Submission Guidelines


Normal friends, we are now ONLY accepting online submissions for both our Print and TNS Online Magazines.

Due to operational costs, we must charge a $3.00 fee for each online submission, and we strongly encourage you to read the submission guidelines on this page before sending your work our way. A $12 subscription gets you access to everything we’ve ever published in a digital format, so familiarizing yourself with The Normal School is easier than ever. Of course, you can also peruse TNS Online Magazine at for free and read both new and reprinted archival material from our pages.

Try us. Trust us. We’re Normal.


We consider memoir, personal essays, and creative nonfiction with contemporary styles and an attention to language, form, and consciousness. We are particularly interested in essays that challenge established norms for the genre or that don’t seem to fit in easy categories of classification. We also like some more traditional sorts of essays and reportage. Submissions over 10,000 words are discouraged.


We consider literary short fiction with contemporary themes and styles. We tend to prefer character-driven work and pieces that explore marginalized voices. Submissions over 7,000 words are strongly discouraged.


We consider poetry of any style. Please limit poetry submissions to no more than five poems. Please limit the number of cat poems (unless, of course, they are really, really good cat poems).


The Normal School’s Online magazine publishes reprinted archival material from our print back issues, select pieces from our current print issue, and original content you can only find online.

TNSOL is particularly interested in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry that is under 2000 words, topical, current, and compelling. We are also focused on publishing writing by diverse and traditionally under-represented voices and perspectives; and we are interested in content that challenges the status quo.

For our “Multimedia” submissions, TNSOL is seeking submissions of comics, graphic fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, photo and video essays, spoken word pieces, and audio prose and poetry–the kind of multi-media writing and art we can’t easily publish in our print magazine.

Have a Multimedia Submission? Click here to submit:



Manuscripts for the print magazine are read from September 1 to December 1 and from January 15 to April 15. Unsolicited manuscripts received outside of the designated reading periods will be printed out, sculpted into a political effigy, and burned ceremoniously in front of an unruly mob.

Please address your submissions to the appropriate editor (i.e. Nonfiction Editor, Fiction Editor, Online Editors, etc.). Please do not include pictures of yourself unless it is an extraordinarily funny picture of you wearing ridiculous glasses or unnecessarily tight pants with a large gravy stain.

Submissions under a pseudonym are strongly discouraged; but if you must do so, we expect that you will inform the editors and explain your reasons for this choice in your cover letter.

Ready to submit? Here’s that link: Submit to The Normal School.


  • All manuscripts must be double-spaced for fiction and nonfiction. Poetry may be single-spaced.
  • All manuscripts should be formatted in a readable (12 point) font, with at least 1 inch margins.
  • Please include a brief cover letter. Remind us if we know you.
  • Be sure your full name and address appear on the manuscript.
  • Every submission must also include an email address for response.
  • We do not accept email submissions. Please do not contact our editors regarding a submission via their personal email addresses or social media.
  • We consider only previously unpublished work.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted; writers must notify The Normal School immediately if the work is accepted elsewhere.

Ready to submit? Click away: Submit to The Normal School