We are currently closed for submissions.
PLEASE READ THESE GUIDELINES IN FULL BEFORE SUBMITTING! ❤
We’re thrilled that you’re thinking of submitting to The Ruby Spellbook! We don’t want to bog you down with a bunch of rules, but we do have a few guidelines we’d like you to follow. Ready? Okay! Here goes.
Poetry: Please submit 1-5 poems, individually titled, in a single Word document.
Prose: Please submit 1-5 pieces of prose, individually titled, in a single Word document. We’re flexible about what kind of prose you want to send. Got some prose poetry, flash fiction, or flash creative nonfiction? Great! We’d love to see it. We only ask that you keep each piece at or under 1000 words. We may consider longer works in the future, but for the time being, please don’t send any novellas/novels/tomes/volumes/fifty-foot-long-digital-scrolls.
Art: Please send 1-5 images in any medium, individually titled, in a single Word document. While we love fanart, we ask that if your work contains characters, they are characters of your own original design. Include a short description of each image that gives it a little context.
Comics/Graphic Narratives: Please send 1-5 comics, individually titled, in a single Word document. Again, stick to original characters and/or memoir for this category. Comics should be 5 pages or less.
Critical Analysis: Did you write a term paper analyzing the symbolism of roses in Utena? Cool. Send it. 3000 word limit. Please use in-text citations rather than footnotes/endnotes if applicable.
Interviews, Reviews, Experimental Lit, etc.: Got a great idea doesn’t fit any of the above categories? Send it our way and we’ll give it a look!
We may feature additional genres, such as videos and voice recordings, in the future. Stay tuned!
What We Like: Writing that explores some of the experiences that come with self-identifying as a geek, from watching Firefly to cosplaying as Harry Potter. Did you have an epiphany about life while watching Fruits Basket? Did a quiz result saying you were Iron Man instead of Captain America send you spiraling into an existential crisis? Or can you imagine a scenario where this might happen? Awesome. We want to read about it.
Second, we like writing that takes the media we love–the “primary texts,” so to speak–and reinterprets, remixes, reinvents, and in short, transforms them in new and exciting ways. Think themes, settings, archetypes, and ideas more than specific plots and relationships. We’re open to that too, but what we’d really like to see is writing that delves a little deeper. If you want to pitch a concept and get our take on it before writing a full piece, feel free to email us.
Third, we’re open to general fantasy, sci-fi, steampunk, magical realist, and fairy-tale-ish work.
What About Video Games? We love video games. However, we’d prefer submissions about other media (anime, manga, comics, film, TV shows, etc.) and about real life (cosplay, cons, tie-ins to art and science, etc.). That’s because there are already some awesome people out there focusing on video game lit (see Links). We encourage you to submit your video-game-inspired work to them!
In short, we like lit that (1) gives a voice to the thoughts and feelings of geeks about geek culture, (2) explores preexisting geeky media in innovative, literary ways, and (3) engages themes commonly found in geeky media. Attention will be paid to language, imagery, tone, and other elements of craft.
Examples: Some of these examples are inspired by games, but they should give you a general sense of what we’re looking for in terms of tone and style.
– Leah Umansky’s “Khaleesi Says”
– Roxane Gay’s “What We Hunger For” (Heads up: mature content)
– Georgia Bellas’s poem “How Not to Win at Big Buck Hunter”
– Matt Sailor’s short story “New Game Plus”
– Wyl Villacres’s short story “Rainbow Road”
– August Smith’s chapbook The Mario Kart 64 Poems (Read an excerpt from “Choco Mountain” here)
– B.J. Best’s book But Our Princess is in Another Castle (Read an excerpt called “Frogger” here)
What We Don’t Like: Any type of meanness, including racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, body-shaming, or really, any other kind of shaming. Overly violent and/or sexual pieces. Seriously, no erotica or horror. Straight-up fanfic or real person fanfic. (There are oodles of places to showcase that kind of work already. We’re trying to go in a slightly different direction.) Work that hasn’t been proofread. Rhyming poetry. We know there’s a lot of great work out there that rhymes; it’s just not our style. That’s about it! Again, if you have questions, send us a note and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Simultaneous Submissions: We’re happy to consider simultaneous submissions (i.e. work you’ve sent other fine folks to consider) as long as you let us know if your work is picked up by somebody else (just send us an email with your name and the title/s of the pieces that have been accepted). If that happens, we’ll raise a glass in your honor and give you a long-distance high-five.
Previously Published Work: Please only send us work that hasn’t been published by another journal, either online or in print. If something has appeared only on your personal site, blog, Instagram, etc., we will consider it.
Copyright Stuff: After being published in The Ruby Spellbook, all rights revert back to you. That means you’re free to publish your work elsewhere in the future, as long as that’s cool with your future publisher/s. We’d greatly appreciate an acknowledgment that we were the first journal to share your rockin’ work with the world, but this isn’t the kind of thing we’re going to release the hounds over.
Money Stuff: We will never, ever charge for submissions. Accordingly, at this time we’re not paying contributors in anything other than thanks, bylines, links to their sites if applicable, and pretty emailed certificates congratulating you on learning a new spell (yes, we will actually send these).
How to Submit
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your submission/s attached and “Submission” in the subject line. Please also include the following information in the body of your email:
1. Acknowledgments of any media (shows, movies, books, etc.) that inspired the piece. We ask for this not only so we can build community and introduce each other to cool works we might not have heard of, but also so that we can give credit where credit is due. This is especially important if you’re strongly alluding to or referencing someone else’s world/characters/creatures in your work. While some creators support and even encourage literature that draws from their stories, others are strongly against it. Here’s a list of some famous authors’ policies: http://fanlore.org/wiki/Professional_Author_Fanfic_Policies
Please look over and respect these folks’ wishes when crafting your submissions!
2. A brief bio. This can be an Otherworldly Bio or an Earthly Bio (see Masthead for examples). If you’d like to be published under a name other than the one you’d use on a job application, now’s the time to tell us.
Please note that any submissions found flagrantly ignoring the Genre Guidelines, Content Guidelines, or submission instructions shall be booted out the figurative door with our best wishes whilst we wave our figurative handkerchiefs farewell.
We know waiting stinks. We will do our best to get back to you in 1-3 weeks. If you’be been waiting for more than three weeks, feel free to send us an email poking us gently. Otherwise, have faith that we will eagerly read your work as soon as we can.