10,000 Tons of Black Ink is an online publication that features quality literary or experimental fiction and creative non-fiction. Periodically, as submissions dictate, 10,000 Tons of Black Ink will publish a “Best Of” print edition, highlighting the very best work published
 on the website. The goal of 10,000 Tons of Black Ink is to represent the best of what is freshly pouring from the pens of today’s most talented, creative, and hardworking authors. The passion of emerging literary artists cannot be outdone, and we seek out those pieces that have the mark of love and toil, the stains of sweat and tears, and the touch of brilliance and innovation.

Fiction: We are seeking quality fiction (including traditional, experimental, flash (under 1,000 words), and novel excerpts) and creative non-fiction that is distinguished through a strong sense of conflict, fully developed characters and crisp dialogue that moves the story forward. We enjoy when characters reveal themselves through dialogue and action (“showing”) rather than by talking about their feeling or thoughts (“telling”). We like unexpected subject matter, a story, whether funny or serious, that captures the hearts and minds of intelligent readers. We only publish literary works; we do not accept genre pieces, including conventional science fiction, romance, horror, fantasy, etc.

Creative non-fiction:
We are looking for story. A story that reads and feels like fiction told through personal experience. Think of the likes of Annie Dillard, Mary Karr, Alice Sebold, Barbara Robinette Moss. We do not accept: theoretical, scholarly, or critical essays, editorials, literary criticism, historical accounts, or autobiography/biography.

The Careful Writer: Please follow our submission guidelines. It’s clear when writers submit without consulting our guidelines first and it doesn’t give us much confidence in the potential of working with a careless writer. We want to know that we’re engaging in a collaborative relationship with a professional, so please adhere to our guidelines.

Patience: Due to the increasing volume of unsolicited submissions, the average response time is two to six months. All submissions are read, from beginning to end, by our staff of volunteers and we do our best to get through the submissions as soon as possible. Remember, the longer it takes us to get back to you, the further along your work is in the reading process.

We are able to build on the strengths and voices of our editorial team since we are not a revolving group of editors. The same core group of five that began with the magazine in the spring of 2007 remains together. We continue to collaborate with the goal of building a literary journal that offers fresh new fiction from emerging and established writers.

All submissions are initially sent to our editorial members for a blind-read, that is, we remove the author’s name and address and identify it by a number. The editorial team is never made aware of the authors and their origins until a story receives a high enough ranking to be accepted, usually after a second reading process, and the piece needs to be edited. As much as we would like to feature Chicago writers first and foremost, we believe that the story itself needs to be weighed based on its own literary merit and warrant publication.

Our goal is to print a “Best Of” edition of 10,000 Tons of Black Ink annually. Although, we may consult statistical data, such as the number of click-throughs a story receives, our editorial team ultimately guides the decision-making process. When our staff submits their ranking for each story they read blindly, they simply note whether they think a piece should be considered for the “Best Of” publication. This is taken into consideration and noted as the editorial board decides on the stories that will be published online. The editorial board finalizes the “Best Of” selections during the preproduction process, after which authors are contacted via e-mail. Thus, writers whose work appears in our online publication should inform us of any changes in their contact information.

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