Thursday, October 29, 2015

6 Writing Conferences in November 2015

How writers spend a typical Thanksgiving 
November is a sparse month for conferences. Holidays are approaching, and people are busy with their families.

In spite of the holidays, there are some good conferences in November. Next month's conferences span the country and feature pitch sessions with agents, discussions and lectures about writing and marketing, and faculties of writing and industry professionals.

Our motto is: BE PREPARED!! Before you attend a conference, consult these posts:

Valuable Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor

What's Your Book About? How to Make a Pitch

Getting an agent: Schmooze or you lose (How to find conferences in your area)

Sanibel Island Writers Conference, November 5 - 8, 2015, Sanibel Island, Florida. Presenters: Steve Almond / Andrea Askowitz / Lynne Barrett / Dan Bern / Charles Bock / John Darnielle / Erica Dawson / John Dufresne / Wayne Falbey / Beth Ann Fennelly / Nick Flynn / Gina Frangello / Tom Franklin / William Giraldi / Jim Gustafson / Shane Hinton / Jay Hopler / Leslie Jamison / Kimberly Johnson / Steve Kistulentz / Christina Baker Kline / Kimberly Lojewski / Lyn Millner / Dito Montiel / Alan Michael Parker / Tom Piazza / Mark Powell / Margo Rabb / Deborah Reed / Ryan Rivas / Jim Shepard / Karen Shepard / Christopher Schelling / Darin Strauss /Jay Wexler. Cost: $500 (standard registration), $300 (students with current I.D.), $400 (BIG ARTS members). Limited to 150. 

Algonkian Writer Conference–Write to Market, November 12 - 15, 2015, Corte Madera, California. Lectures and discussions on writing and selling a novel, as well as an agent pitch session. Faculty includes fiction writers Michael Neff, Cary Tennis, and Penny Warner, publishing professionals David Cole and Isabella Michon, and agents Ken Atchity, Elise Capron, Elizabeth Kracht, Michael Larsen, Thao Le, Elizabeth Pomoda, Andy Ross, Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, and Gordon Warnock. Cost: $595. This event is limited to 50 writers. Please apply before completing registration.

San Francisco Write to Market Conference, November 12-15, 2015. "Pitch your work in pitch sessions and interact with top list-building agents who will be present to provide connection and advice in proportion to your needs; and in contrast to other events, you will be trained to properly pitch your novel prior to the sessions."

Connecticut Writing Workshop. November 13, Hartford, CT. “How to Get Published” is one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript. faculty so far includes literary agent Kimiko Nakamura (Dee Mura Literary), Lane Heymont (The Seymour Agency), literary agent Penny Moore(FinePrint Literary Management), literary agent Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura Literary).

Boston Writing Workshop. November 14, Boston, MA. How to Get Published” is one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript. Faculty so far includes literary agent Rick Richter (Zachary Shuster Harmsworth), literary agent Lane Heymont (The Seymour Agency), literary agent Ruben Pfeffer (Ruben Pfeffer Content), literary agent Kimiko Nakamura (Dee Mura Literary), literary agent Ann Collette (Rees Literary Agency), literary agent Lana Popovic (Chalberg & Sussman), literary agent Amaryah Orenstein (GO Literary), literary agent Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura Literary).

North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference, November 20-22, 2015, Asheville, North Carolina. Workshops and master classes in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as lectures and panels on publishing and finding an agent. The faculty includes poets Tina Barr, Nickole Brown, and Katherine Soniat; fiction writers Robert Beatty, Tommy Hays, and Lee Smith; and creative nonfiction writers Christine Hale, Jeremy B. Jones, and Catherine Reid. Scholarships are available. The cost of the full conference is $200 or $250 (including meals) for members, and $300 or $350 (including meals) for nonmembers until November 13. Onsite registration is $450 for the full conference, $250 for Sunday-only attendance, and $350 for Saturday-only attendance.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

29 Writing Contests in November 2015 - No entry fees

There is an impressive number of writing contests during the month of November, some of which offer substantial prizes.

Canadians can win $25,000 for their literary nonfiction. Two prestigious British prizes are awarding 30,000 pounds apiece, and Australian poets can win a $12,000 travel stipend to visit Ireland.

In addition there are numerous smaller prizes for short stories, poems, creative nonfiction, non-creative nonfiction, essays, as well as prizes for books both published and unpublished.

Good luck!

Commonwealth Short Story PrizeRestrictions: Open to citizens of the British Commonwealth. Genre: Unpublished short fiction (2,000-5,000 words) in English. Short stories translated into English from other languages are also eligible. Prize: Regional winners receive £2,500 (US$3,835) and the overall winner will receive £5,000 (US$7,670). Deadline: November 1, 2015. Read details here.

