Sunday, October 29, 2017

Boo-tiful Literary Pumpkins

Happy Hallowe'en! Here are my favorite literary pumpkins to celebrate the day in fine fashion!

Quoth the pumpkin, nevermore!

"As a squash is before 'tis a peascod..."

"The pumpkin is the only esculent of the orange family that will thrive in the North, except the gourd and one or two varieties of the squash. But the custom of planting it in the front yard with the shrubbery is fast going out of vogue, for it is now generally conceded that the pumpkin, as a shade tree, is a failure."

The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good pumpkin, must be intolerably stupid.

Where the Wild Pumpkins Are

Gone with the Gourd

Harry Potter and the Cursed Pumpkin

Write drunk, edit squashed

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Gourd

Thursday, October 26, 2017

37 Writing Contests in November 2017 - No entry fees

Jimmy Lawlor
November is a great month for free writing contests. There are more than three dozen this month. As always, every form of writing, from short stories and poems to full-length works, is represented.

Most writing contests have geographical and other restrictions. So, make sure to check submission guidelines carefully before entering.

If you want to stay ahead of next month's, or even next year's, contests check Free Contests. Many writing competitions are offered annually, so it's worth it to look at contests even if they have passed.


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  Genre: Unpublished short fiction (2,000-5,000 words) in English.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, 2017. 

Into the Black. Genre: Speculative fiction, 5000 words max, about the impacts of a basic income on individual lives and on society at large. Prize: $12,000. Deadline: November 1, 2017.

Patrick Henry Writing FellowshipGenre: Nonfiction book in progress. The project should address the history and/or legacy – broadly defined – of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. It might focus on the founding era itself, or on the myriad ways the questions that preoccupied the nation’s founders have shaped America’s later history. Fellowship amount: $45,000 stipend, health benefits, faculty privileges, a book allowance, and a nine-month residency (during the academic year 2018-2019) in historic Chestertown, Md. Deadline: November 1, 2017. 

Lindenwood Chapter One ContestGenre: First chapter of unpublished novel. Maximum submission length is 25 pages. Double-space and use a standard font size and style. Prize: $50, publication in issue 8 of The Lindenwood Review, and three contributor copies. Honorable mentions receive publication in issue 8 of The Lindenwood Review and three contributor copies. Deadline: November 1, 2017. 

Boston Accent LitRestrictions: Open to self-identifying women of color writer from the US (including overseas territories). Entrants must not yet have published a short story collection or a novel.  Genre: Short story. Prize: Publication in Boston Accent Lit Magazine. Deadline: November 1, 2017. 

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, 2017. Read details here.

Hajja Razia Sharif Sheikh Prizes in Nonfiction and PoetryRestrictions: Undergraduates. Genre: Awards will be given to the best piece in each genre that addresses the experience of being Muslim in America. Winning pieces will speak to the experience — joys and challenges — of being Muslim in America today in ways that educate and inform our readers. Winning pieces may also demonstrate an understanding of Islamic history, culture, contributions, and / or its influence on society. Prize: $500 and publication in Oakland Arts Review.  Deadline: November 1, 2017.

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, 2017.

RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-FictionRestrictions: Canadian citizens only. Genre: Nonfiction book. Prize: C$25,000. Shortlisted authors receive $2,000. Prize: Deadline: November 3, 2017 for books published between October 1 and October 30, 2017. 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, 2016. Prize: 30,000 pounds, plus 1,000 pounds for shortlisted authors. Deadline: November 6, 2017. 

New York Encounter Poetry ContestGenre: Poetry on the theme "An 'Impossible' Unity." Prize:  Cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to first, second and third place poems.  Deadline: November 7, 2017.

Women's Prize for FictionGenre: Published book by a woman. Entrants must be writing in English and must be published in the UK. Novels must be published in the United Kingdom between 1 April 2017, and 31 March 2018. All subject matters and women of any age, from any nationality or country of residence are eligible. Prize: £30,000.00. Deadline: November 8, 2017.

The PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging WritersGenre: First published short story. Authors may not submit their own work. Prize: $2000 and publication in The PEN America Best Debut Short StoriesDeadline: November 10, 2017.

New Roscommon Writing AwardRestrictions: All entrants must have a connection with the county of Roscommon (born in, living in, currently working in, went to school in, etc). Genres: All.  Prize: €500.00. Deadline: November 10, 2017.

Flo Gault Student Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Full-time undergraduate college students in Kentucky. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: November 15th, 2017.

Polar Expressions Publications Short Story CompetitionRestrictions: Open to Canadian students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Genre: Short story. Prize: $300, $200, $100. Deadline: November 15th, 2017.

Best $20 Travel Blog AwardGenre: Nonfiction blog post. Write a 350-750 word post on your blog about the best $20 (or less) you’ve ever spent while on your global travels. Tell us how you spent it, and why it was totally worth it. Prize: First prize - $1,000 gift card, Runner-up - $500 gift card, People's choice - $250 gift card. Deadline: November 15th, 2017.

Travel Misadventure ContestGenre: True story about a travel misadventure, up to 500 words.  Prize: $100 e-gift card. Deadline: November 15th, 2017.

Shaughnessy Cohen Award for Political WritingRestrictions: Titles must be published in Canada. 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 22, 2017 for books published between September 13, 2017 and December 31, 2017. 

The Cesar Egido Serrano Foundation International Flash Fiction CompetitionGenre: Flash fiction, 100 words max in any of these languages:Spanish, English, Arabic or Hebrew. Prize: 20,000 dollars is awarded for the best story in any of the languages authorized in the contest. Deadline: November 23, 2017.

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 23, 2017.

