Guidelines

We seek works of fiction and poetry that speak to LGBT young adults and their allies. We are interested in creative, thoughtful, original work that engages our young readers. We seek writing that challenges them and makes them think. We’re looking for stories that capture their imaginations and characters that are relatable. We think there’s a need in the young adult literary market for writing that speaks to the everyday experiences of LGBT adolescents: themes of identity, friendship, coming out, families, etc., are especially welcome. The protagonist need not identify as LGBT, but we do ask that there be some kind of LGBT angle to your story. We welcome all genres of fiction and poetry!

Because we publish for a young demographic, work submitted to Iris may not include depictions of sex, drug use, and violence. They can certainly be discussed and referenced, but not directly portrayed. It is our hope that Iris will find a home in classrooms and libraries; in order to do so, the magazine must adhere to these guidelines. We publish pieces with profanity only if that profanity is neither gratuitous nor excessive.

Iris is friendly to everyone along the LGBTQAI spectrum and their allies. You do not need to identify as queer (or one of the above) to submit! We ask only that there exist an LGBT angle in your story.

We accept short stories (3,000 words max), poetry, and visual art. We encourage creators of visual poetry to send us PDFs or image files only - we want to be sure that your work renders correctly for our readers!

Those interested in writing essays, reviews, or columns for our blog are encouraged to email us with a pitch and links to published work/writing samples.

Accepted Submissions & Author Rights

If your submission is accepted, an editor will be in touch to discuss the next steps.

At Iris, we ask for first digital publication rights. Therefore, we ask that all submissions to Iris be previously unpublished, including on personal blogs. Simultaneous submissions are fine – just please let us know as soon as possible if your piece has been accepted elsewhere, and we will do our best to respond to submissions in a timely manner.

Authors retain all rights to their work following first publication in Iris. That means that you can go on to publish the piece elsewhere; if you do, it would be lovely to include a note indicating that it was first published in Iris.

Submitting Your Work

For our third issue cycle, we are piloting managing submissions through Google Drive. Submit your work as a PDF or Word document attachment via email to creatingiris@gmail.com. Attachments sent to this address are automatically uploaded to our Google Drive using a script from Send to Google Drive. This  ensures that you do not have to make an account anywhere in order to submit, and also addresses the issues with uploading and file rendering that many writers encountered previously.

All submissions must have this cover sheet as the text of the email. Because our submissions are read blind, we ask that your attachment contain only your piece's title, with no identifying information. Do not include your name in the same document as your piece.

We do our best to respond to each submission within three weeks. If you have not heard from us within that time frame, please email us.

By submitting to Iris, you acknowledge that you are the creator of the submitted work and that this is its first publication. If you are under the age of eighteen, please know that if your piece is accepted for publication, we will require permission from a parent or guardian.

We really regret that we cannot pay contributors; please know that Iris is a labor of love for us, too.

Art & Visual Poetry

Please submit your visual art or poetry via email to: creatingiris@gmail.com. Our preferred file formats are .png or .jpg. 

If you format your visual poetry with Adobe Illustrator, please attach the Illustrator file as well; this will help us when we design the issue with InDesign.

Questions

We are happy to clarify any of our policies or the instructions for submissions. Please email us at submissions@creatingiris.org with any enquiries.

 

Q: Why the ban on sex, drugs, and violence?

A: As the editors of a magazine for young adults, we feel a great deal of responsibility for our younger readers and their parents. Additionally, it is our hope that Iris be used to bring diversity to the classroom and library settings. We explain the reasoning behind our content policy here

Q: Do you accept submissions after the reading period?

A: Yes, although any works submitted after the deadline will be considered for the following issue. We respond to every submission, so if you submit during our reading period, we'll send you a reply to let you know that we'll be holding your piece until our next submissions window opens. 

Q: Can I submit to Iris if I'm under eighteen?

A: Young authors may submit their work to both the magazine and the 'Voices' and 'Features' sections on our website. Accepting submissions from minors requires us to secure parental permission for each contributor, so if your piece is selected for publication, please know that we will need to contact your parent or guardian in order to publish your work.

Q: Can I donate to Iris or buy copies of Iris?

A: Iris is unfortunately currently unable to accept donations. Hopefully this will change in the near future, but for now, thank you for your interest and generosity. The best way to support Iris is to spread the word!

As for buying copies of the magazine, Iris is free to download, save, and share. All of our staff and contributors share their talents with Iris on a volunteer basis. Share, print, bring to your school librarian, whatever you like! If you'd like to let us know how you're reading or sharing Iris, send us an email! We'd love to hear from you. 

Call for Papers

The submissions window for the third issue of Iris: New Writing for LGBTQ+ Young Adults is now open! We invite submissions on the theme of 'change' through 26 May 2015.

Issue 3: Change

Writers and artists are encouraged to pitch our editors should they wish to publish nonfiction or personal essays on our website; we publish a variety of work on our web site and would love to feature your perspective, too. Send us your idea and links to previously published work (or a writing sample)!

Archives

Issue 2: Histories

Issue 1: Identity