Jane Lumley Prize for Emerging WritersRestrictions: The Jane Lumley Prize will only be awarded to writers who have not already published a full length book. However, they may have published a chapbook, and/or found a home for their works in other literary journals. Genre: Poetry. Maximum of eight poems (totaling not more than ten pages). Prize: $300 and winning entries will be featured in the January issue of Hermeneutic ChaosDeadline: November 1, 2015. Read details here.

William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grants Program for Unpublished Writers.  Restrictions: Writers must not have published a book, short story, or dramatic work in the mystery field, either in print, electronic, or audio form. Genre: Mystery stories of the Agatha Christie type—i.e., “traditional mysteries.” These works usually feature no excessive gore, gratuitous violence, or explicit sex. Prize: Each grant may be used to offset registration, travel, or other expenses related to attendance at a writers' conference or workshop within a year of the date of the award (no later than May 2016). In the case of nonfiction, the grant may be used to offset research expenses. Each grant currently includes a $1,500 award plus a comprehensive registration for the following year's convention and two nights' lodging at the convention hotel, but does not include travel to the convention or meals. Deadline: November 1, 2015. Read details here.

Vermont Writers' PrizeRestrictions: Open to residents of Vermont. Genres: Short story, poem, play or essay on the theme of Vermont - its people, places, history or values. Entries must be unpublished and fewer than 1,500 words long. Writers may submit only one entry per year. Prize: $1,500 and publication in Vermont MagazineDeadline: November 1, 2015. Read details here.

Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-FictionRestrictions: Canadian citizens only. Genre: Nonfiction book published between August 1 and September 30, 2015. Prize: C$25,000. Shortlisted authors receive $2,000. Prize: Deadline: November 2, 2015. Read details here.

Creative Loafing Fiction ContestRestrictions: Open to residents of Georgia. Genre: Fiction. The story must incorporate “Space” in some way — as a theme, metaphor, or literal interpretation. Prize: 1st Prize $500, 2nd Prize $250, 3rd Prize $100; winners published in Creative LoafingDeadline: November 2, 2015. Read details here.

Dylan Thomas PrizeRestrictions: Authors must be aged 39 or under. Eligible books must have been commercially published for the first time in the English language between January 1 and December 31 of the year in which the deadline falls. Genre: Published books of poetry, fiction (novel, novella, or short story collection), radio scripts, or screenplays. Eligible books must have been commercially published for the first time in the English language between January 1 and December 31, 2015. Prize: 30,000 pounds, plus 1,000 pounds for shortlisted authors. Deadline: November 2, 2015. Read details here.

Baileys Women's Prize for FictionRestrictions: Female authors of any nationality. Genre: Novel first published in the UK between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016, but may have been previously published outside the UK. Must be in English. Prize: £30,000 and a limited edition bronze figurine known as a 'Bessie', created and donated by the artist Grizel Niven. Deadline: November 9, 2015. Read details here.

Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political WritingRestrictions: Titles must be published in Canada between September 9, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Self-published books are not eligible. Genre: A book of literary nonfiction that captures a political subject of relevance to Canadian readers and has the potential to shape or influence thinking on contemporary Canadian political life. Prize: Winner: $25,000; Finalists: $2,500. Deadline: November 11, 2015: For books published between September 9, 2015 and December 31, 2015 Read details here.

A Public Space Emerging Writer FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work. Prize: $1,000, 6-month fellowship, and a mentorship from an established author. Deadline: November 15th, 2015. Read details here.

Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize is sponsored by the Brooklyn Film & Arts Festival. Genre: Non-fiction essay between 4 to 10 pages, set in Brooklyn about Brooklyn and/or Brooklyn people/characters. (Up to 2500 words). Prize: $500. Deadline: November 15th, 2015. Read details here.

Flo Gault Student Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Full-time undergraduate college students in Kentucky. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: November 15th, 2015. Read details here.

Work Stew Writing ContestGenre: List: "Ten Pearls of Hard-Earned, Work-Related Wisdom." Prize: $100 for Pearl #1. $60 for Pearl #2. $40 for Pearl #3. Deadline: November 15th, 2015. Read details here.

Arts & Letters AwardsRestrictions: Residents of the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Genre: Original creative work in literature, music, visual art and digital multi-media may be entered. Prize: $1,000.00 CAN. Deadline: November 20, 2015. Read details here.

We Said Go Travel Writing ContestGenre: Travel essays of 500-800 words on the theme of 'Gratitude: A Place that Inspires You to Feel Thankful'. You may enter up to 5 essays with a photo. Entries must be unpublished and family-friendly. Prize: $500, 2nd Prize $100, 3rd Prize $50. Deadline: November 26, 2015. Read details here.

