Seeking Writers & Editors for Literary Journal

by Suzannah Windsor Freeman

Woman with typewriter

Today’s article is written by Suzannah Windsor Freeman, founding editor.

I have some exciting news to share with you today, about something I’ve been working on for quite a while.

Over the past year, Write It Sideways has evolved from a personal blog to a group blog, and now includes a team of experienced writers. A further plan for expansion includes establishing a digital literary journal, which will be connected to Write It Sideways, but which will also stand on its own.

After consultation with a group of trusted writers-friends, the title is:

Compose: A Journal of Simply Good Writing

The plan is to publish a new digital issue biannually. In the coming months, a separate website will be available at, and I intend to bring on a team of editors to help make the journal the best it can be.

Regular features will include:

• short fiction
• poetry
• creative nonfiction
• articles and essays about writing
• interviews with authors and literary agents

(Keep reading to learn how you can be part of the journal, either by submitting a piece of your writing, or by expressing your interest in an editorial position.)

Several published authors plan to contribute to the inaugural issue.

I don’t want to name names until all the pieces are confirmed, but I can say that this group includes an author who has written close to 20 novels, one of which was made into a well-known film; a writing instructor and author of several books about writing; the author of a recently released writing book you’ve probably heard about; a very popular debut author and blogger; and a soon-to-be published memoirist.

To give you an idea of the calibre of work I’m expecting, I can name one of the contributors. Author Jennie Nash is an instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and has published six (soon to be seven!) books. She’s contributing an interesting piece about beta-testing your novel with a book club.


There are thousands of literary journals out there. Why should you consider submitting your work to Compose?

  1. Write It Sideways gets 12,000 to 16,000 unique visitors, and around 30,000 hits per month. We also have a large newsletter list, and well over 5000 followers on social media. Most digital journals are fairly small in terms of their regular traffic, but right away, Compose has the advantage of a built-in audience.
  2. For emerging writers, this is a great opportunity to see your work alongside pieces written by established authors.
  3. A lot of lit journals start blogs, but I don’t know of any writing blogs that have started their own lit journals. (If you do, please let me know!)

Fiction and Poetry Submissions

If you’re interested in being part of this exciting project, please read the following information carefully.

Interviews, articles and creative nonfiction for the inaugural issue are being solicited through personal invitation, only.

However, you are invited to submit literary or mainstream writing in the following categories:

  • Poetry: preference given to shorter poems of about one page or less (submit up to 6 poems at once)
  • Fiction: flash to 5000 words
  • Reprints of Fiction/Poetry: will be considered if pieces do not appear anywhere online, but please tell me at the time of submission where and when the piece was first published

Although genres such as fantasy, sci-fi or horror may be invited for future themed issues, please submit literary/mainstream pieces only, this time around.

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please notify me immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. Only the best pieces submitted will be chosen for publication, so send only your most polished work.

Here’s how to submit:

  1. Write your very brief cover letter (contact details, title, word count, prior publications, etc.) directly in an email.
  2. Copy and paste your fiction or poetry submission directly into the email…
  3. AND attach a copy of your submission in .doc format. Ensure your name and details appear on the manuscript.
  4. In the email subject line, write “Compose—Fiction Submission” or “Compose—Poetry Submission”.
  5. Send submissions to suzannah [at] writeitsideways [dot] com. (Please note, this is a temporary submission address.)

The deadline for submissions is Nov. 30, 2012.

Editors: Expressions of Interest

Please note: All the editorial positions have been filled. 

Want to be considered for an editing position at Compose? Read on.

At the moment, I’m accepting expressions of interest. Once I’ve learned a little more about those who are interested, I’ll choose the top candidates for a more formal application process.

The team will include the following:

  • Managing editor, Suzannah Windsor Freeman
  • Fiction editor
  • Poetry editor
  • Creative nonfiction editor
  • Features editor (articles, interviews)
  • Proofreader

General Responsibilities


  • receive and respond to submissions
  • help choose the most interesting and accomplished pieces for each issue
  • edit pieces for clarity, length and layout
  • issue galleys
  • report to managing editor


  • proofread each compiled issue of the journal prior to its publication
  • report to managing editor with required edits

You must:

  • have experience in the area for which you are expressing interest, although there is no one definition of what experience entails
  • have reliable access to the Internet and email
  • have excellent communication skills and attention to detail
  • be committed to your position for at least one full year, beginning January 2013

All positions are volunteer, but may be paid in the future. Geographical location isn’t an issue; all responsibilities may be carried out online.

