"The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don't know." Barbara Kingsolver, The Lacuna
We welcome creativity and originality in the nature of your work and your approach to your subject and maintain no clearly recognizable editorial biases. We do, however encourage you to consider that by the inherent nature of written expression, we find that a well-wrought passage that narrates a specific story or a finite moment within a life is usually far more effective at presenting something essential about that life than volumes of generalizations or summary. Similarly, we encourage you consider the frequent value found in getting out of the way of your subjects and allowing your subjects to speak for themselves. Indeed a carefully crafted interview with a subject might prove every bit as compelling and meaningful as a crafted narrative or exposition. But of course we value your voice as well and ask that submitting writers honor the uniqueness and innovation of their original, natural narrative voices every bit as much as they strive to present their subjects with honesty and candor. The smell of dishonest representation penetrates even within the cyber world. We react to such smell with the same reprehension as we do to work that appears focused on accomplishing an agenda. Present yourself and your subject as they are, part of the diverse, complex, and unruly citizenry of the universe, complete with warts and moles, hangovers and hangnails. Real life is messy, filled with broken plumbing and coagulating bacon grease, unmade beds and imperfect comebacks. Real biography recalls that sometimes you have to change the dressings on healing wounds and sometimes you have to add a little starch as you iron the shirt. Human nature is idiosyncratic and frequently contradictory, and, quite often, when you look close enough, it is downright graceful.
We welcome your submissions of original work. Please read some of the published pieces in both the "Featured Essays" section on the homepage and from the Archives tab on the menu. Consult our About page for a better sense of what we publish and a view of our editorial sensibilities. We offer no restrictions on approach to material or format, but we do ask that you kindly adhere to the following guidelines:
- nonfiction submissions only
- 250 - 2500 words (please contact the editor in advance should you have material that does not fit this length restriction and exceptions may be made)
- submit by email to firstname.lastname@example.org and paste your submission within the body of the email. Please make certain the words "biostories submission" and your last name appear in the subject line
- simultaneous submissions are acceptable; please notify us immediately if your piece is accepted elsewhere
Editorial Suggestions, Processes, and Policies:
All submitted pieces are subject to editorial review and selection. Should we decide to publish your work, we will contact you and at that time will request that you resubmit the work as a Word document attached to an email, along with a brief bio. We may request a photograph of your subject to accompany the piece if one is available. Pieces selected for publication are subject to copyediting, with author approval of suggested changes. Typically an essay will reside on the homepage for about a month. All pieces will be permanently archived (see Archives in menu). We acquire first rights for published material; copyright then reverts to the author. In the future, we may contact you requesting permission to include the material in a print anthology. As a general rule of thumb, biographical material is preferred over autobiographical material.
We strive to make timely editorial decisions, typically within four weeks. However, because bioStories is produced largely as a labor of love by a limited staff, please be do not contact us to inquire about the status of a submission until six weeks have passed.
At present, we are unable to pay authors for their material. As traffic to the site grows and we are in better position to seek grant funds, we hope to be able to compensate writers.