when and where were you established?

Sky Island Journal was established in 2017. Our publication's birthplace and spiritual home is Luna County, New Mexico. The Florida Mountains Wilderness Study Area is our muse; its landscape is the source of our positive energy, our rugged independence, and our relentless tenacity.



It is our mission to provide our readers with a powerful, focused, advertising-free literary experience that transports them: one that challenges them intellectually and moves them emotionally. 


What do you publish? 

 Sky Island Journal is an independent, free-access, online literary journal with an international reach; we are dedicated to discovering and publishing the finest original poetry, flash fiction (under 1,000 words), and creative nonfiction (under 1,000 words). We only publish work written primarily in English, and we only publish previously unpublished work. If you have a question about what constitutes previous publication, please contact us via email before submitting.


Who do you publish?

We publish accomplished, established authors—side by side—with fresh, emerging voices. You must be at least 18 years of age to submit.


When do you publish?

We publish quarterly, and we accept submissions year-round.

Issue 3 will be released on January 20th, and we are currently accepting submissions for Issue 4 (Spring 2018).


Do you have a print component?

No. We are an online journal, exclusively.


Do I need a subscription?

No. We are 100% free-access. Anyone can read everything we publish without a subscription.


Why does each contributor's work open as a read-only Word document?

As much as we love social media, we've elected to leave the "scroll-through experience" to other literary platforms. Our readers demand and deserve a more mindful approach. Each piece of writing that we publish opens as a read-only document for an authentic, focused, and immersive experience that encourages a close, intimate, distraction-free reading of the work. We want your experience with each contributor's work to be singular: just as it would be on the printed page, with crisp white paper between your collective fingertips. We understand this is a radical departure from how most literary journals present writing to their readers online, but we think it's a refreshing change for the better. It's okay to slow down. Savor the worlds that our contributors have created for you.


What do you mean by “creative nonfiction?”

Simply put, creative nonfiction is the truth, told well.

Creative nonfiction employs literary devices, techniques, and elements of style more commonly associated with fiction to create a factually accurate nonfiction narrative that reads in a vivid and compelling way. The following are examples of writing that fit comfortably under the creative nonfiction umbrella: 

  • Biography/Autobiography
  • Memoir/Diary
  • Literary Journalism (Any Subject)
  • Personal Essay (Any Subject)
  • Sports Writing
  • Travel/Adventure Writing
  • Conservation/Environmental Writing
  • Hunting/Angling Stories
  • Farming/Ranching Stories
  • Urban Dwelling/Urban Flight Stories
  • Immigration/Migration/Refugee Stories
  • Deployment/Homecoming Stories (Military Veterans and Private Contractors) 
  • Spiritual Awakening/Philosophical Enlightenment Narratives
  • Science/Art Focused Narratives
  • Cultural Focus/Independent Lens Narratives 


What do you mean by flash fiction?

We define flash fiction as a short story told in fewer than 1,000 words. We welcome, and enjoy, all genres of flash fiction. 


Why do you only publish flash fiction and creative nonfiction “under 1,000 words?”

Sky Island Journal is dedicated to the succinct, elegant craft of concision. We believe that big ideas can live well in small spaces, and we know that many of you do too.


Do you have any RESTRICTIONS regarding poetry?

No.  We welcome, and enjoy, all poetry.


What are you looking for? What aren’t you looking for?

We don’t want to limit our readers; therefore, we don’t want to limit you. We know quality work when we experience it. We don’t mean to be coy, but you need to know that we’re not interested in making your art conform to some preconceived aesthetic. We’re neither presumptuous enough, nor pretentious enough, to proclaim what "won’t fit" before we even try it on. When it comes to what we publish (poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction), we encourage you to read our previous issues, and simply send us your best work; we’ll take it from there.


How do you handle submissions?

We handle submissions with care. We consider it a privilege to experience the world of words inside every submission, and, as a result, every submission undergoes several deep cycles of reading and real-time discussion. Every submission--regardless of whether we accept or decline it--receives a prompt, respectful, and individualized response from our team that details what we appreciated. This is what every writer deserves.


Do you accept simultaneous submissions?

Yes. We accept and encourage simultaneous submissions.