Best New Writing's Gover Story PrizeGenre: Unpublished fiction and creative nonfiction under 10,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: November 25, 2017.

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, 2017.

Future First Line ContestGenre: The first line of a novel set in 2071 - 27 words max. Prize: Free Gotham class. Deadline: November 28, 2017.

Encore Award. Restrictions: 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, 2017.

Cha International Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry. Each poem must be a translation (loosely defined) of a text (loosely defined) from/about Hong Kong or China, written originally in English or Chinese, into a poem that is about contemporary Hong Kong. Prize: First Prize US$1501; Second Prize US$800; Third Prize US$400 and five Commended Prizes, each US$100. DeadlineNovember 30, 2017.

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, 2017. 

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, 2017. 

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, 2017.

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, 2016 and October 31, 2017. Prize: $10,000.00. Deadline: November 30, 2017. 

Backbone Press: Shared Dreams Chapbook ContestRestrictions: All entries must be from authors who are first-generation immigrants born outside the United States or children of (two) parents born outside of the United States. Genre: Poetry chapbook. They are seeking work that underscores the immigrant experience. Prize: $250 and publication. Deadline: November 30, 2017.

Polar Expressions Publications Poetry CompetitionRestrictions: Open to Canadian students in kindergarten through grade twelve. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $300, $200, $100. Deadline: November 30, 2017.

Sweekstars CompetitionGenre: Poetry and prose. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: November 30, 2017.

AVBOB Poetry CompetitionRestrictions: Open to any citizen of South Africa. Genre: Poetry. Prize: R10,000. Deadline: November 30, 2017.

Foreign Voices Poetry CompetitionGenre: poem that deals with the subject of migration. Prize:  £200. Deadline: November 30, 2017.

Frank O’Connor International Short Story FellowshipRestrictions: Writers working in English from outside Ireland. Must have at least two full-length works of fiction published of which at least one must be a short story collection. Genre: Short fiction. Fellowship: €2,500, totaling €7,500 and self-catering accommodation. The costs of travel to and from Cork would also be covered. Writer must reside in Cork for 12 weeks.  Deadline: November 30, 2017.

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, 2017.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

14 Writing Conferences in November 2017

The Colrain Poetry Conference
Attending a conference is one of the best things you can do for your writing career. Conferences offer a unique opportunity to network with other writers, meet agents and pitch your book, and learn how the publishing industry works from editors and professionals in the field.

For a month-by-month list of conferences throughout the year see: Writing Conferences. (You will also find links to resources that can help you find conferences in your area on that page.)


Medical Writing and Communication Conference. Nov 1 - 4, 2017, Orlando FLA. Workshops in medical writing, designing materials for patients, analysis, clinical reports, and more.

The Monterey Writer Retreat in California. November 1 - 5, 2017, Monterey, CA. Three of the best developmental commercial fiction editor-agents in the business--Andrea Hurst, Paula Munier, and Michael Neff --will be available from 9 AM to noon each day of the retreat for one-on-one sessions with writers. Attendance and focus will be up to each individual writer. They will also schedule, as needed, up to two more hours during afternoons for further one-on-one sessions.

Master Class: Understanding “CLOSEThird” Point Of View. November 2 – 5, 2017, Honesdale, PA. From Jane Austen and Mark Twain to Kate Di Camillo and J. K. Rowling, a great variety of authors use “close” or “personal” third to move between a novel’s inner and outer story, achieving a real emotional intimacy through this close-to-the-bone perspective. In this workshop, writers will begin storytelling from a conversational first-person perspective and move to “close” or “personal” third, unlocking the potential of their story through intimate voice and true emotional power. WAITLISTED.

Sag Harbor Creative Nonfiction Writers Conference. November 2 – 5, 2017, Sag Harbor, NY. Spark your creativity and take your writing to the next level at the nonfiction writing conference in Sag Harbor – the heart of the east end of Long Island. The only small and focused conference in nonfiction in the country. Faculty: Donna Kaz, Roger Rosenblatt, Patricia McCormick, Terri Muuss, Matt Pasca, Judson Merrill, Sandra Yin, Michelle Blankenship, Alex Hess.

Sanibel Island Writers Conference. November 2 - 5, 2017, Sanibel Island, Florida. The conference features workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as manuscript consultations, readings, panels, concerts, and book signings. Faculty and visiting writers include poets Barbara Hamby, David Kirby, and Keith Kopka; fiction writers Lynne Barrett, Kevin Canty, John Dufresne, Linda Oatman High, Nathan Hill, Michelle Richman, Darin Strauss, Ann Kidd Taylor, and Robert Wilder; creative nonfiction writers Steve Almond, M. K. Asante, Sloane Crosley, Beth Ann Fennelly, Joyce Maynard, Susannah Meadows, and Megan Stielstra; agents Lisa Gallagher (DeFiore & Company), Christopher Schelling (Selectric Artists), and Nicole Tourtelot (DeFiore & Company); and editor Alicia Lynn Clancy (St. Martin’s Press). The keynote speaker is fiction writer Alice Hoffman. The cost of the conference is $500 ($400 for BIG ARTS members and $300 for full-time students). For a manuscript consultation or workshop, submit up to 10 pages of poetry or prose by September 30. The cost of an individual manuscript consultation is $100; the cost of a small-group workshop is $100.

