About, Submit, & Membership

The Coil
The Coil
Published in
12 min readJun 26, 2016


ALTERNATING CURRENT is an independent press dedicated to publishing and promoting incredible literature that challenges readers and has an innate sense of self, timelessness, and atmosphere. We love science, history, homebound roots, rural landscapes, poetic literary fiction, diverse voices, and all that is electric in the literary world.

We are the home of Footnote: A Literary Journal of History, a print journal that features authors’ personal and non-scholarly viewpoints on historical people, places, events, and ideas in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. We are also the home of the Luminaire Award for Best Poetry and Best Prose, the Charter Oak Award for Best Historical, the Electric Book Award (for an unpublished manuscript to become a book), the Spark Book Award (for a young adult manuscript on themes of science, math, engineering, computing, invention, or history), and Microgrants for Marginalized Writers, including the Oblaye Award for Great Plains & Midwestern Native American Writers, the Still I Rise Grant for Black American Women Writers, and the Unsilenced Grant for Muslim American Women Writers. We have an incredible catalog of books on Alternating Current Press, and offer top-notch editing and critiquing services by a panel of editors that are some of the best in the industry.

THE COIL is a daily literary journal that features essays, book reviews, interviews, Shelfies, columns, articles, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, artwork, historical writing, literary recipes, book lists, soundbites, and more. We always have something new and electric, so follow us, and check back often. We welcome diverse and underrepresented voices and are an LGBT+ safe-space.

All of our features are available to read free for two weeks, and then they become locked for MEMBERS ONLY. We need your support to pay our authors, so please scroll down to become a member!


The Coil ONLY CONSIDERS fiction, poetry, and writing on historical subjects, through Alternating Current Press’ regular submission process here. DO NOT submit it to us any other way.


Book Reviews:

We look for well-written book reviews that are analytical or that draw comparisons to history or culture, especially in an essay style. We have a vast readership and will feature any style, genre, author, or publisher, large and small alike, if the review is of interest to our readership. No religion or hardcore erotica, for the most part; intelligent exceptions have occurred. No hate speech. Reviews have a minimum requirement of 4 paragraphs and 2 quoted snippets from the book. To see whether a book has already been assigned to a reviewer, see our active list here. We accept FINISHED reviews; if you are seeking a review for your own book, email requests for review consideration to our Book Reviews Editor at reviews.acpress {at} gmail.com, and do not include attachments. Reviews should be submitted by the writer of the review, not the author of the book; reviews from authors pertaining to their own work will be declined. To read the reviews in The Volt column, click here. Examples of what we are seeking can be found in reviews by Jen Corrigan here and Laura Citino here. [SUBMIT REVIEWS]

Essays, Articles, & Columns:

We look for well-written and topical essays, articles, and columns. Although not entirely required, we are really geared toward a literary scene and are seeking works that reflect that atmosphere. We love pieces that incorporate current events, culture, rural landscapes, diverse voices, books, booklists, science, holidays, personal experiences, craft, and history. We are big fans of research, digging beneath the top layer, and well-formed arguments. No hate speech. We are always accepting general essays and columns on any theme, and are happy to work with scheduling for book-blog tours and release dates. Text-based essays and columns have a minimum requirement of 4 paragraphs. We can handle images, videos, artwork, photography, and sound. Please upload media separately from the main piece; if there is a link to hosted media on external sites, that is preferable to uploaded media, so please just list the available links. To read all material in The Spark, click here. To read essays only, click here. To read all columns, click here. See below for our regular column features. [SUBMIT ESSAYS & COLUMNS]


Literary Recipes:

We look for well-made (and taste-tested) food and drink recipes with a literary bent. They can be based on food from books, be based on what characters might eat or drink, have punny literary titles, or simply be a recipe accompanied by an essay. We are open about that, but it should pertain to literature in some facet. Images are a plus; please upload them separate from the body of your main piece. [SUBMIT LITERARY RECIPES]

Essays on Topics of Expertise:

On:Topic is a series of essays where authors can go into extensive detail on topics they know a great deal about. Are you an ‘expert’ at making wooden birdhouses, laying paneling in floor, getting clean drinking water to underprivileged countries, timber-felling, or knowing which trees belong in which tree families? Go into detail about a topic you know well, how to do it, what to look for, and why it’s important to you. Minimum requirement of 4 paragraphs, and images or video tutorials are highly encouraged, although links to external media are preferable over attached media. [SUBMIT ON:TOPIC ESSAYS]

Essays on Moments of Passion:

