Thursday, December 31, 2020

2021 New Year's Resolution for Writers: Read

Every new year I make a writing resolution. In past years, I have resolved to begin projects and to finish them. I've resolved to write what I most feared and to get more rejections than C. S. Lewis. (He got 800 before he was published.) To my credit, I have managed to fulfill all my resolutions - even C. S. Lewis' stunning number of rejections. (I've gotten well over a thousand, but that's counting rejections for everything I've written. So I've fudged that resolution a bit.) And I have resolved to stick to my guns in the face of those rejections, and be true to my work.

This year, I am resolving to read. Sometimes writers forget that reading is how we nourish ourselves. It's true that we need to observe to world around us, to think, to ponder. But in order to write we must tackle the task of reading - not just for pleasure, but with the critical eye of a writer.

Who are your favorite authors? If you had to give someone your personal list of the top ten best writers, who would they be? More to the point, why? Did they touch your heart and then break it? Did they write such vivid descriptions that you saw, heard, felt what they were describing? Did they make observations so profound that you viewed the world in a whole new light? Did they give you "aha!" moments? Were some of their phrases so beautiful that you could not continue, but had to stop to read them again and again? Did their beauty make you catch your breath?

Read those books once more. Analyze them. How did those writers create those emotions in you? How exactly? You won't be able to accomplish what those authors managed to do precisely the way they did it, but reading them with a microscope will give you pointers. You will look at words and sentence structure differently. You will begin to sense the rhythm and melody in dialogue. Like music, those cadences will open you up. You will explore language through someone else's inner voice.

What books will I re-read?

The Music Room by Dennis McFarland. I couldn't stop reading this book. McFarland kept my eyes glued to the page. He really gets inside his characters. How does he do it?

Anthony Doerr's Memory Wall. Actually, anything by Anthony Doerr will do. He is a poetic writer. Every word is evaluated, weighed, considered, and reconsidered before it is finally chosen. 

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien. I'm cheating with this one, because I've already started reading it for the first time. But I know I will have to read it again. Her writing style is thoroughly engaging, and she has insightful observations which stop me dead in my tracks.

Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko series, starting with Gorky Park. Martin Cruz Smith has the ability to deftly establish a character with a stroke of the pen. He never overstates, which means he is a master of economical language.

David Foster Wallace, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men. I don't have Wallace on my "top ten" list, but I will re-read him because his writing style is the exact opposite of mine. I find Wallace's incredibly long sentences liberating. It feels like swimming.

Torch  by Cheryl Strayed is an example of crystal clear writing. You don't feel as if you are reading.

William Gibson's Pattern Recognition is well-worth re-reading. He has the ability to create a world which is familiar, yet isn't. He keeps readers slightly off-balance and then he sucks them right in.

The Ground Beneath Her Feet is Salman Rushdie's best novel. (Don't argue with me.)

 I will re-read Ursula Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. Le Guin grabs her readers by their collars and throws them into a story. She creates worlds that are entirely believable.

White Noise by Don DeLillo. This is my favorite 20th-century novel. Honestly, I can't figure out how he did it, but I am going to try.

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

79 Calls for Submissions in January 2021 - Paying Markets

There are more than six 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 short stories to poetry to essays.

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.)

Also see Paying Markets for hundreds of paying markets arranged by form and genre.

Happy submitting!


Cast of Wonders PodcastGenre: Speculative fiction for teens. Length: 3,000 words max. Payment: 6 cents/word. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

The Cincinnati Review. Genre: Literary nonfiction (up to 20 pages), fiction, poetry, poetry translations, and art. Payment: $25/page for prose in the journal, and $30/page for poetry. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

The Temz ReviewGenres: Prose (fiction and creative non-fiction) up to 10,000 words long. Payment: $20. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

BluestemGenre: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction. Payment: $20/poem and $75/prose piece. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

Constelación Magazine: Myths and MonstersGenre: Bilingual Spanish/English speculative fiction. Payment: 8 cents/word. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

DorothyGenre: Books. "Fiction or near fiction or about fiction, mostly by women." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

Aphotic Realm: LycanthropyGenre: Speculative stories about animorphs with a bloody twist.   Payment: $10. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

Royal Rose. Genre: Poetry, micro poems, visual poetry, and photography on theme of Astrology.  Payment: $3 - $5. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

CircumferenceGenre: New translations of poetry, essays, long-form writing, and drama. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: January 2, 2021.