Atlanta Writers Conference. Nov 3 - 4, 2017, Atlanta, Georgia.  publishing panels, pitch sessions, manuscript and query letter critiques, and marketing workshops. Participating publishing professionals include Annie Chagnot, Editor, Spiegel & Grau, Penguin Random House; Jennie Conway, Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press, Macmillan Publishers; Sylvan Creekmore, Editor, St. Martin’s Press, Macmillan Publishers; Melissa Danaczko, Literary Agent, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency; Michael Hoogland, Literary Agent, Dystel Goderich & Bourret, LLC; Alyssa Jennette, Literary Agent, Stonesong Literary Agency: Priyanka Krishnan, Editor, William Morrow, HarperCollins Publishers a and many more.

North Carolina Writers’ Network Fall Conference. November 3-5, 2017, Wrightsville Beach, 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 Hannah Dela Cruz Abrams, Dan Albergotti, Anna Lena Phillips Bell, Michele T. Berger, and many more. The cost of the full conference is $200 or $260 (including meals) for members, and $300 or $375 (including meals) for nonmembers until October 28. Onsite registration is $450 for the full conference, $250 for Sunday-only attendance, and $350 for Saturday-only attendance.

The BookBaby Independent Authors Conference. November 3-5, 2017, Philadelphia, PA. The Independent Authors Conference is the only conference that educates independent authors on how to cultivate a successful career in the self-publishing industry. Over three exciting days in historic Philadelphia, you’ll engage in workshops concentrated on learning and improving the skills you need to succeed, including effective writing techniques and strengthening your book marketing and promotion tactics.

New Worlds, New Voices SFF Workshops. November 8 - 12, 2017, Morro Bay, CA. During the course of the conference, writers will hone and improve their writer voice and style by studying and applying an array of narrative, scene, and structure technique, thus enabling them to begin, enhance, and/or reconstruct their work in more powerful and innovative ways. Writing exercises are derived from analysis of a select group of works by both dramatists and authors.

Writing by Writers Manuscript Boot Camp. November 10 - 13, 2017, Tahoe City, California. Workshops for book-length manuscripts, as well as craft talks, readings, and agent panels, and individual meetings with agents. "The Writing By Writers Manuscript Boot Camp is for the writer who has a full book-length manuscript (novel, memoir, short story or poetry collection) and would like to engage with a small group for a serious and productive response. The long weekend will include an intimate full manuscript workshop, craft talks, readings, an agent panel and individual agent meetings – the perfect pre-publication boot camp for any manuscript."  Classes are limited to 5 participants. The cost of tuition, which includes a manuscript review of up to 300 pages with a faculty member, an individual meeting with an agent, lodging at the Granlibakken Resort, and all meals, is $3,250. Registration deadline September 15.

Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference. November 10 - 13, 2017, Hatfield, MA. Features workshops of book-length poetry manuscripts with poet-editor-educators Joan Houlihan and Martha Rhodes. The cost of the conference is $1,375, which includes tuition, a private room, and meals. Using the online application system, submit three to four poems and a brief bio.

2017 Artists-In-Residency Honoree:Varian Johnson. November 10 – 14, 2017, Honesdale, PA. “Our 2017 Artists-in-Residency include Laurie Halse Anderson, Kathryn Erskine, Denise Fleming, Matt de la Peña and Varian Johnson. Each artist-in-residence will spend five days at the Highlights Foundation Retreat Center working on projects for publication. To raise awareness about these artists and their upcoming works, we invite other artists – writers, poets, and illustrators – to join them during their residency. While days will be spent on individual projects, mealtimes will bring all artists together to share farm-fresh food and conversation. After dinner, our artists-in-residence will host informal sharing and feedback sessions for all works-in-progress.”

Learn and Network. November 17 - 18, 2017, Branson, MO. The Ozarks Writers League is a group of like-minded individuals dedicated to promoting writing, literacy, photography, and art. Since 1983, OWL has welcomed individuals at all stages of their development.

WriteAngles. November 18, 2017, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Panels and workshops, with two keynoters, a limited number of agent meetings. Continental breakfast, and buffet lunch included. Agents: TBA

Thursday, October 19, 2017

23 Great Websites for Writers

Jos van Riswick
Updated 6/13/23

Between author websites, blogs, publishing sites, news, literary magazines, genre sites, resource databases, and online writing newsletters and magazines, there are hundreds of sites for writers. It would be difficult to list them all.

Here are the sites I frequently visit because they have publishing resources that I use for my own nefarious purposes. (Like getting my work published.) Some of these sites you probably will already know about. Others are hidden gems, providing great resources for aspiring authors, as well as writing tips and insights from industry professionals and authors.


Agent Query

Agent Query is the first place you should look to find an agent. Their database allows you to search for agents by fiction genre, nonfiction topic, by name or by keyword. In addition to their database of 900 reputable agents, Agent Query has great resources for writers: How to write a query, what to do if an agent offers representation, lists of major and mid-size publishers, small presses (many of which do not require an agent), literary magazines, literary organizations, resources for self-publishing, and a lot more. This is a site aspiring authors can live on.

Book Marketing and Promotion

John Kremer is the book marketing guru.  (I read his books when I was publishing my first book, which was quite a while ago.) In addition to helpful marketing articles, his site has a TON of resources: Lists of hundreds of publishers by genre, best independent book publishers, intellectual property rights attorneys, publicity resources, internet marketing resources, it goes on forever. If you are thinking of self-publishing, you want to go to this site.


Back when Duotrope was free, I spent a lot of time perusing the thousands (no exaggeration) of literary magazines in its database. Duotrope has everything - journals of every genre, response rates and times, payscale, type of publication (print, electronic), frequency of publication, whether they accept reprints, and so on. Now that Duotrope charges, I go to The Grinder for submission information. (But, if I want to check out a journal quickly I type the name of the journal and "Duotrope" into a google search. The basic information comes up.) You can sign up for a one-month free trial if you want to try their site. If you are consistently submitting stories or poems to literary journals, I highly recommend Duotrope.