The Last Thing I Loved is exactly what it sounds like. We are seeking essays on the last thing you truly loved, something you felt so passionate about when you found out about it, heard it, tried it, tasted it, read it, saw it, revisited it, that you just had to tell everyone. Tell us that passion, and make us feel it. Minimum requirement of 4 paragraphs. [SUBMIT LAST THING I LOVED ESSAYS]

Stories/Essays on Alternate/Alternative Histories:
[This is the only fiction we accept directly through the journal.] History and science is our passion at The Coil. But what if something in history had been altered, changed for better or worse? We seek fun, interesting, sad, quirky, well-researched fiction on alternate/alternative histories for any person, place, event, idea, or time period in history. Please don’t write about living people. Be tasteful if events are in recent history with living survivors. No hate speech. We are interested in well-thought-out pieces and are not looking for flash. Essays are also accepted, if you want to dabble in the scholarly what-ifs. [SUBMIT ALTERNATE HISTORIES]

Essays on Literary or Historical Events:

The On This Day series focuses on events in history that took place ‘on this day,’ with a bent toward literary, scientific, cultural, and historical events. We look for well-written, well-researched essays and articles that say something deeper than a Wikipedia version — something quirky, little-known, or personal about some person, place, idea, book, etc., that took place ‘on this day’ in history. Minimum of 4 paragraphs. Essays have to be received at least two weeks before the ‘day’ in question and should be well-sourced. [SUBMIT ON THIS DAY ESSAYS]

Collections of Authors:

The Collector series highlights odd or fun collections of items that authors have hoarded through the years. Do you collect something weird? Stamps and baseball cards are fine, but we are mostly looking for collections that go a little outside the norm, just for the fun of it. This series is for authors who have at least one published book in the last two years (or forthcoming within the next four months) on a traditional press (not self-published) and can be an essay or a series of photos without much comment, although some comment should be given as to the what and why of your collection. At least one photo of your collection and at least one paragraph is required. You may list multiple collections in one essay, if you have more than one collection, but do not make two separate essays for multiple collections; we will only feature each author once. [SUBMIT COLLECTOR ESSAYS]

Dissecting How Well Books Hold up over Time:

The Hold-Up series features columns about older books and how well they hold up over time, after a second look. Books should be at least a couple years old, but you decide your own topic and book. How does it fit in with today’s society? What changed, for better or worse? Minimum of 4 paragraphs. [SUBMIT HOLD-UP ESSAYS]

Novel & Book Excerpts:
We will consider standalone excerpts from novels, memoirs, collections, and other books for promotional purposes during the week of the book’s release date or during the dates of a book blog tour only. Excerpts are only considered for published books from a traditional press (not self-published) and not from works-in-progress that have not yet found a publisher. No religion, Christian fiction, romance, hate speech, or erotica. [SUBMIT EXCERPTS]

Advice Column:
We are currently working on a unique advice column for our journal, so come back to find out about it in the future.

Monthly Photo Prompt Contest:
Every month, we pick a historical photo, and we ask you to write something about it. The winners are published in a post the following month. To enter, follow the instructions on the contest posts for any open contests. To read all DaguerreoTyped entries, click here. [SUBMIT DAGUERREOTYPED]

Brief Book Blurbs:

Indie Book Radar is our column of brief book blurbs where we talk about what we’re reading. This column is contributed to by Alternating Current staff and regular book reviewers only and does not take outside submissions. If you are interested in contributing, please become a regular reviewer. To read all Indie Book Radar entries, click here.


Interviews & Conversations:
We look for interesting and engaging interviews and conversations with literary figures, authors, editors, publishers, agents, heads of literary organizations, artists, people doing creative things in the world, &c. Especially interested in topical conversations (new books released, upcoming speaking engagement, film adaptation, something pertaining to holidays/events). Minimum of 5 engaging questions for a standard interview; no maximum. Other types of conversations considered, such as forums, debates, or polls. Please acquire a headshot and professional bio from the interviewee and any links or photos to include, such as book covers. Upload the hi-res headshot and photos separately from the main body file. This category is for FINISHED interviews that should be submitted by the interviewer, not the interviewee; our in-house interviewers choose whom they would like to interview themselves, and we do not accept outside requests for people wishing to be interviewed by our staff. To read all The Inductor interviews, click here. To read all interviews and conversations, click here. [SUBMIT INTERVIEWS]

Self-Interview Series:
We accept self-interviews from authors who have at least one published book in the last two years (or forthcoming within the next four months) on a traditional press (not self-published). A self-interview is where you ask yourself the questions that you want people to know, and answer them yourself. Humorous, odd, quirky, intimate, and/or getting deeply personal with previously unknown parts of your life, works the best. Minimum of 5 engaging questions; no maximum. [SUBMIT SELF-INTERVIEWS]

