Submission Guidelines

Submissions are currently open.

We are looking for beautifully-written poetry, flash fiction and short stories with a speculative edge. In the tradition of oral folk tales, we want work that sounds as good when read aloud as it reads on the page. Send us writing that sings.

We love the gothic, weird fiction, horror, folk and fairy tales. We love speculative fiction. We love literary fiction that feels speculative. Browse the work we’ve published already, and read our interviews with Duotrope and Jim Harrington of Six Questions For… for some hints!

Crow & Cross Keys, as always, is looking for all things dark and lovely.


— Homophobic / racist / misogynistic / ableist and otherwise prejudiced writing. Please do not send this to us.
— Graphic sexual content.
— Stories or poems without a speculative or implied-speculative element (it can be subtle but must be there).

— Hard Sci-fi/high fantasy: soft SF, contemporary fantasy and hybrid works are likely to be more successful.
— Heavy gore, we like dark writing but will not accept gore for gore’s sake.
— We do not want to read graphic violence or abuse.


Send up to three (3) poems of any length.

Please bear in mind that we may be limited in the formatting we can reproduce; if you’re having fun with form, to ensure your work is viewed correctly, please include a PDF copy when you submit.

We recommend browsing our poetry selection to see the kinds of formatting we have published before.

flash fiction

Send one (1) piece of flash fiction of up to 1000 words.

For micro fiction of up to 250 words, you may send three (3) pieces. Please indicate in your cover letter whether the pieces are linked or separate—if linked, please submit pieces in the order you would like them to appear.

We are open to tiny stories. Delight us with brevity.

short stories

Send one (1) short story from 1001 to 5000 words.

If you have something longer than 5000 words that you think we might love, send a query including: your word count, a brief description of the work, and your opening sentence or paragraph.

If we like what we see, we will request the piece in full and if you wow us, we’ll publish it.

You do not need to query pieces from 1001 to 5000 words.

Please note: we prioritise submissions that fit our usual guidelines so may not respond to queries regarding longer works until we have time to read them.


Please attach submissions as .doc, .docx, .rtf, or .otf files and include a PDF version for reference if your work has specific layout needs. Please do not paste submissions into the body of your email.

Poetry should be submitted as it should appear; for fiction, double-spaced in a readable 12-pt font is preferred but not essential.

You don’t need to write a formal cover letter and we do not need your address, but we would love to get to know you! Include a brief third-person bio in your email and any relevant social media/website links—if accepted, your bio can be updated at any time, just let us know.

Please only submit one type of writing at a time (poetry, flash or a short story).

We welcome repeat-submissions. However, please wait until a decision has been reached on any open submission before submitting again; we do not consider multiple submissions. For ease, any new submissions should be sent in their own email, rather than the same thread as a previous submission.

If we have rejected a piece, only re-submit that piece if we have indicated we would be interested in seeing it again (if substantially edited). A request for a rewrite does not guarantee an acceptance unless explicitly stated.

— Simultaneous submissions are fine, just let us know if you need to withdraw your work from consideration as soon as possible.
— Decisions will be sent out as soon as possible but if you’ve not heard back from us within 8 weeks, feel free to send a query.

— We are open to reprints. We will consider previously published writing and while new work is preferred, if we love something we’ll reprint it.
— Please let us know if your submission has been published elsewhere.

— Submissions are free and always will be. We’re currently not a paying market but we hope to become one someday!
Crow & Cross Keys is a labour of love, and we receive no grants or outside funding.

Send your submissions to

crowcrosskeys [at] gmail [dot] com

Rights and housekeeping

We want your writing to be the best it can be; our editor-in-chief may offer editorial suggestions prior to publication and/or request revisions if the work is in our wheelhouse but not yet ready for publication.

We claim first electronic rights and non-exclusive archival rights. But the copyright of your work always remains yours. Where possible, we request exclusivity for 30 days post-publishing. After that, you are free to post/submit it wherever you choose. If the work is published elsewhere, we ask that you credit Crow & Cross Keys as the first publisher.

For reprints: please make sure your work is out of its exclusivity period (if applicable) before you submit.

While we are not currently a paying market, our contracts include a clause for back payments. Should we become a paying market in the future—which we sincerely hope we will through a combination of crowdfunding efforts, merchandise and potential grant applications—we are committed to paying every contributor. Payment terms will be communicated to contributors as and when funds are available. However, we encourage you to try your work with currently-paying venues first—we will always be here.

We may request to reproduce your work in a future print anthology—we will let contributors know in advance that an anthology is planned. We do not currently have any fixed plans for print, and you may feel free to opt out of appearing in an anthology at any time. In future, we may ask to produce an audio version of your work for accessibility and podcasting purposes, as with print you may feel free to opt out at any time.