Submission Deadline

The submission window for Issue No. 03 is June 1 – July 15, 2023. All work must be submitted by July 15 @ 11:59 p.m. PT.

Issue No. 03 Theme: Illusion

We’re excited to announce the theme for Issue No. 03 is ILLUSION

How you to interpret this theme is entirely up to you. We simply invite you to venture into the realms of imagination and unravel the illusions that shroud (or illuminate?) reality. 

We aim to showcase diverse voices and perspectives that inspire, challenge, and connect us. We welcome submissions from writers and artists of all backgrounds and levels of experience. 

Some Potential Thematic Angles for Inspiration

  • Delve into the illusory nature of human desires, the masks we wear, or the narratives we construct to make sense of the world.
  • Analyze the illusions perpetuated by society, politics, culture, and economics.
  • Render the ephemeral nature of reality, peering into the shadows where illusion and truth make strange bedfellows.

Publication Details

The third issue of Arboreal will be published on August 15, 2023. It will be released for free online, and there will be a print version available to purchase.

Submitting Your Work

Please submit all writing in .docx files. Work submitted in PDF or other file formats will be declined without review.

What We Accept

We accept unpublished works of poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and visual art.

For us, unpublished means the work has not appeared in an edited online or print publication—including self-published.

This does not include works shared on your personal social media accounts or personal websites. That is, if you have shared the work on Instagram or Twitter or your own portfolio website, etc., we will still consider your submission.

No Artificial Intelligence (AI) Content

We do not accept any writing or visual art that was created—entirely or partially—with AI software.

While we often consider AI and the content created with it fascinating and even impressive, Arboreal is not the venue for such things. Our publication is meant to be an outlet for human creativity only.

Simultaneous Submissions

We gladly accept simultaneous submissions. We value your success, whether that involves our publication or any others.

You do not need to inform us if you are submitting your work to other publications simultaneously. We simply ask that you notify us as soon as possible if your submission(s) will be published elsewhere.

Submission Fees

We do not require a fee to submit your work.

Response Times

We are a small team, so it is difficult to guarantee response times; however, we typically respond to submissions within 2–3 weeks.

Expedited Response ($)

While no fee is required to submit your work for consideration, you can opt to pay a $2.50 fee to expedite our response. If you choose to pay this expedited response fee, we will inform you of our decision within 7 business days of submission.


As a nascent, self-funded publication, we are unable to offer any form of payment to our contributors at this time.

We know…it’s not ideal.

That said, we will do everything we can to promote the hell out of your work and your personal brand on social media, email, and any other channels at our disposal.

Our contributors’ success is our success, and vice versa.


If we select your work for publication, Arboreal will retain worldwide First Serial Rights and worldwide First Electronic Rights.

That is, once your work is published in Arboreal, the copyright immediately reverts to you.

We also reserve the right to keep your work on our website and include it in promotional materials in perpetuity.

You can read the full agreements our selected contributors must eSign before publication here:

Contact Information

If you have questions or concerns about these guidelines or the submission process—or if you run into any technical difficulties, please email our Editor-in-Chief directly.

Visual Art Guidelines

  • Please limit art submissions to 5 images.
  • Images should be high-resolution.
  • Please be sure your images are aligned and cropped properly. That is, if you are submitting a photo of a physical work, it should be flat, aligned, and cropped so no background is visible. For more information, please take a look at this guide on how to digitize artwork.

File Naming Format

  • LastName_FirstName_Title.jpeg
  • Klimt_Gustav_TheKiss.jpeg

Fiction Guidelines

  • Please limit fiction submissions to a single short story of no more than 4,000 words.
  • We do not accept translations, book excerpts, or plays.

Document Specifications

  • Double-spaced
  • Standard, readable typeface (e.g., Times New Roman, Georgia)
  • 12pt font

File Naming Format

  • LastName_FirstName_StoryTitle.docx
  • Kincaid_Jamaica_Girl.docx

Poetry Guidelines

  • Please limit poetry submissions to 4 poems.
  • We do not accept translations.
  • All poems should be included in a single document, each poem starting on a separate page.

Document Specifications

  • Single-spaced
  • Standard, readable typeface (e.g., Times New Roman, Georgia)
  • 12pt font

File Naming Format

  • LastName_FirstName_Poetry.docx
  • Brooks_Gwendolyn_Poetry.docx


  • Please limit submissions to a single nonfiction work of no more than 4,000 words.
  • We do not accept book reviews or book excerpts.

Document Specifications

  • Double-spaced
  • Standard, readable typeface (e.g., Times New Roman, Georgia)
  • 12pt font

File Naming Format

  • LastName_FirstName_EssayTitle.docx
  • Didion_Joan_InBed.docx
Arboreal Literary Magazine