Monday, January 29, 2018

53 Writing Contests in February 2018 - No entry fees

Pixabay - CC0 license
For such a short month, February certainly delivers when it comes to writing contests. There are no fewer than 54 free contests this month.

As always, every form and genre is represented. There are prizes for novel manuscripts, poetry, short stories, essays, works of nonfiction, children's books and more. Some of these contests have age and regional restrictions, so be sure to check submission guidelines before submitting.

Many contests are offered annually, so if you miss your ideal contest this year,  you can always enter next year. For a month-by-month list of free contests see: Writing Contests. (You can also get a jump on next month's contests by checking that page periodically.)


United States/Japan Creative Artists Residencies. This is a 3-5 month residency in Japan. Grant: $24,000. Deadline: February 1, 2018.

The John Gardner Fiction Award is sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers-State University of New York with support from the Office of the Dean of Binghamton University's Harpur College of the Arts & Sciences. Genre: Novel or collection of fiction published in 2017. Prize: $1,000.   Deadline: February 1, 2018.

Wednesday Club Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Adults over 18; living within a 50-mile radius of St. LouisGenre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $500, $300, $150. Deadline: February 1, 2018.

Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award is sponsored by the Binghamton Center for Writers-State University of New York with support from the Office of the Dean of Binghamton University's Harpur College of the Arts & Sciences. Genre: Poetry book in English published in 2017. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2018.

Paterson Fiction PrizeGenre: Published novel or collection of short fiction.  Prize: $1,000.    Deadline: February 1, 2018.

Paterson Prize for Books for Young PeopleGenre: Most outstanding published book for young people. There is a $500 award in each category: Pre-K - Grade 3;  Grades 4 - 6;  Grades 7 - 12. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2018.

Gannon University Poetry ContestRestrictions: Entrants must be a US high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve.Genre: Poetry. Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem may be no longer than 50 lines. Prize: First Place: $100.00 Second Place: $75.00 Third Place: $50.00. Deadline: February 1, 2018. 

The Jim Baen Memorial Short Story AwardGenre: Short story of no more than 8,000 words that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. Prize: Publication as the featured story on the Baen Books main website paid at the normal paying rates for professional story submissions. Deadline: February 1, 2018.

$1000 for 1000 Words Creative Writing Contest is sponsored by the Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation. Restrictions: Students enrolled in grades 6-12. Genre: Short fiction of exactly 1000 words. Prize: Two $1,000 scholarship prizes will be awarded, one for grades 6-8 and one for grades 9-12. Seven $100 cash prizes will also be awarded for winning entries, one per grade level.  Deadline: February 1, 2018.

Wednesday Club Junior Poetry ContestRestrictions: High School Students in grades 10 through 12 in High Schools in St. Louis and the St. Louis area. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems.   Prizes: $100, $80, $60, $40, $20, $10 for all honorable mentions. Deadline: February 1, 2018.

The Levis Reading Prize is sponsored by the Department of English and its MFA in Creative Writing program at Virginia Commonwealth University. Restrictions: The prize is given annually for the best first or second book of poetry published in the previous calendar year. Genre: Poetry.  Prize: $5000.  Deadline: February 1, 2018.

GolfwellGenre: Golf stories, fiction or nonfiction, 700 words max. Prize: Golfing books.   Deadline: February 1, 2018.

Hart Crane Memorial Poetry AwardGenre: Poetry. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 1, 2018.

The Waterman Fund Essay ContestGenre: Personal essays between 2000 and 3000 words. The topic is, simply, wilderness and wildness. Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and publication in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Deadline: February 2, 2018.

Zocalo Public Square Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to US poets only. Genre: Poetry that evokes a connection to place. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 2, 2018. Note: Winning author gives up all rights.

Student Stowe PrizeRestrictions: Open to US high school and college students. Genre: published writing on a social justice or human rights topic, in the spirit of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Prize: Up to $2,500. Deadline: February 2, 2018.

Charles Crupi Memorial Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students in Michigan. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st place - $250 and publication in The Albion Review, 2nd place - $150 and publication in The Albion Review; 3rd place - $100 and publication in The Albion Review. Deadline: February 3, 2018.

White Oak Kitchen & Cocktails Prize in Southern PoetryRestrictions: Open to all poets who currently reside in and have had residency in one of the following states for a minimum of 12 consecutive months: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia. Genre: Poetry. "WOKC invites poets from across the South to explore the topic of Faith." Prize: $1,500. Deadline: February 4, 2018.

Sweek #My2018 ContestGenre: Short story about your plans in 2018. Note: your story is not about writing your resolutions for next year, the mission is to give your real life story a fictional layer.  Prize: Grand prize $200; Best story per language: $50. Deadline: February 6, 2018.

