Open Calls for Journal
The Heartland Review: A biannual literary journal
Founded in 2000, The Heartland Review (ISSN: 2473-9545) is published in the spring and fall as an imprint of The Heartland Review Press. Our biannual journal publishes fiction, creative nonfiction/fiction, and poetry of any all subcategories, styles, and voices. Our writers have ranged in age from 15 to 80+ from around the world. We consider established writers as well as emerging writers. In the past we have reserved space for student writers and emerging artists. We nominate for the Pushcart Prize. Our submissions remain FREE. We hope you will consider submitting.
Free Open Call: Creative Nonfiction & Fiction
We have reached our cap of 100 (50 per month) for both fiction and creative nonfiction, so contests for fall 2023 are closed. These will reopen in the winter (usually mid December or January).
General Submission Info
When & What to submit:
Starting August 1, 2023-September 30, 2023, we will consider fiction and creative nonfiction for the Spring 2024 issue.
- Fiction: Capacity reached and closed early. 1 manuscript that does not exceed 5000 words. This manuscript should be able to stand on its own. It can be flash. The topic is up to you. It can even be a chapter of your book if the chapter has not been published in the U.S. We ask for First North American Serial Rights but rights revert back to you upon our publication. We will read the first 50 submissions of fiction in August and the first 50 submitted in September during the open call period.
- Creative Nonfiction: Currently open. 1 or 2 manuscripts that do not exceed 5000 words. This manuscript should be able to stand on its own. It can be flash, on any topic or be any subcategory. It also can be a chapter of your book if the chapter has not been published in the U.S. We ask for First North American Serial Rights but the rights revert back to you upon our publication. We will read the first 50 submissions of creative nonfiction in August and in September during the open call period.
- Authors may submit only one entry every open call period. This means please don't submit a fiction story and a nonfiction piece in the same reading periods and please don't submit two or times in the open call period. Multiple genre and multiple entries will be declined.
- Please carefully read the formatting guidelines below and all of the information on this page.
We post 2 Open Calls per year, which are free.
The Fall Open Call for fiction and creative nonfiction is August 1 - September 30, 2023. For poets, we publish our Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize winners in the spring issue, which is a contest with cash prize, so we don't accept poetry in the Open Call category from May through November. Poets should submit through the Joy Bale Boone Poetry Prize during the fall.
Where to submit:
Below is a link that says Submit; click it. You will be prompted to create an account using Submittable if you do not have one. Only electronic submissions through Submittable are accepted. We do not and can not accept any late entries or email entries. We read the first 50 submitted to us each month during the Open Call. Before you submit please read the formatting guidelines below.
Changes / Revisions:
We can not make changes once we have started reading or have accepted your work. If you would like to make changes, please withdraw your first submission and submit a new one but be advised that we may have reached our cap of 50 for that month or the Open Call may have ended. All resubmissions must follow the same guidelines.
THRP retains first North American serial rights and may use the submitted material to promote the journal and website in perpetuity. Upon publication, rights revert back to the writer.
While we accept simultaneous submissions, please withdraw your work if it is published elsewhere in the United States or if you use First North American Serial Rights.
If two pieces of work are submitted under one entry (this applies to poems but can apply to other genres) and one is published, you must withdraw the entire entry but you can resubmit what is still available to publish during the Open Call.
Free submissions for all open calls.
Because we do not charge for submission, there is not a monetary payment for this contest.
THRP pays 1 contributor copy mailed to the authors of published works who have a United States Postal Service Address. Writers who live outside the U.S. - whose mail requires additional processing forms - often provide an address of friends, relatives, and or their U.S. Consulate. We hope to change this in the future.
All writers can purchase copies through Amazon on our Shop page.
We do gladly accept donations to our publication. You can make a donation by clicking here: https://alumni.kctcs.edu/g/heartland-review-press-fund.
Our journal comes out in late Spring and late Fall. If you are published with us and you have a United States Postal Service address, we will mail you one. If you wish to buy additional copies, we do publish on Amazon and you can order from Amazon. Our shop page has our Amazon links.
THRP is not an independent press. We are subject to the governance of our college ECTC which in turn is part of a larger entity the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. As such, we are not able to enter into a legally binding agreement.
Formatting Guidelines: All Genres
- Submissions must be in one Word compatible file (.docx, .doc, and .rtf). PDFs will not be read.
- For fiction and nonfiction, the Word file must be double spaced uniformly; single spaced entries will not be read. Do not put in extra spaces or have double with single spacing. Do not insert your own "enters" at the end of each line; ensure Word wraps the text automatically. Use left align, not justification. This helps the import and export of files.
- Submittable will request authors to compose a short cover letter and biography. The bio should be 30-40 words and include contact information along with your original creative work.
- The file name should include the date (year and month) and the author’s name. For example, 2018_6_John Smith. This helps us keep the files organized.
We look forward to reading your work!
Questions & Answers
How does our process work? How many emails will I receive? How will I know if my work is selected?
Step 1: Submission
After you click the "click here to submit link" and create a Submittable account, you can upload your file(s). You will receive an email from us upon submission. Your file in Submittable stays labeled as "new" until we pull it for reading.
Step 2: Reading
We pull once a month and send the monthly files to our editors and readers. We will read the first 50 submissions of each genre each month during the open call. Once we pull, you will receive an email that says we are reading and your Submittable file will be labeled as "in process". If your file is labeled "in progress" for a long time, it means we are carrying it from month to month in the "keeper" pile.
Step 3: Notification of Accept / Decline
After we've read and made decisions, your Submittable file will be labeled as "accepted or decline"; at that time you will receive an email from us. This can be 3-6 months. If you submitted for Fall Open call (August and September) we try to have our decisions made by Valentine's Day.
For those accepted, we also send an email when we mail your contributor copies.
Follow up and Clean Up
After copies have been mailed, we clean up our database and labeled our contests/projects in Submittable as "complete". Sometimes we send an email with this and sometimes we don't. If it's close to our mailing times, then we might check to make sure that you received your contributor copy or let you know that we didn't receive return snail mail.
If you wish to withdraw your submission because your work has been accepted elsewhere, you can and should do so in Submittable.
If you have questions at any time you can email us at the address on the bottom of the website or send us a message through Submittable.