Submission Guidelines

The annual reading period for professional poetry, fiction, and nonfiction is September 15–February 1 each year. The annual reading period for the Lake Superior State University high school story prize is January 1–April 30. To receive reminders about upcoming reading periods and contests, please add us on facebook or Twitter.   

NOTE: We may close, periodically, if we receive more than the allowable number of submissions for each month. If this happens, please check back soon at the beginning of the following month, when we will reopen.

We’re especially interested in writing that crosses boundaries in genre or geography, and voices that aren’t often heard in mainstream publications. The best way to see what we mean by this is to read our latest issue online. All of our submissions go through a rigorous editorial board process. We consider ourselves a “teaching journal,” in that one of our main goals is to give LSSU English and creative writing students editing and publishing opportunities prior to graduation. Every year, student interns read alongside faculty editors as part of the full editorial board and publish book reviews.

We only accept unpublished work for which writers can grant us first North American serial rights. We only accept submissions  via Submittable during our official reading period. Submissions emailed, mailed, or sent outside of our reading period will not be read. Please follow the guidelines for each genre. Please note that we do not accept multiple submissions in a single genre during our reading periods, unless you are specifically invited to resubmit by the editors. Because we are allowed only a set number of submissions per month, we discourage writers from withdrawing and resubmitting. Rather than withdrawing, please feel free to attach a note to your submission. Repeated withdrawals may force us to close our reading period early. For writers who have been previously published in Border Crossing, please wait one year after publication before submitting again. Also please note that the editors may make minor copyedits to your work upon acceptance.

Please do not include your name, address, and phone number on your submission file, as our editorial board reads submissions blind. Only include that information on your cover letter, pasted into the cover letter area, along with an email address you regularly check, and a brief biography of about fifty words. We do accept simultaneous submissions; however, please return to the submission manager and withdraw your piece immediately if it is accepted elsewhere. For poems, please add a note to your submission in Submittable indicating which part of your submission was accepted elsewhere.

Response time is roughly 4-6 months. At this time, we are not able to offer payment to all authors. However, with volume 5, our first online issue, we began featuring selected authors. Every year, after all of the work in each genre has been accepted, one author is chosen from those accepted in each genre for a paid feature. Featured authors receive prominent placement in the online journal, a published interview with the editors, and a $100 honorarium. One artist from Michigan or Ontario is also featured each year and receives the same benefits.

The LSSU High School Short Story Prize is a North American literary competition run by the Lake Superior State University Creative Writing Program for high school writers with a cash award and scholarship. The 2019 contest is open to high school students residing in the United States and Canada. Entries to our fifth annual competition will be accepted January 1, 2019 through April 30, 2019. As last year, all entries will be read anonymously, with the identities of authors revealed only after judges’ final decisions are made. The winner of the competition will receive a $500 cash prize that can be increased to a $1000 cash scholarship if the winner chooses to attend LSSU. More details are available on our website.

The theme for this year is open. This means our judges are looking for any short stories written in a compelling voice with a well-developed story, character depth, a detailed setting, attention to language, and a deeper meaning.  You can read the 2018 contest winner here, the 2017 contest winner here, the 2016 contest winner here, and the 2015 contest winner here

To enter, submit a story that meets our guidelines using the below form. Enter your address and contact information in the form only; do not enter contact information on the story itself. Entries must be previously unpublished at the time of entry. There is no need to notify us if the publication status changes during the contest. All finalists will be contacted to provide proof of North American residency and high school student status. The winner's parent or guardian will be required to co-sign his or her publication contract before the winner is announced if the writer is under 18 years of age.

Contest theme:  open
Maximum story length: 5,000 words

Before you enter, be sure to read the detailed contest rules and entry guidelines:

To enter, high school writers submit an original, unpublished story that meets the following guidelines:
1. Entrants must be high school students and residents of the United States or Canada. All entries will be read blind, with the identities of authors revealed only after judges’ final decisions are made; locations will be checked after this point.
2. The theme this year is open. This means we are looking for any short stories written in a compelling voice with a well-developed story, character depth, a detailed historical setting, attention to language, and a deeper meaning.
3. Stories may be no longer than 5,000 words.
4. Students may enter only once, and stories must have individual authors.
5. Address and contact information should be entered in the form only; please do not enter contact information on the story itself.
6. On the upload form, enter your grade, high school, and current English teacher’s name.
7. Entries must be previously unpublished, online or otherwise, at the time of submission. (There is no need to withdraw stories if they are selected for publication after submission.)
8. The winner will be asked to provide proof of residency and high school student status (homeschool status is acceptable as long as documentation can be provided).
9. The winner must sign a standard Border Crossing publication contract (for first-time North American serial rights only–all other rights remain with the author). For legal minors, the winner’s parent or guardian will co-sign.
10. Per Border Crossing editorial board policy, the winning story may be subject to editing. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize if no entry of winning quality is received.

Border Crossing