Thursday, April 28, 2016

36 Calls for Submissions in May 2016 - Paying Markets

There are three dozen calls for submissions in May. Genres include speculative fiction, horror, comedy, personal essays, poetry, general fiction and "everything." Some of these calls are for themed issues, so make sure you read the full guidelines before submitting.

Note: I post calls for submissions during the last week of every month. But if you want to get a jump on upcoming calls, you can find a list of sites that regularly post submission calls (paying and non-paying markets) on Calls for Submissions.



Genres: Fiction, creative nonfiction, commentary, essay – all welcome!

Length: Maximum of 3,000 words

Payment: $50 per page

Deadline: May 1, 2016


Ghosts on Drugs: Anthology

Genre: Short stories (mix of comedy + other genres)

Payment: 6-15 cents per word

Deadline: May 1, 2016


Story Magazine

Genres: Story, essay, poetry submissions wanted for 'Identity' issue

Payment: $20 per page (prose), $30+ per poem

Length: Maximum of 2500 words

Deadline: May 1, 2016

Reprints considered if they fit the theme


Skirt! Magazine

Genre: Personal essay. All Things Summer.

Length: Between 800 and 1,100 words

Payment: $200

Deadline: May 1, 2016


Understorey Magazine

Submissions are open to writers and artists who self-identify as women and live in Canada (or are Canadian citizens living abroad).

Genre: Fiction, poetry, art

Length: Under 1,500 words

Payment: $40-$65

Deadline: May 1, 2016


Sirens Call Publications: 'Monster Brawl' Anthology

Genre: Horror

Length: 4,000 - 8,000 words

Payment: $25

Deadline: May 1, 2016

Lethe Press: Nature of the Phantasms: Queering the Cthulhu Mythos

Genre: Cthulhu Mythos tales told from an LGBT point of view, all genres

Length: Up to 6,000 words

Payment: 3 cents/word and 2 copies of the book

Deadline: May 1, 2016


Lethe Press: 'Survivor' anthology

"In this SF/F anthology, we’re looking for stories of everyday trauma survival -- from a barmaid on an intergalactic space station who was abandoned by her parents, to a farmer’s son bullied by his peers, who withstands and resists their abuse. We also welcome stories with a war setting, such as stories about veterans and refugees. The key component for all of these stories is how relatively ordinary characters survive and thrive, given the traumatic experiences they’ve had. Note: we aren’t necessarily looking for happily ever after. Trauma survival rarely ends in happily ever after, though it can, and hopefully will, end in closure and a coming to terms."

Genre: Speculative fiction

Length: Up to 10,000 words

Payment: 3 cents/word

Deadline: May 1, 2016


Graeae Play Labs

"This paid one-day R&D platform provides a safe space and creative support to Deaf and disabled artists wishing to explore raw ideas and fresh stories for live performance, with artistic guidance and advice from our award-winning team."

Genre: Play written by a deaf or disabled writer

Payment: £700 to cover all artists’ fees, expenses, access costs and materials

Deadline: May 3, 2016



Genre: Poetry

Payment: $10

Deadline: May 6, 2016


New Legends Book 2

Genre: Steampunk

Length: 2,500 minimum – 8,000 maximum

Payment: $25

Deadline: May 9, 2016



Genre: Dark fiction

Length: Up to 7,000 words

Payment: 3 cents per word

Deadline: May 15, 2016

Reprints accepted at 1 cent per word



Genre: Scifi romance

Length: 2,000 to 7,500 words

Payment: 2.5 cents/word (US) paid upon publication, promotional biography with two links, and a complimentary quarter-page advertisement

Deadline: 15 May 15, 2016


Migla Press: Toxic

"The world can be a dangerous place, not just from the obvious, but also from the most seemingly innocent. From despots who silence entire nations with deadly gas, to the tiniest creatures which can kill with a single sting or bite, this anthology is centered around the theme of poisons, toxins, and anything, well...toxic. The goal for this publication will be to collect ten unique stories, each using a different real life substance (they must actually exist)."

Genre: Any

Payment: $25

Deadline: May 15, 2016


Alaska Quarterly Review

Genre: Fiction, short plays, poetry, photo essays, and literary non-fiction in traditional and experimental styles

Payment: $50-$200 for prose; $10-$50 for poetry

Deadline: May 15, 2016


Coffee House Conversations

Genre: Poetry or prose excerpt, 50 words max. Submissions must be written by a writer of color currently living in St. Paul.

Payment: $100

Deadline: May 15, 2016

Previously published work accepted


Visions V: Milky Way Anthology

"Visions V stories take place somewhere…anywhere…in the Milky Way Galaxy. Anything to do with planets, stars, and aliens is fair game. No limitations, as long as the subject and action take place outside our Solar System and within the Milky Way."

Genre: Scifi

Word Count: 3,000 – 8,000

Payment: $25

Deadline: May 15, 2016


Raven International Publishing Horror Anthology

"Submissions to this anthology must contain monsters being monsters, meaning no sparkly vampires or monsters with hearts of gold. Your monsters should be terrorizing and keep us up at night."

Length: Short stories (2,500–5,000 words) and novellas (10,000–49,000 words)

Genre: Horror

Payment: $55 plus royalties

Deadline: May 21, 2016


Kweli Journal

"Kweli is the first online journal of its kind to celebrate community and cultural kinships. In this shared space, you will hear the lived experience of people of color. Our many stories. Our shared histories. Our creative play with language. Here our memories are wrapped inside the music of the Muscogee, the blues songs of the South, the clipped patois of the Caribbean."

Genre: Self-contained novel excerpt, short story, or creative non-fiction piece, poetry

Length: No more than 7,000 words

Payment: "upon publication"

Deadline: May 30, 2016


Ticonderoga Press: "Welcome" Anthology

"People leave their homes behind, setting off, often risking everything, in search of a new start, a better life. We are looking for stories that emphasise what makes these people the same rather than focussing on where they are going, exploring the idea this is something that could happen to anyone and that seeking refuge in a new land can be a good thing, both for the migrant and for the place that becomes their new home. Stories that look at the inhumanity of indefinite detention of refugees, of allowing them to be stripped of their dignity and sanity. Stories that explore the potential benefits of allowing refugees to establish a new, safer life. Stories of hope."