HavokGenre: Flash fiction on Theme of Green. Payment: $10 via PayPal for each story published in an Anthology. Deadline: January 3, 2021.

RialtoGenre: Poetry. Payment: £20. Deadline: January 3, 2021.

Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale MagazineGenre: Fairy tales, and essays on theme of “Healers, Midwives and Cunning Folk.” Payment: $100. US dollars only. Essays: $50. Deadline: January 3, 2021.

Dark Dispatch: RedemptionGenre: Sci fi, fantasy, horror, and crime on theme of Redemption.   Payment: $50. Deadline: January 5, 2021.

ScumGenre: Feminist-friendly work of any variety, but as a general rule your piece should be under 2000 words (50 lines for poetry, max. 3 poems) and able to be classified as “fiction”, “culture”, “memoir”, “column”, “poetry”, and/or “review”. Payment: $60 AUD. Deadline: January 7, 2021.  Opens to submissions on January 1.

Coastal ShelfGenre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry. Payment: $20 - $30. Deadline: January 7, 2021. Opens to submissions on January 1.

Jazz House: Twisted Love Anthology. Genre: Romanic gothic horror. "Jazz House wants to read your twisted, dark, and despairing stories about romantic and gothic horror and the people who find love to have a bitter aftertaste." Payment: $75. Deadline: January 8, 2021.

The Stinging FlyGenre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry. Payment: Fiction and nonfiction: €30 per magazine page; Poetry: €50 per poem; Featured Poet: €250. Deadline: January 8, 2021.

Mermaids MonthlyGenre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art on topic of merfolk. Payment: $0.10/word for fiction, $50 – $100 for poems, Comics (up to 5 pages) $75-$100 per page, micro art and word submissions $25, $50 for spot illustrations, $25 – $50 licensing fee for interior and $100 – $150 for cover art licensing reprints, $0.10 per word for non-fiction, $0.01 per word for these with a minimum of $20 if the piece is shorter than 2,000 words for reprints. Deadline: January 9, 2021.

Planet Scumm: Snake EyesRestrictions: Open to cisgender women, transgender women, transgender men, non-binary people, and genderqueer people. Genre: Hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, speculative fiction, weird fiction, and slipstream on theme of Snake Eyes. Payment: $0.02/word. Deadline: January 10, 2021.

Full Bleed: ArchivesGenre: Criticism, fiction, poetry, graphic essays, belles lettres, artwork, design, and illustration. "We are especially interested in submissions on the theme of adaptation. In this time of accelerating change, we invite artists, designers, and writers to reflect on the various ways that ecological, technological, and social conditions have necessitated and will necessitate reinvention, hard resets, or new modes of coping, working, living, and thinking." Payment: Modest honorarium.  Deadline: January 10, 2021.

Midnight & IndigoRestrictions: Open to black women. Genre: Fiction, personal essays.  Payment: $50 for essays, and $50-$75 for fiction. Deadline: January 10, 2021.

The Ghastling. Genre: Literary fiction and illustration devoted to psychological horror, folk horror, ghost stories and the macabre. Payment: £15 per story plus copy of magazine. Deadline: January 10, 2021.

The Other Stories PodcastGenre: Horror on theme of Lost Civilizations. Payment: $5. Deadline: January 11, 2021.

Cricket Media: Faces: Alaska Genre: Nonfiction articles, fiction, activities for children. Send query only. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: January 11, 2021.

BarrelhouseGenre: Fiction and nonfiction. Payment: $50. Deadline: January 11, 2021. 

Mslexia. Genre: Nonfiction. "We're looking to commission features from women who manage to write despite a particular personal challenge, e.g. new baby, long-term illness, English as a second language, depression, no Wi-Fi connection, family ridicule…" Payment: £25. Deadline: January 11, 2021.

