Frequently Asked Questions

If your head is swimming with questions, it’s likely others’ have been too. Read through our FAQ to see if your question might have been answered, and if not, feel free to shoot us an email at

What is your editing process? How do you choose what to include in the magazine?

We have several rounds of editing to ensure the best quality pieces are selected for publication. We read pieces individually and determine whether or not we think they’re publication-ready. Then we get together and go through the pieces that have made it through the first round and read them out loud. Often times, it’s during the reading phase that nuances about pieces come out, and they’re not chosen.

We don’t have a quota to fill. Your piece doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does need to be ready to be published, and this includes having been peer-edited at least. Often, pieces are rejected because of small things that can easily be fixed.

What do I do if my piece is rejected?

We would definitely suggest going back to your work. You should read it out loud, and have someone else look at it. It’s here that you or someone else will notice awkward phrasing and other small mistakes that contribute to pieces getting rejected.

How long does it take for you to respond to submissions?

It depends. We don’t have a set time frame in which we aim to respond to people. Instead, our editorial process depends on when our call for submissions closes, as we collectively judge submissions for each issue. If you submit two months before the submission deadline, you’ll have to wait two months to hear a response. However, if you submit the night before, you could get a response the next day.

Am I compensated for submissions if chosen for publication?

Unfortunately as a student run press we don’t have the funding to compensate our contributors financially, but we do give them a free copy of the issue their work appears in.

Am I eligible to submit if I’m not from Carleton/Ottawa/Canada?

Of course! We accept submissions from all over the world. We simply ask people to include whether they go to Carleton or live in Ottawa so we can invite them out to our events!

Do you offer feedback for pieces that are rejected?

We do not. Offering feedback can get tricky, and quite long if we decide to give feedback to each piece of work we receive. We are a volunteer-run organization, after all. Oftentimes, it’s difficult to give applicable feedback that can actually help you improve your writing over email, so we just don’t give feedback at all.

Sometimes, if your piece really stands out to us but just misses the publication mark, we may mention that in our response email.

What rights am I granted by submitting a piece?

You own the rights to your work after it is published, but we ask you to credit In/Words for publication rights should you choose to submit the piece elsewhere.

I made a mistake in my submission. Can I email you to correct it?

If it was a mistake within the submission itself, go ahead. We would prefer if you sent the follow-up email in the same chain as your original submission. But we would rather you follow up over a submission being rejected because it didn’t follow guidelines.

If it was something to do with your bio, mailing address, or anything not related to the submission itself, you don’t need to worry about correcting it then. If your work is accepted, we will check in with you during publication time, giving you a chance to update your bio if you wish, or to let us know of any errors in regards to mailing address, etc.

How strict are you in adherence to your submission guidelines?

Strict enough. The guidelines exist for a reason, and we are sure to put them on our website and in our call for submissions on Facebook. The two guidelines we are very particular about is adhering to the format requested (.doc, .docx, .jpg, etc.) and including your third-person bio in your submission. This is the content we need to put together issues, and if it’s not there, it delays our ability to produce the issue on time.

We may make exceptions if your work is exceptional, but don’t rely on that to pull your submission through.

What happens if I submit something outside of your call for submissions period?

We will not read your work, period, and we will not respond to you. If it was an accident, no worries – it won’t put you on any sort of blacklist. However, if you continue to submit outside of out call, we will notice your name and will likely not consider you for publication even if it is within our call in the future.

What kind of prose do you publish? Do you have any style that you prefer?

Everything is considered for publication! We won’t limit you to a genre. Your best bet is look through past issues under ‘Archives’ to get a sense of what we’ve published in the past.

We receive very few prose submissions, and this limits our scope to publish them. So don’t be deterred to send your stuff our way – we want what you do best.

Are watermarks permitted on photographs and artwork submissions?

No watermarks, please! We’ll give you full credit in the magazine, but we do prefer to publish pieces without watermarks.

What are your thoughts on receiving submissions that have been posted online previously?

Work that has been posted on your personal blog is fine, as long as you credit In/Words there upon publication! However, submissions that have appeared in online journals will not be accepted.

Is there a limit to the length of poetry I submit?

There’s no strict limit, but the longer your poems are, the better they have to be. Longer pieces have a higher chance of errors, and so we often end up publishing shorter work because of this.

Are non-fiction guidelines the same as fiction ones?

Absolutely! We look at fiction and non-fiction as prose, so it falls under the same category and follows the same guidelines.

Are multiple submissions accepted?

Yes, as long as they follow the requirements for the category in question.