“The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don’t know.”
Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna
bioStories welcomes creativity and originality in your approach to your subject and maintains no clearly recognizable editorial biases. We do, however, encourage you to consider that by the inherent nature of written expression, we find that a well-wrought passage that narrates a specific story or a finite moment within a life is far more effective at presenting something essential about that life than volumes of generalizations or summary. Similarly, we encourage you consider the frequent value found in getting out of the way of your subjects and allowing them to speak for themselves. But of course we value your voice as well and ask that submitting writers honor the uniqueness and innovation of their original, natural narrative voices every bit as much as they strive to present their subjects with honesty and candor. The smell of dishonest representation always penetrates. We react to such smell with the same reprehension as we do to work that appears focused on accomplishing an agenda. Present yourself and your subject as they are, part of the diverse, complex, and unruly citizenry of the universe, complete with warts and moles, hangovers and hangnails. Real life is messy, filled with broken plumbing and coagulating bacon grease, unmade beds and imperfect comebacks. Real biography recalls that sometimes you have to change the dressings on healing wounds and sometimes you have to add a little starch as you iron the shirt. Human nature is idiosyncratic and frequently contradictory, and, quite often, when you look close enough, it is downright graceful.
Share a life. Introduce us to someone we don’t yet know.
Editorial Suggestions, Processes, and Policies:
While we frequently publish writers with previous credits, we are equally interested in less experienced or unpublished writers with exceptional promise. All accepted pieces are subject to editing and galleys will be shared with authors for approval prior to publication. Essays first appear on our “featured essay” page. After about a week, the essay will be moved among other featured content where it will remain prominently accessible for several weeks. All published pieces are permanently archived and linked on our contributors/archives page. We acquire first rights for published material; copyright then reverts to the author. In the future, we may contact you requesting permission to include the material in a print anthology. As a general rule of thumb, biographical material is preferred over autobiographical material.
We strive to make timely editorial decisions, typically within six to eight weeks. Because bioStories is produced largely as a labor of love by a limited staff, please do not contact us to inquire about the status of a submission until eight weeks have passed.
At present, we are unable to pay authors for their material, however, when funding allows, we are committed to compensating writers.
We welcome your submissions of original work. Please read some of the published pieces linked from the homepage and from the archives and contributors menu tabs for a better sense of what we publish and a view of our editorial sensibilities. We offer no restrictions on approach to material or format, but we do require that you kindly adhere to the following guidelines:
• nonfiction prose submissions only
• 500 – 7500 words; our typical piece runs an average of 2500 words (please contact the editor in advance should you have material that exceeds our length restriction and exceptions may be made)
• submit by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and paste your submission within the body of the email. Please make certain the words “biostories submission” and your last name appear in the subject line; we do not open attachments
• we accept submissions year-round
• simultaneous submissions are welcome, but please notify us immediately if your piece is accepted elsewhere
• we accept multiple submissions but ask that you wait at least a month between entries
• work submitted must be previously unpublished in print and online
• submissions that fail to follow these guidelines will be discarded without response.
Unlike many peer publications, we continue to resist charging submission fees and, because of the cost associated, have chosen not to use a submission manager. There are, of course, significant expenses associated with maintaining a publication, so we do encourage writers submitting to the magazine to consider a nominal donation (say, for instance, what a submission would cost to send by regular mail rather than email. Such donations help cover the cost of processing and reviewing submissions. There is no obligation to donate and donations have no bearing on the acceptance of work.