About, Submit, & Membership

ALTERNATING CURRENT is a boutique 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 have existed since 1993, creating chapbooks, paperbacks, zines, online resources, zine libraries, spoken word events, poetry readings, national book tours, and literature collections, as well as offering services in author and press promotions, such as blog tours, book tours, book trailers, audio recordings, merchandising, editing, critiquing, and book clubs.

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Award for Best Poetry and Best Prose, The Charter Oak Award for Best Historical, The Electric Book Award (for an unpublished manuscript to become a book), The Spark Book Award (for a young adult manuscript on themes of science, math, engineering, computing, invention, or history),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 The Oblaye Award (for Great Plains and Native American writing). We have an incredible catalog of paperbacks and chapbooks 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. Please scroll down to become a member!


The Coil accepts fiction, poetry, and writing on historical subjects, through Alternating Current’s regular Submittable submissions manager. There is a nominal fee to submit non-editorial work, UNLESS you are a member, in which case it is free, unlimited submissions for the duration of your membership. (See membership information below.) The reason there is a fee is that we are now paying a tiny payment for general fiction and poetry and for general writing on historical topics. Additionally, submissions are automatically entered into the Luminaire Award for Best Prose ($100 winning prize) & Best Poetry ($100 winning prize), Charter Oak Award for Best Historical ($100 winning prize), and Oblaye Award for Great Plains and Native American Writing (if you qualify; $50 winning prize). Historical writing is also considered for our annual print journal, Footnote.


Book Reviews:

We look for well-written book reviews that are analytical or that draw comparisons to history or culture. Our emphasis is largely on indie books, but we have a vast readership and will feature most any style, genre, author, or publisher if the review is of interest to our readership. Not big on religion or hardcore erotica. No hate speech. Minimum requirement of 4 paragraphs and 2 quoted snippets from the book. To see upcoming books in the queue, ARCs available for assignment, or whether a book has already been assigned to a reviewer, check out our list HERE. Email reviews, pitches, or requests for review consideration to alt.current {at} gmail.com. To read the reviews in The Volt column, click HERE.

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, book lists, science, holidays, and history. 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, and sound. Email articles or pitches to alt.current {at} gmail.com. DO NOT email image, video, or sound files; if we accept your piece, you can upload them at that time. To read all material in The Spark, click HERE. To read essays only, click HERE. To read all columns, click HERE. See below for other regular column features.


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. Email recipes and essays to alt.current {at} gmail.com. DO NOT email images; if we accept your piece, you can upload them at that time. To read all the recipes in Naked Lunch Menu, click HERE.

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 are highly encouraged. Email essays or pitches to alt.current {at} gmail.com. DO NOT email images; if your essay is accepted, you can upload images at that time. To read all of the On:Topic essays, click HERE.

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, that you just had to tell everyone. Tell us that passion. Minimum requirement of 4 paragraphs. Email essays or pitches to alt.current {at} gmail.com. DO NOT email images, videos, or sound; if your essay is accepted, you can upload at that time. To read all of The Last Thing I Loved essays, click HERE.

Fiction Stories/Essays on Alternate Histories:
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 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. There is a possibility we may also ask to print your work in an upcoming issue of our print journal, Footnote (eligible to win $100 Charter Oak Award). Email completed essays or stories to alt.current {at} gmail.com. To read all of the Alternate Histories, click HERE. To read all history entries, click HERE.

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 need to be received at least two weeks before the ‘day’ in question. There is a possibility we may also ask to print your work in an upcoming issue of our print journal, Footnote (eligible to win $100 Charter Oak Award). Email essays or pitches to alt.current {at} gmail.com. To read all of the On This Day essays, click HERE. To read all history entries, click HERE.

Advice Column:
Yes, we have an advice column. Have a question that no one can answer, or that you’re too afraid to ask anyone else? Ask Tessie. We are an LGBT+ safe space. Email questions to info.acpress {at} gmail.com. Please put DEAR TESSIE in the subject line. You can be either Anonymous, or choose one single moniker, such as Bob, Bubbles, Angela, Deluxe, Confused, Anxious, etc. If you don’t include a name preference, you will be Anonymous. To read all Dear Tessie entries, click HERE.

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. There is a possibility we may also ask to print your work in an upcoming issue of our print journal, Footnote (eligible to win $100 Charter Oak Award). To enter, follow the instructions on the contest posts for any open contests. To read all DaguerreoTyped entries, click HERE. To read all history entries, click HERE.

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 only and does not take outside submissions. To read all Indie Book Radar entries, click HERE. To read all book reviews, click HERE.


Interviews & Conversations:
We look for interesting and engaging interviews and conversations with literary figures, authors, editors, publishers, agents, heads of literary organizations, etc. Especially interested in topical conversations (new books released, upcoming speaking engagement, film adaptation, something pertaining to holidays/events). Minimum of 5 engaging questions for standard interview. Other types of conversations considered. Please acquire a headshot and professional bio from the interviewee and any links to include. DO NOT email these to us; you can upload them if your interview is accepted. Email interviews or pitches to alt.current {at} gmail.com. To read all The Inductor interviews, click HERE. To read all interviews and conversations, click HERE.

Our Set-Question Interview Series

The Transmitter is a series of fun and engaging set-questions that we ask authors. Are you up for the challenge? PLEASE NOTE this series is for authors only, and there are requirements: you need to have at least one chap/book published OR at least 3 pieces published in/on at least 3 different journals (not your personal blog or profiles) where people can find your work. If you want to partake in the series, email your request to alt.current {at} gmail.com. To read The Transmitter interviews, click HERE. To read all interviews and conversations, click HERE.


One of our most popular columns, 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. Email your Shelfie text to alt.current {at} gmail.com. DO NOT email your images; if your Shelfie is accepted, you can upload your images at that time. To see The Signal Shelfies, click HERE.

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 author (Pertains to award finalists, chap/book, and journal authors only.), please let us know your announcements at alt.current {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. Email spotlights or pitches to alt.current {at} gmail.com. To read The Beam entries, click HERE.

Soundbites, Videos, MP3s, Readings:

The Frequency focuses on multimedia literary posts with soundbites, videos, MP3s, book excerpts, book trailers, readings, podcasts, etc. To be considered for a multimedia post, email your request/pitch to alt.current {at} gmail.com. DO NOT send multimedia through email; use Dropbox (or a like service) or YouTube links, or wait until your request is accepted, and you can upload the multimedia yourself at that time. To see The Frequency entries, click HERE.

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 pitch to alt.current {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. To read The Electromagnet posts, click HERE.

We need your help to survive. We will soon be offering memberships to The Coil Club for $4 per month. That’s right — for the cost of one latte 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.
· Our entire Alternating Current digital library of books and chapbooks in our catalog. ($45 value)
· Free, unlimited submissions to all of our contests and open reading periods, including full-manuscript submissions.

Additionally, you help us pay our authors. 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.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Alternating Current’s story.