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Footnote: A Literary Journal of History

Footnote: A Literary Journal of History Footnote: A Literary Journal of History banner

About Footnote: A Literary Journal of History

Footnote is our annual literary publication dedicated to historical and contemporary views on history. It contains poetry, images, fiction, and nonfiction by various authors, both contemporary and historical, about any topic of history. We are excited by pieces that give an author’s intimate or emotional take on historical places, people, events, or ideas.

We are looking for pieces that have heart, curiosity, purpose, and bravery. We want to be moved, and we want to learn. From our accepted submissions for each year, we take each piece and find its place in the whole, creating a conceptual feel from cover to cover that digs deeper than just chronological order. We couple those submissions with public domain pieces that comment on the same topics, so readers get to see modern perspectives on what is old, juxtaposed with old perspectives on what was then considered modern. Alongside that, we feature photographs, maps, illustrations, interactive QR codes, footnotes, endnotes, bibliographies, and supplemental material, so you can learn more about each topic.

There is no set theme per issue. We collect and compile a conceptual arc based on the pieces we accept and the topics they cover. This means that each issue is completely fresh, has a different feel and atmosphere from start to finish, and could cover any topic of history in the known world. We’re not just here to entertain; we’re here to educate. It is our hope that you will learn and get curious and go do some research ... but rest assured that if you’re just here for the good writing, our highly selective submission and editing process will give you that, too.

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Footnote Transparency, Current Status, Updates, Payment, Process, & FAQ

Current Status for Already-Accepted Authors

FEB 22: We are running behind on our publication schedule for issues #5 and #6, but #7 is on track. If anyone in #5, #6, or #7 has questions, please send a message through Submittable.

If you are in #5, we are laying out the final issue and will have it done by mid-March. Please keep your eye on your Submittable messages, as an update will be coming around soon to talk about the final phases of the editing process.

If you are in #6, it will be released in early spring. The 2020 Charter Oak Awards for #6 have already been decided and the authors notified. We will reach out to #6 authors to begin the editing process around mid-March.

If you are in #7, it will be released in the fall. We are still reading through submissions. The 2021 Charter Oak Awards for #7 have not yet been announced.



Current Status for Interested Authors

FEB 22: Submissions for issue #8 and the 2022 Charter Oak Awards are open and will remain open through December. Awards will be announced and the issue will be released in 2022. Submit to Footnote here.



Acceptance Rates & Current Interests

FEB 22: We currently average around 500 submissions per issue and accept about 40 pieces total per issue (8% average acceptance rate per issue). Issue #6 (our last completed acceptance list, as we are still reading for #7) received 491 submissions and accepted 40 pieces (8.15% total acceptance rate). Of those 40 pieces, 4 pieces were creative nonfiction (10%), 9 pieces were fiction (22.5%), 5 pieces were hybrid or cross-genre (12.5%), 19 pieces were poetry (47.5%), 1 piece was a play script (2.5%), and 2 pieces were straight nonfiction (5%). There was 1 Featured Writer selected.

We have received a lot of American Civil War and World War II pieces lately, so we are not currently as interested in those subjects (though they will still be read and considered fully). We have a hard time with problematic POVs that are from Confederate or Nazi quote-unquote protagonists, so if you are sending in something meant to make us feel empathy for racists, it had better have some mighty fine writing and have a very finely chiseled point. We are generally rather turned off by Stockholm Syndrome stories where captives, enslaved people, and prisoners of war fall in love with their captors, masters, or guards. We would currently love to see more American Indian and Asian history pieces, told from Own Voices.



Submission Process

We accept Footnote submissions through Submittable only, generally year-round, but we have to close the portal sometimes if we get too far behind in our reading. If the portal is closed when you try to submit, please come back at the beginning of the following month. We currently have three history readers for the first round, and one history reader for the second round. If we know right away that we love a piece unanimously, we will accept it; if we know right away that a piece is not for us, we will decline it. Most pieces, however, may hover in purgatory while we collect and consider pieces, until we can see what we have, what we need more of, and what might require further editing, as we get closer to completion of a reading period. Response times can take anywhere from a couple days to a year, with most response times occurring within 3 months.

If your work is accepted, we will contact you through Submittable messages. Some Submittable messages may get caught in your spam filters or folders, so please check your spam regularly or make sure you are receiving messages from us via your Submittable account. We try (give or take) to send out quarterly updates for those whose work has been accepted, so you know where we are throughout the process. This is an annual journal (printed once per year from all the pieces that were accepted over the previous year), so it can seem like a lengthy process, especially if your work was accepted early in the reading period, and you have to wait through the whole rest of it. We ask for your patience. When it is time for layout of the issue, you will have a chance to make edits, update bios, list acknowledgments, and provide supplemental material. You will get to see the initial draft document of your work before it is laid out, and then you will get to see the final layout of your piece as it will look in print format, before the book goes to print, and you will get to okay your work and edits at both steps.

If your work is declined, please feel free to try us again with something else. We have to make tough choices during the reading process, and we have to cut many wonderful pieces for many reasons, not the least of which are space, too much of the same material per issue, or length of pieces. We invite you to try again with something new, but we do ask that you please not resubmit the declined work a second time, unless substantial edits have been made or unless an editor specifically asks you to do so. The same readers/editors read for every issue.



Payment Process

All royalties are issued on the last day of the month following the month of publication. (Example: If an issue is published in April, then a royalty opt-in email will go out to all authors via Submittable on May 31.)

Images for public use for Footnote

Footnote 4 Cover
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Footnote 4 Full Jacket
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Footnote 3 Cover
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Footnote 3 Full Jacket
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Footnote 2 Cover
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Sneak Peek at Footnote #1  (scroll inside box)