Writing Guidelines

Easy reading is damn hard writing.

-Nathaniel Hawthorne

Writing Guidelines

Thank you for your interest in sharing your story with ZEALOT! We would be delighted to read your work, though we cannot promise to publish the work of every submitter. We do try to respond within 12 weeks of your submission with a personalized note. 

Keep in mind that our staff is made up of volunteers and is VERY small. So please do not query about your submitted work until 12 weeks after your submittal date. That said, if you have not heard from us in 12 weeks, send us a query reminding us of your submission and please forward along your original email and submission. Thanks for your patience with us.

In order to increase your chances of publication with us, we ask that you read and adhere to our guidelines below. If any of these elements listed below are missing, we may simply delete your email. 

For additional questions, please email hiZEALOTpress@GMAIL.COM, or contact us here. 


How should a ZEALOT magazine submission be formatted?

We expect a submission to:

-include your full name, address, email, and a 3-sentence author biography

-be between 1,000 and 2,000 words

-have zero typos

-be addressed to one of the editors of Zealot Magazine and Press (current editor-in-chief: Liz Charlotte Grant)

-be included in the body of your email

-be double-spaced

-include a word count

If any of these elements is missing, we may simply delete your email. 


What should a ZEALOT chapbook submission look like?

We expect a submission to:

-include your full name, address, email, and a 3-sentence author biography

-be between 10,000 and 30,000 words

-have zero typos (okay >10)

-be addressed to one of the editors of Zealot Magazine and Press (current editor-in-chief: Liz Charlotte Grant)

-be included as a PDF attachment

-be double-spaced with 1-inch margins

-include a word count

-include author's last name, title, and page numbers on the footer of every page 

If any of these elements is missing, we may simply delete your email. 


What kind of stories does ZEALOT publish/tell?

At ZEALOT, we believe that stories of religious experience are essential to us as humans on this planet. For this reason, faith stories need to be told. We share stories of Christian faith with our audience, with a particular emphasis on growing up in evangelical culture of the 90s to today, though the stories we publish are not limited to one Christian faith tradition.

We will release topical calls for submissions around certain topics.

Current Calls for Submissions

Weird Christians

We want your weird Christian stories! Tell us about the mission trip that went wrong, the foot washing service than ended in awkwardness, the “defining the relationship” talk (DTR, folks) that made you want to be swallowed into the earth, the “word from God” that made you do stupid things in the cafeteria. You see where we’re going with this?

Deadline: ONGOING

Pitch: Liz at hiZEALOTpress@gmail.com with the subject line: “ZEALOT Pitch: Weird Christians”

General Submissions

Growing Up Christian

In this category, we publish stories that create a sort of encyclopedia of childhood, teenage, and young adult Christian faith experiences, with a particular focus on stories from the evangelical culture of the 90s to today. (We are happy to publish stories from other Christian faith traditions as well). 

We're looking for stories around ideas such as: baptism or confirmation, "testimonies" of conversion, youth group, worship services, serving at church, missions trips, sense of spiritual "calling," Holy Spirit and/or charismatic experiences, church camp, Christian school, small group experiences, experiences with Christian friends, experiences of dating Christians, rebelling against Christian rules, particular Christian teachings, purity culture, CCM or Christian concerts, or your connection to Christian memorabilia.

Think outside the box about how your unique perspective gives us insight to Christian culture as a whole during your growing up years. Universality and relatability are essential elements in the stories we pick to publish (for example, what did purity culture look like in your church?)

Deconstructing Faith

In this category, we publish stories of "faith in transition."

Examples of transition include: you as a middle school student pushing back on the boundaries of your religious parents; a controversial issue coming to light in a way that affected your life; your marriage falling apart; a crisis of faith; you coming out as gay to a religious family member; one of your children walking away from your faith tradition; you converting to a new faith tradition or leaving a church; experiencing hurt by the Christian church from a specific leader or member.

Whatever your story of faith-shifting, disillusionment, hurt, or deeper enlightenment may be, we want to hear it as a raw, compelling narrative.


What genres does ZEALOT publish/tell?