Princeton University Poetry Contest for High School StudentsRestrictions: Student writers in the 11th grade. Prizes: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $250, Third Prize – $100. Deadline: November 27, 2015. Read details here.

Vincent Buckley Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry. Restrictions: Published Australian authors only. Prize: $12,000.00 AUS stipend for an Australian poet to visit Ireland. Deadline: November 27, 2015. Read details here.

Build Your Own Blog New Writer ScholarshipRestrictions: Students aged 16 years and up. Genre: Unpublished short story/poem/blog post/(Any written material you are proud of). Prize: $4,000.00. Deadline: November 29, 2015. Read details here.

Financial Times/Bodley Head Essay PrizeRestrictions: Open to writers 35 years old or under. Genre: Long-form essay. "We are looking for a dynamic, authoritative and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words on a non-fiction topic of your choice." Prize: £1,000, an e-publication with Bodley Head, and a mentoring session with the FT/Bodley Head. Two runners-up will each receive £500 and e-publication. Deadline: November 29, 2015. Read details here.

Fountain Magazine Essay ContestGenre: Essay. 1,500 - 2,500 words. "Throughout human history, different periods have been captured by a defining theme: the Dark Ages… the Industrial Age… the Nuclear Age… the Information Age… the Space Age, etc. What do you think the theme of the 21st century will be? The age of connections? Rebirth of faith? Clash of civilizations? Age of the internet? Rise of fundamentalism? Interstellar travel? Gender equality? Human trafficking? WW III? Artificial intelligence? Genetics? Cooperation? Competition? Spiritual revolution? Secularism? Values? Ethics? … You may include as many topics as you think are relevant; the possibilities seem endless." Prize: 1st Place - $1,500, 2nd Place - $750, 3rd Place - $300, Two Honorable Mentions - $200 each. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Entry form and rules click HERE.

Best Translated Book Awards for FictionGenre: Any work of poetry or fiction published in translation for the first time ever between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. Prize: $5,000.00. Two awards of $5,000: one apiece for the author and translator of the winning book in fiction. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

Betty Trask PrizeRestrictions: Author must be a Commonwealth citizen. Genre: First novels, published or unpublished, written by authors under the age of 35 in a "traditional or romantic, but not experimental, style." Prize: Awards totaling 20,000 pounds. Top prize 10,000 pounds. The prize money must be used for foreign travel. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

Brunel University African Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to poets who were born in Africa, or who are nationals of an African country, or whose parents are African. Genre: 10 poems exactly. Prize: 3,000 pounds. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

Encore AwardRestrictions: Open to British or Commonwealth citizens. Genre: Second published novel. Book must have been first published in the UK. Prize: 10,000 pounds. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

Hudson Review Short Story ContestGenre: Short story. Prize: First prize is $500. Second and third prizes are $250. Winning stories will be published in The Hudson Review. All entries will be considered for publication. Payment at regular rates. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details  here.

Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young WritersRestrictions: Open to writers aged 16-18. Genre: Poem (1). Prize: Full scholarship to The Kenyon Review Young Writers workshop, an intensive two-week summer seminar for writers aged 16-18. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

Somerset Maugham AwardsRestrictions: Open to writers under the age of 35. Genre: Published work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Prize: 2,500 pounds apiece to four winners. Prize money must be used for travel. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

UNT Rilke PrizeRestrictions: US citizens or residents. Open to authors with at least two prior published books of poetry. Genre: Book of poetry published between November 1, 2014 and October 31, 2015. Prize: $10,000.00. Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

West Coast Eisteddfod Online Poetry and Short Story CompetitionsGenre: Poetry, short story. (No limericks.) Prize: Poetry: $200 in each language category (Welsh and English). Short Story: $200.00 (one English-language entry) Deadline: November 30, 2015. Read details here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

11 Calls for Submissions in November 2015 - Paying Markets

November is coming up fast! (New months seem to be happening a lot lately.)

Next month we have calls for speculative fiction, novellas, parenting advice, short stories, poetry, horror, creative nonfiction - so get cracking!

Tip: Plan your submission schedule ahead of time. Making a list of places to submit your work helps stave off "writer's procrastination."


Spider Road Press: Approaching Footsteps: Four Novellas by Women

"We seek suspenseful, well-crafted fiction in which the plot strengthens the characterization and tension is maintained throughout the narrative. Novellas featuring protagonists from traditionally under-represented communities (people of color, people with disabilities, etc.) are particularly encouraged. Novellas should be quality literature, yet able to conform to the general themes of the suspense, mystery and thriller genres. One submission per writer allowed. We have a small staff, so it could take us until February to contact authors regarding acceptances and rejections."

