Submission Guidelines

Waiting by Cheryl Dodds

For now, Blue Fifth Review is on hiatus. If the status changes, notice will be placed here.

Editorial tastes for the Blue Five Notebook Series are eclectic but always focus on quality and a work’s unique ability to move the reader beyond the confines of any chair. Send only your best work. Because of the level of quality associated with BFR/BFN, the limited space, and number of issues, competition will be keen.

The editors welcome unsolicited submissions of poetry and flash but do not consider previously published works. Please send no work that has appeared previously in print or online. The editors will consider work that has been posted on a personal or public blog, Myspace, Facebook page, or workshop site with the following stipulation: Should the submission be accepted at Blue Fifth Review, the work should be removed from all posts and archives. If, however, publication credit, listing Blue Fifth Review, is added to the posted page of the online site, the work may remain in all posts and archives.


Poetry: open to traditional or experimental forms of any length

Flash Fiction: open to works of prose – up to 1,000 words – emphasizing varying degrees of narrative, form, language, voice, and pacing

Art:  the editors generally solicit art for the issues but will consider unsolicited submissions. Attach the work as a .jpg, .jpeg, or .gif file.

Non-fiction: as of 2014, we added reviews, reflections, interviews and essays to our pages. Please see more specific guidelines below.

Submissions Guidelines for Poetry and Flash 

The 2018 Schedule:

Spring Issue – online mid-May
Poetry Special / Flash Special – online in June
2 broadsides (Flash & poetry) – online in July
Flash Special (one writer, five pieces) / Poetry Special (one poet, five pieces) – online in August
1 Flash broadside / Poetry Special – online in September
Fall Issue – online mid-October
Collaboration Issue – online in December


General information:


Please watch for our next issues to appear: 2018 Fall quarterly, poetry special, flash special. 

Simultaneous submissions are discouraged.

Because of limited space, competition will be keen.

E-mail submissions only. Submit 3 works – poetry or flash – in text format in the body of the e-mail to

For general submissions, please indicate in the subject line of your submission whether you are submitting Poetry or Flash – SUB Poetry or SUB Flash. For non-fiction submissions indicate the kind of piece – SUB Review (for example).

No attachments. If work is accepted, the editors may request an attachment for formatting purposes.

Please include a brief bio – up to 60 words.

Submissions Guidelines for Non-fiction: Reviews / Reflections / Essays 

Generally, non-fiction work is solicited. If interested in submitting, see the Submit note below, at the end of this section. At Blue Five Notebook, we present four different kinds of non-fiction contributions:

Reviews (750 – 2000 words)

Reflections (250 – 600 words)

Interviews (up to 2500 words)

Essays (up to 2500 words)

Content. We publish non-fiction discussions of fiction and poetry, primarily focusing on new poetry and short story collections. We generally do not publish reviews of novels, but we are intrigued by the flash novel which falls within our general frame of interest.

New works. We are interested in promoting new material, so we are looking for reviews  and reflections about books published within the last couple years, or books that are forthcoming. Essays may include discussions of historical material and trends over longer periods. A review or reflection will focus on one book, while an essay may include a discussion of many books, or a discussion of the arts more generally – which may include visual arts, poetry, fiction, music, etc.

What we are looking for. In a reflection, we expect a heartfelt and intelligent response to a particular book. A review will take that a step further and provide more literary analysis and deeper discussion. An essay will take on broader issues and may address both recent and older works; an essay may be a discussion of one artist in particular or a look at broader trends or themes, in a comparative approach, including writers, painters, photographers, sculptors, musicians, filmmakers, etc.

Promotion, not self-promotion. Reviews and reflections should not be written as promotional material. Blue Five Notebook supports new works by a wide range of writers and publishers and we understand that the lines are sometimes blurry – writers  may publish reviews of their friends and colleagues. But even with blurry lines, there are in fact lines that should not be crossed. It would not be considered appropriate if anyone associated with the publisher of a particular book write a review or reflection of that book. We are part of a wide supportive community, but we do not promote flagrant self-promotion or promotion from within. Reviews and reflections should maintain a standard of excellence and an intelligent approach – even if wholly positive, and even if written by a close associate. Having said that, we also appreciate critical reads, and reviews may well include close analysis that includes intelligent critique. A review that examines a book in its entirety will intrigue us as much as an outright endorsement. In either case, the quality of writing will matter most to the editors.