Nelson Algren Literary Awards is a short story contest sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. This contest is open to residents of the United States. All entries must be: fiction, less than 8,000 words, double spaced, written in English. Prize: One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500. Total value of all prizes: $10,000. Deadline: February 7, 2018.

Bethesda Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest. The Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine have partnered to honor local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival. Genres: Essays and poetry. Adult and high school student categories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First Place: $500 and published in Bethesda Magazine. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. Deadline: February 9, 2018.

Life Writing PrizeRestrictions: Writers must be UK residents who have not published a full-length work.  Genre: Nonfiction based on a significant portion from the author’s own personal experience; A complete work of fiction or non-fiction of over 30,000 words; Ten or more short stories either in a collection or published individually; A professionally produced theatre script or screenplay, or radio play; Twenty or more poems either in a collection or published individually. Prize: £1500, an Arvon course, two years’ membership to the Royal Society of Literature, a development meeting with literary agent Robert Caskie and a development meeting with an editor at Unbound. Two highly commended writers receive £500, a writing mentor, a development meeting with agent Robert Caskie and a development meeting with an editor at Unbound. Deadline: February 9, 2018.

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: February 9, 2018.

Library of Virginia Literary AwardsRestrictions: Open to writers who were born in or are residents of Virginia or, in the case of nonfiction, books with a Virginia theme, are eligible. Genre: Books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction published in the previous year. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: February 10, 2018.

Writers’ Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey PrizeRestrictions: Only works from writers who are Canadian citizens, whether living in Canada or abroad, or permanent residents of Canada are eligible. Genre: Short story or excerpt from a fiction work-in-progress first published by a Canadian magazine or annual anthology during the previous calendar year. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 12, 2018.

Writers' & Artists' Yearbook Short Story CompetitionGenre: Short story. All entries must be original unpublished prose of 2,000 words or fewer. Prize: £500 and publication. Deadline: February 13, 2018.

The Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry is an annual regional prize, presented in partnership by Milkweed Editions and the Lindquist & Vennum Foundation. Restrictions: Open to residents of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $10,000 as well as a contract for publication to the author of the winning manuscript. Deadline: February 14, 2018.

Harold Morton Landon Translation AwardGenre: Poetry collection translated from any language into English and published in the previous calendar year. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Bala Kids/Khyentse Foundation Children's Book PrizeGenre: Children's book on Buddhist themes and values. Prize: $5,000 and publication by Bala Kids, an imprint of the Buddhist magazine and publishing house Shambhala. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Words and BrushesGenre: Fiction inspired by artwork. Prize: $300 top prize. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for Excellence in Published Haiku, Translation, and CriticismGenre: Published book. Books must have been published in 2016 and must clearly contain a printed 2016 copyright. A member, author, or publisher may submit or nominate more than one title. At least 50 percent of the book must be haiku, senryu, or haibun, or prose about these subjects (books mostly of tanka, for example, are not eligible). Prize: $500. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Al Smith Individual Artist FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to Kentucky poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Genre: Literary arts. Prize: $7,500. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Brilliant Flash FictionGenre: Flash fiction based on Adam Kluger’s art; 300 words max. Prize: 50 euro first prize (or equivalent amount in your currency), 25 euro second prize,15 euro third prize. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

New England Youth Outdoor Writing ContestRestrictions: The contest is open to students in New England. Submissions from students in grades 6-8 will be entered in the Junior Division; grades 9-12 will be entered in the Senior Division. Genre: Prose or poem, The topic must be outdoor-oriented (fishing, hunting, boating, canoeing, hiking, camping, nature, ecology, etc.). 500 words max. Prize: $125, $150. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2017 and February 28, 2018 to be eligible for the 2017 Prize. Must  be nominated by publisher. Genre: Fiction. Full-length novel or collection of short stories published in English, either originally, or in translation. Prize: $100,000 to the winner and $10,000 to each of the finalists. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Raiziss/de Palchi Translation AwardGenre: Poetry - translation into English of a significant work of modern Italian poetry. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

New York City Emerging Writers FellowshipRestrictions: "Applicants must be current residents of one of the five boroughs, and must remain in New York City for the entire year of the fellowship. Students in degree-granting programs are not eligible to apply, even if the focus of study is not directly related to writing. This program supports emerging writers whose work shows promise of excellence. Applicants can be of any age, but must be in the early stages of their careers as fiction writers and will not have had the support needed to achieve major recognition for their work. We define “emerging writer” as someone who has not yet had a novel or short story collection published by either a major or independent publisher and who is also not currently under contract to a publisher for a work of fiction. Eligible applicants may have had stories or novel excerpts published in magazines, literary journals or online, but this is not a requirement." Genre: Fiction. Grant: $5,000. Deadline: February 15, 2018.

