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How to Submit

If you have a poem accepted for our November issue it will now be published on February 1st, 2021. Haiku acceptances will be re-scheduled as well, and emails will be sent to all contributors soon. If you have an outstanding submission, it means that your work either has not been read yet or was not selected for this issue but was long listed and held over. You may choose to wait, withdraw, or replace your submission, and please feel free to query.

We do not take copyright to any work by any contributors to this publication, although you grant us the right to use the work in future anthologies or promotions. The exception to this is work authored by the publisher, including interviews.

Please submit your poem or story in the body of your email, as we do not usually open attachments. 


Along with your work of art, short story, or poem(s,) please send your full name and return address, as well as the name you would like listed for the work, if different.

We still receive emails with nothing in them but an (often untitled) poem or two. Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name and who you are, and perhaps add a short biographical statement. Your work is being sent to people, and you are asking them to read what you’ve written. Courtesy makes a positive impression.

We do not accept submissions without a name or from a third party. By submitting your work personally you are granting us the right to accept and publish it. — Vera Ignatowitsch

We never charge a reading fee.

It is always free to submit.

We do not charge fees for contest submissions.

Featured poem or story poets or writers are paid upon publication.


Previously published work is always welcome.


All income we receive is from donations and print book sales.


Order your copy of one or more issues today!

Our publication schedule is quarterly.

Submissions have reopened! We look forward to reading your work. Our next issue will be published on February 1st, 2021.

As we are all volunteers, without any outside funding, we are not able to pay for most poetry or fiction. Our staff donate their time, and, once funding permits, contributors will be paid first. Contributors do receive their choice of a free PDF or eBook version of our print issue.


Author of Featured Poem (publisher’s choice) receives payment of $20. 

Author of Featured Poem (editor’s choice) receives payment of $20.

Authors of Features Three, Four, Five, (and Six — beginning September 2020) (poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction) each receive payment of $20.

(Payment via Paypal only, so you need a Paypal account to receive it.)

Submit via email only to:  We ask that you copy your work into the body of your email, as we do not usually open attachments. We still receive many submissions as attachments and do not accept them. The only exception is for ms submissions.

Some email programs strip elements such as italics, indenting, etc. If you are submitting work that requires special formatting, please note that and we will respond.

You will receive an acknowledgement of your submission within 24 hours. If you do not receive this acknowledgement it usually means that we did not receive your submission. Please try again.

We DO accept previously published work.

If you only send previously published work, repeatedly, we do start to wonder why. Read through a few issues and consider the average ratio of new to previously published which we accept. Keep in mind that it does vary from issue to issue, as we select on merit with no attention to previous publication.


If previously published, make sure you have the rights to it. Most publications do not keep the rights to poetry.  We do not, we retain the right to use them in anthologies or promotional material as we see fit in the future, but we do not retain any copyright to your work.


Do tell us where it was previously published so we can credit them. If you self published it or posted it to an open group, we do not consider that published, so no mention need be made.

We do respond to accept or decline submissions. Response time varies from a few days to a few months. When we publish, we also send a notification of publication.


If you have submitted work, and have not received a response within 90 days, feel free to inquire. Now that we are on a quarterly publishing schedule, the likelihood is that, if you have not received a response within 90 days, your work has been held over for a second cycle.

Submit up to 4 poems or works of microfiction, one short story, and up to 6 haiku (no titles please,) limericks, cinquains, etc. You may submit to more than one category at the same time. Please do not submit to the same category if you already have have a previous submission under consideration. Please wait 4 months between submissions in any given genre or category.

If you are submitting free verse (up to four poems) please put Poetry Submission in your email subject line.

If you are submitting microfiction (under 100 words) please put MicroFiction in your email subject line.

If you are submitting flash fiction (under 1000 words) please put Flash Fiction Submission in your email subject line.

If you are submitting a short story (up to 7000 words) please put Short Story Submission in your email subject line. (Short stories of over 2000 words may be serialized.)

If you are submitting creative non-fiction, a personal essay, or memoir, please put Non Fiction Submission in your email subject line.

If you are submitting an image, please put Image Submission in your email subject line.

If you are submitting haiku, please put Haiku Submission in your email subject line. Please do not send haiku with titles, unless you are conveying information and would be happy to have your haiku published without titles.

(Note to haikuists: our editor is working on the May 2021 issue.)

If you are submitting formal poetry, or lighthearted verse, please put Formal Poetry Submission in your email subject line.

If you are submitting translations of poetry, please put Translations Submission in your email subject line. Also please include the original poems, in the language they were written in. Including a literal translation of each poem as well, if you have it, is appreciated by our Poetry Translations editor.

