Updated Jan 2021

Frequently Asked Questions


How often does Incite publish?

Incite publishes 2-3 full issues every year. In light of changes due to the Student Choice Initiative and then COVID-19, as of the writing of this FAQ, we have experienced changes in the last two years for what our publication and printing process looks like.

Does Incite publish all pieces it receives? Is there any kind of content Incite will not publish?

Generally, yes, so long as you sign up and submit your drafts on time. Your piece does not need to be of a certain “calibre” in order to be accepted; we will work with you one-on-one to help you make your piece the best it can be. We welcome submissions from all McMaster students, from all years and programs, and of all levels of experience and skill. There are some exceptions. Incite reserves the right not to publish content which is potentially harmful to our readers, such as hate speech or triggering content without a warning. We will also not publish any kind of advertisement, meaning any content which clearly promotes a specific service, product, or group. Finally, we overall look for our pieces to have some kind of creative intent or artistic merit. If a piece very clearly does not have that (e.g. if you send us a page of your physics homework), we will turn it down.

Can I submit multiple pieces per issue?

Due to restrictions on our volume size, we ask that each contributor submit a maximum of 1 piece of writing and 1 piece of art per issue.

Can I change my idea for my piece of writing/art after my initial sign-up?

Yes, you can, but please be sure to let your assigned content editor or art manager know ASAP.

Can I have my piece published anonymously?

Yes, you can, but please let us know by the time you send in your final draft.

How can I join the Incite staff team?

Incite’s staff is typically made up of five teams: the Editorial Board (i.e. the executive), Content, Art, Layout, and Communications. Applications for our Editorial Board are released around April or May. Applications for the rest of our staff are released around June or July. All applications will be released electronically via our email mailing list and our social media.

Besides Incite, what are some other ways I can get involved with creative writing/the literary arts in the Hamilton community?

Great question! Besides Incite, there is a range of other student clubs and publications through which you can get involved with McMaster’s creative writing scene. These include Into Existence (feminist arts and culture zine), Unspoken (poetry/spoken word), and The Muse (medical humanities). The Communications team is always on the lookout for new opportunities to share with our community, so stay tuned to our socials and Facebook community for relevant posts. There are also many other opportunities outside of McMaster for engaging with the literary arts in Hamilton. Some of our favourites are the Hamilton Public Library’s writing workshops (including monthly poetry workshops at the Westdale Branch), Lit Live, the gritLIT Readers & Writers Festival, the Short Works Prize, and the Hamilton Youth Poets.

How is Incite funded?

Incite is funded by a levy collected from each McMaster student as part of tuition. We request and receive our funding on an annual basis via the SRA. More financial information can be accessed on the "finances" page in our "about" section.

Submitting Writing

What is the process for submitting pieces of writing to Incite Magazine?

Once the theme for an issue of Incite is announced, the issue is officially open for submissions, and you can sign up to contribute in one of two ways. You can sign up in-person at our brainstorming meeting, which typically takes place 1-2 weeks after the theme is announced. You can also sign up electronically by emailing us before the given submission deadline, typically 1-2 days after the brainstorming meeting. To sign up to write a piece for the upcoming issue, the main information you need to give us is your name, your email address (if you signed up in person), and a brief description of your idea for the piece you want to write. The description can be as short as a few words or as long as a paragraph. It is helpful but optional if you can also tell us what type of piece it will be (e.g. poem, short story, personal essay) and a rough estimation of its length (e.g. short, medium, long). You do not need to have your piece already written in order to sign up. All you need is an idea.
Once you sign up, you’ll be matched with one of our staff content editors, who will get in touch with you soon after the submission deadline with the details of the editing process. Your content editor will be working with you one-on-one to help you develop your ideas and refine your piece for final publishing. The general timeline is that a couple days after your editor contacts you, you will be asked to send them a pitch, or a longer and more in-depth description of your idea. The pitch is optional but is generally very useful to you and your editor as a jumping off point for discussing your piece. About 1-1.5 weeks later will be the deadline for you to send your first draft to your editor. They will send you their first edits 4-5 days later, and you will be expected to send them your final draft about 5 days after that. Exact due dates will be provided to you by your editor in their initial email.