Wiley-Silver Prize in Civil War HistoryGenre: First book or monograph in Civil War history published in the previous year. Books or monographs published by scholarly or popular presses are eligible. Prize: $2,000. Deadline: February 16, 2018.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Published E-Book Literary AwardRestrictions: Open to African-Americans. Genre: Self-Published E-Book in fiction and poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 17, 2018.

Past-Year Memoir ContestGenre: True story about your past year in 17 words. Prize: Free Gotham class of your choosing. Deadline: February 19, 2018.

Lex Allen Literary Festival PrizesRestrictions: Open to undergraduate college students. Genres: Poetry and fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 20, 2018.

The Matthew Power Literary Reporting Award supports the work of a promising early-career nonfiction writer on a story that uncovers truths about the human condition. Genres: Nonfiction journalism works in progress with “strong, character-driven narratives with detailed scene writing and lyrical description.” Restrictions: The award will not fund proposals to report on armed conflicts where journalists are already imperiled, nor projects that are mainly investigatory. Prize: $12,500 grant and use of the NYU library. Deadline: February 20, 2018.

Everything Change Climate Fiction ContestGenre: Fiction about climate change. Prize: The winning story will receive a $1000 prize, and nine finalists will receive $50 prizes. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant WritingRestrictions: Open to first-generation residents of the United States. “First-generation” can refer either to people born in another country who relocated to the U.S., or to American-born residents whose parents were born elsewhere. Genre: Unpublished fiction and nonfiction books. Prize: $10,000 and publication. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Auditory CortexRestrictions: Open to Asian poets. Genre: Poetry. Poems must be written and read in the author’s local variety of English (e.g. Brunei English, Burmese English, Chinese English, Fijian English, Filipino English, Guamanian English, Hawaiian English, Hong Kong English, Japanese English, Kazakh English, Malaysian English, Samoan English, Singapore English, Sri Lankan English, Thai English, Tok Pisin, Tongan English, Vietnamese English, etc.) Prize: First Prize: HK$500, Second Prize: HK$300, Third Prize: HK$200, Highly Commended (up to 8): HK$100 each. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Outlet Publishing Young Writers' Short Story CompetitionRestrictions: Open to ages 16-25, UK residents only.  Genre: Short story. Prize: £150 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual TextsGenre: Literary translations and multi-lingual texts. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative NonfictionGenre: Essay, maximum 5,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

YSCI-FI Flash Fiction ContestGenre: Science fiction, fantasy, horror. Prize: $250. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Booksie Young Writer ContestRestrictions: Open to youth aged 13-18. Genre: Short stories of any genre. Prize: $75-$300. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Poetry Matters Literary PrizesRestrictions: Several categories, from middle-school to senior citizens. Genre: Poetry. Prize: 1st prize- $75; 2nd prize- $50; 3rd prize-$35; Honorable Mention- $25. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Spirit First Meditation Poetry ContestGenre: Poem on the theme of mindfulness or meditation. Prize: $200.  Deadline: February 28, 2018.

SLF Working Class Writers Grant is sponsored by the Speculative Literature Foundation. Genres: Speculative fiction, magical realism. Restrictions: Applicants must be working class (see guidelines page for definition) and demonstrate financial hardship. Available to international writers. Prize: $750. Deadline: February 28, 2018.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

8 Writing Conferences in February 2018

February is brutal little month punctuated by a groundhog, chocolates, and valentines. Winter is still with us, but by now the snow has lost its charm. That makes February a good month to turn to writing.

There are eight writing conferences and workshops this month. Notably, the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program is sponsoring a series of workshops on fiction, screenplay writing, and creative nonfiction. If you live near Los Angeles, this conference is worth attending. Ditto for San Francisco and San Diego, both of which feature a host of agents, editors, and professional writers to guide you on your way to publication.

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.

I strongly urge you to plan ahead if you are thinking of attending a writing conference. Many offer scholarships that can significantly reduce the cost. And all of the intensive writing workshops have application deadlines. 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.) If you miss your ideal conference this year, plan for next year.

The Writers Studio, sponsored by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, February 8- 11, 2018, Los Angeles, CA. The conference offers workshops in fiction and creative nonfiction, as well as writing for television and film. Offered by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, the Writers Studio brings together a community of writing students to workshop with some of Southern California’s most accomplished writers and teachers. From among the 10 offered, participants choose one workshop in which they work closely with a professional writer in classes limited to no more than 15 people.

San Francisco Writers Conference, Feb. 15-18, 2018, San Francisco, CA. Attendees will join with 100+ presenters and fellow writers from across the country and around the world at this year’s event. The SFWC events are consistently rated among the top writer’s conferences anywhere. Our goal is to help writers become published authors as we help them become better at the craft and business of writing. The SFWC is also one of the friendliest conferences. Presenters this year will include bestselling authors, literary agents, editors, and publishers from major publishing houses.  There will be experts on self-publishing, book promotion, platform building, social media, and author websites. The San Francisco Writers Conference has one of the largest faculties of any writer’s conference to ensure the best networking with the people who can help you get published.

South Coast Writers Conference, Feb 16 - 17, 2018, Gold Beach, Oregon. "The South Coast Writers Conference is an eclectic gathering of writers of various genres, novice and published authors, returning and first-time attendees. It is our goal that participants and presenters leave the conference inspired and renewed, with new insights and skills, and better connected to fellow writers and resources. Participation in workshops is limited to 30 students or fewer, so register early to secure a seat in the workshops you want."

31st Annual Southern California Writers’ Conference (and Retreat). February 16 - 18, 2018, San Diego, CA. Faculty: 60+ working, professional authors of fiction, nonfiction & screen, editors & agents. "Founded and run by professional writers the SCWC provides veteran and emerging talent with authoritative guidance to help distinguish those manuscripts that are ready for market consideration." Cost: $350-$425. Manuscript critique & one-on-one consultation additional. Limited to 175 conferees.

Minnesota Writers Workshop.  February 17, 2018, St. Paul, MN. A full-day “How to Get Published” writing event. "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." Attending Agents: Eric Smith (P.S. Literary), Michelle Grajkowski (3 Seas Literary), Lauren Jablonski (St. Martin’s Press), Mary Cummings (Betsy Amster Literary), Kelly Van Sant (D4EO Literary), Mari Kesselring (Flux and Jolly Fish Press), Cynthia Ruchti (Books & Such Literary),  Laura Zats (Red Sofa Literary), Jennie Goloboy (Donald Maass Literary), Erik Hane (Red Sofa Literary), Lynnette Novak (The Seymour Agency), Yana Makuwa (Graywolf Press), Raela Schoenherr (Bethany House Publishers) and more.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, February 22 - 24, 2018, Tempe, AZ. "The conference features lectures, panel discussions, readings, and craft classes in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and publishing. The faculty includes: Kaveh Akbar, Charlie Jane Anders, Andrea Avery, Emily Bell, Matt Bell, Cecil Castellucci, Natalie Diaz, Rosemarie Dombrowski and more. The cost of the conference is $350 until December 31 and $400 thereafter. Boxed lunches are available for an additional $14.99 per day. Registration is first come, first served.

St. Augustine Author-Mentor Novel Workshop, Feb 26 - March 1, 2018, St. Augustine, Florida. "The St. Augustine Author-Mentor Novel Workshop creates an intimate and professional environment that combines private meetings with small-group workshops, thus enabling aspiring authors to wisely approach the writing and publication of their novel. At the St. Augustine event, aspiring authors will:
1) Work one-on-one with top authors and savvy market professionals.
2) Apply advanced story and narrative technique to their novel-in-progress.
3) Hone and improve their writer voice and style.
4) Learn the necessary inside mechanics of the publishing business.
5) Leave the workshop with a detailed plan to work towards publication of their novel.
Group workshop sessions will be interspersed with agent and author consultations, workshop assignments, as well as consults with workshop leaders."

Pele's Fire: Write to the Core. February 28 - March 6, 2018, Big Island, HI. Writers' retreat in a breathtaking, in Hawaii. Three teachers, small groups, 1-on-1 consultations, readings. Faculty: Elena Georgiou, Rahna Reiko Rizzuto.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

3 Million Page Views ... and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog

Six years ago (has it really been six years?), someone told me to start a blog. Apparently, I "needed" one. I had no idea why. But I did it, figuring it might be fun.

Then, stuff happened. To my surprise, people began reading my blog. And then quite a few more started to visit, people who weren't directly related to me. (Some of whom, mysteriously, wanted to escort me to Bangladesh.)

After four years, a million people had visited my blog. I published a post somewhat facetiously titled "A Million Page Views ... and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog." (I could afford to be a little snarky back then. After all, it had taken four years to reach a million.)

I had no idea what lay ahead.

A year later this blog hit another million - a four-fold increase in traffic. This was not an accident. I had written a post in which I had waxed enthusiastic about blog promotion. And for once - really, literally for once - I followed my own advice. I promoted my blog.

And now, eight months later, this blog has accumulated another million. What's more, the most popular posts this year fetched four times the number of views of last year's most popular posts.

Should I be frightened?

In a way, it is a little frightening when all at once a lot of people are looking at what I post. It means I'm probably doing something right. And that thought is a little disconcerting. Since when have I done anything right?

Promotion Strategies

After I got over my initial confusion about what a blog was supposed to be (Cynical Observations of Society? Pearls of Wisdom? What My Cat Did Today?), I realized it might be useful as a means of organizing information that I had been storing in files - actual paper files. But the real revelation came when it dawned on me that there were these things called links and that I could put them in my blog, That meant I could use my blog as a tool! I could simply include links to all those sites in convenient blog posts. So, I started to organize all my resources: agents accepting sci-fi and fantasy, magazines that would actually pay me for my short stories, freelance publications, submission calls, everything I had laboriously accumulated. And because I actually needed those posts for my own nefarious purposes, I really put my back into them. Then three million other people found my blog.

If that sounds like a just-so story, it is. It took more than simply posting on my blog to get all that traffic. Just like writing, I had to promote, I had to be "discoverable." After all, there are a couple million blog posts written every day. How was anyone going to find mine?

Stage 1: SEO and guest blogging. Stage 2: Facebook. Stage 3: What is that? I really don't know.
At first I promoted by writing guest blogs, with modest results. Then, I promoted by posting my blog articles on other sites, like LinkedIn and Medium. Also, modest results. I fooled around with SEO meta tags, and found common search terms on Google to include in my titles. None of that had any profound effect.

And then came Facebook.

Facebook is my greatest single source of traffic, with people coming straight off Google coming in second. It terms of marketing platforms, nothing else comes close to Facebook. And the more you use it, the more word gets around.

Lessons Learned

If there is one thing I have learned from this blog, it's that if you want people to read what you have written, you have to promote your work every day. Promotion is like breathing. When you stop doing it, you're in trouble. Whether it's your blog, your short story, your poetry, anything you've put into words and posted - you have to let people know it's there. In the age of the Internet, the online written word has a short lifespan. You can't count on it being seen for more than a day or two at most.

The other lesson learned, and this applies to writing a blog, a book, a short story, poetry, or a personal essay is write for yourself. The fact that you have an audience can be a little daunting, and it can tempt you to write for them. But the minute you lose track of what's in your heart, and what you are compelled to say, your writing will become hollow.

So, will I become corrupted, now that over a hundred thousand people are visiting each month? Probably not. My blog is just a tool, and one that I still use on a daily basis. And anyone else who wants to use it is more than welcome.

Here are some posts with good information for promoting your blog (and other writing):

10 Simple Ways to Promote Your Blog (For Writers)

Flogging your Blog

How to Get 40,000 Readers Without Guest Blogging

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

3 New Agents Seeking Literary and Commercial Fiction, Memoir, Nonfiction and Kidlit

Here are three new agents actively seeking clients. Julia Livshin (independent agent) is primarily interested in literary fiction and quality commercial fiction, but is also on the lookout for narrative nonfiction, memoir, and children’s literature. She’s particularly excited about cultivating new writers. Meg Davis (Fletcher & Company) is drawn to novels with a deep sense of place. Erin McFadden (Fletcher & Company) wants both fiction and nonfiction.

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.


Julia Livshin


Julia Livshin got her start as an intern at The Atlantic, where she later became an editor and worked with writers like John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, Christopher Buckley, Roxana Robinson, and many others. She has a soft spot for short stories and thinks that discovering a new young writer is one of the greatest thrills. She’s worked as a freelance book editor, as well as a copy editor for Random House and Grove Atlantic, and has reviewed fiction for The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post Book World, and other publications. She grew up in Chicago, graduated from Duke University, and received a masters degree is Slavic languages and literature from Harvard University.

Whats she is seeking: She is primarily interested in literary fiction and quality commercial fiction, but is also on the lookout for narrative nonfiction, memoir, and children’s literature. She’s particularly excited about cultivating new writers.

How to Submit: Please send queries to Queries should include the first fifty pages of your manuscript, as well as a brief synopsis and a bio.


Meg Davis of Fletcher & Company


Meg joined Fletcher & Company in 2017 after helping ghostwrite a memoir in the hills of Tennessee. Before that, she spent time backpacking Europe and Southeast Asia and working in journalism. She graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BA in English Literature and Psychology.

What she is looking for: Novels that have a strong character voice and a deep sense of place. "I am drawn to stories that have broken and flawed characters with complicated family structures and histories, but whose voice is honest as they attempt to navigate difficult relationships and circumstances. In non-fiction, I enjoy books that focus on social justice issues, the south, and history-based narratives that deal with women, the Civil Rights era, and cultural movements."

She is not interested in: Romance novels, science and technology oriented books, horror, and pop culture or fads.

How to submit: To query, please send a letter, brief synopsis. and the first 5-10 pages of the manuscript/proposal pasted into the body of the email to Please do not include email attachments with your initial query, as they will be deleted.


Erin McFadden of Fletcher & Company


Erin attended Rutgers University-New Brunswick, and studied English Literature and Economics, with an Art minor.

What she is seeking: Nonfiction and fiction. "Social sciences and narrative/journalistic nonfiction stand next to capital-L Literature on my bookshelves, with some memoir and essays spread throughout to bridge the gaps. For fiction, if the characters & story are suited for it, bring on a challenging structure (think Only Revolutions), epic length (Infinite Jest), and complex intergenerational webs (Homegoing), I'll take them. Striking imagery is my weakness, especially with an emotional punch to match. And in both fiction and fact, books that fully illuminate a world - especially a vivid, unfamiliar one - are the ones that stick to me."

She is not interested in: Police dramas, High Fantasy, romance, picture and middle grade books. "I’ve also read enough dystopia to last me until the next election cycle."

How to submit: To query, please send a letter, brief synopsis. and the first 5-10 pages of the manuscript/proposal pasted into the body of the email to Please do not include email attachments with your initial query, as they will be deleted.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Top 10 Publishing Posts of 2017

In January, I usually take a look at my posts from the previous year, just to see what struck a chord with my readers. As usual, the most popular posts were free writing contests and calls for submissions. These often made it into the tens of thousands of views. (I didn't include them here. It would have made for a repetitive list.)

Some posts were a lot more popular than I had anticipated. The post about writers who published their first novels after the age of 40, for example, got over 4,000 views. (I didn't expect that, but it seems there are a lot of older writers out there. I, of course, am one of them. Hence the post.)

What was also interesting was the fact that for all of these posts, the number of views topped my most popular posts from last year by 400%. In spite of the self-publishing boom, lots of people are interested in getting traditionally published.


TOP 10 POSTS OF 2017

And my top post was (drum roll) ...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Still Not Shutting Up

Pexels - CC0 license
Like many writers, I am active on Facebook writing groups, where I post links to my blog posts about writing resources. Yesterday, Facebook suddenly deleted every one of the links to my blog. I was thrown in Facebook jail.

I believed it was some kind of glitch, a change in their algorithms. Much to my surprise, it turns out my confinement was not due to some automated Facebook glitch, but to someone reporting my blog as "harmful."

I have to say I find myself incredulous. My blog is completely innocuous. It's about publishing, and how to get published. My posts are not political, not controversial. And I am certainly not famous. Why would anyone report me? But in the blog's description at the top of the page, I have included a statement that in the interests of protecting the First Amendment - which, as a writer, I take very seriously - I did not vote for Trump, who is notoriously anti-free press.

Of course, on my personal Facebook page, I am intensely political. I'm not a big fan of Nazis or the KKK, or of anyone they support. Any movement towards an autocracy or, in this case, a kleptocracy, is something I vigorously oppose. I have always been critical of both political parties, and of our presidents. I reserve my fandom for the Constitution.

A brief stint in Facebook jail is not a big thing. It's just a temporary hitch. But the fact that someone would go out of their way to target my blog - something so small, so innocent, so inconsequential - is an indication of the mentality driving this climate of authoritarianism.

I say this as a writer and as a responsible citizen: Harassment of individuals simply because they are critical of the government, no matter who is currently in power, should not be tolerated. It is a slippery slope, and one that only leads to the bottom. 

I am not going to remove that simple sentence - that short declaration of support for the First Amendment - from my blog description. In spite of more than a few comments ranging from insults ("You are a stupid bitch") to outright threats, that statement will stay right where it is. And no amount of harassment will induce me to remove it. To do so would be a surrender, if only a very small one, to the very forces that are diminishing the principles that lie at the heart of a representative democracy.

UPDATE: This blog continues to be reported once or twice a week for "abusive content." It is ironic that censorship should be a consequence of supporting free speech, but there you have it.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

2018 New Year's Resolution for Writers: Finish

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Every year I write a New Year's Resolution on this blog. Last year I resolved to write what I feared. Writers tend to find a niche for themselves, be it a genre, like science fiction, or a form, like poetry. It's not a bad thing to have an area of expertise, but to truly expand, writers need to venture into unknown territory. Fiction writers need to experiment with nonfiction, poets with essays, memoirists with fiction.

Often these experiments produce godawful results, but just making the attempt to force one's mind into a different form of expression can awaken new areas of creativity.

Not being a hypocrite (well, not much), I embarked valiantly on the form of writing I most feared: the truth. Writing in first person about actual events has always made me squirm, and just as I suspected, writing my memoir proved to be about as entertaining as pulling my own teeth. I got nowhere for months. And then, voila! I realized it was the same as writing fiction! There is a story arc, characters to develop, a whole world to explore.

So, now that I have faced my terror, there is only one more resolution in store for me.


How many of us have half-written novels, notes for short stories and essays, books in need of revision, ideas languishing on the backs of envelopes in illegible scrawls? I certainly do. These half-completed projects have begun to haunt me, like pets I have forgotten to feed. They follow me around in my mind, whining pitifully.

My New Year's Resolution is to feed my little darlings, wrap them up in comfy prose, tuck them in with some nice plot structure, put them out of their half-finished misery, even when I am not motivated, inspired, or even thrilled. Finishing is a responsibility.

This year I will finish every one of my stories.

(Oh God, what have I just committed myself to?)

Monday, January 1, 2018

36 Calls for Submissions in January 2018 - Paying Markets

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There are more than three dozen calls for submissions in January. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fees. As always, every genre, style, and form is wanted, from speculative fiction to poetry to personal essays.

NOTE: I post calls for submissions on the first day of every month. But as I am collecting them, I post them on my page, Calls for Submissions. You can get a jump on next month's calls for submissions by checking that page periodically throughout the month. (I only post paying markets.)


Apex Publications. Apex is open to receiving dark scifi/fantasy/horror novellas and novels during the month of January 2018. They consider novellas of 30,000 to 40,000 words and novels up to 120,000 words. Pays royalties and an advance.

Smoking Pen PressGenre: Romance short stories. Payment: $25. Deadline: January 1, 2018.

Left HooksGenre: Poetry. Payment: $10. Deadline: January 1, 2018.

Ellipsis. Genre: Flash fiction. "Submit no more than 300 words, fiction or non-fiction, in response to the prompt word(s) ‘Two/Too/To."  Payment: Royalties. Deadline: January 5, 2018.

InsigniaGenre: Speculative fiction, short stories. Theme: "Stories for this anthology may be set in any Asian country (real or imagined), and main characters should be natives also. The ‘birds and beasts’ concept is open to include any type of animal (real or mythical), and that animal must be important to the story. Animal-shifters are great, as well as stories of people encountering mythical beasts.  Your animal could be a hero or a villain, just entertain us with your unique idea."  Payment: 0-2000 words = US$5 / 2001-6000 words = US$10. Deadline: January 7, 2018.  Reprints accepted.

Black RabbitGenres: Poetry, fiction (900 words max) and personal essays (250 words max).  Payment: $25 per piece. Deadline: January 8, 2018.

Alien DimensionsGenreSpeculative fiction. "ProxiBee 2118.” Payment: $10. Deadline: January 10, 2018.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Holiday CollectionGenre: True stories and poems. "People love reading about the winter holidays – from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Day. We want to hear about your traditions and how they came to be. We want to hear about your holiday memories and the rituals that create the foundation of your life. We love to hear about the funny things too: the ugly holiday sweaters, the gingerbread house that kept falling down, the re-gifting embarrassments and the fruit cake disasters. Please be sure your stories are “Santa safe” so we don’t spoil the magic for any precocious young readers." Payment: $200. Deadline: January 10, 2018.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Empowered WomanGenre: True stories and poems. "Whether you are single or married, working or retired, widowed or divorced, working or stay-at-home, you are in-charge of your life and the decisions you make. A woman doesn’t have to lose her femininity or become a bully to be empowered. A woman doesn’t have to be single, divorced or widowed to be looked upon as independent. Married women and women in relationships are independent too. We are looking for your true stories on how you are running your life, how you became empowered and achieved independence. Your story will help women of all ages feel stronger, more capable, and more confident… more empowered." Payment: $200. Deadline: January 10, 2018.

The Stinging FlyGenre: Poetry and short stories. Payment: "Token." Deadline: January 11, 2018.

Outlook SpringsGenre: Poetry and short fiction. "Send us your weird, wobbly wordwork: fiction, nonfiction, and poetry." Payment: $10 for poems, $25 for prose. Deadline: January 11, 2018.

Splickety: Dystopian DisasterGenre: Flash fiction, between 300 and 1,000 words long. "The future is here, and it’s worse than we imagined. Societal collapse, cruel government, anarchy, famine, plague—send us a story that wrecks our world. We want teenage characters who struggle through the wreckage for justice, freedom, or life itself. When nightmare is reality, who will survive?" Payment: 2 cents/word. Deadline: January 12, 2018.

The Journal of Compressed Creative ArtsGenre: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, visual arts, "and even kitchen sinks, if they are compressed in some way." Payment: $50. Deadline: January 15, 2018. (?)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Miracle of LoveGenre: True stories. "We’re looking for stories about how you found love. And how you kept it fresh over the years. New love, old love, please warm our hearts with your stories and poems." Payment: $200. Deadline: January 15, 2018.

Mind Candy 2.0Genre: Speculative fiction. Payment: 6 cents/word. Deadline: January 15, 2018.

RuminateGenre: Poetry. Payment: $17/page with a max of $68 a poem. Deadline: January 15, 2018.

Great Weather for MEDIAGenre: Poetry, flash fiction, short stories, dramatic monologues, and creative nonfiction. Payment: $10. DeadlineJanuary 15, 2018.

QUGenre: Fiction, essays, script excerpts, poetry. Payment: $100 per prose piece, $50 per poem. DeadlineJanuary 15, 2018

Rattle: Athlete PoetsGenre: Poetry. Payment: $100. Deadline: January 15, 2018.

LiminalGenre: Speculative fiction and poetry. "We like stories that are strange and unsettling, sharp-edged and evocative. Although we will consider any genre, we have a soft spot for weird fiction, magical realism, soft science fiction, and those uncategorizable stories that straddle the line between genres." Payment: 6 cents/word/fiction. $50/poem. Deadline: January 15, 2018.

Helios MagazineTHEME: “Exquisite Corpse” Genres: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and art. Payment:$0.03 USD per word for the first 1,500 words and $0.01 USD after for short stories, and $0.25 USD a line for poetry. Deadline: January 15, 2018.

Electric Lit. Genre: Short stories about Love. 300 words, max. Payment: $25. Deadline: January 15, 2018.

Enchanted ConversationGenre: Fairy tale. ThemeUn rĂªve d'amour (A Dream of Love). Payment: Story pay: $30, Poem pay: $10. US dollars only. Deadline: January 20, 2018.

ZathomGenre: Poetry, short stories, musings. Payment: $10. DeadlineJanuary 26, 2018.

Carrion Blue 555: “The Garden of Earthly Delights” AnthologyGenre: Fiction, poetry, plays, and pretty much any other formats you can think of. (Creative non-fiction is encouraged but pitch your concept beforehand.) We are seeking new and original work inspired by the famed Bosch triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights.” Pieces can be accounts of scenes occurring within the painting; further adventures of the denizens of the painting; bizarre odes to the painting itself; some conglomerate of the above; or something entirely different. Length: 7K words max: if your submission is longer (or is expected to be), pitch them the concept beforehand. Payment: Half cent a word with a $5.00 minimum. No simultaneous submissions. Deadline: January 31st, 2018.

Room MagazineGenre: Feminist fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art, interviews, and book reviews. "Room magazine invites women and genderqueer folks who identify as part of the LGBTTQIA+ spectrum to submit their best poetry, fiction, CNF, and art to our first queer-themed issue. We especially encourage submissions from writers affected by multiple intersections of oppression, such as racism, classism, ableism, fatphobia, ageism, and transphobia." Payment: $50 CAD for one page, $60 for two pages, $90 for three pages, $120 for four pages, $150 for five or more pages. Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Fiyah: Issue 6 Theme: Big Mama NatureGenre: Short fiction, poetry. "We’re looking for stories of Nature and her swift backhand when folks get out of line. Give us your stories of ecological wastelands, futures full of solar powered punks, or natural disasters. Climate fiction is the name of the game, and Big Mama don’t play." Payment: Short stories (2,000 – 7,000 words): $150 USD; Novelettes (<15,000 words): $300 USD; Poetry: $50 USD. Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Barking SycamoresGenre: Poetry, short fiction, hybrid genre, creative nonfiction, book reviews, and artwork submissions. Theme: The Undiscovered Country. "Barking Sycamores is a literary journal entirely edited and operated by queer, neurodivergent people of color. We also welcome and publish essays about neurodivergence and the creation of literature." Payment: Unspecified.  Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Prairie Fire "Love Issue." Genre: Short stories, creative nonfiction, poetry on theme of "Love."  Payment: 10 cents/word for prose, $40 per poem. Deadline: January 31, 2018.

SharkpackGenre: Poetry, art, short fiction. Payment: Visual artists will be paid a small honorarium for their work; contributors of letters will receive a minimum $25 per published piece. Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Twyckenham NotesGenre: Poetry. Payment: $10. Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Monologue BankGenre: Monologues, plays. Payment: Writers receive 80% per download (monologue or play). Deadline: January 31, 2018.

NonBinary Review. Genre: poetry, fiction, essays, and art on theme of "The Little Prince." Payment: 1 cent per word for fiction and nonfiction, and a flat fee of $10 for poetry (singular poems or a suite)  and $25 per piece of visual art. Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Hyperion and TheiaGenre: Fiction, poetry, and art on theme of Rebus. Payment: 2 - 3 cents/word. Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Strange Economics. Genre: Speculative fiction about economics. Payment: CDN 1.5 c/word.  Deadline: January 31, 2018.

Nashville Review. Genre: Fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Payment: $25 per poem & song selection; $100 per selection for all other categories, including featured artwork. Translators receive $25 per poem & $100 for prose selections. Deadline: January 31, 2018.
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