Your own style. The editors feel quite strongly that a reflection, review, or essay should reflect your own views while also adhering to the editors’ rigorous expectations in terms of presentation of material and style/tone. We aren’t interested in strictly academic writing, but we do like a well-articulated argument, especially when it comes to reviews and essays. We are flexible in terms of style and tone, as long as your approach is intelligent and respectful to the work you are considering. Please be as creative as you like, and send us a non-fiction piece that will intrigue us and our readers.

If you are familiar with  Blue Five Notebook, you have a good idea of our wide range of eclectic taste in material. Surprise us and help introduce our readers to new and exciting books that deserve a closer look.

If you are new to our pages, please take time to read our past issues and familiarize yourself with the poetry and fiction we have embraced, and get in touch if you’re interested in becoming a contributor to this series.

Submit. Submissions for non-fiction work fall outside the general reading period for poetry, flash, and art. We work with writers on a case-by-case basis for these submissions. If you are interested in writing a review, reflection, or essay for Blue Five Notebook, please get in touch. Send a brief description of your idea to us at Please note that all non-fiction submissions are subject to editorial review and discussion, and a submission is not a guarantee for inclusion until it meets with editorial approval.



No payment other than publication. Rights revert to author upon publication, although Blue Fifth Review does reserve the right to anthologize, in printed or electronic format, material originally published here. If work appearing in this journal subsequently appears elsewhere, the editor does request acknowledgment of Blue Fifth Review as the place of first publication.

17 Responses to Submission Guidelines

  1. Love the “Blue” theme. Continued success to you, in “Blue”… 😉

  2. Cathryn Shea says:

    I love how Blue Fifth Review is evolving. Lovely site and wonderful resource.

  3. Tom Fegan says:

    You say no simultaneous submissions but when can we submit and is this a theme related magazine. I have written for Pure Slush and am interested in posting my work other places. Can you help me in being more specific what you want. I prefer writing about crime.

    • Thanks for your interest in BFR, Tom. The reading periods for submissions are listed on the guideline page – summer reading (May 1 through June 30) and fall reading (November 1 through December 31). We also list on the guideline page our themes for 2014. The vast majority of our issues (24+ per year) are not themed; however, each Quarterly Special is themed. For 2014, the themes are Landscape (Winter), Urban (Spring), Revolution (Summer), Space (Fall).

  4. Patricia Jordan says:

    Very detailed information for new writers wanting to get started. Appreciate the various lengths;not restricting the writer.

  5. Richard Ratliff says:

    So are you open for poetry submissions or not you site is confusing

  6. December 14, 2016: Are you accepting poetry contributions for 2017?

  7. rustinlarson says:

    Really impressive selection.

  8. Pingback: Submission call from Blue Fifth Review … Twin Peaks issue | sam of the 10,000 things

  9. Charlotte says:

    Why aren’t you paying writers for their work?

    • We’ve considered doing that, Charlotte, but at this time the only way we payment could become a reality is to charge for submissions. We have no paid advertisers or sponsors, nor do we solicit funds or grants. I’d rather not do any of those. If we ever do decide to charge for submissions, we would, however, pass all the money on to those whose works appear in our pages since we have no overhead costs, no paid editors. The editors have also considered an annual contest to raise funds for paying contributors, but we’ve passed on that so far as well.

  10. cascondaville says:

    Hi! I submitted a flash story before the end of June of this year, and I’m wondering when I can expect to hear whether the piece has been accepted or not. I have never submitted to Blue Fifth Review before and am not familiar with how things unfold. There was no indication the piece was received by email and my curiosity has been getting the best of me. Thanks.

  11. Pingback: Literary journals to submit to, 2019 – Translations from Japanese

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