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 and at least one issue of OMQ before submitting your work.

Submission Guidelines

Please note that these guidelines are updated from our website, as we are currently having technical difficulties editing the site. 

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; and
  4. testify to the significance, impact and dignity of our lives, in spite of the stigma that marks us otherwise.

OMQ is published by 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, and of video, audio and multimedia creative works for publication in OMQ Online, our forthcoming online supplement to OMQ.

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 5 and 10 percent, depending on the section of the magazine, but we hope to accept more submissions once our Online Edition is ready for launch. 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.

Both OMQ and OMQ Online are composed of the following sections:

Attestations—Creative nonfiction, including 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. 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. 

We regret that we do not have the labour power necessary to accept submissions by email, nor to answer queries by email or telephone about whether a submission has been received/read or why a submission was not accepted. Our editor does not answer unsolicited enquiries by phone. Business enquires can be directed to Audrey O’Brien at aobrien@nisa.on.ca or 705-222-6472 x 314.

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 and OMQ Online receive two contributors’ copies of the issue in which they are published, or two copies of the latest issue of OMQ, if they are published online only.

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 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. 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 one month of the end of the submission period. Submissions to OMQ Online will be reviewed as quickly as possible, but may not receive a response for several months. 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. 

Ends on November 30, 2017

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 or online. 

You may submit work for consideration for the print edition of the Winter 2017 issue only, or for both the Winter 2017 issue and the forthcoming online edition of OMQ. Work that we wish to accept, but which we cannot fit into this issue, will be held for consideration for future issues for one year. We happily accept simultaneous submissions during the initial submission period, and if we notify you that we wish to hold your submission for consideration for future issues, then you may submit it elsewhere in the meantime as well. 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—(In)Completion

For the Winter 2018 issue, OMQ is seeking contributions of writing and art that consider such questions as:

  • What does it mean to be complete, whole or finished? Conversely, what does it mean to be incomplete, partial or unfinished?
  • How do we achieve completion or closure in our lives, in everyday ways and in the grand scheme?
  • Do our mental health challenges add to or take away from our complete selves?
  • Are we missing any pieces? If so, which pieces and why?
  • What does it mean to live in bodies or lives that are always “becoming”? What is the difference between being “incomplete” and being “not yet complete”?
  • How has your perspective on holistic wellness, illness and/or recovery been informed by your experiences?
  • How do we grieve or commemorate the loss that comes with being incomplete? What actions, besides grieving, can fill holes in our lives?
  • Is it OK to be, or to be seen by others as, a few fries short of a Happy Meal (or a few lunatics short of an asylum)?
  • Is there something to be gained by not having everything?

OMQ encourages submissions that discuss this theme in relation to experiences of being gendered, racialized, colonized, queer or otherwise Other, as well as from authors whose communities are typically under-represented in mass media.