Erika Dreifus

Erika Dreifus is an author, reviewer, and "resource maven." Every Monday she publishes a fresh batch of no-fee writing contests, competitions, and calls for submissions on her blog, Practicing Writing. Resources on her site include: A list of MFA programs, conferences, where to publish your work, grants and fellowships, awards, jobs for writers, and interviews with published authors. (Dreifus has conduced an impressive number of interviews.)

The Grinder

When Duotrope decided to start charging, up sprang the submission Grinder. Essentially, the Grinder does everything Duotrope does. It tracks submissions to literary markets, and it provides a search engine to find markets by genre, submission type (electronic or postal), word counts, whether the magazine is a paying market or accepts reprints and simultaneous submissions, etc. You can also look up individual journals for information on their average response times, whether they are open, and exactly what they pay. The Grinder also allows you to keep track of your submissions. This is a fabulous resource for short form writers.

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman is the Wonder Woman of publishing. When she says she has "probably read, reviewed, or at least seen every single advice book, website, and service for writers," she is not exaggerating. Check out her list of recommended resources - it's like striking gold. You'll find a list of recommended editors, copyediting, self-publishing help, book design, author websites, legal matters, industry news, and there's more. You can get her book, Publishing 101, for free. Her blog is phenomenal.

Manuscript Wish List (#MSWL)

MSWL is a place for agents and editors to post what they wish they had in their inbox. While only agents and editors can post, any writer can view anything posted on the site. (Writers can't submit anything through MSWL, however.) The advantage of MSWL is that writers can see exactly what agents and editors are currently seeking. Sometimes, this information is not up-to-date on their websites, or is too general. You can search for individual agents or editors, or search by genre. Once your search results appear, you can click on whoever interests you and read an in-depth bio, including detailed information on what they are looking for and how to submit.

New Pages

New Pages is jam-packed with resources: Literary magazines, author and writing blogs, writing contests, MFA programs, a guide to bookstores (!), and events. The Calls for Submissions list is organized by date posted, rather than deadlines, which is cumbersome, and there is no way to narrow the parameters of your search to only those which pay. Contests are organized by month. The New Pages blog is one of the better lit blogs out there. You'll find everything from literary magazine news, notable literary journal covers, recent writing prize winners, and all things literary. New Pages even provides reviews of new literary journals.

The Passive Voice

Passive Guy is not your ordinary book blogger. To begin with, he's a lawyer. Prior to opening his latest law practice, his business involved high-stakes intellectual property litigation. He started The Passive Voice as an anonymous blog so his snarky remarks would not show up when opposing counsel performed a Google search. (His snarky remarks showed up anyway.) This blog is not for the faint of heart. But if you want to avoid copyright litigation faintness, click on Agents in the sidebar. This is where agents speak honestly and openly about their business. (After reading their candid comments, you may decide to self-publish.)

Poets & Writers

Poets & Writers, Inc. is one of the largest nonprofit literary organizations in the United States. It has served poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers since 1970 and continues to expand its membership. In addition to a print magazine, the Poets & Writers website is one of your best sources for information on conferences, writing contests, literary events, jobs, magazines, review sites, small presses, and myriad other tools for writers. You can even list your upcoming writing event here!

Publishers Weekly

PW is the go-to site for industry professionals. This is where you will find the latest publishing news, who has been hired, who has retired, reviews, coverage of book fairs, financial news, bestsellers, resources for marketers, etc., etc., etc. Every week, PW publishes book deals for the week - which books publishers have signed and for how much. Writers hoping to publish should look at this list, because it often shows which agents have represented these books. PW also publishes BookLife, an informative publication for self-publishers.

Query Shark

Literary agent Janet Reid runs Query Shark, a site that really teaches you how to write (or not write) a query letter. The way Query Shark works is that aspiring authors submit their queries to Janet for a critique. If she thinks the query presents some unique query-writing problem, she will dissect it right there on the site, for everyone to see. I can't tell you how instructive it is to read her comments. Seriously, don't send a query letter until you have read at least a few of the queries on this site.

Query Tracker

If you are submitting queries to agents, Query Tracker is a must! After you've made your list of agents to query, come here for details. You can see which genres they represent, the number of rejections they've sent, response times (both positive and negative), and a host of other helpful information. You can also find a list of new agents, as well as recently updated agents on this site.

Savvy Writers

Doris-Maria Heilmann's blog has been running since 2011, and since then has amassed a readership of nearly a million. If you scroll down the list of topics she covers, you'll see why. She includes absolutely everything you would ever want to know about publishing: Contracts, how to get your book into libraries, book distribution, giveaways, book production, book signings, legal matters, designing a cover, ebooks - the list goes on and on. The tips and suggestions on this blog are enormously helpful. Even posts written a few years ago are still relevant. Note: Doris-Maria has a new blog, which you can find here. Personally, I like the old one. But look at both.

Susan Dennard

Author Susan Dennard has a wonderful website, chock full of writing and publishing resources for aspiring authors. You will find dozens of articles here about traditional publishing, how to plan your novel, a step-by-step guide to revisions, how to increase your productivity, story-telling devices, how to write romance, querying, critique groups, genre definitions, even music to write by! (Note: This website has not been recently updated, but the information on it is still invaluable.)

Who Pays Writers

I consult Who Pays Writers when I am tracking down publications that pay for nonfiction. (The Grinder is where I go for fiction and poetry markets.) The nice thing about Who Pays Writers is that payment information is based on what writers actually receive, rather than what the magazines say they pay. (Most markets for journalistic nonfiction don't publish their pay rates.) You can search the site by magazine title or just scroll down their list. Writers also report how long it takes to get paid, which is very useful information.