To express your interest, send an email to suzannah [at] writeitsideways [dot] com with the following information:

  • your name and contact details
  • the title of the position for which you are expressing interest
  • a bit of information about your writing and editing experience
  • a statement about why you’re interested in joining the team
  • links to your blog, social media accounts, digital portfolio or online work, if applicable
  • Please include the subject line, “Compose—[Position Title], Expressions of Interest”

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through this enormous (and possibly overwhelming) amount of information. I’m very excited to see this project’s successful launch.

Who knows where it might take us?

Head over to now, and enter your email to be notified when the journal becomes available.

(*Please note that all editorial positions are now filled, and we will begin accepting submissions again when our website is live!)

Download guidelines in PDF format, below:

Please help spread the good news on Twitter and Facebook!

  • Anne R. Allen

    This sounds like an exciting new magazine! Novel writers shouldn’t neglect the shorter form, so it’s great to have a new venue for short stories and poetry. So many literary magazines come from the print/old-school academic world. It’s great to see one springing from the vibrant world of the blogosphere. I’ll spread the word.

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Anne, thank you so much for helping spread the word! I agree that writers today are missing a golden opportunity if they don’t bother with short pieces.

  • Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.

    Congratulations on your upcoming journal. It’s an ambitious and worthy project.

    It’s my pleasure to help spread the word.

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Thanks, Flora!

  • Lauren @ Pure Text

    I have to say, I love the name, and the font used for the header. It’s simple and clean.

    Anyway, I’ve shared this link on my networks and even applied for a position!

    I wish you luck on this endeavor!

    If I don’t get the position, I’ll certainly submit in the future. :)

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Lauren, thank you so much for your interest! I love the name, too, but if you only knew how agonizing the decision was… Glad to be moving past names and on to implementation.

  • khaula mazhar

    Exciting! Would love to edit, proof read and submit here. Now I need to go buy some chocolate to bribe you with 😉

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      No chocolate necessary, Khaula…just plain good writing! Glad you’re excited about the journal.

  • Debra Eve

    What exciting news, Suzannah! I can’t think of a person better suited to do this than you. Looking forward to the first issue.

  • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

    Aww, thanks, Debra! I’m just glad to be putting this in place after wanting to do it for so long.

  • Stephanie Gonzaga

    Hi, Suzannah! Congratulations and I wish you and the team behind Compose all the best. Looking forward to the inaugural issue. :)

    I’d love to be able to contribute to the poetry section of the journal. Do you have guidelines or restrictions (e.g. location) other than what’s stated the Editorial Guidelines for Fiction/Poetry submissions?

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Many thanks, Stephanie! There are no restrictions on types of poetry or on the location of the submitter.

  • Melanie Thomassian

    Seconding what others are saying, Suzannah, really love the name, and know just how difficult that must have been to settle on. Very exciting news indeed. Wishing you all the best with that, too.

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Melanie, thank you so much for your kind thoughts. Naming the journal was about as difficult as naming my children, to be honest!

  • Christi Craig (@Christi_Craig)

    Very exciting, Suzannah! I’ll spread the word. I can’t wait to see the first issue!

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Thank you for letting others know, Christi! I appreciate that very much.

  • Cassie B.

    Wow! This is a super ambitious project, and I think it’s great that you make your dedication to it so clear. (Some people kind of just try to throw a literary journal out there; it’s nice to see you’ve already got your inaugural issue so well planned out.) I’ll post this at the absolute write forum. Lots of writers there always looking for a place to sub there work. Best of luck!

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Cassie, you’re so right about people just throwing together a lit mag and expecting it to go places. I’ve been very conscious about NOT doing that, which is why I wanted to privately solicit most of the work for the first issue.

      Thank you so much for offering to post this at the AW forum! I really hope writers there do submit and express interest in the editorial positions.

  • Julie Clark

    What an excellent idea, can’t wait to see more and watch the site grow! Much success to all involved!

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Thanks, Julie!

  • Melissa Kinnel

    So exciting!! Can’t wait until the first issue!

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Melissa, I’m super excited, too!

  • Krissy Cabeen

    Congrats, Suzannah! This is wonderful news. I can’t wait to see the first issue!

    • Suzannah Windsor Freeman

      Thanks, Krissy!

  • Laura

    I wonder if spanish speaking contributors are welcoming or not yet. I am a literature teacher but my proficiency of english language is not good enough to work in that language. Thanks in advance.

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