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.

Capsule Stories Submission Guidelines

We are currently reading submissions for both our Autumn 2020 Edition and our Winter 2020 Edition.

Autumn 2020 Edition: Burning Up

Our Autumn 2020 Edition theme is Burning Up (although we might tweak the name!). Send us stories, poems, and essays that feel crisp and distinctly autumn-y. Send writing that warms us. Writing that shows the world burning around us. Writing that plays with fire. Writing that explores the slow burn, the fast-growing flame, the steady heat from embers deep inside you. Submissions for our Autumn 2020 Edition close July 12 at midnight PST. Please note: We are not interested in election pieces unless they connect strongly with our theme Burning Up and the autumn season.

Winter 2020 Edition: Bare Bones

Our 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 11 at midnight PST.

Submission guidelines for all editions

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 Please send previously unpublished work only, and only submit to one category at a time.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!).

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 essay submissions for our blog that focus on 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’re looking for remarkably written essays under 3,000 words on this topic of reading the right book at the right time. No other submissions or topics for our blog will be considered.

Please email Capsule Stories blog submissions to us at and include Blog Submission in your subject line.

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!