Switchback is an online publication of the MFA in Writing Program at the University of San Francisco. Please read the guidelines below carefully before submitting. On behalf of everyone here at Switchback, thank you for considering us!

General Guidelines OR Things You’ll Want to Know about Us Quickly

1. We only consider previously unpublished works. No exceptions. Thank you.
2. We do not accept submissions via email or postal service. You can submit your work to us through Submittable. If you run into any technical difficulties in uploading your submission, please contact us at submissions@swback.com.
3. We do accept simultaneous submissions; however, we ask that you notify us as soon as humanly possible if your work is accepted elsewhere. If you’re exclusively submitting work to us, we appreciate the thought.
4. If you’re submitting prose, please limit your submission to one story or essay at a time. Stories and essays should be no more than 4,500 words, but we prefer pieces closer to 3,500 words. We won't consider any prose pieces that go over the word count. Period. Sorry, but dem's the breaks.
5. If you’re submitting poetry, please submit to us no more than three poems. We like things in threes: Olympic medals, wishes, Cerberus heads, jazz ensembles. We don’t like things in fours, except when it comes to lists of things in threes.
6. Before submitting, please read some of our back issues to familiarize yourself with the content we choose to publish. It's all readily available on our Web site, so there's really no reason not to.

Following these guidelines will allow us to take you and your work more seriously. If you break the rules, we will swiftly and speedily fail to read your work. Now, here's a giant, easy button you can press to submit to us:


Now a quick word from our respective genre editors.


We welcome stories of all genres and subject matter. We simply want your best work—stories that you’ve devoted a lot of time and care to. We don’t want to see your first drafts, and probably not your second drafts, either. Likewise, we don’t want stories riddled with clichés, tired tropes, melodrama, or flowery language. We appreciate precision, attention to craft, and language that surprises and inspires us.



Please submit completed nonfiction essays on any topic. We'll read any true story.

- Nate


How can we push poetry forward? How can we make poetry lively and interesting? How can we evolve this lovely and resilient art-form through this relatively new millennium, and on? We want your best work, your most original work, we want your strangest work. We love it when you take risks. We want work that is exciting, poems which know the joy of words and celebrate it with every phrase. We want to praise you, but only if you earn it. We love good writing just as much as you do, and we want to publish your best writing. Send us your best, your weirdest, your most inspired. Well-done weirdness, in particular, is always a plus. Send us your sick, your dying...leave some soul and blood and maybe a little love on the (digital) page. We want music, we need it, just as much as you do...so please, do us the honor of sending us your best songs. We are here to make sure others hear them.

- Stan


Switchback regularly publishes reviews of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on our Web site. As a rule, we generally prefer to read reviews of lesser known works, of books you’re less likely to come across in the New York Times Book Review or Publishers Weekly, but we’re open to all good writing. Reviews should fall somewhere between 500 and 2000 words. Please state in your cover letter what genre your review falls under, so we may pass it along to the correct genre editor. Publicists interested in sending us catalogue listings or review galleys of forthcoming titles should send a query to editor@swback.com.


Switchback features artwork in a number of different contexts. If possible, please include a statement with your submission indication how you envision your art being featured in Switchback.

1. As "cover" art, used as the background art for our issue.
2. Single pieces, to be displayed alongside an individual work of writing.
3. As part of a "featured artist" feature. To be considered as one of Switchback's featured artists, we ask that you submit a series of at least five pieces, along with an artist's statement about the work.

Questions? Just email editor@swback.com.

Switchback at Submittable Once again, Switchback no longer accepts email or hard copy submissions. SUBMIT TO SWITCHBACK USING SUBMITTABLE. If you experience any technical difficulties uploading your submission, please contact us at: submissions@swback.com.

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