Genre: Suspense novella

Length: 9,000- 13,000 words

Payment: $150,  three free copies of the collection, and a full-page bio and author profile on website.

Deadline: November 1, 2015


Multiples Illuminated: A Collection of Stories and Advice from Parents with Twins, Triplets and More

"Megan Woolsey and Alison Lee, both writers and mothers of multiples (triplets and twins respectively), are calling writers who would like to contribute a personal essay and/or advice on their experience with infertility, pregnancy and the first couple of years of raising multiples. Make us laugh, cry, think, and help us learn about multiples through your words."

Genre: Personal essay

Length: 800 – 3,000 words

Payment: $40 per essay

Deadline: November 1, 2015


Stories must begin with the first line: "George pressed the call button and said, 'Mrs. Whitfield, you have a visitor.' " (I find this to be an interesting concept.)

Genre: All genres

Length: 300 - 5,000 words for fiction or a 500-800 word critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work

Payment: $25.00 - $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 - $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction (all U.S. dollars)

Deadline: November 1, 2015


ellipsis… literature & art is the annual literary journal published by the students of Westminster College, Utah since 1965.

Genres: English language submissions in poetry, short fiction, creative non-fiction, drama, and art

Length: Up to 8,000 words for fiction, up to five poems

Payment: $10/poem and $50/story

Deadline: November 1, 2015

Those Who Make Us: Canadian Creature, Myth and Monster Stories

"We welcome stories about classic Canadian monsters, but Those Who Make Us will also explore how monsters from other cultures affect and are affected by Canadian landscapes. The cultural stories that shape our understandings of ourselves and our place in Canada are dynamic and Those Who Make Us will reflect the complexities of these interactions.

The stories submitted to Those Who Make Us may have their foundation in traditional forms of fairy tales, folktales, mythology, legends, and fables – but we will look for contemporary storytelling that goes beyond their foundations so that they represent personal or group identities, social commentary, evolving cultural norms, and history/future history. Those Who Make Us will challenge the idea of the Canadian identity."

Genre: Speculative fiction. All writers must be Canadian citizens (living in Canada and/or paying taxes in Canada) or permanent residents of Canada

Length: 2000 to 7000 words. Under 5000 is preferred.

Payment: 5 cents/word (CAD) for original fiction, and a contributor’s copy.

Deadline: November 2, 2015


Third Order

Third Order publishes science fiction and fantasy short fiction that deals with faith and religion. There are no other requirements concerning plot, characterization, or genre.

Genre: Speculative fiction

Length: Up to 7,000 words

Payment: $25 per story

Deadline: November 15, 2015


Shock Totem

"We’re not interested in hard science fiction, epic fantasy (swords and sorcery), splatterporn (blood and guts and little more), or clichéd plots. Clichéd themes are okay. We won’t turn our noses up at the sight of zombies or serial killers or vampires, but there needs to be something that sets it apart from the norm for us to seriously consider it."

Genres: Dark fantasy and horror—mystery, suspense, supernatural, morbid humor, fantasy, etc.

Length: Novels and novellas. Novellas must be at least 17,500 words in length. Anything less will be deleted

Payment: 50/50 split of the net income on all copies sold

Deadline: November 30, 2015


Buffalo Almanack: Where Thou Art

"Where thou art…that’s a double question when you think of it. Not only do we want to know where you come from, what’s it like or why you love it/hate it, but we also want to know how your connection to that place informs your artistic vision today. As such, we’ve expanded our horizons to include creative non-fiction in addition to our usual fare of short stories and the visual arts."

Genres: Fiction, creative nonfiction

Payment: $100 apiece to the best work of writing and visual art – and a $50 consolation prize to a third runner-up of either genre

Deadline: November 30, 2015

Vestal Review

Genre: Flash fiction only. Not looking for porn, obscenity or gore, so keep it fairly clean.

Payment: 10 cents/word for stories up to 100 words; 5 cents/word for stories between 101 and 200 words; 3 cents/word for stories between 201 and 500 words

Deadline: November 30, 2015


"Anacondas, piranha, giant crocodiles/alligators/lizards, mutated bears near nuclear power stations, prehistoric sharks. These are a few of my favourite things. All of these featured heavily in books and films of the 70s and 80s, when bio-horror was at its modern peak. For this anthology of military-bio-horror stories, we are looking for you to take us back to those days."

Payment: AUD4c/word and one contributor copy in each format released

Deadline: November 30, 2015


"We particularly like stories that smash genre boundaries to smithereens, but we also love fresh takes on established genres and in-depth explorations of ultraspecific niches. Experiments in form and style are welcomed enthusiastically—but a straightforward narrative with tight, crisp language is just as beautiful. When it comes down to it, we want stories that will amaze us, astound us, provoke our thoughts, and boggle our minds."