WyldbloodGenre: Speculative fiction. Payment: £0.01 per word. Deadline: January 14, 2021.

Muse MagazineGenre: Nonfiction articles for children on theme of Layers of Meaning.  Payment: Not specified. Deadline: January 15, 2021. 

Great Weather for MEDIA: Annual Print AnthologyGenres: Poetry, flash fiction, short stories, dramatic monologues, and creative nonfiction. "Our focus is on the fearless, the unpredictable, and experimental but we do not have a set theme for our anthologies." Payment: $10. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Stellium is a literary magazine centering Black queer and trans prose writers. (Other Black and QTPOC writers accepted.) Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, art. Payment: $50. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

The Periodical, ForlornGenre: Dark and creepy stories that give us an unusual spin on vampiric items or people. Payment: $15. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable DarknessGenre: Speculative stories about queer witches, "the knife edge between the sacred and the profane, and infinite darkness." Payment: 8 cents/word. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and HopeGenre: True stories and poems. “We’re looking for everything from the serious to the silly. There will be 101 stories, so we can go wide and deep, and we’d like to share stories from Black women of all ages, from late teens to women in their nineties.” Payment: $200. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

ChannelGenre: Short stories, poetry, and essays that engage with the natural world. Payment: €40 per poem and €40 per page of prose up to a total maximum fee of €120. Contributors will also receive a copy of whichever issue their work appears within. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Women Artists DatebookGenre: Poems and artwork by women on theme of social justice. Payment: $70. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

filling stationRestrictions: Open to Black, Indigenous, and POC writers and artists. Genre: Stories, poems, and art on all themes. "We would particularly like to see experimental submissions of celebration in all its forms, stories about the future, innovative creative non-fiction, and experimental and speculative poetry, and artwork." Payment: $25. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

RattleGenre: Poetry. Theme: Tribute to Appalachian Poets. Payment: $200. Deadline: January 16, 2021.

Gypsum Sound Tales: COLP: UndergroundGenre: Short stories, all genres on theme of Underground. Payment: AU$5.00 for stories under 2500 words / AU$10.00 for anything above 2500 words. Deadline: January 17, 2021.

All Female Menu. Genre: Poetry, prose, and hybrid works about "personal, intergenerational, and embodied memory. Send us anything else that fits into your mental map of what memory is, does, and feels like. We want to read about your childhood fantasies and tragedies; your nostalgia for a feeling or a person; the physical and existential pain you carry from the matriarchs of your family; the description of an ennui-tinged visceral reminiscence." Payment: $10. Deadline: January 17, 2021.

Roll Call is a 4–5 episode miniseries of the VS podcast dedicated to the past, present, and future of Black poetry. It will be a submission-based, anthology-style show collecting audio-based, hour-long, content from Black poets, scholars, and creators from across the diaspora. Payment: $1000. Deadline: January 17, 2021.

Uncanny MagazineGenre: SF/F fiction and poetry. Payment: $.10 per word. Deadline: January 18, 2021.

RuminateGenre: Short nonfiction (See themes). Payment: $20/400 words for prose, and $20/image for visual art. Deadline: January 20, 2021.

Flash Fiction Online. Genre: Flash fiction, 500 - 1000 words. Payment: $80. Deadline: January 21, 2021.

Electric Literature: The CommuterGenre: Poetry, short fiction. Payment: $100. Deadline: January 24, 2021. Opens January 18.

Electric Literature: Recommended ReadingGenre: Short fiction between 2,000 and 10,000 words. Payment: $300. Deadline: January 24, 2021. Opens January 18.

Roadrunner ReviewRestrictions: Open to  graduate and undergraduate students. Genre: Poetry, short fiction, nonfiction. Payment: $100. Deadline: January 24, 2021.

The Other Stories PodcastGenre: Horror on theme of Government Experiments. Payment: $5. Deadline: January 25, 2021.

