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Better Than Starbucks Submission Guidelines

Submissions are currently closed.

November 2022 will be our 47th issue as Better Than Starbucks Poetry & Fiction Journal. After this issue is published the journal will be on hiatus. Better Than Starbucks Publications will continue to operate.

If you have an outstanding submission to us you can withdraw it or leave it open until you hear from us in 2023. We will eventually respond to every submission as always. You are also welcome to query, but please do not ask about future publishing plans for the journal as these are currently undecided.

To all of you who have contributed to the journal, we thank you. You are the creative force behind this (and any) journal.

— Vera Ignatowitsch

How to submit:

All submissions via email


All submissions should be copied into the body of your email. We do not open attachments.

Send up to four poems or one piece of fiction or creative nonfiction.

If you are sending short forms such as haiku, limericks, micro poetry or micro fiction send up to six.

Send short stories or creative nonfiction of up to 5000 words, flash fiction of up to 1000 words, and micro fiction of up to 100 words.

Art submitted to be considered for a print cover should be a high resolution image.


You may submit in more than one category at once but please do not submit more often than once every four months per category.


We accept previously published work.


We accept simultaneous submissions.


Please include a short third person bio with your submission.

Please do read the 'important details.'

Use your email’s subject line to direct your work to the appropriate editors:


Please remember to put the genre to which you are submitting in the email subject line. This is necessary to ensure that your submission gets forwarded to the right editor. Choose from the following genres:


Free Verse


Formal Poetry

Poetry Translations**

Poetry for Children

Experimental Poetry***

Form Poetry

Prose Poetry

African Poetry****

International Poetry*****


Flash Fiction

Micro Fiction

Creative Nonfiction


* Please do not send haiku with titles, unless you are conveying information and would be happy to have your haiku published without titles.

** 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.


*** 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 cannot be reproduced with regular font in print, then we will require a high-resolution image (min 300 dpi.)


**** We define African poetry as being written by an African, rather than poetry written about Africa by a visitor.


***** 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 work that doesn't seem to fit into any of our categories, put General Poetry Submission in the subject line.


If you are submitting a cover image for out print edition, put Image Submission in the subject line.

Payment and Fees:

We do not charge any reading or submission fees and never will.

We are all volunteers, without any outside funding, and therefore are not able to pay for most poetry or fiction. Our staff donate their time, and when funding permits, contributors are paid first.

Contributors do receive their choice of a free PDF or eBook version of our print issue.


Authors of twelve Features (which may be picked from any category) each receive an honorarium of $20.

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


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

If you submit work which has been previously published, make sure you have the rights to it. Most publications do not keep the rights. Also be sure to let us know where it was previously published so we can assign proper credit. If you self-published it or posted it to an open group, we do not consider that published, so no mention need be made.

Important Details:


We accept simultaneous submissions, however, by submitting your work to us you are granting us the right to select it for publication. If you have not withdrawn your submission before we have selected it, 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.


Along with your work please send your full name and return address, as well as the name you would like the work published under, if different.

We do not accept submissions from anyone other than the author. By submitting to us, you are offering us the right to publish your poem or story.


We ask that you include a short third person bio with your submission — 30-word length preferred (max 40.) If you do not include one, and some 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 the length of a bio affects layout.


When you submit, you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt. If you do not receive the acknowledgement, then we did not receive your submission. Please check the email address and try again.


We will notify you if your submission is either accepted or declined. Response time is currently up to 90 days. If you have not heard back after 90 days, it is likely that your work has been long listed and held over for another round of reading. Please feel free to query after 90 days. When we publish, we send a notification of publication to each contributor.


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. These 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.

What to Submit?


The best advice is to read issues of our journal. There are 40 issues available online. The range of what we publish is broad.


We do not publish epic poems, or poems written in archaic language.


We prefer shorter poems, of up to 50 lines, although we do publish longer poems occasionally.


We do not publish political poems; no partisan rhetoric of any sort. We generally do not like poems which preach or pontificate.


We like poems which illustrate some aspect of the human condition and which elicit a personal response or connection from the reader.


If your poem or story employs irony or humor, please send it.


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.


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.


Everything which appears online is in our print issues as well.

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.

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

In Summary:


It is always free to submit.

We do not charge fees for contest submissions.

Featured writers are paid upon publication.

Previously published work is always welcome.

Send us your best writing.

All income we receive is from donations 

and print book sales.

Order your copy of one or more issues today!

47 issues are available to read for free online. Visit the Archives page and browse past issues in your genre to get an idea of what we publish.

Better Than Starbucks is also listed

in Poets & Writers,

on The Review Review,

and at TheHyperTexts.

To our contributors: You are our treasure, the reason Better Than Starbucks exists and is able to offer so much great poetry and fiction. 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. — Vera Ignatowitsch, Editor-in-Chief

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