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Lakeshore Review

The Lakeshore Review

The Lakeshore Review (ISSN 2694-1635) is a new journal of arts and letters — our inaugural issue graces the market in May 2021 — that celebrates the culture and the creators adjacent to the Great Lakes. This journal does not require 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 are a paying market, with rates varying from issue to issue depending on the support of the broader reading community.

Please read this information page (which includes our editorial guidelines) then use the submission form at the bottom of the page to transmit your query. The reading window for Issue 1 opened (early!) on Dec. 1, 2020.


The Lakeshore Review‘s masthead is currently under development, to be finalized in December 2020. Currently confirmed editors include Jason Gillikin, president of Lakeshore Literary and former publisher of The 3288 Review, and Garrett Stack, PhD, assistant professor of English at Ferris State University.

Content Guidelines

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. Please submit your images as JPEG files within a ZIP archive that does not exceed 20 MB. Include a brief authors’ statement of between 200 and 500 words as a Word document within the ZIP folder, and 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.
  • Graphic Narratives — Who said graphic novels aren’t literature? Tell your short story in graphic-novel form. As with photographic art, we accept JPEG renders of your full-page panels at 300 dpi, CMYK, bundled in a ZIP file of no more than 20 MB. Because our trim size is 8 inches by 10 inches, assume you’re working with a printed canvas of roughly 6 inches by 8 inches. One image file per page, please. Include a brief artist’s statement for context, as a DOCX file within the ZIP archive.
  • Flash Fiction — 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.
  • Short Fiction — We welcome short stories between 1,000 and 7,500 words. Both literary and 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 or deep-penetration styles.
  • Creative Nonfiction — 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 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.
  • Poetry — Send us four to seven poems, of which no more than five will be selected. 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 that kind of poetry (or something even more visually creative) as an image instead of text.
  • Book Reviews — 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.

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. These modifications are not subject to the contributor’s review or approval. It is not our practice to accept content that requires more than a light proofread.

License Agreement

The Lakeshore Review requests a license to publish your previously unreleased content in print, in English, in only those countries where Lakeshore Literary maintains a distribution presence. This license is exclusive to us for the six months following the release of the issue in which the content appears; thereafter, the license is non-exclusive.

You must reside in the United States or a Commonwealth Realm (Australia, Belize, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the United Kingdom, or the various island nations that accept Elizabeth II as monarch and head-of-state).

If we accept your query, we’ll follow up with a plain-English license agreement, a request for a W-9 form, and next steps. All of that correspondence occurs within our ticketing system.

Submission and Withdrawal Policies

The Lakeshore Review accepts online submissions through the form included on the bottom of this page. 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 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 do not accept reprints. If your piece has been published before, even on your own blog or Facebook page, it’s not eligible for publication under a standard first-serial-rights license agreement. We use Google and Bing and a few proprietary tools to search for specific keywords and particularly elegant turns of phrase before we extend a contract offer.

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.

Publication Dates, Reading Windows, & Turnaround Times

The Lakeshore Review publishes three times each year — in January, May, and September. We accept submissions year-round and aim to respond to all queries within a fortnight.

Reading windows are as follows:

  • For the January issue: 9/1 to 12/31 of the preceding calendar year
  • For the May issue: 1/1 to 4/30
  • For the September issue: 5/1 to 8/31

Reading Fees

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, as well as optional bolt-on fees according to the following schedule:

  • $0We do not assess reading fees to residents of the Great Lakes region. We define residents to include anyone whose current mailing address sources to Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Ontario, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin.
  • $5We assess a small fee to people from outside of the Great Lakes region to promote access while protecting our primary geographic focus. However, we waive this fee (it’s the “special circumstance” option in our query form) for people who cannot afford it. At present, we operate on the honor system; we do not require you to disclose or justify the special circumstance justifying the waiver, nor do we define what constitutes a special circumstance. We expect that the number of people claiming this waiver will prove small. Should the Tragedy of the Commons arise, we will remove the waiver. Please consider the needs of significantly disadvantaged writers before you claim this exemption.
  • $10 — Regardless of the submitter’s location, a $10 fee earns a written critique of the submission package instead of a form-driven response. This optional service helps aspiring writers who frequently encounter rejection to better understand what’s holding them back and how to fix it.
  • $20 — Regardless of the submitter’s location, a $20 fee earns a detailed critique. However, $10 of that fee joins the pool of funds that compensates contributors to the forthcoming issue. (Some markets, including various contests, cost more than $20 to submit, yet you hear nothing back even as you line the pockets of the editors. With this option, you directly fund published writers while earning meaningful feedback about your own work. Quite a deal, we think.)
  • $30 — Regardless of the submitter’s location, a $30 fee earns a detailed critique plus a mailed print copy of the issue to which you’re pitching. It’s super cool when people who respect us enough to pitch us also respect us enough to buy our product. Without sales, we cannot endure.

