Q: What can I submit, and how much?
A: You can submit up to five separate items (Please limit word count to 5,000 words maximum) from any of the categories we accept-prose fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, criticism, journalism, or anything else with a strong creative makeup.
Q: Can I submit if I am not an ISU student?
A: No. That is, you must be an ISU student registered for at least one credit during the semester you submit. Additionally, all high-school students (whether dual-enrolled or not) can only submit to our high-school creative writing contest.
Q: When can I submit?
A: We accept submissions from September through February 14. Our deadline for the 2020 edition is February 14, 2020.
Q: When will I know if my submissions have been accepted?
A: Because we do not decide on material for the journal until late March, acceptance or rejection notices will be sent out beginning the first weeks in April.
Q: Do I get paid if my work is accepted?
A: Black Rock & Sage does not offer mere monetary remuneration; instead, publication in ISU’s only Journal of Creative Works offers you heights of prestige and honor otherwise unattainable by mortals. Plus, you’ll get a free copy of the journal. And maybe magic powers.
Q: How are the submissions judged? Are there content guidelines? Do you guys hate vampire stories?
A: Slow down, cowboy, that’s actually three questions. The submissions are judged by a panel of both graduate and undergraduate student editors. While our vision statement involves things like “quality” “originality” and “craft,” the specific criteria for each group of editors will vary, but the three foregoing points will always make a piece a strong contender. While there is no content officially outside our acceptance guidelines, we will reject stories which are plagiarized, highly derivative, or violent, pornographic, or simply unpleasant without any redeeming artistic qualities. Dracula was a vampire story of some acclaim, but so was Once Bitten with Nicholas Cage. Again, quality matters.
Q: How can I get a sense of what you are looking for?
A: Read past issues, which are available through this website or in the English Department’s main office.
Q: Is there some sort of club I can join, and why would I?
A: Good question. Yes, there is a club which forms every fall to help organize promotional events and work on ongoing projects. Most club members are either former or prospective class members, but you do not need to be in order to join. If you are interested, contact any one of the editors or the faculty advisor, listed on the About Us page.
Q: Other than the magazine, what else do you all do?
A: Haul sandwich boards around, bake potatoes, type things. Black Rock & Sage hosts a number of events throughout the year, including readings, writing contests, creative workshops, and miscellany. The magazine is also connected to a fully credited (3) class, which meets English elective credit criteria.
Q: How can I contribute outside of submissions?
A: You’re so sweet and generous. Attending any of the hosted events is a great way to help out, but the most important thing you can do is read the magazine.
Q: Where can I obtain copies of previous issues?
A: As mentioned earlier, you can request them through this site’s Back Issues page for a nominal fee, or stop by the English Department or the Black Rock & Sage Office 160 in the Kegel Liberal Arts Building.