Submission Guidelines for Writers & Artists


   * Awards Contest Guidelines, click here.

   * Regular Magazine Submission Guidelines, below.

   * Artists' Guidelines, scroll down.

   * Reviewer Guidelines, scroll down. 

Thank you for your interest in New Letters.  We strongly urge potential contributors to read one or more issues of New Letters before submitting work.  A sample copy of a recent issue can be ordered for $10 each, ppd. 

Special Writers Rates: The best deal is to order a one-year subscription (4 issues) for $18 (regular, $28); we make this discounted rate available upon request to writers who submit writing to us, or plan to submit writing to us.

We seek many kinds of writing; regardless of subject, style, or genre,
our overriding concern is literary excellence.  
We require no reading fee or fee of any kind for regular submissions to New Letters. 
Literary awards entry fees are part of an entirely separate entry process.


  1. Sample copies of recent issues are available from this office for $10.00 ppd, each. We wish you success with your writing.
  2. Unsolicited submissions that arrive between May 1st and October 1st will be returned unread.
  3. We prefer that you send no more than six poems, one piece of nonfiction, or one short story per submission.
  4. Please send one submission at a time.
  5. Put your name, postal address and email address at the top of the first page of the submission.  
    Identify the kind of writing you have sent, e.g., essay, novel chapter, poetry, short story, book review.  
  6. We are open to critical discourses about writing, art, or culture, as long as that writing is, in itself, lively, fresh, and vivid. We are not interested in footnoted, “scholarly” articles, or anything that uses the word “privilege” as a verb.
  7. A rough average length for prose is 3,000 to 5,000 words.
  8. We need exclusive consideration for reviews and criticism (see bottom); however, we will consider simultaneous submissions for other kinds of writing if you (a) let us know and (b) notify us immediately if the work you sent to us has been accepted for publication elsewhere.
  9. Like most literary magazines, our staff is small and the volume of submissions large; please be patient. We will respond as quickly as possible. 
  10. New Letters accepts no responsibility for, and will not engage in correspondence about, lost or damaged unsolicited manuscripts sent to us.
  11. Rights and Payment:  We buy first North-American serial rights only. All rights revert to the author upon publication. Payment for essays, stories, and interviews ranges from $25 to $100 each and could be more, depending on grants and other revenue. Minimum pay for poetry is $12 plus more for multi-page poems; but pay often exceeds those minimums. Payment to contributors also includes two copies of the issue and 40 percent discounts for additional copies and subscriptions. 

Format & Style Tips:

  • We do not read unsolicited email submissions, nor do we respond to such submissions by email.
  • Do not send double-sided copies of prose or poetry.
  • Double space prose.
  • We suggest generous margins (consider 1.5-inch side margins for prose and at least that for poems).
  • We encourage writers to create emphasis through word choice, placement, syntax and sentence pacing, rather than reliance on exclamation marks.
  • Our only fixed requirement is good writing, and we have no rigid preferences as to subject, style, or genre; however, formulaic “commercial” efforts tend to put us off.
  • We rarely publish poems about poetry.  We tend to avoid prose about academic life.
  • We require a self-addressed, stamped, #10 envelope if you want notification of our decision only; if you want your entire manuscript returned, please send an appropriately sized envelope with sufficient postage.



Query the magazine before you submit art Send professional, resume information and one or two (at most) sample works of art.  Do not send art without professional background information.  This magazine rarely publishes unsolicited art.  For further information about our policies regarding visual art, read on:

New Letters publishes photographs, drawings, paintings and even, at times, photographs of three-dimensional work.  Although placement in the magazine sometimes creates a resonance with a particular piece of writing, we generally do not use art to illustrate the writing.  Art in New Letters is there for its own sake.

We have two principle standards for selecting art:  Is it fresh, interesting, high-quality work; will it effectively reproduce on the pages of this magazine?

Please note these criteria and suggestions:

  • We have no preferences for subject matter or style.  We evaluate each work of art on its own terms, based on how it will serve the needs of the magazine.
  • We cannot consider slides.  Send sample low-res images  by email to, or direct us to a website, or send photographic prints in any convenient size.  Sometimes, with line drawings or collages, high-quality photocopies work well for initial consideration.
  • Include a return envelope with sufficient postage for the return of the work in hard copy.
  • There is a small payment for work after publication.  The amount varies, depending on grant revenue.
  • We usually respond within three or four weeks.
  • Sample copies of a recent issue are available from this office for $10.00, ppd.  



To see some sample reviews from New Letters magazine, click here.

  • We must have a physical address to conisder your review.  Review submissions can be sent to us by email (unlike regular submissions), but please put your name and postal address at the top of the first page of your review manuscript. Send queries or reviews to 
  • No simultaneous submissions of reviews and criticism can be considered.  We will consider simultaneous submissions for other kinds of writing.
  • Style:  Do not use partial quotes when you quote; use complete clauses for quotations, even if the quote is not the entire sentence.  *  New Letters would like reviews to be, themselves, examples of good writing—concise, detailed, vivid, and free of theoretical and academic jargon.  Primer points: *  Avoid exclamation marks.   Avoid plot summaries that do not directly illustrate ideas.  Please get to your points, make them, and then stop.  If you have a distinctive writing style and can remain concise, detailed, vivid, and jargon free, fine.
  • Length:  Single or double-book reviews will run 300 to 800 words; essay-reviews of groups of books could run longer, depending on the importance of the book(s) and the quality of the review itself.  The review should merit its length.
  • Conflicts:  If you have a potential conflict of interest because you are romantically involved with the author or publisher of the book you are reviewing, or because you are a lobbyist or otherwise indebted, you should either mention that connection in the review, itself, submit a Federal Lobbyist Disclosure Report, or refrain from writing about the book. 
  • Procedure:  If you want to review a particular book that you already possess, check with us first.  If in town, you can stop by our offices to look over our review shelf; if you want us to order a book for you, or if you want us to send you our own selection of books for possible review, let us know.
  • Negative, critical appraisals, when supported, can be included in reviews, and we do run those; however, if the review is primarily negative in its ultimate assessment, we prefer to simply ignore the book.  
  • Unsolicited book reviews will be considered but run the risk of duplicating what already is being done, so consider a query first.
  • What kind of books?  New Letters is primarily—but not exclusively—interested in reviewing excellent books that are otherwise not receiving much attention in the national media (which means nearly any literary title); we also are interested in books that have something important to say about culture, politics, aesthetics, or any kind of art; that includes scholarly, critical, or biographical books that could find a non-specialized readership. 
  • New Letters pays, typically, $35 and up for short, one-book reviews, more for longer, complex reviews; this pay is not guaranteed but paid as resources allow.



New Letters
University House, UMKC
5101 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64110

Kansas City Literary Events

Arlin Buyert & Arts in Prison

Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Overland Park, Kan.


New Letters on the Air Archive Audio on The Paris Review Podcast

The Paris Review’s podcast for Wed., Jan. 31, 2018, will feature John Ashbery reading his poem “Soonest Mended,” from a 1986 New Letters on the Air program. More information and links to The Paris Review Podcast here.


Clarion Awards Selection CD Special

Jamaica KincaidJim ShepardGloria Vando & Anika ParisLuis Alberto Urrea, and Alex George, normally $7.99 per episode, this cd collection comes with over $15.00 in savings. Downloads of these programs have been reduced and are available through our archives.