Luna Novella for Speculative ScotlandRestrictions: Open to all writers who call Scotland their home, irrespective of place of birth or ethnicity. All levels welcome (unpublished, published, solo or agented). Genre: Speculative fiction novellas. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: January 26, 2021.

Every Day FictionGenre: Flash fiction up to 1000 words. Payment: $3. Deadline: January 27, 2021.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: EldercareGenre: True stories and poems. "Eldercare on an ongoing basis is a very difficult task, whether the care is in your home, the person’s home, or an outside facility. Eldercare requires the caregiver to be patient, kind, compassionate and giving. And having a little humor doesn’t hurt! Are you providing eldercare for a spouse, partner, or sibling due to dementia, chronic illness, permanent physical or mental disabilities, or just plain old age? Did you move in with an older family member to care for him or her? Are you part of the “sandwich” generation—caring for a parent and a child at the same time?" Payment: $200. Deadline: January 30, 2021.

Dragon Soul Press: ValianceGenre: Fiction on theme of Valiance. "Female samurai are rarely written in books and are shrouded in mystery. With no limitation on genre, the only special requirement for this anthology is that a female samurai be the main character in each of these stories." Word Count – 5,000-15,000. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

The Alchemy Press Book of Horrors 3Genre: Stories featuring monsters. Payment: 1p per word, plus a copy of the book. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

Last Girls ClubGenre: Feminist horror: short stories and poems on theme of Strange Births. Payment: Short Story-$20 upon acceptance and copy of magazine; Art-$15 for full page; Poems-$15 less than 200 words. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

EventRestrictions: Open to submissions by Canadian writers only during the month of January.  Genre: Poetry and prose. Payment: $40/page for poetry and $35/page for prose, up to a maximum of $500. Deadline: January 31st, 2021. Submissions will be capped at 150.

The Great VoidGenre: Speculative fiction. Length: 4000 - 15,000 words. See themesPayment: 30% of profits shared equally among contributors. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Preteens. Restrictions: Writers must be under 35 years of age. Genre: True stories and poems. "Your stories and poems should be written in the first person about something that happened to you or someone close to you. Your stories must be true. If you want to change someone’s name or use a pen name, that’s fine, but you need to tell us exactly what you changed. Please try to keep your stories under 1200 words." Payment: $200. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: TeensRestrictions: Writers must be under 35 years of age. Genre: True stories and poems. "Your stories and poems should be written in the first person about something that happened to you or someone close to you. Your stories must be true. If you want to change someone’s name or use a pen name, that’s fine, but you need to tell us exactly what you changed. Please try to keep your stories under 1200 words." Payment: $200. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

ShenandoahGenre: Novel excerpts, short stories, and essays. Payment: $100 per 1000 words of prose up to $500. Deadline: January 31st, 2021. Opens January 15.

The RumpusGenre: Fiction, Poetry. "We strive to be a platform for marginalized voices and writing that might not find a home elsewhere, and to lift up new voices alongside those of more established writers we love. We work to shine a light on stories that build bridges, tear down walls, and speak truth to power." Payment: $300 divided among all contributors. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

Muswell Press: Queer Life, Queer LoveGenre: Non-fiction pieces, short stories, flash fiction and poetry. "What do we mean by Queer? We are looking for writing that explores characters and experiences beyond mainstream society. Celebrating the fascinating, the forbidden, the alien, the subversive, the view of the outsider." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: January 31, 2021. 

AwakeningsGenre: All genres and media. "Awakenings is home to a multi-media art gallery featuring the artistic expressions of rape and sexual abuse survivors. By showcasing stories of survival, we are helping survivors find peace while simultaneously challenging the cultural taboos that prevent an honest discussion of sexual violence." Payment: $12. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

Please See MeGenre: Poetry, creative nonfiction/essays, fiction/short stories/flash fiction, and digital media (photography, drawings, podcasts, and short films) on theme of Hope. "We are especially looking for content that connects us, make us feel something, or helps us see illness, wellness, health, or the healthcare environment differently." Payment: Not specified. Deadline: January 31, 2021. 

