Tough is a crime fiction journal publishing short stories and self-contained novel excerpts of between 1500 words and 7500 words, and occasional book reviews and essays of 1500 words or fewer. We are particularly interested in stories with rural settings. We are a crime journal. We ask for first world and electronic rights. We do consider reprints on a case-by-case basis with the following caveats: first, the story must not appear anywhere else online; second, we pay a flat fee of $25 for reprints.

Tough publishes three times per month on Mondays, for which we pay a flat rate per story, book review or essay (as of contract date January 23rd, 2021, that rate is $50) --we don't take poems--in exhange for first world serial rights to publish the submission on the website and one-time anthology rights. Query for details or to pitch reviews, essays and reprints. Fiction need not be queried.

Submissions should be formatted in .rtf and sent using our submission manager. WE NO LONGER READ MS IN OTHER FORMATS. This means we are, damn it, rejecting .doc, and .docx, .txt, and especially, with vigor and specificity and near-rancor, .pdf. Without reading them. For nearly two years I've put up with it. No more. This is not some editorial whim. I use some off-brand officesuite and occasionally LibreOffice on a Linux laptop and and Android tablet with a cheap Bluetooth keyboard, which don't translate punctuation back and forth well. Especially quotation marks. I'm not rich, and I don't have a laptop with all the latest bells and whistles nor any desire to have such a thing. So please send in .rtf.