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.



Sky Island Journal is an independent, international, free-access literary journal. Our mission is to provide readers around the world with a powerful, focused, advertising-free literary experience that transports them: one that challenges them intellectually and moves them emotionally. 

How Many Readers Do you have?

We currently have over 50,000 readers in 145 countries. 

What do you publish? 

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 We only publish previously unpublished work, written primarily in English. 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.


Do you have a print component?

No. We are an online journal, exclusively.


Do I need a subscription to read this journal?

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


Why does each contributor's work open as a protected Word document?

As much as we love social media, we've elected to leave the "scroll-through experience" and pop-up ads to other literary platforms. Our readers demand and deserve a more mindful approach. Each piece of writing that we publish opens as a protected Word 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

  • Personal Essay (Any Subject)

  • Sports Writing

  • Travel/Adventure Writing

  • Conservation/Environmental Writing

  • Hunting/Angling Narratives

  • Farming/Ranching Narratives

  • Urban Dwelling/Urban Flight Narratives

  • Immigration/Migration/Refugee Narratives

  • Deployment/Homecoming Narratives (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 every submission with care. There are no grad school screeners, no literati taste makers, and no “slush piles” here. It is an honor, a privilege, and a pleasure to experience the world of words inside every submission. 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, individualized response from our team that details what we appreciated. We do all this in an average of 9 days. This is what every writer deserves. This is what you deserve.


Do you accept simultaneous submissions?

Yes. We accept and encourage simultaneous submissions.

Sky Island Journal 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 us, 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 as soon as we do; so you can begin that search as soon as possible.

If any of your submitted poems, flash fiction pieces, or creative nonfiction pieces are accepted elsewhere, please email us immediately. In that email, please clarify which of your works, if any, we may still consider for publication. All submissions are nonrefundable. 


What is your response time?

Our average response time is 9 days. This means that half of our responses occur in fewer than 9 days, and half of our responses may take up to 18 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?

Acceptance rates vary from issue to issue. Our average acceptance rate is 4%.


When can I submit?

We publish quarterly, and we accept submissions year-round. You can submit as many times as you like, as often as you 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 10 (Fall 2019), and we will be accepting submissions for that issue until midnight (CST) on September 30th.


How do I submit?

  • Sky Island Journal only accepts submissions via Submittable, our online submissions manager. You can submit 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 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 advertising and subscription fees. So, that is what we deliver. We believe that every writer's work deserves several cycles of deep-reading and real-time discussion. So, that is what we deliver. We believe every writer deserves and a prompt, respectful, individualized response detailing what we appreciate about his or her work (regardless of whether we accept or decline it). So, that is what we deliver. We also believe that writers who submit their work should not have to wait longer than an average of 9 days for a response. So, that is what we deliver.

We are not affiliated with any university, foundation, or corporation. We are not grant-funded. We do not indulge in crowd-funding. We neither solicit nor accept “donations” or “tips.” We do not sell subscriptions because we believe that readers all around the world should have free-access to high quality literature. We do not have advertising revenue because we refuse to cheapen the literary experience of our readers by subjecting them to ads. We do not hold profit-generating pie-in-the-sky contests. We do not sell contributor email lists. We do not sell reader data. We cannot sell print copies because we do not have a print component.

What does all this mean?

It means that we are truly independent; we are not beholden to anyone. It also means that we are a single-revenue source journal. Our $3.99 submission fee is literally the only thing that keeps us operational. It allows us to deliver. And Sky Island Journal delivers in ways that few literary journals can.

  • A single $3.99 submission fee via our secure Submittable page, HERE, covers one of the following:

    • 3-4 poems (in a single document)

    • 1-2 flash fiction pieces under 1,000 words each (in a single document)

    • 1-2 creative nonfiction pieces under 1,000 words each (in a single document)


Do you pay?

No. We wish we could, but as a young, independent, single-revenue-source journal, we simply cannot. Please read the section above. Sky Island Journal is a labor of love, but it is also loved in return; our first 9 issues have been enjoyed by over 50,000 readers in 145 countries. If we accept your work for publication, we hope that you will accept international exposure in a high quality journal as payment enough. In addition, we work tirelessly to celebrate and promote our contributors on our website and 3 social media platforms long after we publish them. Contributors become family, and we fiercely dedicate ourselves to their continued success.


What about cover letters and bios?

We don't want them.

We receive 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.

If your Submittable account automatically populates our form with either a cover letter or a bio, be sure to delete it before sending. Any submission that includes either a cover letter or a bio will be declined. All submissions are nonrefundable.


What about rights?

Sky Island Journal acquires First North American Serial Rights and First Electronic Rights for all work that it accepts for publication. Upon publication, all rights immediately revert back to the author. After publication, contributors have the right to request the removal of their work at any time, for any reason, and that request will always be granted. We ask that any future publications of work that we publish recognize Sky Island Journal as the original publisher.


Do you nominate for awards?

Yes. We nominate for Best of the Net every August, and we nominate for the Pushcart Prize every November.


What is your privacy policy? 

Privacy is power. It is a human right. We do not buy, sell, trade, or share anybody's personal information—ever.


How can i contact you?

You may contact us at skyislandjournal@gmail.com .