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All submissions must be submitted online. Please observe our submission calendar; we will automatically reject manuscripts that do not fit the theme or genre of any submission period. We do not publish previously published materials. Prose writers should send one manuscript (5,000 words or less) or flash work (1,200 words or less); poets should send three to five poems. Iron Horse accepts simultaneous submissions but please inform us immediately if a submission has been taken elsewhere. We pay $100 per essay or story, and $50 per poem or flash piece for our themed and open issues.

the iron horse first book prize: In conjunction with Texas Tech University Press, IHLR hosts an annual first book prize for prose. We prefer manuscripts between 150-250 pages in length--either a collection of stories or essays, which may include linked essays, story cycles, flash nonfiction or fiction, or one novella and other stories. Winner receives $1,000 and publication with TTU Press. Submit every summer.

the photofinish: Submit flash prose (less than 500 words) & short poems (up to 15 lines) in response to our photo prompt, posted online every May. Winner receives $250; ten finalists, $50 each. All eleven are published in the e-edition, released at midnight on Dec 31. $5 fee. Submit every July 1 through August 15.

the ihlr long story: Send us your marathon-long stories and essays every fall. We consider prose longer than 17 pages only for The IHLR Long Story, which is published electronically as a full-color e-single. Entry fee: $15, which includes a year's subscription. The winning manuscript receives $1,000.

napomo: We publish one winning poem and ten finalists every April. The winner receives $1,000; the finalists, $50 each. Reading fee: $15, which includes a subscription. Submit every fall.

themed issue: Each year we release an issue that celebrates one particular theme. For 2021, we've chosen BLISS. We want to see your poems, stories, and essays that address ideas of delight, triumph, renewal, exuberance, pleasure, fresh air, latitude, play!

single author issue/chapbook: Each year, we publish one issue as a chapbook. The genre rotates: essays/stories/hybrid prose collections; short fiction/novellas; and poetry collections. Prose chapbooks should be 40-56 pages, double-spaced; poetry collections should be 28-36 pages, one poem per page. Submissions are read every year, February through March. Entry fee: $18, which includes a year's subscription. Winner receives $1,000 and 15 copies.

open issue: Any topic, all genres (fiction, nonfiction, poetry).

newsflash (closed till further notice): NewsFlash are brief responses to immediate current events (flash prose: 800 words or less; poems: up to 25 lines). We publish the best online every week.

If you want to know what poems, stories, and essays appeal to us, purchase a sample issue.


submission gates schedule

Aug 15 - Oct 15                NaPoMo Issue
Aug 15 - Oct 15                IHLR Long Story

Oct 15 - Nov 15                Themed Issue (2023: Unlawful Acts)

Jan 15 - Mar 15                 The Chapbook Issue (2024: Prose)

Feb 1 - Mar 15                   Open Issue

June 15 - Aug 15               IHLR Book Prize

July 1 - Aug 15                  The PhotoFinish

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