Published quarterly, with 12 to 15 authors typically appearing in each issue, we are interested in submissions in the form of short stories or editorial. We also publish poems but there is typically no more than three per issue so space is usually quite limited.

  • Fiction and non-fiction contributions range from around 1500 words to an upper limit of 3000 words.
  • Poems may be of any length, though short poems are preferred, and longer poems must justify their length as conciseness is a value in any poem.
  • We are open to receiving submissions from anywhere and have published outstanding submissions from around the world.
  • In putting together an issue we look for balance: of gender, of topics covered, of styles, and so on. However, our emphasis is on work that is of a high literary standard, and that shows originality of thought, and some understanding of how to communicate with a wide audience. Next, we prefer work that is challenging to standard ideas in some way, work that is gritty or textured or earthy or vibrant or colourful, and also work that is not top-heavy in tone or sentiment or intensity. We prefer work that shows awareness of wit and humor and some sense of sophistication. We want work that is ambitious but does not overreach itself. Above all, we want writing that is meaningful and that has emotional power.
  • Each issue features original writing by around 16 different authors, as well as original illustrations by around nine or ten artists, cartoonists, photographers and graphic designers.

Submissions to the Cafe Reader must be previously unpublished in any format. Copyrights are retained by the author. However, the author agrees that Phantom Billstickers has the right to use the piece in both the Cafe Reader hardcopy and digital formats (currently available for online viewing here) for both domestic and international distribution.

By submitting, the author agrees that the piece published in the Cafe Reader will not be published in any other format between the publication date of the issue where it appears and the publication date of the next quarterly issue of the Cafe Reader. We do not guarantee which issue any piece will appear in. When a piece is scheduled to appear a layout will be provided to the author for review and approval prior to publication.

Submissions must be provided in an editable WORD document submitted via email to [email protected]

The author should provide some background information about themselves in conjunction with the submission. Labeling the file with the author’s name is appreciated.