Genre: Short stories, mainly science fiction and fantasy, but other genres accepted

Length: 1500 to 7500 words

Payment: 8 cents/word (AU)

Deadline: May 30, 2016


Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine

Genre: Fairy tale on theme of Summer Solstice and Midsummer

Length: 700 - 3,000 words

Payment: Story $30, Poem $10. US dollars only

Deadline: May 30, 2016


Otter Libris: Amazing Tales from the Circus Anthology

"Circuses are supposed to be places of joy and wonder, but they are also full of clowns and many people find clowns distinctly creepy. Circuses come into town and disappear after a brief stay, leaving behind nothing but a memory of the magic. They are homes for misfits, bearded ladies and contortionists who might be shunned in the outside world. What better environment than a circus for a story of magic and wonder that leaves you wondering if it ever happened. Give us your best wonderful, dark, or fantastic story about the circus."

Genre: Dark Fiction

Length: 3,000 to 10,000 words

Payment: $25

Deadline: May 31, 2016

Reprints accepted if they are a perfect fit


One Story

Genre: Literary Fiction

Length: Between 3,000 and 8,000 words

Payment: $500

Deadline: May 31, 2016


Contemporary Verse 2

Genre: Poetry and critical writing about poetry, including interviews, articles, essays, and reviews.

Length: Varies

Payment: Poetry: $30 per poem; Interviews: $50-$100, depending upon length; Articles: $50-$100, depending upon length; Essays: $40-$150, depending upon length; Reviews: $20-$75, depending upon length

Deadline: May 31, 2016


Arc magazine

Genre: Poetry (modern style), book reviews, and poetry-themed essays

Payment: $40/page and one copy

Deadline: May 31, 2016


The Gettysburg Review 

Genre: Poetry, fiction, essays

Payment: $2.00 per line for poetry and $15 per printed page for prose. Published authors also receive a copy of the issue containing their work and a one-year subscription.

Deadline: May 31, 2016


Genre: Asian speculative fiction

Payment: 6 cents/word (CAN)

Deadline: May 31, 2016


Genre: Poetry, short stories, essays, stand-alone novel excerpts

Payment: $20 per page for prose and $40 per page for poetry, with a $300 maximum

Deadline: May 31, 2016


Genre: Poetry, short stories, literary non-fiction

Payment: $50 per page to a maximum of $250, plus 3 copies of the issue

Deadline: May 31, 2016

Snail mail submissions only

Haunted Waters PressFrom the Depths: Outsiders

"We welcome both the profound and the quirky. We are open to most styles and genres of fiction including speculative, dark, experimental, and literary. We love flash fiction of any word count as long as it tells a complete story. We enjoy all forms of poetry including experimental, rhyming, free verse, and invented form. While we welcome deep, meaningful poetry, we also enjoy works that are witty, peculiar, or offbeat. As a general rule, we do not accept erotica. Horror only upon request. Profanity and violence, if used, must be integral to the story."

Payment: $.01 - $.04/word

Deadline: May 31, 2016



Payment: Token to semi-pro

Deadline: May 31, 2016

Snail mail submissions only


Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Spirit of Canada

"In 2017 Canada will celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. Our Canadian writers and readers will be focused on what Canada, and being Canadian, means. Send us your stories about what it means to be a Canadian, whether you're talking about hockey or camping, Celtic fiddle music and step dancing or singing “O Canada,” or any of the other things that make you so proud—and grateful—to be Canadian."

Genre: True stories

Payment: $200

Deadline: May 31, 2016


"Nashville Review seeks to publish the best work we can get our hands on, period. From expansive to minimalist, narrative to lyric, epiphanic to subtle—if it’s a moving work of art, we want it."

Genre: Short stories and poems

Payment: $100/story, $25/poem

Deadline: May 31, 2016


Genre: Nonfiction articles and some fiction geared to an educated audience

Payment: $20/page

Deadline: May 31, 2016

Snail mail submissions only


In The Spaces Between

Genre: Scifi mystery

Length: 1,750 – 5,000 words

Payment: $.05 word, $12 max

Deadline: May 31, 2016


The Baltimore Review

Genre: Fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction

Payment: $40 Amazon gift certificate

Deadline: May 31, 2016



"Materiality is a themed journal that includes fiction, essay, images and poetry, focusing on the physical and material—anything from how an object or material is made, to how materials and objects  have affected our personal lives, culture or history. We source content from writers, artists, conservators, curators, craftspeople, historians, hobbyists, enthusiasts, photographers, manufacturers, materials scientists, engineers, designers and architects. We like to mix creative non-fiction with creative works. In our journal, you might find an article about the history of the paper bag, a poem inspired by childhood toys, a photo-essay on snow-worn timber, or a graphic about the construction of the spacesuit."

Payment: $AU10-30 per piece

Deadline: May 31, 2016

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

19 Writing Conferences in May 2016

Writing conferences offer so much to writers - master classes, opportunities to talk to authors, pitch sessions with agents, as well as workshops covering every aspect of writing and publishing. In addition, you get to share experiences with other writers - in the flesh! (Nothing beats actual face-to-face contact.)

If you can find the time to attend a conference, you won't regret it.

Note: For a month-by-month listing of conferences, as well as how to find upcoming conferences in your area, see Writing Conferences.


Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat. May 1 - 6, 2016 in Waialua, Hawaii at Camp Mokulē‘ia, Oahu. Offers workshops in fiction and nonfiction, readings, one-on-one consultations, publishing panels, yoga sessions. The retreat is led by North Shore native Constance Hale, the author of Sin and Syntax, the editor of more than two dozen books, and a journalist whose stories about Hawai‘i appear on CD liner notes, as well as in publications like The Los Angeles Times and Smithsonian magazine. Hale invites a mix of writers, editors, and agents from both the islands and the mainland to lead various workshops and appear on panels.