The purchase of the $10/$20/$30 bolt-on services does not influence our decision to accept or reject a given query. All reading fees must be purchased in our shopping cart. Our editorial system matches these purchases to your query automatically, provided that your purchase and your query use the same email address. It doesn’t matter whether you submit first and purchase second, or vice versa, as long as both the query and the transaction post on the same calendar day.

Fees are not refundable.

Recognition & Compensation

We list on our blog each issue’s contributors, with their social links and a brief abstract describing their work, as public verification of the publishing credit. All contracted contributors receive a complimentary print copy of the issue plus one or more shares in the community chest. This pool of funds sources from three locations:

  • The $20 bolt-on submission fee (of which, $10 enters the community chest).
  • One-time sponsorship of the pool through the Lakeshore Literary online store.
  • The higher-level subscription tiers for our Patreon. We presently offer three patronage tiers — $6 (subscription only), $12 (subscription plus a twice-monthly comprehensive Substack newsletter), and $18 (subscription, newsletter, and recognition as a patron within the next issue of The Lakeshore Review). Of these two latter tiers, $6 and $12, respectively, kicks into the community chest each month.

All contributors earn a share of the community chest as follows:

  • Poetry: 1 share for every 25 normal-length lines (cumulative), with a minimum share of 1
  • Art: 1 share for every three published images
  • Graphic Narratives: 1 share for every published page of content
  • Flash: 1 share
  • Fiction: 1 share for every 1,000 words
  • Essays: 1 share for every 1,000 words
  • Reviews: 1 share

We pay all contributors electronically, regardless of the amount due. However, royalty payments exceeding $10 in a calendar year (yes, you read that correctly) must be documented with a Form 1099. Although many small presses seem to forget that rule, our accountant requires it and the Lakeshore Literary team remains convinced we doesn’t look good in orange jumpsuits with chrome bracelets. For that reason, we request an IRS Form W-9 from every submitter at the time we complete a license agreement.

We recognize that under this system, contributors cannot anticipate a specific payment amount at the time they submit. This method of compensation is novel — an experiment to see just how much the literary community supports a unique form of crowdfunded compensation. To foster transparency and to allow others to learn from this experiment, we publish a blog post at the end of each submission window quantifying the total funds available in the pool (with relevant screenshots of the accounting data) as well as the quantification of each share’s value.

We do not set content targets for each issue. We print as many or as few submissions as we thought warranted publication. Judging from prior experience, we’d guess that a total of 10 shares of poetry, three shares of art, four shares of flash, 16 shares of fiction, five shares of essays, and two shares of reviews “feels” right. Thus, each share might be worth something on the order of 1/35 to 1/45 of the entire pool. If a given issue features 40 shares of content, and the pool is $400, then each share earns $10, and a short-story writer with a 3,000-word piece earns $30. If the pool is $4,000 then each share earns $100. If the pool is $40 then each person earns a crisp Washington as his or her base share. And so on. We do not withhold any amount of the pool; subscriptions and reading fees should cover our normal operating costs.


Please direct questions or comments about your submission to the editorial ticket you received when you filed your query with us. We cannot reply to questions about a query outside of that query’s set of tickets; in particular, we cannot discuss queries by telephone. To ask general questions unrelated to a query, use the Contact Us form.

  • We likely won’t reply at all if you ask us something that’s plainly answered on this page.
  • A hypothetical meta-query is not a substitute for an actual, specific query; thus, “do you accept…” sorts of questions do not work to your advantage. Assume the answer is yes.

Book Reviews

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 PO Box 68557, Grand Rapids MI 49516 — 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.

Submission Form

From the Category drop-down, select Submission to The Lakeshore Review. This category reveals several form questions specific to journal submissions.