Sky Island was born in the American southwest. It’s a gunslinger; it has a quick draw and a true aim. We know quality work when we experience it, and if it happens to be yours, we’ll tip our hats and let you know immediately—no games. We want to be the first publication to give your writing an international audience. Conversely, if your work isn’t a good fit with Sky Island, that doesn’t mean it won’t find a good home somewhere else. In fact, we hope it does, and we’ll let you know immediately so you can begin that search as soon as possible.

Flash fiction and creative nonfiction submissions must be withdrawn in Submittable—immediately—if they are accepted elsewhere. There is a different protocol for poetry. Since poems are submitted in groups of 3, in the event that individual poems are accepted elsewhere, please email us immediately. In that email, please clarify which of your 3 poems we may still consider for publication. All submissions are nonrefundable. 


What is your response time?

Our average response time is 7 days.

Writers have grown accustomed to waiting 3-6 months for publications to accept or decline their submissions. With us, those days are over. You are our priority.    


What is your acceptance rate?

Our acceptance rate is currently 5.5%.


When can I submit?

We publish quarterly, but we accept submissions year-round. You can submit as often as you’d like. There is no limit.

We are wolves. We're always on the hunt for new poetry, flash fiction, and creative nonfiction. We never rest. We’re relentless, and you should be too. We are currently reading for Issue 4 ( Spring 2018) and will be accepting submissions for that issue through midnight on March 31st CST (5:00 am on April 1st UTC/GMT).


How do I submit?

  • You may submit your work to Sky Island Journal, via Submittable (our online submissions manager), by clicking HERE.

  • If you don’t already have a Submittable account, you’ll need to create one. Don't worry; it's free, easy, and secure. After you click on the link above, simply "Create your account" to get started. 


Do you charge a submission fee?  Why?

Yes. Like many literary journals today, we charge a $3.00 submission fee, via Submittable.  Unlike many literary journals today, we are 100% free-access and 100% advertising-free. The former makes the latter possible.

We believe our readers deserve a focused and accessible literary experience—free from the incessant distraction of advertising and free from subscription fees; so, that is what we deliver. We also believe that every writer who submits his or her work deserves several cycles of deep reading, careful consideration, and a prompt, respectful, individualized response detailing what we appreciate about that work, regardless of whether we accept or decline it; so, that is what we deliver. 

Since we are a free-access, independent literary journal that neither accepts advertising revenue, nor charges our readers a subscription fee, nor holds contests, nor sells print copies, this $3.00 submission fee is the only thing that allows us to stay operational.

  • A single $3.00 submission fee via our secure Submittable page, HERE, covers one of the following:
    • 3 poems (all in a single document)
    • 1 flash fiction piece (under 1,000 words)
    • 1 creative nonfiction piece (under 1,000 words)


Do you pay?

No. We wish we could, but as free-access, independent literary journal that neither accepts advertising revenue, nor charges our readers a subscription fee, nor holds contests, nor sells print copies, we simply cannot. Our staff is 100% volunteer. Sky Island Journal is a labor of love for us.

Issues 1 and 2 have been enjoyed by over 8,000 readers around the world. If we accept your work for publication, we hope that you will consider international exposure in a high quality journal as payment enough. In addition, we work tirelessly to celebrate and promote our contributors long after we publish them; contributors become family, and we dedicate ourselves to their continued success.


What about cover letters and bios?

We don't want them.

We solicit high quality work from writers with diverse backgrounds—from traditional academic settings, as well as the rural and urban, the domestic and international. Sky Island Journal accomplishes this by not allowing writers to include cover letters or bios with their submissions. We respect your writing enough to experience it on its own merits. This guideline creates a refreshing challenge for well-established professionals who have been favored by literary journals in the past because of their credentials, while simultaneously encouraging emerging voices: writers, young and old, who would normally be rejected out-of-hand by many literary journals because of their lack of pedigree. If we accept your work, we’ll be anxious to get to know who you are. We do not, however, want that information influencing our decisions beforehand. If your writing finds a home with us, we’ll solicit a full bio and author photo to be featured alongside your work.

Any submission that includes either a cover letter or a bio will be declined. 


What about rights?

Sky Island Journal acquires first North American serial rights for all work it accepts for publication. Upon publication, all rights immediately revert back to the author. We request that any future publications of the work recognize Sky Island Journal as the original publisher.


How can i contact you?

You may contact us at skyislandjournal@gmail.com .