Writing By Writers Methow Valley Workshop: May 4 - 8, 2016, Winthrop, WA. Faculty: Andre Dubus III, Ron Carlson, Pam Houston, Lidia Yuknavitch. Tuition:  $1,450 (before November 1) $1,550 (after November 1) includes one four-day workshop, admittance to all panels and readings, and all meals (dinner on Wednesday; three meals Thursday through Saturday; breakfast and lunch on Sunday) and lodging for four nights.

Windsor International Writers Conference, Canada: May 5 - 8, 2016, Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Faculty: Sheryl WuDunn, Tara Beagan, Lev Raphel, Yale Strom, Tracy Beckerman, Marcia Fine, Carol McAdoo Rehme, Suzette Martinez Standring, Nick Cutter, Brian Henry, Andrew Pyper, Rick Sykes and over a dozen agents and publishing firms. Registration includes most meals, Meet and Greet reception: $400.00; At door: $600.00; Pre-conference intensive round-tables: $125.00; Post-conference Screenplay master class with Elliot Grove: $125.00.

Idaho Writers Guild Pitchfest: May 7th, 2016, Boise, Idaho. "Four outstanding literary agents will be in Boise taking your pitches. Your registration - $150 for IWG members, $195 for non-members - provides you two, 10-minute, 1-on-1 pitches. You'll also enjoy insider panel discussions and an exciting keynote speaker at our IWG Writing Contest Awards Luncheon. You may meet all the presenters in person at an exclusive cocktail reception on Friday evening, May 6th."

Life in the Spotlight: Author Opportunities After Publication: May 10 - 13, 2016, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. "It’s for the published author to determine how much time and energy should be invested in selling self and product, but if the most is to be made of a book and author in the marketplace, then personal efforts must follow that publication date. This workshop not only introduces the participants to publicity techniques and the fine points needed to create fruitful relationships with the media, but it offers instruction, practice, and a real-life school experience for each enrollee in the development of public speaking and presentation skills."

Writers Retreat Workshop 2016: May 12 - 19, 2016, San Antonio, TX. Featuring Joe Lansdale (Edgar Award, 8 Bram Stoker Awards); author/instructor Les Edgerton, author/instructor Arianne "Tex" Thompson, author/instructor Jason Sitzes, editor-in-residence/instructor Carol Dougherty and agents/editors.

Lakefly Writers Conference. May 13 - 14, 2016: Premier Waterfront Hotel & Convention Center in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Workshops, talks, and a bookfair for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. Keynote speaker is Elizabeth Koehler-Pentacoff, author of "The Missing Kennedy Rosemary Kennedy and the Secret Bonds of Four Women." Many speakers and presenters.

Big Sur on Cape Cod: May 13 - 15, 2016, North Falmouth MA. Faculty: Andrea Brown and four of her agents, four editors and four authors.

Chicago Writing Workshop, May 14, 2016, Chicago, IL. "This is a special one-day “How to Get Published” writing workshop on Saturday, May 14, 2016, at the historic Congress Plaza Hotel, just south of the downtown area. In other words, it’s 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, and more. No matter what you’re writing — fiction or nonfiction — the day’s classes will help point you in the right direction. Writers of all genres are welcome." Features over two dozen attending agents.

Seaside Writers Conference. May 14 - 21, 2016: Seaside Assembly Hall in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. "The Seaside Writers Conference is an annual gathering of creative writers from all over the nation, and features award-winning writers in poetry and fiction and screenwriting who will offer a full week of intensive writing workshops, one day seminars, school outreach programs, and social events." Many authors, agents, editors.

Writing Jewish-Themed Children’s Books: May 15-18, 2016, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. "A hands-on workshop specifically designed for writers of Jewish-themed content. Whether your manuscript has slight or overwhelming Jewish content, this is the workshop for you. Unlike a one-day conference, this workshop includes one-on-one manuscript critiques with a literary agent or editor and time to revise. There’ll also be two group critiques."

Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp. May 15-21, 2016: West Bend WI. 6-day, residential workshop-retreat for writers in all genres working on a novel or creative nonfiction book. Workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Fiction, Horror, Humor, Mystery, Non-fiction, Publishing, Romance, Science Fiction/Fantasy, Young Adult. Registration is limited to 30 people.

Novels in Verse — More than a Novel, More than Poetry: May 21 - 25, 2016, Honesdale, Pennsylvania. "The Novel in Verse Workshop offers writers the rare opportunity to have the entire draft of a novel read and critiqued. At the workshop, you’ll get a letter with overall comments as well as a marked-up manuscript. (Depending how far in advance you submit your novel, you may receive the letter and manuscript beforehand.) We’ll discuss the letter and manuscript in person at the workshop where we can get your feedback and we can explain our suggestions to help you make your novel what it wants to be." Please note: application deadline is April 25, 2016.

ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors) Writers Conference, May 20 - May 21, 2016. NYC, NY. Focus on Autobiography/Memoir, Business/Technical, Humor, Journalism, Marketing, Nature, Non-fiction, Publishing, Religion, Screenwriting, Travel. Attending: more than 100 editors, authors, literary agents, and publicists.

Pennwriters Conference, May 20 - 22, 2016, Pittsburgh, PA. Friday evening keynote Jonathan Maberry; Saturday afternoon keynote Kathryn Craft; and 20+ authors, literary agents & editors, writing industry pros. Costs: $300 for 3-day registration. One-day registration available (price TBD)

Hedgebrook VORTEXT Salon. May 20 - 22, 2016: Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island, about 35 miles northwest of Seattle. Workshops, panel discussions, lectures, open mics, and time to write in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction for women writers.

Spring Writing Intensive: May 21, 2016, Annapolis MD. "In this one-day writing intensive, participants will have the opportunity to join other writers for a day devoted to writing instruction, discovery, and inspiration. Working under the guidance of award-winning authors, attendees may select four workshops from seven choices. By choosing from a menu of craft options that will include memoir, fiction, nonfiction, and publishing advice, participants will select the subjects that address their most challenging writing issues and will leave armed with new skills, understanding, and motivation. All levels are welcome." Tuition: $175.

