The Lakeshore Review
The Lakeshore Review (ISSN 2694-1635) is a journal of arts and letters that celebrates the culture and the creators adjacent to the Great Lakes. This journal does not follow a specific theme or genre bent. Within our home territory, we assess no reading fees, although we levy a nominal fee for people outside the Great Lakes region.
We release three times each year — in May/June, September/October, and January/February. Our reading windows close in the months of April, August, and December.
How to Submit
Please read the guidelines that follow, then select the “click here to submit” link at the bottom of the page.
A few things that have tripped people up over the first several reading windows:
- We require five to seven poems. Single-poem submissions will be rejected without review.
- Poetry that is intricately structured on an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch canvas cannot translate effectively into a literary journal with a smaller trim size. Consider sending those poems as images, instead.
- We publish in English, exclusively. And we only accept materials from folks who live in the United States or one of the 15 Commonwealth realms (including Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Belize, and Jamaica).
- Keep fiction pieces below 7,500 words. The longer the piece, the more perfect it must be to justify the word count.
We aim to turn around most submissions within a fortnight. Early in the reading window, we’re often so efficient that we’re turning things around within a day or two — so if you get a rejection in 48 hours, please don’t assume you suck. Every piece is, at a minimum, vetted by both co-editors, and usually by one or more volunteer readers.
At the tail end of the submission window, review times can drag longer, but we try to not let it get to a full month. Rarely, we accept pieces in the middle of a reading window, but more often, we hold pieces we like until after the window closes. If you’re a second-review candidate, we’ll let you know.
The Lakeshore Review is published by Lakeshore Literary, Inc. and is supported by co-editors Garrett Stack, PhD and Jason Gillikin. Garrett is associate professor of English at Ferris State University. Jason is president of Lakeshore Literary and former publisher of The 3288 Review.
Current readers include:
- Allison Hawkins. Allison is a freelance writer experienced with general fiction and screenplays.
- Lisa McNeilley, PhD. Lisa is an independent book editor and former lecturer in English literature and pedagogy.
- Faith Gleasure. Faith was Lakeshore Literary’s intern for Spring 2020. She was an intern-reader for the first two issues, and a regular reader thereafter. She is a student at Ferris State University.
The Lakeshore Review celebrates the full range of written and visual art. We entertain anything — the uplifting, the tragic, the experimental, the conventional, the controversial. Your contribution must prod people to think, or feel, or question. Tell a good story. Paint a beautiful picture of the human experience. Surprise us. Delight us. We’re willing to take a risk on emerging talent and we honor no ideological shibboleths. The beauty and the power of the work matters. Not its pedigree or its politics.
Art and Photography
We accept submissions of your original photographs and visual depictions of your art. We print in full color, although greyscale imagery is certainly welcome. Each image must render at 300 dpi. We require CMYK images with no embedded profiles, but we will convert to CMYK if necessary. Include a brief authors’ statement of between 200 and 500 words, identify each image with a title and, optionally, a one- or two-sentence artistic statement. You must own the copyright for every image. If you submit photos of humans, we reserve the right to request copies of your releases for each featured person.
Who said graphic novels aren’t literature? Tell your short story in graphic-novel form. As with photographic art, we accept renders of your full-page panels at 300 dpi, CMYK. Because our trim size is 6 inches by 9 inches, assume you’re working with a printed canvas of roughly 5 inches by 7 inches. Include a brief artist’s statement for context.
Bring your flash stories of fewer than 1,000 words. Share a meaningful plot and conflict marked by a gloriously high concepts-to-syllables ratio.
We welcome short stories between 1,000 and 7,500 words. Both literary and (light) genre fiction are welcome. The longer the story, the more the richness of the story must justify the higher word count. We encourage fiction writers to focus on crisp storytelling rather than indulging in experimental structures, deep-penetration styles, or obvious didacticism.
