***These guidelines are for regular submissions. If you’re looking for the guidelines for our Flash Future contest (with prize money!)
The Molotov Cocktail is interested in volatile flash fiction, the kind of prose you cook up in a bathtub and handle with rubber gloves. While literary fiction is certainly welcomed, The Molotov Cocktail isn’t some erudite journal that will only accept stories with at least five layers of metaphor. We want your action, we want your rotten characters, we want viscera. While genre pieces are permissible, anything that is reliant on genre convention over story will not be looked kindly upon. It’s all about language and story.
We encourage surrealist and experimental stuff, so hit us with your best shot, but avoid the following genres because we’ll reject them outright: romance, children’s or young adult, swords and sorcerers brand of fantasy. Also, avoid the following because they’ll make us want to punch you in the face:
• Stories set primarily in bars, coffee shops, or high school
• Stories about writers
• Dialogue with words like “Um” and “Oh”
• Stories glorifying rape, incest, or necrophilia (unless you’re Joyce Carol Oates, in which case we’ll put you in the maybe pile, Ms. Oates).
• Stories in which the first two or three lines involve someone pondering something while watching their cigarette smoke swirl up into the light.
• Bios in which you refer to yourself as “crazy” or “unhinged” or “insane.” It may sound edgy to you, but to us it sounds as outmoded as electroshock therapy.
• Demanding pre-approval of any edits we make. You’re not that special.
• Please, please, please don’t tell us you are thus far unpublished. It’s not sexy. If you hope to make us your first, know that we prefer seduction over pity fucks.
Also, lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of stories that end with gunshots. We’ve published a few, but we are getting tired of these endings so probably won’t be publishing many more in the near future. We love crude and ruthless fiction, but anything overtly scatological, pornographic, or exploitative won’t be touched with a 10-foot editor’s pole.
Submissions must not exceed 1000 words unless those extra words are fucking genius. Even so, you’d be wise to keep it under 1000, with priority given to fiction that tells the most engaging and self-contained story in the fewest words (average length of accepted pieces is around 300-600).
Poetry is accepted, but only if it’s actually flash fiction. ALL SUBMISSIONS MUST BE SENT THROUGH SUBMITTABLE (<— Click that).You’ll have to set up an account there, but if you’re a writer worth her salt than you should be doing that anyway. If you want to e-mail us for reasons other than submissions, you can still use the old e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org).
In case you’re skimming this section (for shame), here it is again: Submit to The Molotov Cocktail
Please include a clever two sentence bio written in the third person, but no cover letters are necessary or desired. Bios can list your credentials if that gets you off, but we prefer cleverly-worded insight into who you really are or imagine yourself to be. Simultaneous submissions are encouraged—because how else do you expect to get published—but please inform us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere or we’ll have no other choice but to release the flying monkeys. Please do not submit more than one story at a time. And don’t inquire about the status of your submission. We’re loyal about responding to each and every submission, but if you don’t hear from us for some reason then it’s a safe bet we don’t want to use it. Upon acceptance, we may also edit your story (for length, grammar, or syntax) without notification, because we’re the editors, damn it.
The Molotov Cocktail accepts no liability arising from the publication of an author’s work. All content appearing on this site is fictional, despite any resemblances to actual people. We reserve one-time electronic rights (and we’ll keep your work in our archives indefinitely) but authors, of course, retain copyrights. Should we publish a print anthology in the future, we will contact you to request permission to feature your work. By submitting work to The Molotov Cocktail you are agreeing to these terms and conditions. Please note that we cannot pay for stories at this time, except in warm fuzzies, of which we have a judiciously rationed supply.