North Words Writers Symposium: May 25 - 28, 2016, Skagway, Alaska. Faculty: Keynote author Brian Doyle - Portland, Oregon novelist/essayist/editor. Alaskan authors include: Kim Heacox, Eowyn Ivey, Heather Lende, Lynn Schooler, John Straley, and Emily Wall. Costs: $375 includes most meals. College credit extra for $90.

Creative Nonfiction Writers' Conference. May 27 - 29, 2016: Wyndham University Center in Pittsburgh, PA. Master classes, craft discussions, publishing talks, pitch sessions, and readings for creative nonfiction writers. In just three days you can meet one-on-one with a literary agent or publishing consultant, get concrete advice from professional writers, hear what different kinds of editors are looking for, and hone your skills in an inspiring small-group session. You’ll also meet and mingle with writers from across the country who share your excitement about the writing process.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

32 Writing Contests in May 2016 - No Entry Fees

There are many great free writing contests in May. All genres and forms are included, from poetry, to short fiction, to essays, to full length-works, both published and unpublished.

Some of these contests have age and regional restrictions, so be sure to read the full guidelines before submitting.

Good luck!

Note: I post a list of free upcoming contests the last week of every month. But if you want to get a jump on contests, the tab labeled "Free Contests" is regularly updated. Be sure to check there for future as well as past contests - many are held annually.


Crucible: Poetry and Fiction Competition is sponsored by the Barton College Department of English. Genres: Fiction (limited to 8,000 words or less) and poetry (limited to five poems). Restrictions: All work must be original and unpublished. Prizes: $150.00 First Prize. $100.00 Second Prize. Publication in the CrucibleDeadline: May 1, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Whiting Foundation Creative Nonfiction GrantGenre: Creative nonfiction. Writers must be completing a book of creative nonfiction that is currently under contract with a publisher. Writers who signed a contract before May 1, 2014, are eligible. Prize: $35,000. Deadline: May 1, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Split This Rock's Arabic Poetry Translation ContestGenre: English translation of an Arabic poem on the themes of social justice or freedom of expression. Prize: $500. Deadline: May 1, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Grant MacEwan Creative Writing Scholarship is sponsored by the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Genres: Poetry, Short Fiction & Creative Nonfiction, Drama, or Graphic Novel. Restrictions: Authors must be currently enrolled in an undergraduate creative writing program of study or mentorship. (Max age 25) Alberta residents only. Prize: $5000 (CAN). Deadline: May 1, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Polari First Book PrizeGenres: The prize is for a first book which explores the LGBT experience and is open to any work of poetry, prose, fiction or non-fiction published in English. Self-published works in both print and digital formats are eligible for submission. Restrictions: Writer must be born in UK or resident in the UK. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: May 1, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

The Society for Humanistic Anthropology Fiction CompetitionGenre: Stories that relate to the four fields of anthropology. Restrictions: Stories should not exceed 20 pages typed double-spaced. There is a limit of one story submission per applicant. Prize: The first place story will be published in the Society’s journal, Anthropology and Humanism. The first place winner(s) will receive a certificate and award of $100. Deadline: May 2, 2016. Read guidelines HERE. (Scroll down the page.)

Norman Mailer High School Creative Non-Fiction Writing Award Competition is open to students currently enrolled in a high school accredited by the US. Students may submit one or more pieces of writing as one file, maximum 10 single-spaced pages, endorsed by a teacher and released by a parent or guardian. One winner will receive a cash award of $2,500 at a special award ceremony. Submission accepted online only through May 2, 2016, Noon CST.

Norman Mailer Community College Creative Non-Fiction Writing Award Competition is open to full-time students enrolled in two-year colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges. Maximum 15 single-spaced pages. One winner will receive a cash award of $2,500 at a special award ceremony. Submissions accepted online only through May 2, 2016, Noon CST.

Norman Mailer Four-year College Creative Non-Fiction Writing Award Competition is open to current full-time undergraduate students. Maximum 15 single-spaced pages. One winner will receive a cash award of $5,000 at a special award ceremony. Submissions accepted online only through May 2, 2016, Noon CST.

Norman Mailer College Poetry Writing Award is open to full time students enrolled in four-year colleges, two-year colleges, junior colleges, and technical colleges. Students may submit one or more poems, to a maximum of 10 pages. One winner will receive a cash award of $2,500 at a special award ceremony. Submissions accepted online only through May 2, 2016, Noon CST.

Spectator Competition. You are invited to submit a poem singing the praises of old age (16 lines maximum). Please email entries (wherever possible) to Prize: £30. Deadline: May 4, 2016.

Loft Literary Center Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grants. Grants of up to $8,000 each are given annually to poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who have lived in the state of Minnesota for at least one year. Writers who have published no more than two books in any genre are eligible to apply. Submit 15 to 20 pages of poetry or 20 to 30 pages of prose, an artist proposal, a brief bio, a preliminary budget, and a résumé. Deadline: May 6, 2016.

Luminarts Creative Writing Program. The Creative Writing Competition awards five $5,000 grant awards and Luminarts Fellowships across categories of creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Open to writers between the ages of 18 and 30 years old at the time of application; be enrolled in, or have graduated from, a degree program; and live within 150 miles of the Union League Club of Chicago. Genre: Poetry or prose, fiction and nonfiction. Prize: $5,000 and publication in Luminarts Review, a literary journal. Deadline: May 6, 2015.