Length: Stories of 4,000 to 7,000 words are ideal, but will consider a range from 1,000 to 30,000 words.

Genre: Speculative fiction of all sorts—fantasy, science fiction, speculative horror, slipstream, weird fiction, steam/diesel/cyber/etc.punk, you name it.

Payment: $0.03 per word up to $225, payable upon receipt of completed contract and author questionnaire. 

Deadline: November 30, 2015

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

19th Annual “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest for YA Fiction - No entry fee

One of the benefits of writing contests is that nothing reveals your manuscript's flaws like submitting it for others to judge. (Usually, those flaws become glaringly obvious as soon as you hit the Send button.)

Another benefit, of course, is that you might just win.

The Writer's Digest contests are specifically focused on getting you to examine the first page of your manuscript. This is the only page you will submit to this contest. It is also the only page many agents (or editors) will read, so make sure it is polished.

Good luck!


From Writer's Digest

Welcome to the 19th (free!) “Dear Lucky Agent” Contest on the GLA blog. This is a FREE recurring online contest with agent judges and super-cool prizes. Here’s the deal: With every contest, the details are essentially the same, but the niche itself changes—meaning each contest is focused around a specific category or two. So if you’re writing any kind of young adult fiction, this 19th contest is for you! (The contest is live through EOD, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015.)


After a previous “Dear Lucky Agent” contest, the agent judge, Tamar Rydzinski (The Laura Dail Literary Agency), signed one of the three contest winners. After Tamar signed the writer, she went on to sell two of that writer’s books! How cool! That’s why these contests are not to missed if you have an eligible submission.


E-mail entries to [this email went active as of 9 am Monday morning]. Please paste everything. No attachments.


The first 150-250 words (i.e., your first double-spaced page) of your unpublished, completed book-length work of young adult fiction (all categories of YA are acceptable). You must include a contact e-mail address with your entry and use your real name. Also, submit the title of the work and a logline (one-sentence description of the work) with each entry.

Please note: To be eligible to submit, you must mention this contest twice through any any social-media. Please provide a social-media link or Twitter handle or screenshot or blog post URL, etc., with your official e-mailed entry so the judge and I can verify eligibility. Some previous entrants could not be considered because they skipped this step! Simply spread the word twice through any means and give us a way to verify you did; a TinyURL for this link/contest for you to easily use is [this links is updated as of Monday morning — sorry]. An easy way to notify me of your sharing is to include my Twitter handle @chucksambuchino at the end of your mention(s) if using Twitter. If we’re friends on FB, tag me in the mention. And if you are going to solely use Twitter as your 2 times, please wait 1 day between mentions to spread out the notices, rather than simply tweeting twice back to back. Thanks. (Please note that simply tweeting me does not count. You have to include the contest URL with your mention; that’s the point. And if you use Twitter, put my handle @chucksambuchino at the middle or the end, not at the very beginning of the tweet, or else the tweet will be invisible to others.)

Here is a sample TWEET you can use (feel free to tweak): New FREE contest for writers of Young Adult fiction Judged by agent @ericsmithrocks, via @chucksambuchino


Completed young adult novels (any category is acceptable, from quiet contemporary to loud sci-fi and fantasy).

Please note that this is a contest for young adult fiction only. So if your book has a main character who is not in high school, it would not qualify for this contest. Sorry.

  • This contest will be live through the end of Oct 29, 2015, PST. Winners notified by e-mail within three weeks of end of contest. Winners announced at the top of this blog post thereafter.
  • To enter, submit the first 150-250 words of your book (i.e., your first double-spaced page). Shorter or longer entries will not be considered. Keep it within word count range please.
  • You can submit as many times as you wish. You can submit even if you submitted to other contests in the past, but please note that past winners cannot win again. All that said, you are urged to only submit your best work.
  • The contest is open to everyone of all ages, save those employees, officers and directors of GLA’s publisher, F+W: A Content and E-Commerce Company, Inc.
  • By e-mailing your entry, you are submitting an entry for consideration in this contest and thereby agreeing to the terms written here as well as any terms possibly added by me in the “Comments” section of this blog post. If you have questions or concerns, write me personally at chuck.sambuchino (at) The Gmail account above is for submissions, not questions.

Top 3 winners all get: 1) A critique of the first 10 double-spaced pages of your work, by your agent judge. 2) A free one-year subscription to ($50 value)! 3) Their choice of any of Chuck’s 3 new books (mentioned at the top).