The New Gothic ReviewGenre: Gothic fiction. Payment: $30. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Room. Genre: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and art. "We invite creatives to submit work that centres storytelling from Indigenous perspectives, methods, and forms. We envision this special issue to encompass different communities coming together with a shared vision of Indigenous resurgence: one that exists through the act of making space for ourselves and each other, through community building, and through the radical act of living and loving. This issue encourages writing and visual art, as well as diverse non-literary art forms to be submitted." Payment: All contributors will be paid upon publication: $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, 2021.

Propertius Press: Spheres and Canticles. Genre: Poetry on theme of Wholeness. Payment: Revenue sharing. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Nashville ReviewGenre: Fiction, poetry, art, 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, 2021.

Quommunicate Publishing: Hashtag Queer – LGBTQ+ Creative Anthology, Vol 4Genre: Fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and scripts on LGBTQ+ themes. Payment: $5/page. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Split Lip MagazineGenre: Fiction (flash and short stories), memoirs, and poetry. with a pop-culture twist. Payment: $50 per author (via PayPal) for our web issues. Payment for print is $5 per page, minimum of $20, plus 2 contributor copies and a 1-year subscription. Deadline: January 31, 2021. Note: Submit early in January to avoid submission fees. Free submissions for black writers all year.

OrcaGenre: Literary fiction. Payment: $50 for short stories, $25 for flash fiction. Deadline: January 31st, 2021. Submit early in the month to avoid submission fees. 

Timeworn Literary JournalGenre: Unpublished historical fiction submissions in English under 5,000 words. They should be set before 1996, rooted in history and voice-driven. Stories do not need to necessarily be about a specific historical event, only set within history. "We're looking for "Historical Fiction from the fringe." Work with a bend toward the surreal, the dream-like, the strange. Speculative elements strongly encouraged. We like our spec subtle, with low-key elements of historical fantasy, fabulism, slip-stream, magical realism, and science fiction." Payment: $25. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

34 OrchardGenre: Fiction, poetry. "We like dark, intense pieces that speak to a deeper truth. We’re not genre-specific; we just like scary, disturbing, unsettling, and sad." Payment: $50. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

Departure Mirror Quarterly. Genre: Contemporary speculative fiction and poetry. Payment: $0.10/word up to 3,000 words for fiction. $300 flat rate above that. $10/poem flat rate for poetry. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

The Southampton ReviewGenre: Poetry, prose, art. Payment: Prose: $100+, Poetry: $75 per poem. Illustration: $100 per page. Art Portfolios: $200 for up to 12 images Deadline: January 31st, 2021. Submit early in the month to avoid fees.

Alpennia: Lesbian Historic Motif Podcast Fiction Series. Genre: Short stories in the lesbian historic fiction genre, to be produced in audio format for the podcast, as well as published in text on the website. Payment: 8 cents/word. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

Sci Phi Journal. Genre: Hard sci-fi. See topics. Payment: 3 (Euro) cents per word for original fiction and 1 (Euro) cent per word for translations of fiction into English. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

Social Justice Anthologies. Genre: Fiction or nonfiction that explores a topic relevant to the well-being of our society or environment. Payment: $200. Deadline: January 31st, 2021.

The Overcast (Podcast). Genre: Speculative fiction. Payment: $0.01 per word, minimum $20 for any story; Flat rate of $20 for all stories less than 2,000 words. Deadline: January 31st, 2021. Accepts reprints.

khōréōRestrictions: Open to writers who identify as an immigrant or member of a diaspora in the broadest definitions of the terms. "This includes, but is not limited to, first- and second-generation immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, persons who identify with one or more diaspora communities, persons who have been displaced or whose heritage has been erased due to colonialism/imperialism, transnational/transracial adoptees, and anyone whose heritage and history includes ‘here and elsewhere’. We especially encourage BIPOC creators who identify as the above to submit their work." Genre: stories, essays, and art: fantasy, sci-fi, horror, and any genre in between or around it, as long as there’s a speculative element. Payment0.08/word for fiction, $100 for nonfiction, and  $40-300 for art. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Diabolical Plots. Genre: Science fiction, fantasy and horror up to 3,500 words. Payment: 10 cents/word. Deadline: January 31, 2021.


