The Main Street Rag is a literary magazine featuring poetry, fiction, interviews, reviews, photography, art and cartoons. It's published quarterly in perfect bound, journal format. Samples: $8 + $1 shipping for newer issues, $7 + $1 for issues prior to 2001.
We recommend trying a newer issue since our format has evolved over the years. It is also helpful to specify an issue. Samples and a list of who's inside each issue can be found on the The MSR Online Bookstore under "Literary Magazine/Back Issues"
Subscriptions: $24 for 1 year, $45 for 2 years and can be purchased online through the MSR Online Bookstore.
Pay: One contributor's copy, but we offer a special contributors' rate of 3 copies for $14 for the issue in which a contributor appears (must all be mailed to the same address).
Issues ship in January, April, July and October.
* * * IMPORTANT * * *
We do not replace contributors' copies or subscription copies for those who move and do not update their address change prior to an issue shipping date.
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GENERAL GUIDELINES for The Main Street Rag (Effective June 1, 2012) Please note: the following guidelines apply to MAGAZINE submissions only. Anthologies and book submissions have separate specific guidelines that may be different. Links to them are at the top of the page.
EMAIL SUBMISSIONS ONLY and they must be sent as WORD or RTF attachments, not in the body of emails to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
An introduction within the body of an email is fine, but not necessary. Submissions are considered on the basis of the quality of the work -- nothing else -- so bios and publishing credits are not pertinent to the consideration process. Authors are asked to include their name and a mailing address on the attached submission file AND ALSO in the body of the email to which the file is attached.
* * * IMPORTANT * * * Please specify in the subject line what kind of submission it is (poetry, fiction, etc.).
There are two guidelines that apply to any and all submissions to The Main Street Rag (our literary magazine) and are the most often overlooked. Confirming in the body of the submission email that the author has followed these specific guidelines will save time. If the author does not confirm the following guidelines in the body of the submission email, a form email will be returned and the submission will be on hold until they are confirmed, deleted if they are not CONFIRMED withing 24 hours of the email being sent out:
1) The submitted item is not previously published. This includes anything that has been published online, even on a personal web page or blog. The exception would be if the publisher/editor requests a poem from an author, but we still need to be aware of where that publication took place.
2) The submitted item is not Simultaneous Submitted.
2a) The submitted item is not Simultaneous Submitted. That line is not repeated by accident -- it's a message. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible, but if the reading times listed below (under Specific Guidelines) for each item is too long for the author to wait wait, it might be best for the author to send it somewhere else for consideration (rather than here).
As a rule, we're not interested in anything derogatory on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religious persuasion. Pissing off politicians, corporations, zealots, and/or lawyers is acceptable and, in fact, encouraged.
Specific Guidelines: Poetry / Fiction/Creative non-fiction / Reviews / Interviews / Images / Publishing Agreement
Any style, any subject, emphasis on edgier material, but we're not interested in the graphic details of your love life and we do enjoy a good laugh now and then--so just send your best material and let the rest sort itself out.
What we are least likely to accept is "garden" poetry, poetry about poetry, or the often over-used wading pool of Greek and Roman mythology.
We prefer work that is alive with the poet's own experiences. While we do not publish much in the way of formal poetry in our magazine, we will consider it. In that regard, we like to see formal poems that maintain the integrity of the form without becoming stiff, uninteresting or losing their vitality.
If this isn't a good enough description of what we're looking for, we suggest you buy a copy of the magazine and see what we are publishing. Current and back issues are available from the MSR Online Bookstore.
Author name and address should appear somewhere on each page of submission. If we can't identify the author, we can't publish it and, as a result, it would then get shredded.
1) Report Time: Usually 6-8 weeks (starting with the date a submission is received), but please note: Our Poetry Editor is also the final judge for both our Poetry Book Award and Chapbook contests. If you submit during the reading period for either, response time may take longer.
2) Submission Length: Six (6) pages of poetry. This does not mean six poems. It means six pages (for those who write epic-length poems). We will consider longer poems, but poems of 40 lines or less stand a better chance of acceptance.
3) *** NEW *** Submission by EMAIL ONLY. Poetry submissions should be sent as WORD or RTF attachments: email@example.com
4) Not interested in previously published. This includes anything that has been published online, even on a personal web page or blog. The exception would be if the editor requests a poem from an author.
5) No Simultaneous Submissions.
5) No Simultaneous Submissions. That line is not repeated by accident -- it's a message. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible, but if 6-8 weeks is too long to wait or you are not writing enough to submit multiple poems to multiple places, then you should probably consider another magazine for your work.
6) New Submissions. If an author has had a poem accepted for publication in The Main Street Rag, please wait until a contributor's copy has been received before submitting work again. This helps ensure a good mix of new voices along with our regular contributors.
7) Submission Period: Currently reading year round.
The Main Street Rag tries to maintain a backlog of 2-3 issues. Why? Because having a backlog ensures we will be able to fill our pages and meet our deadlines every time. As a result, there is usually a 9-12 month wait from time of acceptance until time of publication for poetry.
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1) Report Time: Usually 8-12 weeks.
2) Submission Length: 6000 word maximum.
3) ***NEW*** Submissions by EMAIL ONLY. Poetry submissions should be sent as WORD or RTF attachments: firstname.lastname@example.org
4) Not interested in previously published. This applies especially to anything that has been published online--even on a personal web page and/or blog. The exception would be if the editor requests a poem from an author.
5) No Simultaneous Submissions.
5) No Simultaneous Submissions. That line is not repeated by accident -- it's a message. We do our best to respond as quickly as possible, but if 8-12 weeks is too long to wait, then you should probably consider another option.
6) New Submissions. If an author has had a story accepted for publication in The Main Street Rag, please wait until a contributor's copy has been received before submitting work again. This helps ensure a good mix of new voices along with our regular contributors.
7) Submission Period: Currently reading year round, but would prefer to receive submissions between May 1 and September 30.
Essays/Creative Non-Fiction: Please EMAIL THE IDEA FIRST. We can tell you whether the subject appeals to us and whether we will have space for it without writers wasting time. Prefer social or political themes over How to, process pieces or literary pieces about the life of a literarian. Word limit: 4000 words.
The Main Street Rag tries to maintain a backlog of 2-3 issues. Why? Because having a backlog ensures we will be able to fill our pages and meet our deadlines every time. As a result, there is usually at least a 6 month wait from time of acceptance until time of publication for short fiction and/or creative non-fiction.
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Not interested in negative reviews, however, discussion of a manuscript's strengths and weaknesses might include negative aspects. The bottom line of MSR reviews is to connect author to audience. If you can't think of an audience that would enjoy reading a particular book, then your review would probably not be one we would be interested in publishing.
Also, we don't run promo material disguised as review. If you have a relationship to the author or press, we will want to know what that relationship is prior to considering the review.
Our focus is on publishers and authors who don't get much attention from mainstream media. Since there are many of those and we like to (at least) mention as many as possible, review lengths are important and specific to genre:
Poetry Chapbooks (52 pages or less): maximum 350 words
Full-length Poetry or Short Fiction Collections: maximum 600 words
Novels, Nonfiction: maximum 800 words max
Title information must be included with submission along with the following: author name, publisher, publication date, ISBN, price, page count. If it doesn't have an ISBN, we won't review it or publish the review.
No restriction on subject of review, however, we may request a review copy to examine print quality and the copyright date needs to be within the previous calendar year.
Reviews get placed in the next available issue and we usually do not have enough to backlog them. Deadlines to submit unsolicited reviews: Spring: February 1, Summer: May 1, Fall: August 1, Winter: November 1.
TO GET A BOOK REVIEWED * * * (New) * * *
We used to ask for hard copies of the books, however, moving forward, we would prefer that publishers who would like to have their books reviewed supply them in PDF galley format and email them to our primary address: editor@MainStreetRag.com.
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EMAIL YOUR IDEA FIRST. Let us know who you have in mind and we'll let you know if we share your interest. Not limited to poets and writers as long as they have a literary connection (new book, new screen play, new project...)
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The ideal way to submit images for publication in our magazine is to send us a link to your personal website where we can go to view a variety of your work. We keep those addresses page marked and revisit them as we plan issues. We also send authors of books to these locations in search of cover art for their books.
We will consider images by email, BUT the artist should contact us before sending any images--otherwise our filters may not let attachments through. Images submitted by email should be low-resolution for viewing only. If we see something we like, we'll contact you for specific size and resolution needs.
Our preference when it comes to artwork is eclectic. For Paintings: We don't usually use landscapes and prefer bright colors--abstracts--for the cover of our magazine, but we produce 30-50 times more books than we do magazines every year and are always looking for artwork for those. If you have a website, your best bet is to email us a link. For Photographs: We prefer pictures of people doing what they do: working or playing, living, interacting. We do not publish much in the way of cartoons and/or b&w art, but we will consider it.
Pays one contributors copy per appearance for internal art unless the artist is featured in which case we will pay five copies. Cover art contributors receive five copies AND $50. Book covers are negotiable.
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*** PUBLISHING AGREEMENT ***
The Main Street Rag requires a signed PUBLISHING AGREEMENT before final acceptance of any work to verify originality, that it has not been previously published or simultaneously submitted. This can be done via written notification or by stipulating to the terms of the agreement via email (i.e., "Yes, I agree to the ...") AFTER notification of acceptance.
Only interested in First North American Rights and we are not interested in reprinting anything that has already appeared on the internet. Again, that comes under the heading of Previously Published.
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The MSR News-e
In December 2001, Main Street Rag began circulating a monthly electronic newsletter. Among other things, our goal with this service is to provide subscribers with a monthly reminder of events, deadlines, contests, and magazines that are actively seeking manuscripts. If you would like to learn more about this service, just click.
BACK ALLEY / BOOKSTORE / CONTESTS / EDITOR'S COMMENTS / EVENTS / SUBMISSIONS