General Submissions

Please note: The process for submitting your work to OMQ has changed. There will be a submission period for each issue. The Summer and Winter issues of each year will be themed issues. Fall and Spring issues will be open-theme. Please read the guidelines below to the very end and at least one issue of OMQ before submitting your work.

Because our assistant editors are volunteers with limited time and who review within their areas of specialization only, we must decline submissions that do not conform to our guidelines. 

Submission Guidelines

About & Scope

Open Minds Quarterly is a glossy 28-page consumer magazine with paid circulation, which features poetry, memoir, fiction, interviews, reviews and other writing and art by people whose experiences are often diagnosed as mental illnesses or addictions, and by our supporters and allies. OMQ aims to amplify the voices of people personally affected by mental illness and/or addiction, facilitating explorations of life with(in) illness and recovery. In so doing, we:

  1. grow the language, narrative structures and media forms available to us for making sense of our world, helping to shape contemporary Canadian and world literatures;
  2. offer our lived experiences to inform policy, legislation and community attitudes around mental illness;
  3. create space for people with lived experience of mental illness and/or addiction to consider our differences, the marginalization and oppression many of us face because of colonization, racism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, ableism and capitalism, and the ways these injustices make us unwell; 
  4. and testify to the significance, impact and dignity of our lives, in spite of the stigma that marks us otherwise.

OMQ is published by NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action, a peer-run mental health support organization built on the premise that people with mental illnesses and/or addictions are intelligent, creative and valuable.

While our primary focus is on literature and other creative works, we regularly publish interviews reflecting on themes addressed in the magazine, reviews of books, films, websites and other media relevant to our readers, and – very rarely – opinion, editorial and research writing. In addition to publishing written contributions, we accept submissions of photographs, visual art and cartoons for publication on the cover or inside the magazine.

The volume of submissions to OMQ is high, and as a result, we cannot accept nearly as many contributions as we would like. Our acceptance rate is currently between five and 10 per cent, depending on the section of the magazine. The work we publish is insightful and well-written, offering unique, critical or novel perspectives on life with(in) mental illness, addictions and recovery. Only writers who are personally affected by mental health or addiction issues, whether as a survivor or as an ally or helping professional, are eligible for publication in OMQ.

What We Publish

Our scope is purposefully broad. We want to review and disseminate explorations of life with(in) mental illness and/or addictions, as well as discussion of concepts such as recovery and wellness, in all the forms these works might take.

OMQ is composed of the following sections:

Attestations—Creative nonfiction, including first person accounts, personal essays & memoir 󠇋● 1000-3000 words

Refractions—Fiction, drama & other forms of storytelling ● 1000-3000 words

Inscriptions—Interviews, reviews, opinion & research articles 󠇋● 1000-3000 words

Emanations—Poetry, flash prose & similar ● up to 4 pieces, max. 8 pages/3000 words

Manifestations—Visual, digital & mixed media 󠇋● up to 4 pieces, max. 8 pages/3000 words

Disorientations—Experimental writing 󠇋● up to 4 pieces, max. 8 pages/3000 words

Work should be typed and submitted online at https://openmindsquarterly.submittable.com/submit.

If you do not have access to a computer or internet at home, you might be able to use computers at your local library or mental health organization. Most public libraries offer computer assistance as a standard service. If you have exhausted every alternative, you may submit your work by mail to Open Minds Quarterly, 36 Elgin St., Sudbury, ON P3C5B4. Mailed submissions will receive a response only if they are accepted. Handwritten submissions are very strongly discouraged, but if you must hand-write your submission, it must be readable.

We accept simultaneous submissions, and if we ask to hold your work for placement in a future issue of OMQ, you may still submit it elsewhere. Please notify us immediately if your submission is accepted elsewhere. To ensure everyone has a fair chance to have their submission carefully and expertly reviewed, we will consider only one submission at a time (including submissions held for future issues) from each writer. 

Considerations

Developmental editing: First-time and beginner writers are strongly encouraged to submit their work to OMQ. We often publish first-time writers. Very infrequently, we accept work from first-time writers that shows extraordinary potential to offer a new or unusual take on mental illness/addiction but needs considerable revision before we can publish it. In these cases, our editors will offer the writer an opportunity to learn about writing and editing techniques, identify their writing’s strengths and weaknesses and revise their work for publication.