The stories we publish are all true stories written with literary merit, and primarily fit into the genre of narrative nonfiction essays, with (VERY) occasional poetry and visual art to accompany and complement nonfiction works. We never publish fiction.

Unlike many journals covering the same thematic ground, we value literary experimentation, complexity, and storytelling. (Which means we also value the quality of what we are publishing over the quantity.) By "literary," we mean that we do not accept stream-of-conscious or blog quality; we want to see your best, most polished work that shares storytelling qualities with your favorite fictional works, using literary tools such as pacing, character development, setting, descriptive or lyrical language, and a story arch. (Think literary memoir, not opinion editorial.) We expect your work to be edited, and we will not be impressed by typos. 

We expect all published materials to be factually true and fact-checked by the author. If we show interest in publishing your work, we expect you to provide a bibliography for any other materials used in compiling your essay, and we expect you to acknowledge any other authors or sources that helped you write your submitted piece.  


Does ZEALOT publish satire?

No. While we appreciate serious topics approached with humor, our primary interest is in telling honest and raw stories of Christian religious experiences. (In the vein of, say, the New York Times's "Modern Love" column—or at least, we hope.) We value earnest exploration in our essays over cynicism.

At ZEALOT, we aim to provide literature to our readers that pushes forward the conversation of Christian faith in an engaging and authentic way, so that we all sit down to eat at the same table. The best work will make us think, question, doubt, and feel differently about the people who inhabit the world with us. We believe that cynicism undermines this goal of safe and open conversations between people of faith. (That being said, we are certainly open to a raw opinion shared with passion - or even a snarky, belly-laugh take on the Evangelical experience. Just not a whole essay of satire, please.)

Does ZEALOT accept unsolicited submissions?

Yes, please!

We accept unsolicited submissions and pitches for the ZEALOT podcast from September 1 through May 1, taking a break through the summer months because our children are home from school and have metamorphized into wild animals. (SOS!) 

Unsolicited manuscripts for ZEALOT chapbooks are accepted from May 1 to September 1.

We rarely accept unsolicited submissions of artwork or poetry, and our chief storyteller tends to solicit and curate those pieces personally. (But, what the hell, send your poetry to Liz and art to Jeremy at hiZEALOTpress@gmail.com.)


What rights over my writing does ZEALOT own if my work is published?

We retain first North American publication rights of your story and your copyright belongs to you. After six months, all rights revert back to you. We just ask that you credit us as the place you first published your work. Copyright for the podcast is a bit different, but still your story belongs to you.


Do you pay your authors?

No. Unfortunately, ZEALOT is entirely run by volunteers. (Okay, we pay one guy a measly sum for hours of sound editing.) We hope to pay contributors eventually, and we especially plan to offer payment to our chapbook authors as well.

In the meantime, we will archive your work indefinitely on the Internet and offer our chapbook authors a 50% royalty rate on all profits.


Will you reprint an essay I have published elsewhere?

It depends. If you have a platform of thousands, if you have written a damn fine essay, or if you're a friend, we might consider it. But please query us first and include a link to the original article. 


Will you publish an essay I wrote in seminary?

Short answer: no.

Long answer: there are many publications that tell Christian stories, but often, these stories are told with a particular goal of persuasion in mind (AKA, the theology needs to be "right" and the story is didactic, told to communicate or teach a predetermined point).

In contrast, we aim to create a culture of openness toward the storyteller and the audience, regardless of where the storyteller has landed theologically. Our goal is to create a safe space online to share any and all stories within the Christian experience, not just the ones that end in orthodox theology. 

We also emphasize story and personal transformation over theology, which means we will not publish any theological treatises unless they fall into the category of memoir. 


Does ZEALOT have any theological biases?

ZEALOT publishes and tells stories related to the Christian faith experience exclusively. We do not, however, require authors to sign a statement of faith or hold any Christian beliefs personally in order to publish their work - as long as authors' work deal with themes and experiences directly related to the Christian religion.

The editors of ZEALOT identify as Christian (Liz identifies as more of a charismatic Anglican with progressive leanings). BUT we love to engage with folks of varying denominations and beliefs. We welcome differences of opinion, theology, and experience and aim to create a safe space online for empathetic conversations (and disagreements) to be expressed. Join the conversation with us!