Personal essays, opinion pieces, interviews, and related nonfiction pieces often communicate a powerful, necessary story. We accept creative nonfiction works between 1,000 and 5,000 words. Nothing is (theoretically) off limits, but content that espouses conspiracy hypotheses, promotes sectarian truth claims, brandishes rabidly partisan viewpoints, advocates some superficial manifestation of High Theory, celebrates nihilism, or resists logic- and fact-checking … well, that stuff faces a steeper headwind on the journey to approval. We embrace longer-form interview and investigative journalism pieces, with the proviso that you’ll be required to prove core fact claims to us just as you’d have to prove them to the grizzled newspaper assignment editor of yesteryear. For first-class investigative journalism, there’s no upper word count, and we’ll incorporate relevant full-color graphics to flesh out the story.
Send us five to seven poems. We respond best to poems that are rhythmically solid and accessible to lay readers. Abstraction and abstruseness often undermine a poem’s emotional power; we’d rather your verse move us to laughter or tears than to scratch our heads with puzzled looks upon our faces.
We enjoy six horizontal inches of lyrical canvas, so let your lines break accordingly. Given the precision of our typesetting templates, we cannot accommodate alternative typefaces or point sizes, odd text orientations, or precisely shaped poems, but we’re open to accepting visually interesting poems as an image instead of text.
We welcome contributed reviews of books that have been released within the prior 12 months. The catch? You can’t review your own book, and we cannot accept reviews of books issued by pay-to-publish presses, books issued in electronic formats only, or books available exclusively through Amazon. Please limit reviews to no more than 800 words and include relevant contextual data including the ISBN. A 300-dpi scan of the cover of the book is helpful but not required.
Our submission page asks that you explain the extent to which artificial-intelligence tools (large-language models like ChatGPT/Google Bard or visual frameworks like DALL-E) supported the construction of your submission. We neither solicit nor prohibit AI-supported content, but we do need to understand the degree to which AI tools participated in the evolution of a given piece — for example, by generating a base work product that you modified (and if so, how did you modify it relative to the originally generated content?). Given the newness of these LLMs, we’d like to understand how authors, poets, and artists are using them in the wild before we issue definitive guidelines about their suitability for submissions to The Lakeshore Review.
From our perspective, “dumb” tools like the stock image transformations in Adobe Photoshop or the recommendations in Grammarly do not count as “AI-supported” even if some basic level of AI powers them.
When in doubt, please err on the side of disclosure. Transparency will help us make good long-term decisions about these emerging technologies.
The Lakeshore Review reserves the right to edit your material to conform to our house style guide and to improve the content at a line level. It is not our practice to accept content that requires more than a light proofread to align styles. We make no edits to poems, not even for spelling, so plan accordingly. Our house style guide is based on the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.
Licensing & Compensation
As with most free and low-cost literary journals, we do not cut checks, but we do offer courtesy copies as well as online verification of the publication credit.
The Lakeshore Review requests an exclusive right to publish for the first six months after the date of release, then a non-exclusive license to publish in perpetuity.
We are interested only in time-limited English-language print rights in those countries where Ingram normally distributes books.
Because we operate on a first-serial-rights license model, we cannot accept submissions of content that has already been published elsewhere.
We send one courtesy copy of the print edition to the contributor, as well as a coupon code to order additional copies of that issue at near-cost.
We also publish a web page for each issue that lists each contributor, to independently verify the publication credit. Some content may be simultaneously published on that web page, as an example of the content in that issue, but we will obtain approval from the creator before we post that content.
To celebrate contributors who are local to West Michigan, we hold periodic wine-and-cheese events where published contributors may read their material publicly.
The Lakeshore Review accepts online submissions through the form included on the bottom of this page.
Methods of Submission
We will not consider, nor will we acknowledge, queries submitted by postal or electronic mail. It’s been our experience that nowadays, the only postal submissions we receive are apocalyptic Gnostic conspiracist tracts springing from various rural areas of the Sunbelt. Given how unlikely it that we’ll publish those pamphlets, we feel confident that an online-only approach won’t prove too much of a hardship for most people.