Eric Smith is a literary agent with P.S. Literary. He is the author of the YA novel INKED (Bloomsbury Spark) as well as the nonfiction humor book THE GEEK’S GUIDE TO DATING. (See all the ways to buy his books here.) Along with Tim Quirino, he’s the co-founder of Geekadelphia, a hyperlocal blog in Philadelphia, covering all-that-is-geek in the City of Brotherly Love. In 2011, he co-founded the Philadelphia Geek Awards with the Academy of Natural Sciences, a ceremony honoring local geeks. Before he joined P.S. Literary, Eric could be found at Quirk Books, an indie publishing house in Philadelphia. A native of New Jersey (don’t hate), he currently lives in Philadelphia. You can find him on Twitter at @ericsmithrocks and @geekadelphia. His writing is represented by Dawn Frederick of Red Sofa Literary.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Self-Publishing Success: The Little Rabbit That Could

Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin, the most famous author you have never heard of, has been making the news recently. His children's book, The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep, has been touted as an overnight success after it hit #1 on Amazon's bestseller list with seemingly no promotion.

How did Ehrlin's self-published Rabbit manage to garner the top position on Amazon? There was some speculation that he may have gamed the system by having everyone he knew purchase copies simultaneously (this has been done before) - but 20,000 copies? 

The mystery of how Ehrlin won such spectacular success - including a 7-figure advance from Random House - is finally revealed. Publisher's Weekly has conducted an interview with Ehrlin in which the author revealed how his book became a bestseller - step by step.

A Self-Published Sleeper: Author of 'The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep' Speaks

By Claire Kirch | Oct 07, 2015, Publisher's Weekly

"Initially, Ehrlin focused on selling Rabbit at seminars he conducted before various groups and the classes he taught at Jonkoping University. The word-of-mouth praise that effort drove, he said, resulted in people talking about the book to the press. This, he said, propelled sales of the book in Sweden. After Rabbit became a bestseller in Sweden, Ehrlin decided to solicit “friends and their friends” to assist him in translating the book into approximately half a dozen languages so that it could reach a wider audience.

After the various translated editions were self-published in 2014, through Amazon’s CreateSpace imprint, the U.K. edition, Ehrlin said, received “the most attention.” This, he assumes, is attributed to the the fact that he gave away e-book editions of the title via Facebook.

"I did some ads there saying the book existed and [people] could try it for free and see if they liked it or not."

Ehrlin thinks that the people who downloaded the free e-books must have recommended the title to their friends, and those friends then sought out the print edition. “There was a correlation there” between the growing number of free downloads and sales of the print book," he noted. “Then the snowball started rolling, I think. There was a lot of word of mouth.”

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

2 New Agents Looking for Scifi, Fantasy, Romance, Thrillers, Literary Fiction and More

Updated 6/11/20

Here are two new agents looking for writers. Sandy Harding (Spencerhill Associates) is seeking thrillers, women’s fiction, romance, and literary fiction for the adult market. Caitlin McDonald (Donald Maass Literary Agency) is looking for science fiction and fantasy for all age levels.

ALWAYS check the agency website before submitting. Agents may switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements may change.

If these agents do not suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Sandy Harding of Spencerhill Associates

About Sandy: Prior to joining Spencerhill in September 2015, Sandy Harding spent fifteen years at Penguin Random House and Penguin Group USA, most recently as a senior editor at NAL. In earlier days she earned an MA in American Literature at NYU and taught expository writing. As an editor she was fortunate to work with New York Times bestselling authors, but she also loved discovering new writers in unexpected places and nurturing both their manuscripts and their careers. She’s excited to bring this passion to agenting as she works to build her client list.

What she is seeking: Sandy is seeking mainly upmarket commercial and literary fiction for the adult market. She enjoys women’s fiction for book clubs, smart page-turning thrillers, works of suspense with complex protagonists, mysteries of all sorts (cozies, historical, traditional), and romance. Most of all she’s seeking writing with a voice so penetrating and a story so captivating the reader simply must keep reading.

How to submit “Please send us a query letter in the body of an email, pitch us your project and tell us about yourself: Do you have prior publishing credits? Attach the first three chapters and synopsis preferably in .doc, rtf or txt format to your email. Send all queries to: submission [at] Put ‘Query for Sandy: [TITLE]” in your subject line. We do not have a preference for exclusive submissions, but do appreciate knowing if the submission is simultaneous. If we are interested in your work, we will contact you within 12 weeks.”


Temporarily closed to queries

About Caitlin: Caitlin McDonald joined DMLA in 2015, and was previously at Sterling Lord Literistic. She represents adult and young adult speculative fiction, primarily science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and related subgenres, as well as contemporary fiction about geeky characters. She also handles a small amount of nonfiction in geeky areas, with a focus on feminist theory/women’s issues and pop culture. Caitlin grew up overseas and has a BA in Creative Writing from Columbia University. Find her on Twitter here.

