What do you look for in a piece of poetry, prose, art, or music?
We are interested in music, in every form that takes. More specifically: for the journal, we like pieces that make us rethink the issue’s theme, pieces that serve as incantations and invocations for melody. For the press, we like books that are different from anything we’ve ever published, books that introduce music into their lexicon in stunning and surprising ways. For the radio show, we like poems and songs that defy genre, account for the unaccountable, wake us up, soften, burn us whole. We generally gravitate to the lyrical over the straight-talking and the surreal over the down-to-earth—but also, we like to be surprised.
For the radio show, around 6-7%, depending on the time of year. For the literary journal, 4%. For the publishing house, just over 1%.
What are your acceptance rates?
You took months to respond to my submission, but my friend had their submission responded to within days! What gives?
We’re a very small organisation, and as such, our submissions tend to ebb and flow. In recent years our response time has lengthened considerably as our readership and submission pool grows—but sometimes we have an unusually light submission period, and are able to send responses within a week. It really all depends on the time of year! Regardless, we respond to all submissions as quickly as we can, and while we try to standardise our response time as much as possible, sometimes it will vary.
Do you take recommendations from editors or readers into account when considering submissions?
No. Our submission process is completely blind, and we do not take into consideration recommendations we receive from anyone inside or outside Half Mystic. We do conduct background checks on submitters once our editors have accepted a piece for publication, to ensure that all our contributors align with our values and haven’t displayed signs of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, or any other bigotry in the past—but before we’ve decided to accept a piece, no recommendations are factored into the process.
Will it negatively impact my submission if I don’t include a cover letter?
For journal and radio submissions, no! For manuscript submissions, it won’t necessarily turn an acceptance into a rejection if you don’t include a cover letter, but we do prefer to know a bit about the authors we work with before we sign any contracts. Call us old-fashioned, but we work closely alongside our authors to create something lasting and carefully-crafted out of your words—and we want to know who you are alongside your lovely work.
Will you ever release the journal for free online?
Right now, it doesn’t look like we will. Half Mystic Journal has been released in print and eBook format semiannually since our inception in 2015, and it’s important to us to maintain the quality and constancy that this format affords us. We also love how print editions of HMJ are limited edition, so that when they’re gone, they’re gone. That said, there are many other ways to experience Half Mystic’s work for free—try listening to Half Mystic Radio, immersing yourself in the blog, or attending a free gathering in your city.
Yes, from past contributors, authors, and staff members! We’re always open to hosting our community for interviews, guest posts, essays, selections, or any other post idea you have in mind. Email us your pitch at email@example.com. (Please note that if you have not previously contributed to or worked for Half Mystic, we unfortunately aren’t able to host you at this time.)