The Loneliness ProjectGenre: POEM or a short duologue ABOUT LONELINESS. You might be inspired to write about a character in Steinbeck’s novel. You may want to reflect on your own life or experience you’ve had, you may find inspiration from a friend or something you’ve seen on the news. Prize: Grand prize of £300. Judges will also choose a runner-up who will win £150. A third prize of £150 will be awarded to the poem or duologue that’s most popular with audiences online. Deadline: May 14, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

The James Laughlin Award is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Genre: A second book of poetry forthcoming in the next calendar year. Must be under contract with US publisher.   Restrictions: Open to US citizens and residents only. Prize: $5,000, an all-expenses-paid week long residency in Florida, and the Academy will purchase approximately 1,000 copies of the book for distribution to its members. Deadline: May 15, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Brevity ContestRestrictions: Graduate and undergraduate writers. Genre: "We are looking for flash essays  (750 words or fewer) that explore the lived experience of race, racialization, and racism, show the reader a new way to look at the familiar, or give voice to under-represented experiences." Prize: $200 and publication. Deadline: May 15, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Expatriate and Work Abroad Writing ContestGenre: Essay. "Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring writers are encouraged to write articles that describe their experience living, moving, and working abroad. Often your experience living abroad may be extended by working or studying in the host country, so living/working/studying/and traveling abroad are often inextricable—and we are interested in exploring these interconnections." Prize: The first-place winner’s entry will receive $500, the second-place winning entry $150, and the third-place winner $100. Deadline: May 16, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Non-FictionGenre: Literary non-fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. Prize: $60,000 will be awarded to a literary nonfiction book published between March 23, 2016 and May 24, 2016. Deadline: May 25, 2016.  Read guidelines HERE.

Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction PrizeGenre: Fiction. Restrictions: Titles must be published in Canada and written by Canadians. No self-published works. Prize: $25,000 will be awarded to a novel or short-story collection published between March 23, 2016 and May 24, 2016. Prizes of $2,500 will be awarded to each of the finalists. Deadline: May 25, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

The Victoria Book PrizeGenres: Published fiction, literary non-fiction, or poetry. (Not open to self-published works.) Book submitted must have been published between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 and must be a new work, not a re-issue or a revision of a previous work. Restrictions: Author must be a resident of the Capital Region and a Canadian citizen or resident. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: May 25, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Claudia Ann Seaman Awards For Young Writers.  Restrictions: High school students. Genre: Stories and poems. Prize: $200.00. Deadline: May 30, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Nick Darke Writers' AwardGenre: Stage play. Prize:  £6,000. Deadline: May 30, 2016. Read full submission guidelines HERE.

bpNichol Poetry Chapbook AwardGenre: Published poetry chapbook. Restrictions: Canadian publishers only. Prize: The author receives $4,000 and the publisher receives $500. Deadline: May 31, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

The Wolfe Pack Black Orchid AwardGenre: Mystery novellas in the style of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novellas. Manuscript length: 15K-20K words. Prize: $1,000, plus recognition and publication in a forthcoming issue of AAMM. Deadline: May 31, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Unicorn Press First Book ContestGenre: Unpublished book-length poetry. Individual poems do not have to be unpublished. Prize: The winner will receive $250 and the winning manuscript will be published by Unicorn Press. Deadline: May 31, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Cromwell Article PrizeGenre: Articles published in 2015 in the field of American legal history. Restrictions: Open to early career scholars. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: May 31, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation Writing CompetitionGenre: Play. Only full-length works (dramas, comedies, musicals, screenplays) will be considered. One entry per author. Scripts must be original. Must be in English. All must concern LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender) life and be based on, or directly inspired by, a historical person, culture, work of art, or event. Prize: First Prize, $3,000. Second Prize, $1,500. Honorable Mentions, $500. Deadline: May 31, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction ContestGenre: Unpublished fiction approximately 1,000 - 5,000 words. Story should pertain to music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America. Prize: $100 and publication in Jerry Jazz MusicianDeadline: May 31, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

Save the Earth Poetry PrizeGenre: Poem (1). Poems submitted should, in any way possible, evoke humankind’s awareness of the natural world and nature as such. Restrictions: Open to High school students, grades 11 & 12. Prize: $200 awarded to seven winners. Deadline: May 31, 2016. Read guidelines HERE.

The Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere Writing CompetitionGenre: Short story, in English, an original work of fiction, previously unpublished, and not more than 3,000 words. Must adhere to the setting of Elgin and area during the eighteenth and/or nineteenth century. Prize: £350. Deadline: May 31, 2016.

ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction. Sponsored by the American Bar Association. Restrictions: Entrants must be U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents.  Genre: Original works of short fiction that illuminate the role of the law and/or lawyers in modern society. 5000 words max. Prize: $3,000 and publication in ABA Journal. Deadline: May 31, 2016.

James Bartleman Aboriginal Youth Creative Writing AwardsRestrictions: Open to aboriginal youth, 18 years or younger, residing in Ontario, Canada. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: May 31, 2016.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Comparative Titles - Why You Need Them

If you have spent some time looking at successful queries, or browsing agent bios, you will notice that comparative titles figure prominently.

There are several very important reasons to come up with some comparative titles (aka "comps") for your book, all of which have to do with marketing. The marketing department - and this is true of any publisher - is not going to sit down and read your book, so it is up to you to get them the information they need to help generate publicity and sales. Your agent will also need comps to pitch your book to a publisher.

Random House has put together an excellent article on why comparative titles are important, and how they are used by marketing departments. There is a useful section at the end that describes how to find comp titles, in case you are at a loss.


What Are Comp Titles and Why Are They Useful?

By Andrea Bachofen - Random House News for Authors

Comparison (“comp”) titles are books that are similar to yours in one of two ways: Either the content is comparable or the sales trends are expected to be similar. For your publishing team, comp titles are extremely important. The comps help editors making acquisition decisions to figure out who and how big the audience might be for a specific title. Editors also look at the sales trajectories of comp titles: Will Book X be the type of book to backlist forever, like Book Y, or go strong out of the gate and then fade fast when the publicity dies down, like Book Z? Marketing teams also find comps useful when putting together marketing plans for individual titles.

Additionally, comp titles are essential for the sales group: They give the sales reps a good shorthand when selling in to retailers. Reps have only thirty seconds to pitch each book with some accounts. Being able to say “It’s like x and y” can be one of the most effective ways to get attention from the buyer and to set expectations about audience and ballpark sales potential.

While our publishing teams often add additional comp titles during the publishing process, it is immensely valuable for them to understand what comp titles you suggest, so you can align your expectations about framing and positioning early in the process.