What she is seeking: All science fiction and fantasy fiction (and subgenres) for adult, YA, and MG — especially secondary world fantasy and alternate history; Genre-bending or cross-genre fiction, and stories that examine tropes from a new angle; Diversity of all kinds, including (but not limited to) race, gender, sexuality, and ability, in both characters and world-building.

How to submit: Please visit QueryMe.Online/cmcdonald and fill out the online form with your query letter, synopsis, and the first twenty pages of your novel.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

6 Horror Publishers Accepting Submissions Directly from Writers - No Agent Required

Updated 2/5/23

Now is the time to put that plastic skeleton back on your lawn (or you can always use the real one you've got stashed in your basement), and dig out that horror story you wrote but never submitted anywhere.

Also see: 4 Horror and Dark Fiction Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts


Bell Bridge Books / BelleBooks, Inc.

BB is looking for dark, gritty, serious urban fantasy & horror. Vampires, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night on the mean streets of contemporary life. "A book we've currently bought is an epic series about a clan of vampires. (Right, epic means the series spans centuries. You can never trust guidelines.) Read Laurell K. Hamilton, Robin McKinley (Sunshine), Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, etc."

Advance: Yes

Simultaneous submissions: No

Formats: Print and ebooks


Black Bed Sheet Books

Black Bed Sheet Books specializes in publishing fiction of a dark nature: Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Suspense, Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller. Accepting novels, novellas, short story collections. Black Bed Sheet Books has published over 80 authors.

Advance: No information

Formats: Print and ebooks


By Light Unseen Media

"By Light Unseen Media is currently seeking outstanding and unique manuscripts in the area of vampire fiction and non-fiction. Authors are asked to query before submitting manuscripts. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be considered."

Advance: $200

Formats: Print (POD) and ebooks


Cosmic Egg

Cosmic Egg is an imprint of John Hunt Publishers, a mid-list house located in the UK. The publisher offers traditional publishing deals as well as co-operative publishing for authors. The parent company publishes a total of 300 titles per year with global sales and a focus on physical stores. Worldwide distribution.

Cosmic Egg imprint publishes speculative fiction: Vampires, Werewolves. Dragons and Faeries or Angels and Demons, Fantasy (including magical realism and spiritual fantasy), Metaphysical Cosmology, Horror or Science Fiction (including Steampunk).

Advance: None. Royalties are 10% of net.

Formats: Print and ebooks

Note: Authors are expected to help with marketing, which is not unusual for small houses. However, it has recently come to my attention that in some cases authors may be required to pay for publishing their books. While John Hunt is not a vanity press, requiring authors to pay publishing costs under any circumstances is not acceptable for legitimate publishers.


Dark Hall Press

Dark Hall Press, a division of New Street Communications, LLC, was launched on October 31, 2011, "The Dark Hall list includes works of supernatural and non-supernatural horror, as well as cross-genre pollinations (sci-fi/horror, fantasy/horror, noir/horror, etc.) and experimental works."

Formats: Print and Kindle


Dark Regions Press

Dark Regions is a small press specializing in dark fantasy, horror and science fiction. "Each book that is accepted for publication in Dark Regions Horror, Dark Regions Fantasy and Dark Regions Sci-Fi will have a Kickstarter/crowdfunding campaign associated with it. The campaigns will be created as a means for readers to preorder the book and to fully fund each project. Authors, artists, editors and everyone else involved in each book project will be asked to contribute to the campaign with videos, promotional efforts etc. Crowdfunding campaigns aren't always favored by authors, so it's important to know before thinking about submitting that if your manuscript is accepted for publication in Dark Regions Horror, Dark Regions Fantasy or Dark Regions Sci-Fi a crowdfunding campaign will be associated with it."

Advance: Author will receive a base payment (or advance) in the amount of $500 and starting rates of 35% NET royalties (profit sharing) for trade paperback editions and 45% NET royalties (profit sharing) for ebook editions which can increase to 40% and 50%, respectively, based on sales thresholds being reached.

Dark Regions has submission periods. Check the site for open submissions.

Note: Books are crowd-funded.


Severed Press

"Established in 2008 Severed Press is a leading independent publisher of horror and science fiction. Publishing trade paperbacks and E-Books. Severed Press has earned a reputation for excellence, quality and commitment to new and established authors alike. We are proud of the diversity of our authors and aim in continuing to build strong relationships worldwide. Authors include seasoned masters of horrors such as Tim Curran, Mark Tufo and Jake Bible to best selling newcomers David Achord and Joseph Talluto."

Severed Press is currently accepting novel submissions in the following categories: Apocalypse/Survival Horror, Dark Humour, Sci-Fi Horror, Anything out of the ordinary.

