capsule stories submissions

Capsule Stories is a print literary magazine published once every season. Our first issue was published on March 1, 2019, and we accept submissions year-round. We are not currently a paying market (someday!), and submissions are always free.

Become published in a literary magazine run by like-minded people. We have a penchant for pretty words, an affinity to the melancholy, and an undeniably time-ful aura. We believe that stories exist in a specific moment, and that that moment is what makes those stories unique.

What we’re really looking for are stories that can touch the heart. Stories that come from the heart. Stories about love, identity, the self, the world, the human condition. Stories that show what living in this world as the human you are is like.

New to submitting? Check out our New Writer’s Checklist for Submitting to Capsule Stories.

Capsule Stories Submission Guidelines

We accept short stories, poems, and remarkably written essays. For short stories and essays, we’re interested in pieces under 3000 words. You may include up to five poems in a single poetry submission (please send them all in one Word document), and only send one story or essay at a time. Please send previously unpublished work only—a piece is considered published if it has been posted or made publicly available on a blog, website, or social media platform. Please only submit to one edition/theme and one category at a time. Simultaneous submissions are okay, but please let us know if your submission is accepted elsewhere. Please include a brief third-person bio with your submission, and attach your submissions in a Word document (no PDFs unless your poetry has very specific formatting, please!).

All writers are welcome to submit, especially writers of color, LGBTQ writers, writers with disabilities, and all writers from marginalized backgrounds.

We are currently reading submissions for Capsule Stories Winter 2020 Edition and Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition.

Winter 2020 Edition: Bare Bones

Our Capsule Stories Winter 2020 Edition theme is Bare Bones. We’re looking for stories, poems, and essays that feel cold and wintry and bleak. Send us your winter haikus, stories about loss and heartbreak in the coldest season of your life. Send us work that finds meaning in the bare arms of trees reaching for the gray winter sky. Send us writing pared down to its bones. Break our hearts in the fewest words possible. Submissions for our Winter 2020 Edition close October 2 at midnight PST.

Spring 2021 Edition: In Bloom

Our Capsule Stories Spring 2021 Edition theme is In Bloom. We’re looking for stories, poems, and essays that feel spring-y and burst with life. Send us writing about flowers growing and blooming, about you growing and blooming. Writing that explores rebirth and renewal that comes with spring.  Writing about flowers growing where they shouldn’t. Writing about blossoming new love, budding after a cold winter. Submissions for our Spring 2021 Edition close December 15 at midnight PST.

Please email Capsule Stories submissions to us at and tell us which edition you’re submitting to.

Capsule Stories Blog Submission Guidelines

We are currently accepting essays for our blog about your reading life.

Tell us about your reading slumps or the book that you stayed up till 2 a.m. to finish reading. Write about how you read an author’s work before visiting their home city or country and how their work framed your travels. Write about how your understanding of a book changed or deepened after hearing the author talk about it. Write about how you started a virtual book club with your friends, how your reading habits have changed by listening to audiobooks, how you managed to read books during the pandemic without access to your library. We’re interested in essays that explore the intersection of your reading life and your writing life, or your travels.

We’re especially interested in essays that talk about reading the right book at the right time. Tell us about that book that came into your life at the exact right moment in time and how it spoke to you. Maybe it was a book you were supposed to read in college but didn’t until years later. Maybe it was a book a friend insisted you borrow. Maybe it was a book that caught your eye in the bookstore even though you knew nothing about it.

We are not able to pay our blog contributors currently, but we will share your work far and wide. We will also link to your website or social media to encourage more people to follow your work or book reviews. Because these essays are for our blog and are accepted on a rolling basis, we have more time to work with you to develop the essay and make it shine. If you’re a bookstagrammer interested in writing, this is the perfect opportunity to work with an editor to develop a piece of writing and build your writing portfolio. All writers are welcome, especially writers of color, LGBTQ writers, writers with disabilities, and all writers from marginalized backgrounds.

We’re looking for remarkably written essays under 3,000 words on these topics for our blog.

Please email Capsule Stories blog submissions to us at and include Blog Submission in your subject line. Blog submissions are accepted year-round.

Capsule Stories Contributor Agreement

Each of our contributors must sign a contributor agreement to be published in Capsule Stories. Below are the terms the contributor will agree to:

  • The contributor will be notified regarding any major edits made to the work(s). Spelling errors, punctuation, and typos will be edited according to Chicago Manual of Style by Capsule Stories at the editors’ discretion.
  • The contributor grants Capsule Stories first serial rights worldwide to publish the work(s) in Capsule Stories’s edition in print and ebook formats.
  • The contributor retains the right to publish their work elsewhere after it is published in Capsule Stories, but they must credit Capsule Stories as the original publisher.
  • The contributor gives Capsule Stories permission to use their words in promotional and marketing materials, both on paper and on the internet. Capsule Stories will always give proper credit.
  • The contributor understands that Capsule Stories will not pay the contributor.
  • The contributor will receive a complimentary print or ebook copy of Capsule Stories upon its publication. 
  • If for any reason the contributor’s work must be pulled after their work has been accepted, they will notify Capsule Stories no later than one month before the edition’s publication date.
  • Capsule Stories reserves the right to pull the contributor’s work from the edition with written notice to the contributor. (The circumstances for this happening are extremely rare and will be used in case of unprofessional, threatening, or illegal behavior from the contributor after their work has been accepted.)

Got a question about our contributor agreement terms? Feel free to reach out and ask!