What Makes a Good Comp Title?

Here are a few things to ask yourself when determining if your selection is a good one:

1. Is the title recent? (Within the last two or three years is ideal.)

2. Is the title the same format? (If your forthcoming book is hardcover, don’t use a trade paperback original as a comp.)

3. Will your book have the same target audience in terms of genre? (This is relatively easy to do if the book fits neatly into a category: literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, mystery, thriller, or science fiction. It can be more complicated if a book does not fit neatly into one category: for example, if the book is both very literary and science fiction. In that case, it is ideal to find previous books that have straddled both audiences.)

4. Does your book have the same target audience in terms of demographics? (Don’t include a young adult title if the audience for your book is clearly on the adult side, for example.)

5. Is your comp realistic and believable? (Although it’s tempting to compare your work to a breakout bestseller, it’s more credible to choose a title with a typical sales path.)

6. Has your comp been successful . . . to a certain degree? (The book doesn’t have to—and usually shouldn’t—be a phenomenon, but it should at least be on the radar of accounts or on category bestseller lists. If a comp title is a perfect editorial match but a sales failure, it may set the expectations for your book too low.)

You can read the rest of this informative article HERE.

Also see these articles for specifics on how to find comps:

Comparative Title Analysis for your Book Proposal: The “How-To”

Thursday, April 14, 2016

2 New Agents Looking for Clients

Here are two new agents looking for clients. New agents are a boon to writers. They are enthusiastic and hard-working, and eager to make sales. Often, they are former editors and/or published authors, which means they have contacts in the industry.

Elise Erickson is seeking romance and all of its subgenres, women’s fiction, paranormal, mystery including clever cozy mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, commercial literary fiction, and some YA. Lori Galvin is seeking cookbooks.

You can find many more new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients


Elise Erickson of Harold Ober Associates


About Elise: Elise of Harold Ober Associates graduated from St. Olaf College and the NYU Summer Publishing Institute in 2014, and spent several months interning at Penguin’s New American Library imprint, Folio Literary Management, and Susanna Lea Associates before taking on her current position at Harold Ober Associates. She grew up in both Florida and Minnesota, but is quickly learning to love city life in NYC. Elise is passionate about the role and responsibility of the literary agent, especially being an advocate for authors. In addition to working with books, she currently assists in selling Harold Ober’s TV, film, and subsidiary rights, and is actively building a client list of her own.

What she is looking for: Romance and all of its subgenres, women’s fiction, paranormal, mystery including clever cozy mysteries, thrillers, historical fiction, commercial literary fiction, and some YA. She is particularly drawn to stories that contain a strong sense of place, and female protagonists with unique, compelling voices.

Not Looking For: Poetry, Screenplays, Picture Books, Horror, Self-help.

How to submit: Please email the first 15-20 pages of your manuscript, a concise query letter, and a detailed synopsis to elise [at]


Lori Galvin of Aevitas

Prior to joining Aevitas, Galvin was executive editor at the multimedia publisher America’s Test Kitchen, where she led a team that produced dozens of landmark cookbooks. Galvin was also an editor at Houghton Mifflin, a restaurant cook, and ran a bed-and-breakfast in Maine. Based in Boston, a few of her clients and their projects include Kwame Onwuachi’s Notes from a Young Black Chef (Knopf ’19); Hannah Kirshner’s Water, Wood, and Wild Things (Viking ’21), Cambria Brockman’s Tell Me Everything (Ballantine ’19), and Wanda M. Morris’s All Her Little Secrets (Morrow, ’21). A few of Galvin’s client’s projects have been optioned by A24 and Netflix.

What she is seeking: Lori Galvin represents both adult fiction (especially women’s fiction and crime fiction) and non-fiction (memoir, food writing, and cookbooks). Lori seeks cookbook authors with a strong point of view, a solid grounding in their field, and a talent for motivating cooks of all stripes to get into the kitchen. She is also on the lookout for compelling narratives about food and drink, whether memoir or cultural commentary, serious or steeped in humor. Lifestyle topics, including motivational self-help, are also of interest.

How to submit: Please use this form to query Lori.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

What Agents Want: Making Sense of Submissions

Your manuscript is complete and polished, and now you are ready to embark on the task of sending query letters. (Or alternatively, you can go to a conference and pitch an agent in the flesh. Go here for a list of conferences: Writing Conferences )

Before you send your query, you need to do a little research. Does the agent accept your genre? Does the agent have a track record? Does the agent clearly describe his or her submission requirements? And when the agent starts describing what it is he or she wants, what on earth are they talking about?

Agents, like publishers, use jargon - it's one of the hazards of the trade. But as an author, you may have no idea what they mean by "high concept," "upmarket," "literary." Reasonably speaking, your job is to write your book; theirs is to find a niche for it. Unfortunately, writers are expected to define not only their genre, and their audience, but also their market niche, which is something they may know nothing about.

It's never too late to learn!

Here are some terms you may run across in agent bios when they describe what they are seeking:

High Concept means the book can be made into a movie. In general, books that fall into this category have a single premise ("what if..."), clear story lines, are highly visual, appeal to a mass audience, and have a well-defined emotional focus that fits into a movie category. (Family comedy? Drama? Romcom?) If you can sum up your book in one sentence, you may have written a high-concept novel.

Up-market fiction is any novel that has mass appeal and is also well-written. Memoirs of a Geisha falls into that category. These are books you want to keep. Frequently, non-genre fiction may be used instead of up-market.

Commercial fiction is entertaining, has a plot that moves right along, and may or may not feature writing that makes you cringe. The Stephanie Plum mysteries would fall into that category, as well as most popular mass market paperbacks. (Romances, in particular.) These are books you read in a dentist's office, because you found them there, and which you will probably leave in the waiting room after your teeth have been nicely polished. Most genre fiction is commercial.

