTH TO ANY FREE CATEGORY TOTAL.

Payment
All selected manuscripts receive a $100 honorarium, 5 complimentary print copies, complimentary digital copies, royalties, an at-cost discount (without obligation), and a standard contract. We submit our books to annual monetary writing and book prizes, send books out for review, and set up marketing tools, such as book trailers, audiobooks, press kits, reading guides, interviews, posters, and book tours, both virtual and physical. The Spark Book Award winner receives a $200 honorarium and 10 complimentary print copies. With this category being so specific, we have a right not to select a winner.




History-Themed Pieces (& Footnote)



Charter Oak Award for Best Historical
The Charter Oak Award for Best Historical is chosen from all of our accepted history-themed pieces for the year. Read more about the prize here.

About Footnote and History Themes
We are dedicated to historical and contemporary views on any topic of history. We are excited by pieces that give an author’s intimate or emotional take on historical places, people, events, ideas, or whatever history means to each author. We give a home to archaic historical rhymes, essays and opinions of the long-since dead, and contemporary voices commenting on historical ideas, people, or events that have touched the authors. We publish an annual journal focusing on nonscholarly and personal history, Footnote: A Literary Journal of History, in print and ebook. Read past Charter Oak finalists and winners here.

Eligibility
Individual pieces of poetry, prose, or hybrid work with themes of history (whatever that means to you). Pieces must noticeably fit the abovementioned theme. All genres, styles, lengths (within reason), and subjects within the theme considered. Work may be previously published; do not list acknowledgments unless/until accepted. We will consider reliable translations for this category, within reason.

Guidelines
•Submissions can be poetry, fiction, hybrid, creative nonfiction, or straight nonfiction.
•Submit up to 6 pieces in a single document.
DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE FILE OR IN THE FILE NAME.
•No cover pages with identifying information or previous acknowledgments listed within the file.
•Pieces must have a noticeable history theme.
•Please limit your prose pieces to a soft guideline of 4,000 words.
•Straight nonfiction must cite at least two sources. Sources must be acknowledged somewhere in the submitted file and will be printed with the final printed work.

Fees
There is a $2.99 fee for each submission (up to 6 pieces in one submission) submitted during non-free reading periods. Each submission comes with a copy of our latest issue of Footnote.

Free-Submission Periods
Pieces can be submitted for free during Black History Month (February), Women’s History Month (March), and during our Submit Anything! Open-Reading Period in October and November of each year. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONCE PER MONTH DURING FREE MONTHS, AND ONLY ONCE PER MONTH TO ANY FREE CATEGORY TOTAL.

Payment
All pieces selected are guaranteed publication in Footnote. There is a $100 bar allotment for each issue of Footnote. All authors published in the issue receive an even division of that amount upon publication in an opt-in system, complimentary digital copies of the issue, and at-cost print discounts (without obligation). The Top 12 Charter Oak Award Finalists receive publication on The Coil, as well. The Charter Oak Award winner receives a $50 honorarium, publication on Alternating Current Press’ website, publication on The Coil, a printed certificate, and our virtual medallion imprint for use on the author’s websites and published books. Second and third place winners will receive a unique gift each from a sponsor, publication on Alternating Current Press’ website, and printed certificates.




Poetry



Luminaire Award for Best Poetry
The Luminaire Award for Best Poetry is chosen from all of our accepted poems for the year. Read more about the prize here.

Eligibility
Individual poems, or small groups of poems, only. All genres, styles, lengths, and themes considered. Work may be previously published; do not list previous acknowledgments unless/until accepted. Hybrid or experimental works that most closely resemble poetry should be submitted to this category. Prose poems accepted. Read past Luminaire Award for Best Poetry finalists and winners here.

Guidelines
•Submit up to 10 pages (or one long poem if over 10 pages) in a single document.
DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE FILE OR IN THE FILE NAME.
•No cover pages with identifying information or previous acknowledgments listed within the file.

Fees
There is a $2.99 fee for each submission (up to 10 pages in one submission) submitted during non-free reading periods. Each submission comes with a copy of our latest published poetry book.

Free-Submission Periods
Pieces can be submitted for free during Poetry Month (April), and during our Submit Anything! Open-Reading Period in October and November of each year. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONCE PER MONTH DURING FREE MONTHS, AND ONLY ONCE PER MONTH TO ANY FREE CATEGORY TOTAL.

Payment
All pieces selected are guaranteed publication on The Coil. There is a $100 bar allotment for each month on The Coil. All authors published each month receive an even division of that amount upon publication in an opt-in system. The Top 12 Luminaire Award Finalists are indicated online, as well. The Luminaire Award winner receives a $50 honorarium, publication on Alternating Current Press’ website, publication on The Coil, a printed certificate, and our virtual medallion imprint for use on the author’s websites and published books. Second and third place winners will receive a unique gift each from a sponsor, publication on Alternating Current Press’ website, and printed certificates. The Top 5 Finalists are also published in a triennial print and ebook anthology and receive complimentary digital copies and at-cost discounts (without obligation) on print editions. Each of the Top 12 Finalists gets his poem (or a portion of his poem) printed as a handmade letterpressed poetry postcard set that is available as limited monthly editions, with the finalists receiving 10 complimentary postcards.




Prose



Luminaire Award for Best Prose
The Luminaire Award for Best Prose is chosen from all of our accepted prose pieces for the year. Read more about the prize here.

Eligibility
Individual, standalone prose pieces only. All genres, styles, lengths, and themes considered. Work may be previously published; do not list previous acknowledgments unless/until accepted. Prose poems and hybrid or experimental works that most closely resemble poetry should be submitted to the poetry category, not prose. Essays, articles, columns, reviews, interviews, or booklists on current events or literary trends should be submitted directly to The Coil editors, not entered in prose. Read past Luminaire Award for Best Prose finalists and winners here.

Guidelines
•Submissions can be fiction, flash, short novelettes, short stories, hybrids, creative nonfiction, personal essays, plays, or nonfiction that has a purpose.
•Submit up to 4 stories in a single document.
•No exact word limit, but a soft guideline of under 4,000 words.
DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE FILE OR IN THE FILE NAME.
•No cover pages with identifying information or previous acknowledgments listed within the file.

Fees
There is a $2.99 fee for each submission (up to 4 stories in one submission) submitted during non-free reading periods. Each submission comes with a copy of our latest published short-story book.

Free-Submission Periods
Pieces can be submitted for free during Short Story Month (May), and during our Submit Anything! Open-Reading Period in October and November of each year. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONCE PER MONTH DURING FREE MONTHS, AND ONLY ONCE PER MONTH TO ANY FREE CATEGORY TOTAL.

Payment
All pieces selected are guaranteed publication on The Coil. There is a $100 bar allotment for each month on The Coil. All authors published each month receive an even division of that amount upon publication in an opt-in system. The Top 12 Luminaire Award Finalists are indicated online, as well. The Luminaire Award winner receives a $50 honorarium, publication on Alternating Current Press’ website, publication on The Coil, a printed certificate, and our virtual medallion imprint for use on the author’s websites and published books. Second and third place winners will receive a unique gift each from a sponsor, publication on Alternating Current Press’ website, and printed certificates. The Top 5 Finalists are also published in a triennial print and ebook anthology and receive complimentary digital copies and at-cost discounts (without obligation) on print editions.




Marginalized Voices Grants & Submissions



Free Submission Eligibility
We are dedicated to helping the world read more diverse literature. In our efforts to help diverse voices be heard, we have removed all barriers for underrepresented groups to be able to submit to our press. We offer a fee-free submission category for Native Americans, LGBTQIA+, Minority Ethnics, and People of Color to be able to submit anything to Alternating Current year-round. All genres, styles, lengths, and themes considered, but the abovementioned rules in each category must still be followed. YOU MAY ONLY SUBMIT ONCE PER MONTH TO THIS CATEGORY, AND ONLY ONCE PER MONTH TO ANY FREE CATEGORY TOTAL. There are no feedback or expedited services available for this category. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE FILE OR IN THE FILE NAME. All pieces in this category are eligible for award prizes, and all receive the standard payments listed above if selected for publication. Submissions to this category are read blind and receive no special reading privileges. Out of respect for people who truly are underrepresented, please only use this category if it applies to you. And even if this category applies to you, you are still welcome to submit to all regular open categories if you want feedback, expedited services, copies of our books, or to help us defray administration costs.

Microgrants for Marginalized Writers
We host a slew of microgrants for marginalized writers provided by Alternating Current and other donors and sponsors. If this applies to you, or if you want to learn more, donate, or create your own grant, please click here.




Contest Process and Code of Ethics


Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics
We Subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics: CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1.) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2.) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3.) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.

Alternating Current’s Selection & Judging Process
1.) We take submissions through Submittable and use its tools and our own to accept semi-blind submissions. We say semi-blind because the Editor-in-Chief has access to the information (although she does not read or accept submissions); snail mail submissions cannot be read blind (but are also included in our process so there is a submitting option available for everyone); and the Acquisitions Editor occasionally has access to contact information provided by solicited manuscripts. The Acquisitions Editor only selects work for publication. While the Editor-in-Chief and Acquisitions Editor determine what is published on our press, they do not make judging decisions for awards.

2.) We ask submitters not to include their names, contact information, or any identifying marks within the documents, titles, and file names of submissions.

3.) Staff members of Alternating Current may have pieces published on The Coil or submit pieces for blind submission consideration, but they are not eligible to win award prizes. (Please note that some of our staffers became staff members after they won awards because they enjoyed working with our press during the process.)

4.) For all awards, the Editor-in-Chief compiles a spreadsheet of all the eligible pieces, makes sure everything is stripped of any contact information, and sends that spreadsheet to an external judge. The judge is not announced until after the contest results are tallied, and is not affiliated as a staff member of Alternating Current (although he may be a previously published author or guest editor on our press). The judge ranks his selections from 1-12 to choose the Top 12 Finalists for individual categories, including a first, second, and third place. The judge is not to announce himself as the judge until all results are tallied, and he is not to be contacted by submitters during any part of the process. Judging decisions are final.

5.) While the pieces are read blind, the judge is asked to disqualify any pieces that he may recognize as posing a personal conflict of interest. Once selected, we will reveal the winner’s name privately to the judge before announcement to clarify that there is no conflict of interest. Should there be, the next finalist in line without conflict shall become the winner. Conflicts of interest are defined as: close friends, relatives, students, and former students of the judge. We do not consider workshops to be disqualifying factors, unless the judge personally feels there is a conflict there. We leave the discretion of conflict identification up to the judge.

6.) All winners and finalists are notified prior to announcement. The results are publicly posted online at The Coil and on the press website. The locked judging spreadsheet is made publicly available, and we publish the judge’s comments.




Submission/Acceptance Transparency


2016
Submissions
# Total: # Poems, # Prose, # Historical, # Manuscripts, # Editing/Critiquing, # Coil
#% Caucasian, #% Native American, #% Hispanic/Latina/o, #% Minority Ethnic/Asian, #% Black/Biracial, #% Non-American, #% Male, #% Female, #% LGBTQIA+*
Acceptances
# Total (#%): # Poems (#%), # Prose (#%), # Historical Poems (#%), # Historical Prose (#%), # Manuscripts (#%)
#% Caucasian, #% Native American, #% Hispanic/Latina/o, #% Minority Ethnic/Asian, #% Black/Biracial, #% Non-American, #% Male, #% Female, #% LGBTQIA+*

*In 2016, we had free periods for poetry and prose for one month each per year, and for history submissions two months per year. We had a free submit-anything category for two months of the year. We began asking for minority details in December to improve transparency accuracy, so our percentages here are still based on volunteered information from cover letters, author photos, and guesstimates. Actual numbers in minority categories could vary. Numbers are rounded.

2015
Submissions
# Total: # Poems, # Prose, # Historical, # Manuscripts, # Editing/Critiquing, # Coil
#% Caucasian, #% Native American, #% Hispanic/Latina/o, #% Minority Ethnic/Asian, #% Black/Biracial, #% Non-American, #% Male, #% Female, #% LGBTQIA+*
Acceptances
# Total (#%): # Poems (#%), # Prose (#%), # Historical Poems (#%), # Historical Prose (#%), # Manuscripts (#%)
#% Caucasian, #% Native American, #% Hispanic/Latina/o, #% Minority Ethnic/Asian, #% Black/Biracial, #% Non-American, #% Male, #% Female, #% LGBTQIA+*

*In 2015, we had free periods for poetry and prose for one month each per year, and for history submissions two months per year. We had no free categories for unsolicited full manuscripts. Our book award category opened up in May, so its numbers are fewer than current levels. We opened our designated category for marginalized voices in November, so there is an increase in minority submissions toward the end of the year. We did not yet ask for minority details, so our percentages are based on volunteered information from cover letters, author photos, and guesstimates. Actual numbers in minority categories could vary. Numbers are rounded.

2014
Submissions
625 Total: 132 Poems, 150 Prose, 222 Historical, 121 Manuscripts, 55 Editing/Critiquing
85% Caucasian, 0% Native American, 0% Hispanic/Latina/o, 15% Minority Ethnic/Asian, 3% Black/Biracial, 11% Non-American, 69% Male, 31% Female, 5% LGBTQIA+*
Acceptances
20 Total (3%): 7 Poems (5%), 6 Prose (4%), 2 Historical Poems (2%), 4 Historical Prose (4%), 1 Manuscript (1%)
80% Caucasian, 0% Native American, 0% Hispanic/Latina/o, 20% Minority Ethnic/Asian, 0% Black/Biracial, 0% Non-American, 40% Male, 60% Female, 5% LGBTQIA+*

*In 2014, we opened for unsolicited manuscript submissions in December only, and we were on hiatus from June to December for our major U.S. reading tour. We had a designated prose journal (Go Read Your Lunch) that ran through May (then discontinued), so our number of prose acceptances was higher in the beginning of the year than current levels. After closing down our general journal (Poiesis Review) in January, we were open again for poetry submissions only in December, so poetry numbers were lower than current levels. We also did not have a designated category for marginalized voices, so our percentages are based on volunteered information from cover letters, author photos, and guesstimates. Actual numbers in minority categories could vary. Numbers are rounded.

2013
Submissions
839 Total: 361 Poems, 279 Prose, 199 Historical, 0 Manuscripts*
85% Caucasian, 1% Native American, 1% Hispanic/Latina/o, 15% Minority Ethnic/Asian, 1% Black/Biracial, 14% Non-American, 62% Male, 38% Female, 2% LGBTQIA+*
Acceptances
161 Total (19%): 43 Poems (12%), 61 Prose* (22%), 45 Historical Poems (25%), 12 Historical Prose (10%)
80% Caucasian, 2% Native American, 1% Hispanic/Latina/o, 14% Minority Ethnic/Asian, 0% Black/Biracial, 15% Non-American, 67% Male, 33% Female, 4% LGBTQIA+*

*In 2013, we were not open to unsolicited manuscript submissions, and we had a designated prose journal (Go Read Your Lunch), so our number of prose acceptances was higher than current levels, as well as a general-submissions journal (Poiesis Review) for poetry and prose. Both of those journals are now discontinued. We also did not have a designated category for marginalized voices, so our percentages are based on volunteered information from cover letters, author photos, and guesstimates. Actual numbers in minority categories could vary. Numbers are rounded.