GUIDELINES FOR WRITERS AS OF JANUARY 2012
In its 58th year of existence, Midstream begins its fourth year of quarterly publication with this first issue in 2012. We continue to welcome submission of manuscripts that deal with Jewish life and culture worldwide, past and present, with particular emphasis on contemporary Jewish affairs, political, social, and cultural, in America and in Israel. We trust that our four issues in 2012 will maintain Midstream's reputation as a leading American Jewish Zionist intellectual journal.
Midstream publishes many articles, at least one short story (fiction), and from three to ten poems per issue. Articles normally run from 2,000 to 4,000 words and fiction from 2,000 to 5,000 words. We have, on occasion, published shorter or longer articles, but writers should try to adhere to our stated limits. Poems are generally short, not more than twenty to thirty lines (counting stanza-break spaces), since poems are fillers on the final pages of articles. Here, too, we sometimes manage a longer poem printed in two columns if all the lines are very short. But poets should not count on this rarity. Poems and short fiction should also center on Jewish themes and Jewish life, but poems of a general nature should at least contain Jewish metaphorical allusions. Book reviews on current titles run from 1,000 to 2,000 words; review essays, (which are more extensive in reach and depth) from 2,000 to 4,000 words. Writers of unsolicited articles, memoirs, short stories, and poems need not contact the editor before submission, but it is advisable that book-reviewers send an e-mail description of the book they want to review and a note detailing their expertise in the field, since the editor normally chooses such titles and assigns reviewers. Midstream does not normally publish very short reviews (or articles) of less than 1,000 words.
Writers should include name, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number, with every submission. Writers of prose pieces should also include a word count, and a three- to four-line bio written in the third person. Writers of fiction or of non-fictional memoirs should clearly identify the genre of their submission. Fictionalized memoirs, especially of Holocaust experiences, are not acceptable; Holocaust fiction is acceptable. We emphasize this point because we seek to maintain the integrity of Holocaust testimony. We urge writers to avoid the word "story" in submitting an essay on Holocaust experiences. The writer should label such a piece a true memoir. But even if only the dialogue has been made up, the writer should label it fiction.
All manuscripts must be sent electronically as an attachment in Microsoft Word via email to midstreamTHF@aol.com. Poetry (up to three poems at a time in one mailing) should also be sent electronically as noted above. We are not equipped to publish submissions of hard copy received by regular mail. Such submissions will not be read or returned. Letters addressed "To the Editor" should also be sent electronically and limited to a maximum of 500 words. Letter writers do not receive notice of acceptance or rejection, or remuneration if published. The editor may copy edit a letter or even publish excerpts. The editor may also provide responses in print to a letter without seeking permission from the original letter-writer. If a writer does not want his/her letter published, he/she should say so in the body of the letter.
Midstream has historically retained the copyright ownership to all material published in each issue. If a writer or a writer's agent seeks return of such a right after publication (and usually after a waiting period of six months), the writer must ask for this permission upon submission of the manuscript. Midstream frequently receives requests from publishers to reprint a Midstream article or poem. We negotiate financial terms with the publisher making such a request and then divide the proceeds equally with our writer of the piece. Consequently, it is usually to the writer's benefit to have Midstream retain the copyright. A writer seeking to republish his/her Midstream piece in a book collection of his own work (for example, in a book collection of all his short fiction or poetry), need not seek permission from us. We would simply expect him to give Midstream credit in his book as the original venue. But if his short story has been accepted for publication by a publisher in an anthology containing many other writers, the publisher must contact us for permission to reprint something from Midstream. Writers, by submitting to Midstream, acknowledge acceptance of all these terms noted above.
Midstream receives many manuscripts each week for consideration by the editor, but its editorial staff is very small. Consequently, response time to writers may take as long as six months, or even more. Editors cannot offer comments or criticism on manuscripts not accepted for publication. Writers are urged to proofread their own work meticulously since our minuscule staff cannot spend valuable time correcting manuscripts replete with errors. Clean copy makes its own good impression. For the same reason, we urge writers to submit their final version of a piece since belated revisions increase our reading burden appreciably and are rarely welcomed. Timely articles that are accepted may be published quickly, but others that are accepted may take up to a year or more to appear in one of the four quarterly issues. Solicitation of articles by the editor is not an automatic promise of publication; that can only come after the submission has been received, read, and officially accepted. We do not pay kill-fees.
Payment for published manuscripts is calculated at five cents a word for prose, $25 for a published poem, and three complimentary copies of the issue containing the writer's work. Copies are sent out soon after publication. Monetary remuneration must often be delayed a substantial length of time for Midstream to receive its stipends from its supporters. Midstream, nevertheless, has an unblemished record of remunerating its writers without fail since its inception in 1955. We welcome all writers, Jews and non-Jews alike, who support Midstream’s mission. •