Literary fiction is art. Nobel Prize winners fit into this category. (Pretentious wannabes also end up being called "literary," because people often can't tell the difference between art and gimmickry.) In literary fiction, the way you tell a story is more important than what actually happens. (As a case in point, what exactly happened in White Noise?) The exploration of character, style, and theme is what moves these books along. If you are reading a book, and you have to stop because the prose is stunning, revelatory, or just plain deep (and you are not stoned) you are reading literary fiction. If you need a half hour to explain what's in your book, you may have written something literary.

Narrative non-fiction is any non-fiction that reads like a novel. The Poet and the Murderer is a great narrative non-fiction book that tells the story of how ... no, I won't spoil it for you. You'll just have to read it. If you can turn forging an Emily Dickinson poem into a gripping tale of obsession, murder, and suspense, you're writing narrative non-fiction.

Strong platforms are what agents representing general non-fiction like to see (though not necessarily narrative non-fiction). Are you the CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation? Have you been a quarterback in the NFL? Are you a surgeon doing experimental face transplants? Does everyone on the planet know who you are? Those are people who have strong platforms. If you have a few thousand followers on Twitter, or a blog with a couple thousand followers, or lots of "friends" on Facebook, you do not have a strong platform - although all those things may be useful if you write any kind of fiction.

These posts will help you find an agent who is right for you:

How to Research an Agent

Beggars Can Be Choosers - How to Pick an Agent

Valuable Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor

Finding an Agent – Look before you leap

Are You Ready to Contact an Agent? Take This Short Quiz and Find Out

What Not to Do When Contacting an Agent

Thursday, April 7, 2016

20 Paying Markets for Humor

Updated 3/31/23

If you have a sense of humor, why not use it to make some money instead of wasting your talent on graffiti? There are ample economic opportunities for people who can see the lighter side of life, or skewer the darker side with a well-aimed quip.

The publications below want to make their readers grin, chortle, guffaw, smile knowingly, and sometimes lead you down the primrose path until the last possible moment. Satire, sarcasm, revolting college humor, one-liners, witty bon mots, sentimental slop, whatever you're good at, some magazine on this list will pay you for it.

Many of the publications on this list have submission periods, so read their guidelines carefully.

Happy submitting!

Note: You can find more paying markets on this page: Paying Markets.



This is one of the most popular, and, in my opinion, funniest sites on the web. (Feel free to disagree.) (But you'll be wrong.) Chances of acceptance are remote, but it doesn't hurt to try. The Quarterly pays on acceptance, but in keeping with their "no rules" policy, they don't say how much. The Internet Tendency may pay in "unusual" currency or not at all. It's hard to tell.

The Funny Times

"Our print publication pokes fun at politics, news, relationships, food, technology, pets, work, death, environmental issues, business, religion (yes, even religion) and the human condition in general. Not much is off limits, so do your best to make us laugh. Plus we’re advertising free, so whatever we like, we use. We pay upon publication, not acceptance, and the rates are $25-$40 per cartoon based on reproduction size and $60 each for story."

"Part feminista part fashionista our mission is to publish a monthly magazine that speaks to all sides of a women’s personality - their work, their play, their families and their creativity, through one of kind content and effective advertising." Themed issues

"If you are a funny/smart/creative person, is the single best opportunity you will ever come across in your life. No experience necessary. We will pay you if it's good. You talk directly to the editors — no form letter rejections. Your work could be seen by millions of people. We need articles, photoshops, infographics and videos. Take your pick." Pays $50 per article for your first four articles, then $150 afterwards.

"If you write satire, or you’ve just always wanted to, consider submitting your story to Glossy News. Our stories are regularly picked up by HumorFeed and Google News as well as many other leading news aggregators, so if you think you’ve got the chops there’s no better time. No more must you limit yourself to enraged letters to editors or mere blog posts, now you can put your brain where your mouth is… and that’s as sexy as it sounds." Offers prizes.

"We accept humor submissions for the Lighter Side. Submissions must be between 1,000 and 3,000 words in length and previously unpublished. Please send articles as Microsoft Word or PDF attachments to with Attn: Lighter Side in the subject line. If sending a pitch or query, writers should include one or two writing samples of their work as Microsoft Word or PDF attachments. Please include contact information: name, address, phone number, email address, and Twitter handle (if applicable). In lieu of email, see hard-copy guidelines above." Pays $25-$400 per article.

"Anything that deals with any aspect of the lighter side of parenting — parody, humorous takes on parenting, satire, an “open letter”, take your pick. And if you are questioning if your humor crosses the line, then definitely send it in — we don’t want “safe.” We are a gloriously independent site that doesn’t answer to a board of directors or a huge corporate sponsorship. Use that to your advantage. We certainly aren’t afraid of offending some people, and you shouldn’t be, either." Pays $25 per article.

"Everybody’s got a funny story. What’s yours? Send us your joke, quote, or a funny true story—if it’s selected for the magazine, you’ll be paid $100!"


This is an interesting site that capitalizes on the Internet craze for lists. You will find lists for just about everything on Listverse. They are looking for offbeat, unexpected, little-known facts, all written with a sense of humor. Check out some of their lists to see what they prefer. 1500 words minimum. Payment is $100 via Paypal only.

The Squeaky Times

"Hi. You’re here because you’re a funny person who wants to write satirical nonsense on a website that even search engine bots avoid." Submit satirical articles that are between 25 to 300 words in length (or however many words it takes to get the joke(s) across!). Payment is $2.50, "but you grant us permission to make money off of your genius for the remainder of the universe’s existence."
Currently closed due to covid. May reopen at some point.

The (y) Syndrome is always looking for female writers (and occasional allies) who want to help "educate, enlighten, and promote women through comedy and humorous story-telling. At The Syndrome Mag, we cover a broad list of topics from a women’s perspective, including those that directly address gender equality issues such as reproductive rights, pay equity, #MeToo, the glass ceiling, and women in politics (because we REALLY need to laugh about these things) and those that are lighter-hearted and focus on what it’s like being a woman in the world today, including sex and sexual identity, relationships, dating, body image, work, fashion, food, etc. Funny is who we are and what we’re looking for, no matter the topic." You can pitch feature articles between 500-1200 words, memes and art. Payment: $20 for articles chosen for publication. After your 5th published article, the amount increases to $40 per article. They do not pay for memes or artwork that will be published. Read submission guidelines HERE.

