Submission Guidelines

Chestnut Review appears four times per year online and once per year in print in our annual anthology. We are drawn to beautiful language, resonant images, and we crave narrative. We enjoy a broad array of styles, but please read a few of our issues to get a sense of our lens.

If you currently are or anticipate becoming a regular submitter, our Patreon offers perks that will benefit you.


We publish work quarterly, according to the following schedule:

Jan 1-March 31: reading for Summer Issue (July 15th release)  
April 1-June 30: reading for Autumn Issue (October 15th release)
July 1-Sept 30: reading for Winter Issue (January 15th release)    
Oct 1-Dec 31: reading for Spring Issue (April 15th release)

Rights and payment. We purchase First North American Serial, First Anthology (for the annual print anthology), and First Audio rights, and the right to archive your work on our open-access platforms after publication. Payment is US $120 per piece, delivered on publication. We only issue payments via Paypal. 

We will not publish work that seems to us offensive or which exhibits hatred directed towards a particular gender, race, ethnicity, ability, sexual identity, socioeconomic class, or other status, regardless of whether it is protected by law. If we decline to consider a piece, we will refund in full any submission or feedback fees paid.

We never solicit written submissions—all come through Submittable. Please do not email us submissions; they will go unread. We occasionally solicit art submissions, primarily from DeviantArt.

Staff submissions. No past or present staff member of CHESTNUT REVIEW may have their work appear in the magazine.

Minimum age. All those who submit work must be at least 18 years of age.

Unpublished work only. We only accept unpublished work that has not appeared in any publicly-accessible form previously, including online. 

  • We consider poems and prose that is under contract for publication elsewhere to be published. Do not submit work from a volume that has been contracted with a publisher. Work that is part of a chapbook or book proposal *under consideration* may be submitted, but we must be informed if it is contracted with a publisher before our issue appears.
  • Art and photography submissions may have previously been presented online, but are eligible for publication if they have not been featured in another magazine, website, or venue besides an artist’s portfolio or webpage. 

AI-generated work. We do not accept submissions of AI-generated work. If a submission is sent to us claiming to be author work but then discovered or identified as AI-generated, it will be rejected and the author no longer welcome to submit in the future. We reserve the right to withdraw acceptances from any work found to be AI-generated, even if after publication. Such work will be removed from our online platform and all print editions.

Language: English. We welcome written works that engage culture through languages other than English if the majority of the piece is in English. We do not publish translations in any form. 

Countries of origin. Any artist from anywhere in the world may submit.

Simultaneous submissions are encouraged provided you message us on Submittable if you need to withdraw a piece.

One active submission per category at a time. We’re excited to read your work, but please let us consider each piece in turn. As long as you have received a reply to your previous submission, you may submit again as often as you wish.

No re-submissions. Writing is a process, but if we’ve already read and declined a piece as a regular submission OR contest entry, please don’t send us revisions for reconsideration or resubmit unless directly requested.

Submitting after publication. We ask that artists wait two years from their appearance in the magazine to submit again.

Titles. Please note that we do not have a title field for submissions and that the Submittable will auto-assign a number to your submission. This is no cause for concern.

Submission mistakes. If you mistakenly submit the wrong document, please do not withdraw and resubmit without first writing us. If the error is discovered quickly, we may be able to open your piece for editing and allow you to swap files. Note: This is done at editor discretion. If work has already begun on your piece, especially with paid feedback, this may not be possible. 

30-day turnaround. We notify all artists of their status within 30 days. If it takes longer, we will refund your submission fee (but still consider your work). 

  • Feedback fees are not eligible for refund. 
  • Chapbooks have their own timelines and do not adhere to the 30-day policy.

We may very well get back to you *very* quickly, and we consider that a sign of respect for your time. Every submission is given a complete read by multiple individuals before we decide.

Shortlisting: we occasionally shortlist pieces while we make final decisions on an issue’s composition. The following policies apply:

  • Shortlist requests will be made within our standard 30-day turn-around.
  • If the writer paid a submission fee and is shortlisted, we will refund the submission fee.
  • If the writer paid for feedback, we will deliver that feedback once a final determination is made on the piece. Feedback fees are not refunded.

Feedback. Writers can opt to pay for staff readers for their feedback. For current prices, please see our Submittable submission pages for each genre. 

For poetry, writers will receive a paragraph on up to three poems, highlighting the poem’s strengths and providing suggestions for further improvement. Some examples of comments include but are not limited to: structure, form, voice, imagery, rhythm & meter. 

For flash and prose, writers will receive two paragraphs highlighting 2-4 areas that are working (strengths to build upon) and 2-4 suggestions for revision (those elements which most need attention). Our staff readers comment on a variety of topics. Comments for flash pieces frequently include use of image/metaphor, character, pacing, use of language, flow, voice & tone, and POV. Comments for prose often focus on character arc, effectiveness of set up, tension/build to climax, dialogue, voice (and authenticity), theme, and literary devices (like metaphor). These are examples, and not exhaustive or proscribed lists as our staff readers tailor comments and topics to each piece. We do not give line edits, but rather general comments about our impressions of your piece.

Fee transparency: the majority of feedback fees (over 50%) goes to the staff reader reviewing your work. Submittable also takes a cut (between 25-30%). CR keeps a small honorarium as well. From time to time, we raise our feedback rates to honor our staff’s labor. You can read about our money philosophy here.

Poetry: Submit up to six poems (three for free submissions). Length and format are open. Poems should be single-spaced. Begin each poem on a new page, and clearly indicate when a poem extends beyond one page. There are no absolute length limits, but remember that the longer a poem, the better it has to be. We prefer submissions that consist of more than one poem to get a feel for your poetic interests and voice.

Flash: Submit one piece of no more than 1000 words. We do accept micros, and we publish both fiction and creative nonfiction. Please only send one piece at a time regardless of length. Flash submissions are free. 

Prose: Submit one piece of between 1000 and 5000 words. Prose submissions can be works of fiction or nonfiction. We do not accept excerpts of longer works.

Visual art/photography: Submit images of up to 20 works. Images must be of publishable quality. We encourage, but do not require, illustrative titles to contextualize submitted media. If you work in hybrid forms of image + text, please use this category to submit. 

Mixed-genre/mixed-media: We love mixed-genre and mixed-media pieces! If you have work that doesn’t fit neatly into the below categories, that doesn’t mean we won’t want to see it. Choose the most appropriate and include a note—we’ll figure it out.