Women Writers, Women's Books

Women Writers, Women’s Books was launched in 2011 as a platform for contemporary women writers and authors around the world writing in English. Their mission is to encourage and promote the visibility of women writers. They are particularly interested the intersections between genres, nationalities, languages, arts, and cultures. The site contains enlightening Q&As with agents, interviews with women authors, articles about writing, and a library. Women authors can submit articles. Their Facebook page serves as their online community.

The Writer

The Writer is both a print and an online magazine. Their resources are a little sparse (you can find better information about literary agencies on Agent Query and Query Tracker), but the site has a vast number of high-quality articles on fiction writing, poetry, getting published, freelancing, writing for children, writing screenplays and drama, and more.


Reedsy is an "ecosystem" that provides everything you need to publish: web designers, cover designers, over a thousand editors, marketers, and ghost writers. In addition to these paid services, Reedsy offers a ton of free tools, including lists of contests, book review blogs, book promotion sites, literary magazines and much more. Their blog contains many useful "how-tos" and solid writing advice.

Writer's Digest

Before there was the Internet (yes, I was alive then) there was the print version of the Writer's Digest, a publication that writers eagerly thumbed for information on agents, the publishing industry, writing competitions, and everything relevant to writing. There is still a print magazine, but now you can go online and see their new agent alerts, get free writing downloads, and get publishing news. One of their best features is their successful queries column in which agents discuss and analyze successful queries. Before you start querying agents, you should look at these.

Writing World

ALL the things are on this site: Links to Critique and Discussion groups, Writing Career & Business Tips, Skill-Building, Tips for Writing Fiction, Writing for Genres, Nonfiction Freelancing. There are articles on self-publishing, traditional publishing, promotion, technical writing, screenplay writing, and tips on entering contests.

This site has so many useful articles and links, you may be overwhelmed at first. I suggest you go to the site map, and find the area that interests you most. (The site map categorizes articles, and displays them on a list, which is very convenient.)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

3 New Literary Agents Actively Looking for Clients

These three new literary agents are seeking clients. New agents are a boon to writers because they are actively building their client lists. Adrienne Rosado of Stonesong is seeking adult and children’s fiction, as well as select non-fiction in the areas of pop-science, business, and the occasional quirky history. Kimberly Jago of Jago Ciro Entertainment prefers books with strong voices, rich landscapes, and an air of the mysterious and fantastic geared towards young adults.

Important: Always read the agent bio and submission requirements on the agency website before querying. Submission requirements often change.

If these agents don't suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of new and established agents looking for clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Adrienne Rosado of Stonesong


Adrienne has spent the entirety of her career on the agency side of publishing and joined Stonesong in September 2017. She has an extensive background in subsidiary rights and takes on projects with an eye for both domestic and international rights. Prior to joining Stonesong, she was the Literary Director for Leibo Management, an LA based production company, and the Director of Subsidiary Rights for Nancy Yost Literary.

What she is seeking: adult and children’s fiction, as well as select non-fiction in the areas of pop-science, business, and the occasional quirky history.

In both adult and children’s fiction, she is looking for contemporary, mystery, historical, thriller, fantasy, and anything with a wickedly dark sense of humor. She’s also been known to have a soft spot for Southern Gothics.

She’s especially drawn to multicultural fiction as well as lgbtq+ works. She is keen to work on projects that focus on marginalized people and people from atypical walks of life. She loves a story that makes her think differently.

How to Submit
: Send your query to Include the word “query” in the subject line of your email. Also include the first chapter or first 10 pages of your work, pasted into the body of your email. Please do not send attachments.


Kimberly Jago of Jago Ciro Entertainment


Kimberly Jago, owner/partner of Jago Ciro Entertainment, has been a talent manager for more years than she cares to admit. For many of those years, Kimberly served on the Board of Directors of the Talent Managers Association (TMA), and was the first elected East Coast based Vice President in the 50+ year history of the TMA. Although no longer with the TMA, Kimberly now shares her experience and perspective as a member Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA). Always having been a avid reader, Kimberly was thrilled when approached to represent a UK based published author, and quickly established a literary division with her company.

What she is seeking: Kimberly prefers books with strong voices, rich landscapes, and an air of the mysterious and fantastic geared towards young adults.

How to submit: Email to Query letter, synopsis and the first 50 pages, all within the body of an email. No attachments will be opened.


Riddhi Parekh of Laura Dail Literary Agency


Riddhi was formerly a Children's Book Scout with Franklin & Siegal Associates. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing (Writing for Children) at The New School in 2012, before which she was a journalist with the broadsheet newspaper Daily News & Analysis and Head of Content at the children's magazine Young Adults (YA!) in Mumbai, India.

What she is looking for: Riddhi enjoys universal, coming-of-age stories that tackle issues of identity as well as high-stakes fiction with unexpected twists. She is always on the lookout for a good pun and is particularly drawn to whimsical middle-grade fiction, picture books, and chapter books.

How to submit: Send a concise email query letter to: queries [at] ldlainc [dot] com

Along with your book's title, please include the name of the agent you are querying in the subject field. This helps guarantee that your submission ends up in the right person's queue. (Example subject line: QUERY: TITLE for AGENT) Your query letter should include a short pitch, a short plot summary, and a short bio. Please also include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits, if applicable. If you are a debut author, do not worry. After your query letter, paste the FIRST 5-10 PAGES of your novel into the body of the email. Your writing sample MUST be pasted into the email, as they do not open unrequested attachments of any kind. You may also include a synopsis, but it's not required.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Becoming a Better Writer: Getting Critiqued

Updated 10/13/23

Like any other art form, writing is essentially a solitary pursuit. However, the end product can be greatly enhanced by feedback. For a writer, getting critiques is an essential part of the writing process.