Volney Road ReviewGenres: Fiction, poetry, CNF, art. Payment: $10. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Belmont Story Review. Genre: Fiction, poetry, CNF. Payment: $50. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Nonbinary ReviewGenre: Poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and flash, up to 3000 words on theme of Apocalypse. Payment: For prose, 1¢ US per word, and $10 US per poem. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

The First LineGenres: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction using the first line provided. (See site.)   Payment: $25.00 - $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 - $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Sexy Fantastic Magazine. Genre: Fantastic erotic stories on theme of Stars. (No porn) "Any type of story with fantastic elements is acceptable, such as a metaphysical or surreal modern tale, magic realism, a dark fantasy thriller, science fiction satire, historical legend, an imaginary world fantasy adventure, etc." Payment: $100. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

The London Reader: Counterculture Creative WritingGenre: Stories featuring parties, protest, and the revolutionary potential of today’s and yesteryear’s countercultures. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: February 1, 2021.

Monday, December 28, 2020

44 Writing Contests in January 2021 - No entry fees

This January there are more than three dozen writing contests calling for every genre and form, from poetry, to creative nonfiction, to completed novels. Prizes range from $100,000 to publication. None charge entry fees.

Some of these contests have age and geographical restrictions, so read the instructions carefully.

If you want to get a jump on next month's contests go to Free Contests. Most of these contests are offered annually, so even if the deadline is past, you can prepare for next year.

Good luck! 

(Photo credit: Pixabay)


The Reedsy Writing Prompts Contest. Genre: Short story. (See prompts) Prize: $50. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

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: $1,250 and publication in Vermont MagazineDeadline: January 1, 2021.

Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry AwardGenre: Poem, 3-10 pages long, that demonstrates a "truly inventive spirit." Prize: $500 and publication. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America Best First Crime Novel CompetitionRestrictions: The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any published novel (except that authors of self-published works only may enter, as long as the manuscript submitted is not the self-published work) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a novel. Genre: Murder or another serious crime or crimes is at the heart of the story. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: January 1, 2021.

Tony Hillerman Prize. Sponsored by St. Martin's Press. Genre: Debut mystery novel set in Southwest.  Prize: $10,000 advance against royalties and publication, Deadline: January 2, 2021.

Texas Institute of Letters Literary AwardsRestrictions: Entrants must have resided in Texas for at least 2 consecutive years, or have been born in Texas. Genre: Book (published). 11 different categories.  Prize: $6,000. Deadline: January 4, 2021.

Japan Center-Canon Essay Competition. The aim of the Japan Center Essay Competition is to promote awareness and understanding of Japan in the United States and to help young Americans broaden their international horizons. Genre: Essay. Contestants should write, in English, one or more aspects of Japan including art, culture, tradition, values, philosophy, history, society, politics, business, and technology in relation to their personal views, experiences, and/or future goals. (Contestants do not need to have any experience in visiting Japan or studying Japanese. Prize: Best Essay Award in the High School Division: 1st Place: $3,000 and a Canon camera, 2nd Place: $1,500 and a Canon camera, 3rd Place: $750 and a Canon camera; Best Essay Award in the College Division: $3,000 and a Canon camera; Uchida Memorial Award: $1,000 and a Canon camera; Merit Award: $200 (each) for up to five awards. Deadline: January 8, 2021.

Man Booker International Prize. The Man Booker International Prize for fiction translated into English is awarded annually by the Booker Prize Foundation to the author of the best (in the opinion of the judges) eligible novel or collection of short stories. Prize: £50,000 divided equally between the author and the translator. There will be a prize of £2,000 each of the shortlisted titles divided equally between the author and the translator. Deadline: January 8, 2021 for works published between January 1 and April 30, 2021.

The Prism Prize for Climate LiteratureRestrictions: Open to USA and UK writers. Genre: Full-length book: fiction, poetry, and literary non-fiction writing in the emerging genre of climate literature. Prize: $1000 and publication. Deadline: January 8, 2021. 