The American Bystander

"We are a reader-supported, creator-friendly publication committed to preserving the classic print humor experience. We publish material in the tradition of the great humor magazines like The National Lampoon, SPY, The Realist, MAD, Punch, Private Eye - you get the point." Payment is negotiated.

"We are interested in publishing short left-leaning political satire, non-political comedy that speaks to the current moment, and earnest non-comedic essays from a Leftist perspective." Length: 1,200 words max. Payment: $50.

Eggplant Emoji, an annual comedy publication. Eggplant Emoji Volume 2 will be a print and eBook collection of hilarious short stories that are character-driven and culturally striking. Stories selected for this anthology will define pop culture with unforgettable characters, outrageous situations, and riotous humor. Length: 1,000 – 5,000 words. Payment: $25. See deadlines.

"We don't follow a viral or utilitarian formula when it comes to selecting both evergreen and timely comedy articles and lists—if it's funny it's funny, and we'll do our best to make it work. We're very open to creative writing, atypical formats, mainstream topics with an original approach, mundane topics made interesting, edgy material, satire and parodies, and other offbeat ideas. We're looking for smart, irreverent, and eloquent comedy writing with personality or pizzazz, and a clear throughline. But the main goal is to arouse laughter, whatever your method." Length: Under 1000 words. Comedy Articles ($35 contributor payment) – Satire and parodies, observational humor, funny stories, listicles, humorous guides or essays, and open letters, including evergreen topics with an original approach, timely and topical humor, and offbeat ideas. Funny Lists ($10 contributor payment) – Shorter, punchier comedy formats encompassing lists, quizzes, reviews, and other non-paragraph style formats typically involving a series of items.

"We are primarily interested in publishing short, left-leaning political satire, non-political comedy that speaks to the current moment, and earnest non-comedic essays from a Leftist perspective. We typically don’t publish pieces over 1,200 words unless it’s REALLY interesting. Is your piece really that interesting? If you’re wondering, it’s probably not." Payment: $50. Pitches only.

"As the #1 destination on Medium for all-things humor, and think-pieces on cats, Slackjaw wouldn’t be what it is without you, High Warlock of Funny Ideas. That said, we do accept submissions from humor writers of all backgrounds and extraterrestrial lifeforms. If you’re interested in submitting a humor piece to Slackjaw, please email with a private link to your unpublished Medium draft." Payment: Revenue sharing.

"Send us your best fantasy, sci-fi, and horror themed humor. We’re looking for flash (under 1000 words) and short fiction (7500 words, MAX), as well as high-res art, lampoon classifieds and ads." Payment: $5.

Humor with the emphasis on wit, word play, absurdity and inspired nonsense. Prize: First prize A$50, second prize A$20, third prize A$10, payable via Paypal only. 

As well as funny short stories, we will be looking for articles based on someone or something  funny that inspires you. It could be your favourite stand up comedian, or a funny movie  or show that you love. We want to see how this person or thing has influenced you, we want to not only laugh but see your passion for the subject shine through. Our second new category is ‘send us a letter.’ We want you to send us a letter, written by you to any famous (or infamous!) person  throughout history.  The letter and subject can be as out there and abstract as you like – it just needs to make us laugh! As per usual, we will also still accept cartoon submissions. Payment: Flat fee of £12.50 per accepted submission for stories, articles and letters. Flat fee of £5.00 per accepted cartoon submissions.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2 New Agents Seeking Speculative Fiction, Narrative Nonfiction, Thrillers and more

Updated 7/5/20

Here are two new agents seeking clients. Michael Hoogland (Dystel & Goderich) is looking for sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, upmarket women’s fiction, and some children’s books (picture books, MG, and YA), as well as a wide variety of narrative nonfiction, including science, history, and politics. Erik Hane (Headwater) is seeking Political nonfiction, Culture criticism, History, especially American, Popular science, Literary nonfiction and essays, and Literary fiction.

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.



About Mike: Michael Hoogland joined Dystel & Goderich after completing a foreign rights internship at Sterling Lord Literistic. Before pursuing a career in publishing, Mike studied at Colgate University and graduated with a degree in political science and the intention to work in government. He interned with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but soon realized his interests and passions were better suited to a career in the publishing industry. After Colgate, Mike went on to gain a valuable education at the Columbia Publishing Course and discovered his passion for the agenting side of the business.

What he is seeking: Sci-fi, fantasy, thrillers, upmarket women’s fiction, and some children’s books (picture books, MG, and YA), as well as a wide variety of narrative nonfiction, including science, history, and politics. He is particularly interested in seeing thought-provoking, realistic speculative fiction.

How to submit: E-query mhoogland [at] “Synopses, outlines or sample chapters (say, one chapter or the first 25 pages of your manuscript) should either be included below the cover letter or attached as a separate document. We won’t open attachments if they come with a blank email, by the way. We will respond to most query letters within a six to eight week period. If you don’t hear from us within that time frame, chances are we did not receive yours. Feel free to resend it.”


Erik Hane of Headwater Literary

About Erik: After graduating with a B.A. from Knox College and obtaining a publishing certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute, Erik Hane began his career on the editorial staff at Oxford University Press and then as an editor at The Overlook Press. Along with Laura, he is a host of Print Run Podcast. As an agent at Red Sofa Literary, he built a client list that featured political columnists, culture critics, sports journalists, neuroscientists, historians, and literary writers of both fiction and essays. Now at Headwater, Erik is looking for writers who bring a clear-eyed sense of the stakes of this political and historical moment to their writing, no matter what kind of project their expertise draws them toward. He loves tennis, video games, and novels about sad people in cold places. He’s probably tweeting from his account @erikhane as you read this.

What he is seeking: Political nonfiction, Culture criticism, History, especially American, Popular science, Literary nonfiction and essays, Literary fiction.

How to submit: Use their query manager here:

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