Payment: It is in the best interest of the magazine to compensate our writers for their hard work, and it is in the best interest of Canadian literature on the whole for writers to earn a decent, sustainable income from their work. It is simply fair for publishers to share profits with writers. OMQ is a project funded by NISA/Northern Initiative for Social Action, a non-profit consumer/survivor initiative in Northern Ontario. Currently, sales and subscription revenues do not cover the cost of publishing the magazine—we do not turn a profit. We are doing everything we can to secure funding for cash payments to everyone who contributes to OMQ. In the meantime, we offer an honorarium of $50 to artists whose work is featured on our front and back covers. Writers and artists published in OMQ receive two contributors’ copies of the issue in which they are published.

Publication: If your submission is accepted for publication in OMQ, we will ask you to grant us one-time, non-exclusive serial and/or electronic publication rights to your work. That means we’re asking for permission to publish your work once, in the print (serial) and/or future online (electronic) editions of OMQ, but you retain ownership of your work and can freely submit it for publication elsewhere. This is true whether OMQ is the first place you’ve published your submission, or you have previously published it in another magazine (non-exclusive). If your submission has previously been published in another magazine, book or website, check that they do not own exclusive rights to your work before you submit it to OMQ.

Review process: Submissions to OMQ are reviewed by one or two assistant editors, who advise the editor-in-chief on whether to accept or decline a piece. Assistant editors are people who are personally affected by mental illness, as survivors and supporters, and who are knowledgeable about literature and culture. Our assistant editors conduct a blind review of the submissions so please ensure your name or other identifying information are not included within your actual submission file or in the file name anywhere. The editor-in-chief makes the final decision about whether or not to publish a contribution. Submissions to particular issues of OMQ will receive a response within two months of the end of the submission period. Editorial decisions are final.

Scholarly review: If we agree that the topic and scope of your research article is suitable for OMQ, we can arrange for blind peer review by other scholars, upon request. OMQ staff will conduct an independent ethics review, via NISA’s research group, PARNorth, of any research accepted for publication. 

Business inquiries can be directed to Audrey O’Brien at aobrien@nisa.on.ca or 705-222-6472 x 314.

Editorial inquiries can be directed to Ella Jane Myers at emyers@nisa.on.ca or 705-222-6472 x 303.

Thank you for choosing to submit your work to Open Minds Quarterly: Explorations of Life With(in) Mental Illness, Addiction & Recovery

This submission form gives us the information we need to review your submission and, if it is accepted, to publish it in the magazine.

We happily accept simultaneous submissions during the initial submission period. Please let us know right away is your submission is accepted elsewhere.

Before submitting, please view our submission guidelines at openmindsquarterly.submittable.com/submit.

Winter 2018—Signs & Symptoms

The Winter 2018 issue will focus on how the concepts of "signs and symptoms" relate to people's lived experience of madness/mental health challenges and/or accessing mental health services. Submissions for this issue will open on September 1, 2018, and will remain open until November 30, 2018. Please include an explanation of how your work relates to this issue's theme in the "Description of Submission" section.

We are interested in work that addresses questions including (but not limited to):

  •  What do the concepts of signs and symptoms bring to mind for you?
  • What are the signs and symptoms you have experienced in a one-time, or recurring basis? 
  • What are the signs that you're doing well/not well?
  • How  do your symptoms impact your life?
  • How have your symptoms been understood by yourself, others, and how have they influenced your identity, or not? 
  • How do you manage your symptoms?
  • What symptoms does society at large exhibit?
  • What signs do you observe on the direction of systemic and cultural change around “mental health”?    

OMQ publishes submissions from consumers/survivors of mental health challenges/services who have experiences to share and voices to be heard; consumers/survivors are defined as anyone who has lived experience of madness/mental health challenges. We are seeking submissions that are insightful, intelligent and creative, because we know that's what those of us with lived experience are.

Your writing needn't focus on madness/mental health  if you are submitting poetry, fiction, or visual art; however, nonfiction, reviews, open letters, and research should relate specifically to experiences of madness or mental health challenges. We welcome submissions from friends and family members of mental health consumers, but these submissions should be related to your experience with mental health issues as the family member or friend.

OMQ encourages submissions that relate to experiences of being marginalized that include being gendered, racialized, colonized, queer or otherwise Other, as well as from authors whose communities are typically under-represented. 

There is an optional space in the submission process to self-identify as belonging to marginalized communities; as we understand some people may not feel comfortable or safe self-identifying, it is by no means mandatory. Any information you share with us on this subject will be kept strictly confidential.

Open Minds Quarterly