Submissions for the magazine are currently closed. Right now we do have open calls for our JOBBERS page and for our TOWNES VAN ZANDT inspired anthology paperback due out in Spring 2023.
[Purpose, Style & Tastes]
It's in the title.
COWBOY [kou-boi] (def.)
1. American plains animal herder who tends cows
2. one who is reckless or ignores risk, i.e. "cowboy attitude"
3. tradesman with questionable or atypical practices, i.e. "cowboy plumbing"
4. fast or careless driver on the highway, i.e. "slow down, cowboy"
5. slang for "outlaw"
JAMBOREE [jam-buh-ree] (def.)
1. a large celebration or party, typically boisterous
2. a carousel of noisy merrymaking
If your fiction, creative nonfiction, vignette, flash, or photography merges any combination of the two definitions above, we're probably gonna dig it. Not everything we accept for publication looks the same. That said, words that describe stories we tend to like might include rural, hardscrabbled, rough-hewn, pulpy, noirish... and, of course, GRITTY.
In short, we're a Grit-Lit magazine focused on the rural working class and gritty realism. We are not a traditional western magazine. Western stories we accept tend to stray from archetypes of females as damsels and cowboy gunslingin' heroes. We're generally not interested in historical western characters, no matter how fictionalized. We like stories that blend working class and literary language to explore characters and places that find themselves on the hardscrabble rather than heroic side of life.
In other words, our cowboys are more likely to jump off a '71 Ford Maverick than ride into a dusty town on a black steed.
Some grit lit and rural authors we love and that inspire us are: Larry Brown, Harry Crews, Donald Ray Pollock, Willy Vlautin, Denis Johnson, Barry Hannah, Brad Watson, Breece D'J Pancake, Bonnie Jo Campbell, Dorothy Allison, Charles Bukowski David Joy, Tom Franklin, William Gay, Ron Rash, Bobbie Ann Mason, Wiley Cash, Sheldon Lee Compton, Stephen Graham Jones, Erika T. Wurth, Frank Bill, and Jared Yates Sexton. Beyond that, "classic" authors we dig vary and are certainly not contained to the following list, but these are some : Cormac McCarthy, Larry McMurtry, Sam Shepard, Charles Portis, Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Flannery O'Connor, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, John Updike, Raymond Carver, Jim Harrison, & Elmore Leonard.
We've always got a soft spot for cowboy, country, western, folk, Americana or rural music. If that finds its way into a piece, we're likely to be bias readers (don't mean we'll take it, just, you know, it'll tickle our fancy). Townes van Zandt, Hank Williams, Mississippi John Hurt, the Delmore Brothers, the Carter Family, Old Crow Medicine Show, Johnny Cash, Nick Shoulders, Dom Flemons, Willie Nelson, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, Dave Rawlings, Levon Helm, Justin Townes Earle, John Prine, Tom Waits and Bob Dylan reign supreme here.
[Submitting to Us]
If you think your writing meshes well with all that and wish to submit fiction or nonfiction to Cowboy Jamboree, email your story as a Word document or copy and paste it into the body of an email (formatted) to email@example.com. Open reading periods are free for submissions, but may take our small staff a few weeks to respond.
- double-space, 12 pt fonts (be generic, don't get fancy formatting)
- provide genre (fiction or non-fiction) and title in the subject line of the email (Sample: "Fiction: My Ford Maverick Won't Start")
- include a brief 3rd-person author bio to be included in the contributors section if accepted
- include the transaction id for your $5 Speed Read Donation if choosing this option
You should hear from an editor in 3 to 4 weeks regarding your submission's status and acceptance decision (yay or nay) should be received within a few weeks of the issue's submission deadline. If you haven't heard from an editor by then, feel free to fire us an email and query.
Rolling submissions for our “Jobbers” page. If you have nostalgia for th carny, gritty world of professional wrestling, we wanna read, and we may wanna put it up on our new Jobbers sections, dedicated to our childhood love and adult nostalgia for the kayfabe and real stories behind the wrestling we loved growing up. Think Tom Graves’ epic arm wrestling novel, Pullers, but with pro wrestling instead of arm wrestling. Submissions and publications rolling, separate from the bi-annual issue content. Follow the same guideline above, just let us know that it's for the Jobbers page to highlight your wrestling writing chops.
Cowboy Jamboree Press. Our selection for manuscripts for books are made from previously published CJ Magazine authors. In other words, you must submit a story to the magazine to be considered for a larger book project, and in turn, submitting to the magazine means we may come scouting a manuscript if we really dig what you publish with CJM. Not open for general submissions.
Cowboy Jamboree acquires first rights for publication in multiple formats. Upon publication, rights revert to the author. CJ reserves the right to reprint the work if it is selected for inclusion in a CJ print anthology or CJ Press publication at a later date, and to archive the work online, as well as submit for Pushcart or other independent and web Best of series. Further, the author agrees to use of their name and selection for promotional material for the magazine. If a piece by an author is printed elsewhere afterwards, we're mighty grateful to have been a stepping stone for the piece and kindly thank the author to return the favor by mentioning Cowboy Jamboree as its first appearance if format appropriate (we ain't pushy).