Hairstreak Butterfly Review

+++ Guidelines for CC student book review submissions are included below under "more" +++

Deadline: Jan. 1st, 2021


Hello and welcome!

Colorado College's emerging literary journal is looking for writing that stirs the senses and invokes things wild, sacred, daring, and visionary. We are as excited about feeling out the limits of genre, language, perspective, and narrative as we are about the careful rendering of that which makes humans human and keeps time waxing and waning. 

Guidelines for Creative Work for the Spring/Summer 2021 Issue:

  • We accept previously unpublished work only. 
  • Simultaneous submissions are encouraged. We ask to be notified immediately when withdrawing your work. For poetry, please note your withdrawal in the comments section of your submission. 
  • Please submit once a reading period. Poetry submissions can include up to 4 poems and short short fiction (ca. 850 words) submissions can include up to three works. Otherwise, send one story or essay (up to 3,500 words). 
  • Responses may take up to four to five months. Email editor at hairstreakbutterflyreview dot com for inquiries. 
  • In your cover letter, please include a brief bio or publishing history and indicate the word count and genre of your work. We'd also love to know who you are reading these days! 

*Artwork by The Press at Colorado College. Skull drawings by James Trissel.


Deadline: Jan. 1, 2021

No limit on how many reviews you can submit


About the Review Series

A majority of book tours, conferences, campus and community visits, and promotional events for writers with newly released books were cancelled in Spring 2020 due to the pandemic. Writers and Poets couldn't make promotional work their priority as they may have planned. Independent and Small Presses also had to deal with losing staff or institutional support as financial burdens of COVID took a toll. 

HBR's Review Series is dedicated to promoting these authors and their work by publishing reviews on Indie/Small Press books. All reviews will be written by current Colorado College students (or Alums of 2020). Reviews can be of any length or medium--written form for the website, video and/or audio forms, and visual texts welcome.

This will not be one issue, but a series of reviews grouped and published every 3-4 weeks. It is possible we will be reviewing books through Summer 2021. 


What are Small Presses and Indie Publishing?

There are five major publishers in the U.S. with many imprints. These publishers include: Penguin/Random House, Hachette Book Group, Harper Collins, Simon and Schuster, and Macmillan. 

Small Presses and Indie publishers make up the rest of the publishing world (other than self-published works). These smaller publishing groups rely heavily on book conferences, community events, and an author's independent promotional work to support a new book's release. Additionally, Indie or Small Presses tend to take on work that is marginalized, more risky or experimental, or might appeal to an audience of which large publishing does not recognize. *This can include visual texts like graphic novels.


How Do I Find a Book to Review?

By Press/Publisher: Visit a press or publishers' website and look for their new releases. You can request a review copy (if available) or purchase a book to review. Here is "The Big, Big List of Indie Publishers and Small Presses" as a starting point. Or check out Small Press Distribution's best sellers or new releases (listed by genre in their menu).  

By Recommendation: Search "best of" lists for possible books to review. Make sure you look at the year or include "2020" in your search. You can search for more specific lists as well, such as "best LGBTQ* non-fiction of 2020". Here are some lists to get you started:

These lists may include big 5 publishers, so look carefully for small/indie presses:


Book Requirements

  • All books PUBLISHED THIS YEAR (though a case can be made for as early as Oct. 2019)
  • All books from an INDEPENDENT OR SMALL PRESSES 
  • Hairstreak Butterfly Review will prioritize publishing book reviews for books by authors marginalized by race, age, able-bodiedness, gender, sexual orientation, etc.

NOTE: Reviewing a book by a marginalized author (BIPOC, LGBTQ*, someone with a disability, etc.) is highly recommended because of the lack of exposure for these authors. Additionally, individuals reviewing their books do not always consider there are more ways to tell a story than what we’ve been taught a “good” story looks like—which is largely informed by the Western Canon and upheld by bias and prejudice in the publishing industry. The pandemic has hit these authors harder than others.


Review Requirements

We are open to a number of styles of reviews. Written reviews can be short and to the point (see Kirkus Book Reviews for examples). They can also be longer and tackle craft or thematic approaches, techniques, and outcomes (See reviews at LA Book Reviews, Chicago Review of Books, etc.). A book review can also help place a book next to others like it or within the same genre or audience expectation.

We will also accept visual and A/V reviews. You can submit a collage, comic, artwork (with or as a review) or videos or audio recordings of your review. 

What we really hope to publish are reviews that are true to your voice and your opinion. If this is the only time a person will ever hear about this book and you want them to read it, what will you say to convince them? 

Please submit a file through Submittable. You will need to sign up for a Submittable account to do so. 

Any questions can be directed to our editor. I also have information on these topics:

  • Additional reading lists are available by Google doc invitation
  • What to do about negative criticism: In most cases, negative comments can be included with some editorial help. However, don't finish the book if you don't like any of it. Pick another book.
  • Questions about appropriation and/or representation should be addressed to our editor at the email above.



We are accepting non-fiction work for the Spring/Summer 2021 Issue.

Please submit once a reading period. Send one essay (up to 3,500 words) or up to three flash fiction pieces (under 1,000 words each).

 We like it weird, raw, and unforgettable. Surprise us. Decenter us. We love things lyrical, unexpected, and challenging. If it's memoir, make us question memory. If it's a personal essay, make it significant for others. If it's a manifesto or argument, take us somewhere silly or new or otherworldly. We like to see the rules of CNF bend when your truth can't be contained.

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Please submit once a reading period. 

Short short fiction can include 3-4 pieces (under 1,000 words each). Or send one story (up to 3,500 words). 

We like stories from the margins and inner space. Lyrical, circular, and otherworldly. Bend forms and genres and styles. Give us the story you don't know how else to tell. 

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  • Please submit once a reading period. 
  • Poetry submissions can include up to 4 poems

Your voice. Your style. Your experience. We want to hear it straight and strong or let it collapse and spin itself out.  Send us the poems you don't dare to read out-loud or the ones you can't stop yelling and singing. 

Hairstreak Butterfly Review