If you are submitting poetry for children, please put Poetry for Children Submission in your email subject line.

If you are submitting experimental poetry, please put Experimental Submission in your email subject line. Shape poetry or special formatting will not always appear correctly in email. In such cases please still include your poem(s) in the body of your email, and also add an attachment in doc. or docx. form. If your poem has a shape which can not be reproduced with regular font in print, then we will require a high resolution image (min 300 dpi.)

If you are submitting form poetry or prose poetry, please put Form Poetry or Prose Poetry Submission in your email subject line.

If you are submitting international poetry, please put International Poetry Submission in your email subject line. We define international poetry as being written by non-Westerners whose cradle tongue is not American or British English, and who have lived somewhere other than the US, Canada, the UK, or Australia for most of their lives.

If you are submitting African poetry, please put African Poetry Submission in your email subject line. We define African poetry as being written by an African, rather than poetry written about Africa by a visitor.

Please do NOT send work in different genres in the same submission. If you are submitting some free verse and some formal and/or rhyming poetry especially, please send the poems as separate submissions. There are added to different queues and will be read by different editors and responded to at different times. The same applies to any other category or genre. 

Fiction writers please include the word length of your story with your submission.

If you want to ‘please an editor’ consider putting your submission into the formats we use as per our style guide. For example, if your title is all in caps, it will have to be retyped and then bolded. If your story paragraphs are indented, the indents will be removed. You might consider reviewing a few issues to become familiar with our practices.

​Please include a short third person bio with your submission — 30 word length preferred (max 40.) If you do not include one, and some or all of your work is chosen, it will be published with your name only. If you do not include your name, you may or may not get a response. If your bio is longer than 40 words it will be edited. If you have work accepted and wait until you receive a final proofing request to request bio changes they may not be possible, since at this point layout has been done for two print versions and doubling the length of a bio affects layout.

Send one submission per category no more often than once every four months. Since we welcome submissions in different genres, you could submit monthly in four different genres (ie. free verse, fiction, formal poetry, haiku, prose poetry, etc.) Depending on when they come in, some submissions may be held for over 90 days.

We rarely publish long  poems (over 50 lines), but will consider them. We have a soft spot for short poems, but do publish longer pieces occasionally.

Full length short stories, up to a maximum of 7000 words, may be serialized.


In both the poetry and fiction, we aren’t prudes, but we aren’t looking for gratuitous sex, violence or crude language. We will accept any of these things if we feel they are important to the story. We will not publish anything that we think can be construed as hateful.


This does not mean you can’t tell the story of a terrible event, murder, rape, beatings or whatever, but make sure you are not glorifying the evil. We love a good story. We love a great poem.

We accept simultaneous submissions, however, by submitting your work to us you are granting us the right to choose it for publication. If you have not withdrawn your submission before we make this choice, then you cannot withdraw it. Since we accept previously published work, your work could theoretically be published elsewhere but not withdrawn. In that case please notify us of any earlier publishing credit when your work is accepted.

Finally, in Free Verse and Fiction especially, we receive hundreds of submissions, and quite a number in Formal poetry as well. We regretfully decline poems and stories we might have chosen at another time. Read a few more issues and try again. We do not generally give feedback on your work unless specifically requested. 

To our contributors: You are our treasure, the reason Better Than Starbucks exists, and is able to offer so much great poetry, fiction, and more. Occasionally emails go astray, and I encourage anyone who has not received a response from us to email again and inquire. I will do my best to respond to every email personally. Thank you again for trusting us with your work, and we hope you continue enabling us to make this journal an ever better showcase for your writing. Responses regarding acceptance can take a few days to a few months, depending on the editor (they're amazing too), and volume of submissions in each category.

Vera Ignatowitsch, Editor-in-chief, October 5th, 2019

With our new quartery publication schedule, your submission may be held for 2 cycles (180 days). This usually means that your work attracted us and may be considered for our next issue.

Better Than Starbucks is also listed in Poets & Writers, on The Review Review, and at TheHyperTexts.

June 2020.  Duotrope notes that we have submissions not responded to for as long as 552 days, and that over 7% of submissions are marked as no response. If that is the case, we are unaware of these submissions. Our response time has lengthened with the new publication schedule, but we have nothing outstanding in our records for five or more months. With the many genres we publish, occasionally a submission can go astray. If you have not heard from us for over 90 days, please do inquire. Your work may be on a short list and held over, but if not we want to know!

May 2020. Every time we receive an email from someone who has submitted and not received a response we check the records. In most cases a response was sent and we forward that. Check your junk mail occasionally! In a few cases we have had inquiries about a submission we did not receive. If you did not get an acknowledgement of your submission then we did not receive it. Please try again. — Vera Ignatowitsch

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