Submission Guidelines - Summer 2019

All submissions must begin with one first line from
Volume 6, Issue 1 to Volume 10, Issue 4:

Vol. 6, Iss. 1: There were five of them, which was two more than I'd been expecting.
Vol. 6, Iss. 2: "Why are you always so cynical?"
Vol. 6, Iss. 3: I was born Rosa Carlotta Silvana Grisanti, but in the mid-Eighties, I legally changed my name to Eve.
Vol. 6, Iss. 4: The inside was dark.
Vol. 7, Iss. 1: Life would be so much easier if I were a cartoon character.
Vol. 7, Iss. 2: As the warrior guided [his/her] horse back home, [he/she] pondered what the future might hold.
Vol. 7, Iss. 3: Having little to his name when he died, the reading of Henry Fromm's will went quickly.
Vol. 7, Iss. 4: "That was the best game we've ever had!"
Vol. 8, Iss. 1: Mamma has always had a love for other people's possessions.
Vol. 8, Iss. 2: Tessa sent up a hasty prayer for forgiveness as she slipped on the dress Mamma had bought her in exchange for a promise not to marry Al.
Vol. 8, Iss. 3: When my brother, Andrew, went away to college, he left me his fishing pole, a well-read copy of The Wind in the Willows, and a stack of Playboys.
Vol. 8, Iss. 4: It was her silent affirmations that kept her from going completely insane.
Vol. 9, Iss. 4: After nine years of marriage, Mary knew that the holidays were not a good time to ask her husband for a favor.
Vol. 9, Iss. 3: Calvin once complained that there were not enough _______ [fill in the blank] in the world.
Vol. 9, Iss. 2: My first impression of Phillip was that he was blessed with ignorance.
Vol. 9, Iss. 1: In Pigwell, time is not measured in days or weeks but by the number of eighteen wheelers that drive past my house.
Vol. 10, Iss. 4: While not the intended effect, the outcome was surprisingly satisfying.
Vol. 10, Iss. 3: Roy owned the only drive-thru funeral business in Maine.
Vol. 10, Iss. 2: Nick had considered himself a lucky guy, until now.
Vol. 10, Iss. 1: Sometimes the name they give you is all wrong

A few notes:

  1. Don't just resubmit a story we've already rejected. We will know. We have every story submitted to us on file and why we rejected it.
  2. Also, we understand that writers may add our first line to a story they are currently working on or have already completed, and that's cool. But please do not add our first line to a previously published story and submit it to us. We do not accept previously published stories, even if they have been repurposed for our first lines.
  3. However, if you used one of our past first lines for a story that was published in another journal or magazine, write and tell us about it.

Fiction: All stories must be written with the first line provided. The line cannot be altered in any way, unless otherwise noted by the editors. The story should be between 300 and 5,000 words (this is more like a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule; going over or under the word count won't get your story tossed from the slush pile).

Poetry: All poems must be written with the first line provided. The sentence can be broken across lines, but the punctuation cannot be altered or dropped. Poem length is up to the poet.

All Submissions: Writers should include a two- to three-sentence biography of themselves that will appear in the magazine should their story run.

Multiple Submissions: We don't mind if you want to submit multiple stories or poems for the same issue.

Submissions: We prefer you send manuscripts via e-mail to submission (@) thefirstline (dot) com. We accept stories in MS Word or Word Perfect format (we prefer attachments). Please do not send pdf versions of your story or links to Google docs. Make sure you tell us what issue you are submitting to in the email Subject Line. Make sure your name and contact information, as well as your bio, are part of the attachment. Stories also can be sent to The First Line's post office box. No manuscripts will be returned without an accompanying SASE with sufficient return postage.

Notification: We don't make decisions about stories until after each issue closes. We typically send notices out within three to four weeks after the issue's deadline to everyone who submitted a story. You can also check the home page of the Web site as we will indicate each issue's production status there.

Payment: We pay on publication: $25.00 - $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 - $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction (all U.S. dollars). We also send you a copy of the issue in which your piece appears. You'll receive your money and issue at the same time.

Note to our international writers: Postage cost for sending author copies overseas is becoming outrageous, so we are reducing international author payment by the amount it would cost to send one author copy overseas. However, if you would like to receive an electronic version of the issue (PDF) instead of a hard copy, author payment will not change.

Copyright 2019 Blue Cubicle Press, LLC