Critiquing can be considered an art form unto itself. In order to write a good critique, you have to understand the elements of fiction: characterization, character development, plot, story structure, pacing, conflict, descriptive writing, scene structure.

There are also larger editorial considerations, such as whether the characters' motivations make sense, if plot points seem natural or contrived, and if the internal logic is consistent.

There are no hard and fast rules for any of these things (and it would be a mistake to utilize a checklist of "writing rules," because the best writing ignores them), but simply keep these points in mind when something makes your "eyes stop." If you are tempted to stop reading, it's usually because the author has hit a snag. It's up to the person writing the critique to figure out exactly what that snag is.

The object of the critique is not simply to point out flaws, but to suggest how those flaws can be addressed. The whole purpose of a critique is to make a work better, and to bring out the best in the writing, not drag it down.

Here are some critique groups that have been of benefit to both aspiring and professional authors. Several have been in existence for over twenty years, which means they have earned the trust of writers.



Critters is a member of the family of on-line workshops/critique groups, and is for serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. You get your work critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others, both of which are invaluable ways to improve your writing. It's run by Andrew Burt, former vice-president of SFWA and his "army of software minions." Critters is free and is funded solely by donations.

In addition to chapter-by-chapter critiques, Critters also offers whole novel critiques. (Read about novel critiques HERE.) Novelists should make a "Request for Dedicated Readers." An RDR is like an ordinary entry in the queue (it's often added to a chapter group), but when that entry comes up for reading, it becomes a request for Critters to devote themselves to reading your entire novel. Your RDR generally consists of a description of the novel and any special constraints unique to you (e.g., a publisher's deadline).

Critique Circle

Critique Circle operates on a format common to many critique groups: you earn credits by critiquing works in order to get your own work critiqued. Members submit their stories to the story queue, and "pay" credits to do so. Only a certain number of stories will be displayed each week, so you may have to wait a week or two for yours to come up, depending on how much queue activity there is. When a story comes up for critique, other members can read it and submit their critiques to the author, thus earning credits. Stories stay in the queue for a week, which runs Wednesday to Wednesday.

To help with queue wait times, there is a Newbie Queue. Your first story must be submitted here and, if you wish, you can submit up to three in total before moving to the other queues. When you join the site, you get two free credits, and you can use these towards the "cost" of posting your first story. Additional credits are earned by critiquing the work of other writers.

Stories in the Newbie Queue can receive up to five full critiques, while stories in the other queues can receive an unlimited number of critiques. Once your story in the newbie queue has received 5 critiques of more than 150 words each it will be put into older submissions.

When posting a story, authors have some choice in who can view their story. For example, some authors will specify that only people who have been members of this site for a month can read their story. That’s why you may not be able to view all the stories in the queue.

Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Charges a membership fee of $49 a year. The first month is free.

The Online Writing Workshop is open to all writers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror, both aspiring and professional. Writers improve here through the reviews and ratings given their works by other writers, and through reviewing the work of others.

After becoming a member, you may submit your work, review the work of others, and participate in workshop discussions. Other members will also be able to read, rate, and review the work you submit.

Since reviews and ratings are what improve people's writing, the workshop requires that you contribute reviews in order to be allowed to post your own work. And because all members should have a good chance of getting their work reviewed, there is a limit on how many pieces any member can submit at once.

You need four review points to post an active submission. You're given four review points when you join the workshop, so you can post your first submission before contributing any reviews. After that, you earn one review point for each substantive review you post, with a bonus point awarded if that submission has zero reviews.

[Note: Many speculative fiction writers swear by the Online Workshop.]

You can read their member agreement HERE.



Scribophile is one of the largest and most active writing groups online. Here you can:
  • Post your writing to get detailed, insightful feedback from other writers on how to improve it;
  • Chat and discuss with other writers from around the world in their writing forums;
  • Network with like-minded writers in special-purpose writing groups.

Scribophile also runs contests, maintains a blog, and offers writing advice.

The "currency" of Scribophile is karma. You earn karma points by writing critiques for the writing of others, and by having other members react positively to your critiques by marking them “constructive and enlightening." You earn more karma points for critiquing work in one of the spotlights versus critiquing work that’s not in one of the spotlights. The longer the critique, the more points you’ll earn.

You spend karma points on posting your writing for critique, giving virtual gifts to other members, and for a few other things around the site.

It costs 5 karma points to post a new work for critique. Each post should be no longer than about 3,000 words; longer work can be posted in parts and linked together during the posting process. Usually members post chapter by chapter, or a single short story or flash fiction per post.

You can read a guide that explains how to use Scribophile in detail HERE.

The Internet Writing Workshop

The Internet Writing Workshop is a set of mailing lists (groups) that communicate in English by email. The IWW is:
  • A community where writers can submit and critique written works.
  • A forum to discuss and get help on all aspects of writing.
  • A public service educational organization, staffed by volunteers and free of charge.

The Workshop is open to all styles and genres of writing: literary fiction, genre fiction, poetry, children's writing, essays, newspaper articles, scripts, you name it. Members do not need to be published writers, only to be serious about writing and about wanting to improve.

Because some of the posted material may be controversial or adult in nature, all members must be 18 years or older. The IWW has quite a few critiquing and discussion lists.