We therefore accept pitches through Submittable, exclusively.
Multiple and Simultaneous Submissions; Resubmissions
We accept simultaneous submissions. No need to notify us; acceptances are rare enough that we do not begrudge authors from aggressive marketing. If a piece is accepted elsewhere, reply to the ticket that confirmed your submission with a note about your withdrawal. Also, congratulations on being a rockstar.
We do not permit multiple submissions per issue. Please query us with one batch of poems, one collection of art, one story, or one essay, then let us respond. If you send us several things, we will only consider the most recent query transmitted. Most people who multi-sub to a given market see zero of their pieces accepted. There’s much value in a one-at-a-time approach.
We accept resubmissions, even for the same issue, provided that (a) you had purchased an optional critique from us, and (b) you revised the original submission in light of that critique.
Communication About Submissions
Please use Submittable’s messaging feature to communicate with us about your submission. We cannot accept emails, phone calls, drop-in visits, or other methods of communication about editorial matters.
Unless you purchase a critique from us, we do not respond to inquiries about why we rejected a piece.
Reading Windows and Turnaround Times
The Lakeshore Review publishes three times each year — in January, May, and September.
Reading windows are as follows:
* For the January issue: 9/1 to 11/30 of the preceding calendar year
* For the May issue: 1/1 to 3/31
* For the September issue: 5/1 to 7/31
We do not read submissions in the months of April, August, and December so that we can focus on contracting and publication for that issue. Within our reading windows, we aim to respond to submissions within a fortnight.
Note that the physical copy of the issue may not be available until the month after its publication date — e.g., the January issue may not be released to the public until February.
Books for Review by Our Editors
The Lakeshore Review welcomes books for review by our editors provided the book was released within the previous 12 months. Send one print copy by USPS to 1590 44th St SW, Wyoming MI 49509 — with no signature requirement, please. We cannot accept PDF or ePub versions in lieu of print, because the quality of the print artifact often factors into the review. Books are not returnable. We do not guarantee a review, or a favorable review. We do not accept payment to read published books.
We will not review books that are Amazon-only or which were released by a pay-to-publish press/imprint that appears to lack meaningful editorial gatekeeping. We are open to self-published books provided they can be ordered (from a catalog, not through consignment) from a typical bricks-and-mortar retailer using a valid ISBN.
Literary journals are expensive to run but few people subscribe to them and few bookstores carry them, despite their centrality to contemporary writing culture. To ensure that The Lakeshore Review remains financially sustainable as a market for emerging literary talent, we impose a small reading fee upon submitters from outside of our geographic region.
Residents of IL, IN, MI, MN, NY, OH, PA, WI, and Ontario
We do not charge reading fees to people who dwell in our home market. We define residents to include anyone whose current mailing address sources to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin.
Residents of All Other States and Provinces
We assess a $3 fee to residents from outside of our market — all the other U.S. states and territories, the Canadian provinces other than Ontario, and the Commonwealth Realms. This modest fee helps support our editorial operations.
Also, Submittable takes a huge chunk out of our revenue stream.
Many readers, especially people new to submitting their work, struggle to understand why they consistently meet with silence or rejections. Our standard responses are generic accept/decline decisions. We offer an optional “reply with critique” feature so that you receive a personalized response about what worked and didn’t work about your submission. This extra fee is $10, regardless of where you reside.
If you support the work we do, we’d welcome it if you purchased a copy of the issue to which you’re submitting. For a flat fee of $15, we will send you a copy of the issue to which you’re pitching.
Our decision to accept or reject a given submission is not related to your purchase of an optional fee. We’ve taken steps on the back end to ensure that decision-makers are not aware of optional fees paid by submitters.
And now (drumroll, please) the submission link: