The Coil Submission Guidelines

The Coil Submission Guidelines

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Submission Guidelines for The Coil

About The Coil

The Coil is a weekday literary magazine that features essays, book reviews, interviews, shelfies, columns, articles, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, artwork, historical writing, literary recipes, booklists, soundbites, and more. Helmed by indie press Alternating Current and named after the Tesla coil, this online journal always has something new and electric in the literary vein. We post Monday through Friday on the Medium platform, are a paying market, and have about 87,000 readers. We welcome diverse and underrepresented voices and are an LGBTQUIA+ safe-space. Follow us on Medium and on Twitter, and check back often. Hashtag us at #CoilMag.

What Is a Tesla Coil?

A Tesla coil is an electrical resonant transformer circuit designed by inventor Nikola Tesla in 1891. It is used to produce high-voltage, low-current, high-frequency alternating-current electricity. The Coil magazine is named after this seriously badass wizardry.

Image by kkiks__. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, with no changes made.

Reading Period

Submissions open: Nonfiction year-round; fiction & poetry varies
Selections made: Typically within 2 months
Publication: Typically within 6 months

Book Blog Tours

We are happy to be a home for your promotional or book-blog tour stops. If you want a promotional post for a set date, we suggest writing a guest column, booklist, media post, or essay pertaining to something about your book; or contributing a book excerpt, self-interview, photo interview, Questions That Really Matter, or giveaway; or having someone else conduct an interview or review and submit the material to us. Please email us at info [at] altcurrentpress [dot] com for inquiries.

Feature Submissions

Fiction is only accepted to The Coil through Alternating Current Press’ Luminaire Prose Award (JUL through OCT) and Open-Reading Period (FEB through MAY) for prose, with free submissions in MAY. [SUBMIT to the Luminaire Prose Award] [SUBMIT to the Fiction Open-Reading Period]

Poetry is only accepted to The Coil through Alternating Current Press’ Luminaire Poetry Award (NOV through FEB) and Open-Reading Period (MAR through MAY) for poetry, with free submissions in APR. [SUBMIT to the Luminaire Poetry Award] [SUBMIT to the Poetry Open-Reading Period]

Historical fiction, historical poetry, and historical hybrid are only accepted to The Coil through Alternating Current Press’ Charter Oak Award and Footnote submissions (year-round on a FEB through JAN cycle), with free submissions in FEB, MAR, and NOV. [SUBMIT to Footnote/Charter Oak Award]

DAGUERREOTYPED: Monthly Historical Photo Prompt Contest
Every month, we pick a historical photo, and we ask you to write something about it. The winner receives $30 and is published in a post the following month. To enter, follow the instructions on the contest post for the open contest. [SUBMIT]

We consider standalone excerpts from novels, memoirs, collections, and other books. This column is excellent for promotional purposes to coincide with a book’s release date, to drum up early exposure, or during the dates of a book blog tour. Excerpts are only considered for published books or books on preorder, and not from works-in-progress that have not yet found a publisher. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We look for well-written book reviews that are analytical or that draw comparisons to history or culture, especially in an essay style. We have a vast readership and will feature any style, genre, author, or publisher, large and small alike, if the review is of interest to our readership. We currently accept finished reviews only. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

This is our regular column of brief book reviews where the literary world can talk about what it’s reading. One single paragraph per book. This is an excellent way to talk about indie books that have been published or that are forthcoming. Each column contains multiple writers sharing a paragraph about their current favorite reads; you contribute one paragraph, not the entire column. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We look for well-written and topical essays, articles, and columns. We are really geared toward a literary scene and are seeking works that reflect that atmosphere. We love pieces that incorporate current events, culture, rural landscapes, diverse voices, books, booklists, science, holidays, personal experiences, craft, and history. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We look for well-written and topical personal essays, memoir, creative nonfiction, and hybrid essays on most any topic of general or literary interest. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We are always interested in running themed columns by guest editors. If you feel you have an interesting series idea that incorporates either your own work or the acquired work of others, please send us a pitch to info [at] altcurrentpress [dot] com. Pays $10 per author per column.

ON:CRAFT: Essays on the Craft of Writing
This is a series for people in the writing, editing, agenting, or publishing business to talk in-depth about their craft or process. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

ON:TOPIC: Essays on Topics of Expertise
This is a series of essays where authors can go into extensive detail on topics they know a great deal about. Are you an ‘expert’ at making wooden birdhouses, laying paneling in floor, getting clean drinking water to underprivileged countries, timber-felling, or knowing which trees belong in which tree families? Go into detail about a topic you know well, how to do it, what to look for, and why it’s important to you. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

THE COLLECTOR: Essays on Collections
This series highlights odd or fun collections of items that authors have hoarded through the years. Do you collect something weird? Stamps and baseball cards are fine, but we are mostly looking for collections that go a little outside the norm, just for the fun of it. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

ON THIS DAY: Essays of Literary or Historical Events
The On This Day series focuses on events in history that took place ‘on this day,’ with a bent toward literary, scientific, cultural, and historical events. We look for well-written, well-researched essays and articles that say something deeper than a Wikipedia version—something quirky, little-known, or personal about some person, place, idea, book, &c., that took place ‘on this day’ in history. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

THE HOLD-UP: Essays on How Books Have Held Up over Time
This series features columns about older books and how well they hold up over time, after a second look. Books should be at least a couple years old, but you decide your own topic and book. How does it fit in with today’s society? What changed, for better or worse? Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

THE LAST THING I LOVED: Essays on Favorite Things
We are seeking essays on the last thing you truly loved, something you felt so passionate about when you found out about it, heard it, tried it, tasted it, read it, saw it, revisited it, that you just had to tell everyone. Tell us that passion, and make us feel it. (We are not interested in passion toward your significant other.) Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

ALTERNATE HISTORIES: Stories/Essays on Alternat(iv)e Histories
History and science is our passion at The Coil. But what if something in history had been altered, changed for better or worse? We seek fun, interesting, sad, quirky, well-researched fiction on alternat(iv)e histories for any person, place, event, idea, or time period in history. Essays are also accepted, if you want to dabble in scholarly what-ifs. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

NAKED LUNCH MENU: Literary Recipes
We look for well-made (and taste-tested) food and drink recipes with a literary bent. They can be based on food from books, be based on what characters might eat or drink, have punny literary titles, or simply be a recipe accompanied by an essay. We are open about that, but it should pertain to literature in some facet. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We look for interesting and engaging interviews and conversations with literary figures, authors, editors, publishers, agents, heads of literary organizations, artists, people doing creative things in the world, &c. Especially interested in topical conversations (new books released, upcoming speaking engagement, film adaptation, something pertaining to holidays/events). Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We accept self-interviews from authors who have at least one published book. A self-interview is where you ask yourself the questions that you want people to know, and answer them yourself. Humorous, odd, quirky, intimate, and/or getting deeply personal with previously unknown parts of your life works the best. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We accept photo-interviews from authors who have at least one published book. A photo-interview is one in which you provide photos pertaining to something about yourself, a book, inspiration for writing, a set topic, or some other united subject. Photos should have some meaning on a particular subject, and should be your own photos, or photos you have permission to use. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

THE QUESTIONS THAT REALLY MATTER: Interview Series with Set Questions
This is a series of fun and engaging set-questions for authors. This series is for authors only, and you must have at least one published book. To participate, download the questions here. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We accept shelfies from authors who have at least one published book. Shelfies are where you take pictures of your bookshelves and talk about them. The shelfie can be in-depth or surface level, but we love to see what authors read and how they organize their books. Tell us what’s important to you about your books, and share as many photos as you’d like. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

THE BEAM: Author, Book, & Lit Organization Spotlights
This column is for exposure and spotlights on authors and literary endeavors, in the vein of an in-depth profile. It’s a good outlet for book-blog tours that just want to spotlight a book, or for someone to spotlight his or her own project, local literary places or projects, or neat organizations doing good things for the literary world. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

We consider artist profiles that talk about the artists, their craft, their style, and show a sampling of their work in a visual presentation. We accept comics, graphics, illustrations, and artwork portfolio essays with a universal appeal. Material should be enough to fill a full post; we aren’t as inclined to take one single picture as we are to take several panels and pieces to make a meatier showcase post. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]

THE FREQUENCY: Soundbites, Videos, MP3s, Readings
This column focuses on multimedia literary posts with soundbites, videos, MP3s, audio book excerpts, book trailers, readings, podcasts, &c. We prefer items that are hosted externally with links (such as hosted on YouTube or SoundCloud or Vimeo), but otherwise, you can upload your files individually if they don’t have hosted links, and we’ll host them on our networks. Pays $10. [SUBMIT]