Writer's Infusion

This group takes critiquing to a whole new level. You can actually watch the group do their critique live, including a reading of the pages being critiqued. You also have the option of reading the original pages, as well as the edited pages.

I found this approach to critiquing to be utterly fascinating. Listening to the reading and to the discussion, and then reading the edits was an immersive experience. Interestingly, I completely disagreed with several aspects of the critique. (The critique was Of Men and Mice, a children's book by James Kabler. James, if you are reading this, don't change your first line!)

This is how it works: If you have written a short story, novel, novella, memoir, screenplay or essay, send up to five consecutive pages (no more than 1,500 words) using the submission form on the site. They randomly choose submissions to review before each episode. Poetry and explicit scenes are not allowed. You must be older than 17 to submit!

If your submission is chosen, you'll be given the opportunity to appear on the show. But if you are camera shy, they will critique your writing without your physical presence. They will only use your name with your permission.

(I thought this was such a neat idea, I went ahead and submitted five pages of my novel!)


Inked Voices

Inked Voices personally tailors your critique group depending on how often you would like to submit, experience level, and your reading and writing preferences. Not all groups accept new members, so I would suggest researching groups before you join. Most groups are small, which is an advantage if you are seeking a setting in which you can really get to know your critique partners. Membership is not free. (You have a choice between monthly and yearly fees.) 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

10 Paying Markets for Flash Fiction

Updated 11/1/23

In this age of short attention spans, flash fiction is becoming increasingly popular. Literary magazines which previously only considered short stories of at least 3,000 words are now calling for fiction short enough to be considered "flash fiction." In some cases journals - even some that are not normally considered literary markets - are calling for "micro fiction" which can be brief enough to tweet.

Flash fiction, aka "short-shorts" (not referring to clothing), are self-contained pieces of fiction that are shorter than what literary magazines define as a short story. If that is not sufficiently vague for you, word counts for flash fiction are even vaguer. Some magazines define flash fiction as fewer than 2,000 words, others fewer than 1,000. Or 1,800. Or 700. In short (pun intended), flash fiction is any length that the editors say it is.

Flash fiction pays less than short stories, and often doesn't pay at all. That being said, you can get paid something, if not much, to submit short pieces. As always, make sure to follow submission requirements. (Click on the titles of the magazines for guidelines.)

For more paying markets see: Paying Markets


"The ideal length is around 800 words, but stories as short as 250 or as long as 1500 may be considered. All genres will be considered, but the story must remain accessible to all ages, which mostly means no erotica or gore-horror. The editor has a particular love for sci-fi stories, so those may get slightly stronger consideration. We also prefer stories that have a plot. Vignettes are great, and necessarily make up a large part of what we accept at this length requirement, but having a proper beginning, middle, and end will score extra points."

Payment: One cent per word (half for reprints) with a minimum payment of three dollars (USD) and a max of ten dollars.


Daily Science Fiction

Science Fiction (DSF) is a market accepting speculative fiction stories: science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, etc.

Submissions: Stories are submitted through an online form. (You need to register first.) Stories should be from 100 to 1,500 words in length. They will consider flash series - three or more flash tales built around a common theme. If you are submitting a flash series, please note that it is a series in your cover letter and at the top of the submitted text in the submission box. Each story does need to stand on its own.  DSF does not accept simultaneous submissions.

Payment: 8 cents per word for first worldwide rights and for nonexclusive reprint rights. Additionally, they pay more for reprinting in themed Daily Science Fiction anthologies.

Every Day Fiction is looking for very short (flash) fiction, of up to 1000 words. There’s no such thing as too short — if you can do the job in 50 words, have at it! All fiction genres are acceptable, and stories that don’t fit neatly into any genre are welcome too. While personal experiences and other non-fiction can be great sources of inspiration, please turn them into fiction.

Submissions: All stories must be submitted through Submittable. They do not accept simultaneous submissions.

Payment: Token payment of $3.

Flash Fiction Online strives to publish fiction that presents the full variety of humanity in its pages. As such, they encourage submissions from writers of every stripe. They particularly like to see stories from writers whose backgrounds not well-represented in the field of short fiction, whether it be due to race/ethnicity, religion, ability, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. 

Submissions: Flash fiction online uses Submittable. Stories should be from 500 to 1,000 words in length.

Payment: Sixty dollars ($60) per story. For reprints, they pay $.02 (two cents) per word for nonexclusive rights.

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.

Submissions: Stories should be 500-700 words. Snail mail submissions only.

Payment: $30-$50 per cartoon based on reproduction size and $60 each for story.


Opossum Lit 

"Send us your stories, poems, and essays, your work pulsing with beats, haunted by melodies. You can submit multiple works in a single or in multiple genres, but please use your best judgment about sending us the best work you have that is appropriate to our music-driven mission."

PLEASE NOTE: They are looking for written work to evaluate on the page. They are not seeking recordings, songs, or readings with musical accompaniment. Work will be considered for publication as an audio recording after they have accepted it for print.

They ask you to include a brief artist’s statement illuminating your work’s relationship to specific musical forms and artifacts. You are welcome to include an author bio as part of your artist’s statement.

Submissions: Uses submittable. Submissions should be under 1,800 words in length. Please specify whether your submission is fiction or non-fiction along with an artist's statement explaining how your work engages the world of music.

Payment: Their pay scale for flash varies based on length. $75-150 is the typical range.

New Myths

Speculative fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction and poetry. "We like to balance each quarterly issue between science fiction and fantasy, dark and light, serious and humorous, hard and soft science fiction, and longer and shorter works." New Myths considers submissions between January 1-February 28 and June 1-July 31.