Photo-Interview Series:
We accept photo-interviews from authors who have at least one published book in the last two years (or forthcoming within the next four months) on a traditional press (not self-published). A photo-interview is one in which you provide photos pertaining to something about yourself, a book, inspiration for writing, a set topic, or some other united subject. Photos should have some meaning on a particular subject, and should be your own photos, or photos you have permission to use. Photos can be presented without comment or can have brief captions or paragraphs. Minimum of 5 photos; maximum of 20. Upload each photo separately. [SUBMIT PHOTO INTERVIEWS]

Set-Question Interview Series:

The Transmitter is a series of fun and engaging set-questions for authors. This series is for authors only, and you must have at least one published book in the last two years (or forthcoming within the next four months) on a traditional press (not self-published). If you want to partake in the series, you can download the questions here. To read The Transmitter interviews, click here. [SUBMIT TRANSMITTER INTERVIEWS]


Shelfies are where you take a picture or pictures of your bookshelf/shelves, and talk about it/them. It can be in-depth or surface level, but we love to see what authors read and how they organize their books. Tell us what’s important to you about your books, and share as many photos as you’d like. This series is for authors only, and you must have at least one published book in the last two years (or forthcoming within the next four months) on a traditional press (not self-published). Upload photos separately from main body file. To see The Signal Shelfies, click here. [SUBMIT SHELFIES]

Alternating Current News & Announcement & Releases:

This is where we talk about big events, releases, award winners, or news at Alternating Current Press. To read The Current entries, click here. To read all news, click here.

Alternating Current Authors’ News:

This is where we talk about what’s going on with our authors out in the literary world. If you are an Alternating Current Press author, please let us know your announcements at publicity.acpress {at} gmail.com. To read The Motor entries, click here. To read all news, click here.

Author, Book, & Lit Organization Spotlights:

The Beam is for exposure and spotlights on authors and literary endeavors, in the vein of an in-depth profile. It’s a good outlet for book-blog tours that just want to spotlight a book, or for someone to spotlight his or her own project. Minimum 4 paragraphs. To read The Beam entries, click here. [SUBMIT BEAM SPOTLIGHTS]

Soundbites, Videos, MP3s, Readings:

The Frequency focuses on multimedia literary posts with soundbites, videos, MP3s, audio book excerpts, book trailers, readings, podcasts, &c. We prefer items that are hosted externally with links (such as hosted on YouTube or SoundCloud or Vimeo), but otherwise, you can upload your files individually if they don’t have hosted links. To see The Frequency entries, click here. [SUBMIT MEDIA FILES]

Book & Journal Giveaways:

A couple times a month, we give away bundles of books and literary products in Rafflecopter giveaways. To have your book considered for a giveaway, email your information to Lisa at coil.acpress {at} gmail.com. To see The Turbine giveaways, click here.

Quotes & Sunday Funday:

The Electromagnet is our outlet for fun stuff, neat links, quotes, and quirky stuff. It does not accept outside submissions, except for comics and illustrations. To read The Electromagnet posts, click here.

Comics & Graphics:
We accept comics, graphics, illustrations, and artwork portfolio essays with a universal appeal for The Electromagnet. Material should be enough to fill a full post; we aren’t as inclined to take one single picture as we are to take several panels and pieces to make a meatier showcase post. [SUBMIT COMICS & ILLUSTRATIONS]

Book Blog Tours:
We are happy to be a home for your promotional or book blog tour stops. You may request a book review via The Volt instructions above, but we will not guarantee reviews by set dates. If you want a promotional post for a set date, we suggest writing a guest column, booklist, media post, or essay pertaining to something about your book; or contributing a book excerpt, self-interview, photo interview, Transmitter questions, or giveaway; or having someone else interview you and submit the post.

We need your help to survive. We will soon be offering memberships to The Coil Club for $2 per month. That’s right — for the cost of one coffee per month, you can get a membership that entitles you to:

· ALL of our features, including essays, interviews, reviews, fiction, archives, etc., at any time. (Our features are only free for two weeks, and then they are locked for members only.)
· Exclusive members-only features.
· Free, unlimited submissions to all of our contests and open reading periods, including full-manuscript submissions.

Additionally, you help us pay our authors and Coil staff. We are striving to pay our authors each month, based on the amount we can pull in from membership subscriptions. Your money goes directly to paying for the materials and to bringing you more of them. We can’t thank you enough. Will you forgo one latte per month to support great literature? We hope you will!

Want to help before the memberships kick in? YOU CAN DONATE HERE.



The Coil
The Coil

Indie press dedicated to lit that challenges readers & has a sense of self, timelessness, & atmosphere. Publisher of @CoilMag #CoilMag (http://thecoilmag.com)