This is the submission portal for Orca, A Literary Journal, and our book publishing arm, 55 Fathoms Publishing. 

Our upcoming publication schedule: June, speculative issue (deadline April 30); October, literary issue (deadline August 15); February 2024, literary issue deadline December 15). Submissions are open year-round. See the Literary issue guidelines here, and the Lit-Spec guidelines here

Orca publishes short stories, flash fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. We are a literary journal and we believe in the literary style of writing. We are open to almost any topic, as long as it’s written in a literary style. We are committed to diversity of origins and perspectives on our pages. But the main criterion by which we judge submissions is the quality of the writing. We seek work that is high concept: imaginative, thoughtful, even  speculative, and open to possibilities. We look for adult themes  featuring deep, diverse characters, and narratives that are nuanced and complex.

Orca offers 100 free submissions each month in addition to the $3 standard fee. If the fee-free submission forms do not appear, it means the 100 free submissions have been used for that month, and the free portals will reopen at the start of the next month. 

We currently pay $50 for published short stories and $25 for flash fiction and poetry. You can also get editorial feedback for $12 (basic) or $29 (in-depth). The feedback fee also gets you a PDF copy of our latest issue. For full manuscript editing and consultation visit our website.

$3.00

This is our fee submission portal for literary fiction, speculative fiction, and nonfiction. 

If our free portal for the month has already closed due to volume, and the reading fee is a hindrance for you in any way, please email us at orcaliterary@gmail.com and we will be happy to make an exception.

All of our submissions are considered equally. So why pay a fee when you don’t have to? You’re making it possible for someone without financial means to submit. Submittable is not free to use, and even with the annual subscription fee we pay, we can only accept a limited number of no-fee submissions. By submitting to this category you’re supporting another writer, as well as the journal. We appreciate your donation.

You may submit once in each area of the category: literary short story; literary flash fiction; speculative short story; speculative flash fiction; literary nonfiction. Use a separate submission for each. Identify the category of your submission using the labels below. (Submittable limits how many portals we can have open, which is why these are combined.)

Unpublished prose only: Up to 3 flash fictions of less than 1000 words each in one document, or 1 short story up to 8000 words, or a nonfiction of 2000 to 8000 words. Please use a readable serif font in 12 points. A word count is appreciated.

Previously published submissions: We accept submissions of work that have been published at least two years prior to the date of submission. Please tell us in your cover letter where and when, and that the publishing rights returned to you after its first appearance. We can only reprint one or two stories per issue, so send us your absolute best.

Our current publication schedule: June, speculative issue; October, literary issue; February 2024, literary issue. Submissions will remain open year-round.  Full guidelines here.

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$3.00

This is our fee submissions category for poetry. 

If our free portal for the month has already closed due to volume, and the reading fee is a hindrance for you in any way, please email us at orcaliterary@gmail.com and we will be happy to make an exception. 

All of our submissions are considered equally. So why pay a fee when you don’t have to? You’re making it possible for someone without financial means to submit. Submittable is not free to use, and even with the annual subscription fee we pay, we can only accept a limited number of no-fee submissions. By submitting to this category you’re supporting another writer, as well as the journal. We appreciate your donation.

We accept submissions of up to three poems in a single document, with a maximum total word count of 1000. Poems will be considered for our next literary issue. 

Here’s what our poetry staff says they would like to see: At Orca, we’re looking for poetry of the imagination. Poetry that excites the unsaid; that breathes life into those inner-workings one can only realize in either poetic form or the breaking of it. Give us your best. Anything with words is fair game, as long as the words say something only they could say. Full guidelines here

Previously published submissions: We accept submissions of work that have been published at least two years prior to the date of submission. Please tell us in your cover letter where and when, and that the publishing rights returned to you after its first appearance. We can only reprint one or two poems per issue, so send us your absolute best.

Our current publication schedule: June, speculative issue (no poetry); October, literary issue; February 2024, literary issue. Submissions are open year-round. 

55 Fathoms Publishing is the book publishing partner to Orca, A Literary Journal. We are open for queries for both fiction and nonfiction works from July 1 through September 30. 

We are looking for submissions of book length works (40,000 to 120,000  words). Unpublished novels and nonfiction works only. Sorry, we have closed to story collections. Also no children’s, young adult, or poetry. We are only interested in those books written in the literary style; mainstream or genre works are not a good match for us.

IMPORTANT: Please respect and follow the guidelines as to what you should submit. If you attach your full manuscript, your submission will be rejected.

Fiction: We are particularly interested in books that are high-concept literary, as well as those that exist on the boundary between literary and speculative—books of profound imagination and exquisite writing. In your submission please include, in a single document: a query letter and the first 10 pages of your book. 

Nonfiction: Topics of interest include current social and political events, science, nature, environment, history, mathematics, and true crime. A collection of essays is also welcome. We will also consider memoir, but your story needs to be much more interesting than a family history. Send a query letter, a table of contents, and the first 10 pages in a single document. 

Please see the submission guidelines for more detailed information. Also please do not submit work intended for Orca Literary Journal through this portal. It will be deleted unread.

Orca, A Literary Journal