Payment: 3 cents/word with a minimum payment of $50 for all submissions, fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction and poetry; $50 for book reviews; $80 for art. 



Pseudopod is a genre magazine in audio form. "We’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy. We publish highly literary stories reminiscent of Poe or Lovecraft as well as vulgar shock-value pulp fiction. We don’t split hairs about genre definitions, and we do not observe any taboos about what kind of content can appear in our stories. Originality demands that you’re better off avoiding vampires, zombies, and other recognizable horror tropes unless you have put a very unique spin on them. What matters most is that the stories are dark and compelling."

Submissions: Uses Submittable.  Flash fiction stories should be under 1500 words.

Payment: $.08/word for original fiction, and $20 flat rate for flash fiction reprints


Havok publishes mystery, science fiction, comedy, thriller, and fantasy under 1,000 words. "We want stories that hit fast and strike hard––stories that, no matter the genre, can cut through the day’s troubles and grip distracted readers."

Submissions: Stories should be under 1,000 words long and it should fit one of their scheduled upcoming themes.

Payment: $10

Flash Fiction Magazine

They want stories, not lyrical musings, journal entries, poetry, vignettes, or slices-of-life with no discernible plot.

Submissions: Use their submission manager. Stories should be between 300 and 1000 words.

Payment: $40 if your piece is selected to be included in one of their anthologies. No payment for online publication.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

4 New Literary Agencies Seeking Clients

Updated 10/15/23

New agencies are usually started by literary agents who want to leave their own unique mark on the industry. These agencies are eager to build their client lists, and they welcome queries.

As always, do not query these agencies without reading their websites first. Submission requirements may change.

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


Heather Jackson Literary Agency

About Heather Jackson Literary Agency: Heather Jackson decided to jump over the desk to the agent side in 2016 after a highly successful career as a trade editor.  In her 20+ years as an editor she acted as the creative midwife to multiple dozens of New York Times bestselling authors and titles, including: Tim Ferriss, Jillian Michaels, Suzanne Somers, Ron Fournier, Joy Bauer, Janine Driver, Rick Hanson, Dr. Robert C. Atkins, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Arthur Agatston, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Dr. Susan Love, Dr. Alice D. Domar, Mallika Chopra, Barbara Sher, Martina Navratilova, Joe and Teresa Graedon, B. Smith and Dan Gasby, Howard Dully...among many others.

What she is seeking: Heather specializes in commercial non-fiction and fiction, adult, YA, and children's literature. Areas of particular interest include: politics, popular psychology and science, history, memoir. She loves a great and memorable character in women's fiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. And she is always game for the quirky, unique, or deeply moving narrative that takes us in with brilliant writing and insights. She also represents top-tier authors in personal health and wellbeing, business, and self-help.

How to submit: Please send your query to QUERY@HJLIT.COM with a brief description of your book, its uniqueness in the marketplace, and why you and only you can write it. Do not send attachments.


Root Literary

About Root Literary: Holly Root is the founder of Root Literary, which opened in 2017. Prior to opening her agency, she worked at Waxman Leavell Literary, Trident Media Group, and William Morris. Based in Los Angeles, her clients include #1 New York Times bestsellers, international bestsellers, RITA winners and nominees, and numerous titles named to Best Books of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, NPR, the American Library Association, RT Book Reviews, Kirkus, and Amazon. She represents authors of commercial fiction for adults and kids, as well as select nonfiction.

"We’re a boutique, future-focused literary agency, representing award-winning, bestselling, and up-and-coming authors, illustrators, and graphic novelists. We’re committed to helping our clients confidently define and redefine their vision of success while they build a lasting body of work and a meaningful career, and we do so by advocating, empowering, educating, negotiating, problem-solving, and revenue-generating in innovative ways to support our clients’ creative work."

You can read what each agent is seeking HERE.

How to Submit: Agents at Root Agency are now using querymanager for submissions. See their submissions page for links.


About Cullen Stanley International: Cullen Stanley International represents a wide range of authors in the US and abroad, and is the exclusive rights representative of Janklow & Nesbit Associates in the UK and translation markets. Cullen Stanley represents Richard Sennett's Building and Dwelling (FSG), Rao Pingru's Our Story (Pantheon), Kristin von Kreisler's A Healing Justice (Kensington), among others.

Cullen Stanley seeks compelling narrative nonfiction, historical memoir, biography, mind-body-spirit, and books on art and design. In fiction, she likes novels with strong plot lines, inspirational stories and memorable characters.

Jaclyn Gilbert joined Cullen Stanley International in 2018 as a literary agent. She is passionate about working with writers to prepare their manuscripts for submission in the U.S. and abroad. She is looking to represent voice-driven, emotionally compelling literary fiction and upmarket nonfiction with an experimental bent.

How to submit: Please send your query and 10 pages (as an attachment) via email to


The Bindery

About The Bindery: Alex Field launched The Bindery in 2017 after 18 years working in book publishing and journalism. Prior to starting The Bindery, he served as Vice President and Publisher for two imprints of Penguin Random House. After college, he began his career at Los Angeles Times, assisting in the Calendar section, and writing dozens of freelance pieces and new reports. Since then, he’s worked in journalism and book publishing, writing, editing, acquiring books, and managing teams including editorial, marketing, publicity, design, production, subsidiary rights, and contract departments. He has published a number of New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers and many award-winning books, with beloved authors, celebrities, leaders, and media luminaries.

You can read what each agent is seeking HERE.

How to Submit: Email your query (for fiction) or book proposal (for nonfiction) to along with a cover letter. Please include a summary of you book concept, table of contents, author biography, at least one sample chapter, relevant contact information, and your publishing history.
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