Litmosphere Logo

We’re thrilled to announce the new Litmosphere: Journal of Charlotte Lit!

Litmosphere is now an open-submission, paying literary and art journal, free to read and with no reading fees, published online twice a year, in Spring and Fall.

Get your work ready! We’ll be open July 1-31 (and again in January) for submissions of poetry, flash, short fiction, and literary nonfiction. A link to the full guidelines can be found below.

The Backstory: Why we’re making this change
We launched Litmosphere in 2022 as the journal of our annual Lit/South Awards. For three years, we published contest winners, finalists, and selected semi-finalists. (You can read those issues here.) While we felt good about the way we conducted our contests and were fortunate to receive many outstanding entries, we began to question the ethics of contests in general.

Don’t get us wrong, journal contests are exciting and can draw awareness to fantastic journals and fabulous writers. We enter several every year. At their best, they contribute mightily to the literary arts. Unfortunately, a number of them seem to have become high-volume money-makers, with big entry fees, significant honorariums paid to final judges who read just a small fraction of entries, and single winners who make out with publication and a nice bit of cash. What about the other 300-3000 writers who paid their entry fees for the privilege of sharing their best work?

While we were able to publish more Lit/South entries in Litmosphere than most––and, thanks to a generous benefactor, pay something to each of those writers––we had to ask ourselves: Do the Lit/South Awards further our mission to engage readers and writers through community? Are big cash prizes and big-name judges the best we can do?

What you can expect from the new Litmosphere
We know writers need readers. And we have a hunch that readers want a deeper reading experience than the random assemblage of contest winners and finalists can provide. We also know that writers who submit work for consideration (because we’re active submitters ourselves) value enthusiastic acceptance notes and thoughtful, personal declines. They appreciate receiving responses within a reasonable timeframe and, when possible, to be paid for their work. We want more for ourselves as editors, too. We’re eager to fashion a richer, more rewarding experience, one that allows us to connect with writers as we curate visually appealing issues with interesting narrative and thematic threads.

Our redesign allows us to address all of this. Here are the highlights:

  • Submissions will be free.
  • We’ll respond fast, no more than 30 days.
  • We’ll include a personal note, even if we can’t include a writer’s work in a particular issue.
  • We’ll give readers a deeper experience of authors’ voices by publishing together multiple poems and flash pieces from the same writers.
  • We’ll feature a visual artist in each issue, pairing a piece of their work with every poem or story.
  • We’ll pay our contributors: $50 per published poem, $50 per flash piece (up to 500 words), $100 for short fiction and literary nonfiction (up to 5,000 words), and $250 for the featured artwork.
  • We’re interested in work by all writers, emerging and established, and are particularly eager to receive submissions from those historically underrepresented in publishing. We no longer have a geographic restriction; anyone can enter from anywhere.

How do we pay for all this?
By now, you might wonder how a nonprofit press can afford to run a free-to-read, no submission fee, paying journal. The generous benefactor who helped us launch the Lit/South Awards is dedicated to helping us find new ways to build community through the literary arts and has enthusiastically agreed to continue funding the journal. Few organizations have the luxury of such creative freedom. Our categorization of Litmosphereas a paying outlet in no way casts dispersion on the great many wonderful literary journals who haven’t received such funding. Far too many are run on nothing but a passion for good writing, copious cups of coffee, and lots of good will. Huge gratitude to our benevolent, lit-loving friend!

So that’s the scoop!
We’re committed to crafting a nourishing, visually appealing, easy-to-navigate, free-to-read online journal. And we’d like to see the work you most want to share this July for our Fall issue. Here’s how to learn more and how to enter:

Submission Info & Guidelines
Submit Here July 1–31

A little something extra if you’ve read this far…

We’ve discovered two great new sites for finding places to submit your work and for learning about the process: Chill Subs and their companion Substack, Sub Club. We’ve partnered with the nice folks there to bring you a 10 percent discount on an annual plan if you sign up through this Sub Club link. Charlotte Lit will also receive an affiliate commission, so everyone wins!