Advance: None. Pays royalties.

Note: Promotion and marketing for novels locally in Australia.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

6 Agents Seeking Women's Fiction

A Quiet Half Hour by Lionel Charles Henley
Updated 2/5/23

Women's fiction - often coupled with the word "upmarket"  - is any fiction centered on the experience of women.

Frequently, that means your protagonist will be buying shoes (brand names prominently mentioned), trying to lose weight (she does!), looking for a man (she finds one and he loves her even though she is fat and owns too many shoes), or any number of deeply apolitical things that commercial publishers would like to have us believe comprise women's experience.

But not always. Especially now, in the age of #metoo, some of the more down-to-earth aspects of women's lives are being considered, though still, most frequently, within the fold of romance.

Note: ALWAYS check the agency website before submitting. Agents may switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements may change.

If these agents do not suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Kimberly Brower of Brower Literary Management

Kimberly has represented a number of New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best selling authors (both traditionally and self published).

How to contact: E-query Kimberly at Queries should be emailed with “QUERY: [Manuscript/Project Title]” in the subject line and include a query letter, a full synopsis (this should summarize the entire book), and your first chapter, pasted into the email, double-spaced. Queries sent without this information will not be considered. No attachments please.


Danielle Burby of Mad Woman Literary Agency

Danielle is particularly drawn to: complex female characters, seaside novels, girls with swords, fantasy, LGBTQ+ love, sister stories, toxic friendships, feminist fairytales, social justice themes, folklore, creepy forests, complicated family dynamics, quirky adventures, protagonists who change systems and break rules, heartwarming love stories, whimsy.

How to contact: Open to queries until July 1. See guidelines HERE.


Marie is an author in her own right, and an experienced agent. "I’d love to find an original women's novel that would inspire the next smart and funny chick flick."

How to contact: Use her querymanager HERE.


Carly Watters is a VP and Senior Literary Agent with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent who develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to relevant markets.

How to contact: E-query with “Query for Carly” in the subject line. “Do not send attachments. Always let us know if your manuscript/proposal is currently under consideration by other agents/publishers. If you don’t receive a response to your query within 4-6 weeks it means a no from the agency. In my women’s fiction, I look for an external hook other than the love story (career, family, personal history etc.)”


Patricia Nelson of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Patricia is looking for compelling, well-written stories featuring complex characters that jump off the page.

How to contact: Use her form HERE.


Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun

Courtney Miller-Callihan founded Handspun Literary Agency in 2016, after more than ten years with Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. She is a hands-on editorial agent whose eclectic list includes historical fiction, women’s fiction, romance, mysteries, YA novels, humor, and practical nonfiction.

A graduate of the University of California, Santa Cruz (B.A., Literature), and Johns Hopkins University (M.A., English), she lives in San Diego with her family, and travels frequently for meetings and conferences.

How to contact: Queries should be sent to For fiction: please send a query letter, short synopsis (5 pages or less), and the first three chapters or 50 pages of the novel, whichever is more

Thursday, October 1, 2015

2 Agents Looking for Children's Book Writers

Updated 6/18/19

Here are two agents actively seeking children's book writers. They are particularly interested in picture books, but will accept queries for MG, YA, and early readers as well.

ALWAYS check the agency website before submitting. Agents may switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements may change.

If these agents do not suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Jodell Sadler of Sadler Caravette Literary Agency


About Jodell: Jodell earned her MFA in Children's Writing from Hamline University. She is working on the writing craft book on picture book pacing and has produced five Writer's Digest University Tutorials on Children's Writing on this same topic. Her published articles include "Picture Book Pacing: Verbal and Visual Tools for Writers," and "Picture Book Pacing: The ultimate 20 editing tools for your work," in the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, 2011 and 2013, respectively.

What she is looking for: Author-Illustrators, Picture Books, Chapter Books, MG, and YA (especially funny), fiction and creative nonfiction, and freeverse: authors, illustrators, and, in particular, author/illustrators. She loves a well-paced story that moves the story to move the reader between joy and tears.

How to contact: Please send submissions through the query manager at

Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Management


About Michelle: Michelle began her career as a journalist, first reporting and then later copy editing for the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City, Utah. From there, she transitioned to a position as associate editor with nonfiction publisher Gibbs Smith, where she edited titles on a variety of topics, including children’s activity, humor, gift, cookbooks, and green living. Her combined experience in the publishing industry is a boon for the authors she represents, as she is able to guide them through each of the stages of publication

What she is looking for: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Children’s Non-fiction, Picture books, Early readers.

How to contact: Send your query letter and the first 10 pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. Include QUERY, the age group/genre and the book title in the subject line. No attachments, please.
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