Frequently Asked Questions

How will I know if my piece is too long?

Placing your piece into the emerge submission template will show you if your submission exceeds the page limit.

Visit Formatting Your Piece in the Template for helpful information about the template.

Can I submit multiple pieces?

Students can submit a single piece or multiple pieces as long as their content does not exceed the maximum page count of five pages.

Can I submit an excerpt from a larger work?

Yes. In your submission, please indicate that this is a section from a larger work by placing “an excerpt” below the title. Alternatively, students may choose to indicate that their submission is a condensed version of a longer piece of writing.

Students can also include an introductory paragraph to help orient the reader at the start of their piece. This paragraph will count towards the total word/page count.

If I submit an excerpt from a larger work, does that mean I cannot submit the full piece to other publications?

Having your work published in emerge does not preclude you from having the entirety of your manuscript published by a publishing house — in fact, it might help you get noticed! Many of our past students have submitted excerpts to emerge and gone on to publish their larger pieces. Having these excerpts in emerge did not disallow the full pieces from being published elsewhere. For example, the following students submitted excerpts to emerge:

  • Janie Chang: Three Souls (HarperCollins),
  • Renee Saklikar: Poems from The Canada Project (Nightwood Edition, Harbour Publishing), and
  • Harry Karlinsky: The Evolution of Inanimate Objects (Insomniac Press, HarperCollins).

That said, most Canadian literary journals buy first serial rights, which means they pay to be the first to publish your piece. Having an excerpt of your piece in emerge might mean that you cannot publish the exact same excerpt in a journal, but a different excerpt won’t be a problem. When in doubt, check the submission guidelines for the individual publication.

How will my piece be edited?

Your workshop group will give you substantive feedback on your work, looking at “big picture” elements – characterization, structure, setting, pacing, point of view, etc.

Individual section editors will review your submission for clarity and flow. They will pay particular attention to language, and to such things as transitions and varied sentence structure. While they may offer suggestions that will enable your readers to track meaning without obstacle or distraction, the editors’ goal is to preserve your authorial voice.

The section editors will copy edit your piece before the manuscript is prepared for our print designer. This stage of editing does not make extensive changes to the structure or content of your work. The editors will simply copy edit each piece for spelling, grammar, house style, and formatting.

To ensure we do not introduce errors into a piece, students will be notified of, and asked to approve, any changes that could potentially change the meaning of an author’s writing.

Can I switch pieces after I’ve submitted my first piece?

The short answer is no. There is a very tight production schedule for emerge that begins with the deadline for submissions. Immediately, along with reading for clarity and flow, the section editors begin to consider thematic content with a view to ordering the pieces for their sections. Students cannot substitute another piece once this process has begun. Our guest Foreword author also gets an early draft of the manuscript to begin preparing comments. Respecting the production schedule is a courtesy we extend to our wonderful editors and to the industry professionals who give of their time and talents to help publish the anthology.

Who owns the copyright once the anthology is published?

The individual authors retain the copyright to their own pieces. SFU owns the copyright to emerge.


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