Is there a word limit?

Yes, each piece is assigned its own word limit (e.g. 100-200, 400-600, 800-1000), which will be communicated to you by your content editor. We are generally quite flexible with word limits, so if you would like your limit to be made shorter or longer, bring it up with your editor and we will likely be able to grant that to you. Our absolute maximum for any written piece is 1000 words.

How closely do I need to stick to the theme?

Not that closely. As long as your idea connects with the theme in some kind of way, it’s okay with us. Ultimately, the theme is more of a guideline than an absolute requirement.

What if I already have a piece written/drafted?

That’s okay! However, it will still need to go through the full editing process, from pitch to edits to final draft.

What if I have multiple ideas for a piece and can’t decide between them?

That’s okay! If you are having trouble deciding, let us know your ideas when you sign up, and your editor can help you pick one.

Can I submit writing which I have already published elsewhere (e.g. another publication, a personal blog)?

Yes, just make sure it’s okay with the other publication(s) you're sharing the work in.

Can there be swear words/profanity in my piece?

Heck yes!

Does Incite provide content warnings?

Yes. Incite requires content warnings for all written content dealing with suicide, self-harm, or abuse. Other content warnings may be applied as decided on a case-by-case basis. If we feel your piece will require a content warning, your content editor will bring it up and discuss it with you early in the editing process, and it can also be something that you mention to them at any step in the process if you have any concerns or questions.

Submitting Art

What is the process for submitting pieces of art to Incite Magazine?

Incite Magazine obtains its artwork in three different ways — art production, art submission, and art curation. Art production occurs on an issue-by-issue basis, whereby a specific piece of art is created by students based on the theme of that issue. Students typically attend our brainstorming meeting to gain inspiration for their piece, after which they follow a set timeline in accordance with the production cycle. Art submission occurs when students submit artwork they previously created via Incite Magazine’s email. Artwork should only be submitted if they align with a specific issue’s theme. Incite’s art managers will then contact students if their piece is selected for publication. Art curation is done by Incite’s art managers, who curate pieces from a pool of student portfolios. If you would like to submit your portfolio for consideration, please contact us.

What is the approximate timeline for art production?

Following the brainstorming meeting, students are typically given about 3 days to submit a brief description and rough draft of their idea to a form that we will share on our socials, newsletter, and website. After this, students are assigned to an art manager, who will guide them through the remainder of the production process. Final copies of artwork are typically due 10 days after submission of the rough draft. More detailed due dates are available at each brainstorming meeting and then sent out to our mailing list via email.

Are there any technical specifications I should watch out for in my artwork?

All artwork should be sent in at the highest quality possible (dimensions as large as possible, in the 2000–3000px+++ range, are preferred). All digital art files should be 300 dpi or higher.


Where can I find your last issue of the 2019-2020 school year (Volume 22 Issue 2: Power)? What about the issues for the 2020-2021 school year?

You can find a digital copy of this issue online! Unfortunately, though printing for this issue was initially postponed until September 2020, due to the continuing circumstances of the pandemic, we are currently in talks to print this issue at a very limited capacity at the same time as the other issues that we have lined up for the 2020-2021 school year. Because of the challenges that COVID-19 has presented, distribution will also be limited in scope. If you contributed to Power and are unable to pick up a printed copy in September, we will send you a copy by mail to anywhere in Canada once we can safely secure printed copies. We will finance this initiative using the money we would have spent on the Launch Party for Power (in April 2020). Please use this form to provide your mailing request if you know at this time that you will not be able to pick up your print copy of Power in person: https://forms.gle/K6ttfgS4t6z47hR48 We are currently also in talks to have similar initiatives for the Volume 23 issues, and will announce any plans of running a limited print as soon as we are able to on our socials and mailing list. Please feel free to contact us if you have any concerns, or if you have any suggestions for how we can improve our adjusted plans in light of COVID-19.

Will you still be running events and other initiatives during the pandemic?

Yes, we are still running both synchronous and asynchoronous events online! Please stay tuned to our socials for more information.