Northern California Book AwardsRestrictions: Books written by authors based in northern California and published for the first time the previous calendar year are eligible for nomination. Genre: Published book. Prize: $100. Deadline: January 10, 2021.

Orwell PrizeGenre: Political writing published between 1st January and 31st December 2020. All entries must have a clear British link. Journalism and ‘exposing Britain’s social evils’. Prize:  £3,000.00. Deadline: January 11, 2021.

In the Mood for LoveGenre: Romantic short stories, CNF or nonfiction. Prize: 1st Place:$100 and Publication; 2nd Place: $50 and Publication; 3rd Place: $25 and Publication. Deadline: January 11, 2021.

Author Mentor MatchGenre: Completed YA or MG manuscript. Prize: Mentorship by published author. Deadline: January 11 - 14, 2021.

Arnold Adoff Poetry AwardsGenre: Poetry books for children and young adults. Novels in verse, memoirs in verse, collections of original poetry, and edited collections are all acceptable formats for the awards. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Neukom Institute Literary Arts AwardsGenre: Play that addresses the question: “What does it mean to be a human in a computerized world?” Prize: $5000. Deadline: January 15, 2021. 

The Bechtel PrizeGenre: Essays describing a virtual creative writing teaching experience, project or activity that demonstrates innovation in creative writing instruction. "We are looking for essays that describe a project or activity that got students excited about writing and fostered a vibrant and dynamic culture of literacy in the virtual classroom. We welcome essays about projects that carved a space for students to reflect on the events of the past year (eg. public health, social distancing, racial justice protests, etc.)." Prize: $1000 and publication. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

The Lumiere Review Writing ContestGenre: Poetry, prose. Prize: $100. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

The Hillman Prize for JournalismGenre: Journalism. "Since 1950, the Sidney Hillman Foundation has honored journalists, writers and public figures that pursue investigative journalism and public policy in service of the common good." Prize: $5,000. Deadline: January 15, 2021 for Canadian entries, January 30, 2021 for US.

Washington State Book AwardsRestrictions: Open to Washington State writers. Genre: Published book, all genres. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Restrictions: The contest is open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools; US students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program; and US citizens attending schools overseas. Genre: Essay on an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1956. Prize: The first-place winner receives $10,000 comprised of a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 from John Hancock. The second-place winner receives $1,000. Up to five finalists receive $500 each. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

French-American Foundation Translation PrizesGenre: Book - best English translation of French in both fiction and non-fiction. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Janet Heidinger Kafka PrizeRestrictions: Open to women, US citizens only. Genre: Novel. All entries must be submitted by publishers who wish to have the work of their authors that were published in the year 2018 considered. No self-published works or works from vanity presses will be accepted. Prize: $7,500. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Walter Muir Whitehill Prize in Early American HistoryGenre: Essay on early American history (up to 1825), not previously published, with preference being given to New England subjects. Prize: $2,500. Deadline: January 15, 2021.

Novella-in-Flash AwardGenre: Flash fiction/Novella. 6000 to 18000 word limit – each flash should not be more than about 1000 words. Prize: £300 prize for the winner, two runner-up prizes of £100. Deadline: January 17, 2021.

Pink Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry. Prize: $1000 and publication. Deadline: January 17, 2021.

Bethesda Urban Partnership Essay ContestRestrictions: Open to residents of Washington, DC and select counties in Maryland and Virginia. Genre: Essays. Length: 500 words maximum. Prize: $500 in adult category (age 18+) and $250 in high school category (ages 14-17). Deadline: January 18, 2021.

Bethesda Magazine Short Story ContestRestrictions: Open to residents of Washington, DC and select counties in Maryland and Virginia. Genre: Short stories. Length: 4000 words maximum. Prize: $500 in adult category (age 18+) and $250 in high school category (ages 14-17). Deadline: January 18, 2021.

Nine Dots PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors age 18+. Genre: Summary response to "What does it mean to be young in an ageing world?" The winner will expand on the ideas expressed in their summary response by participating in a seminar at the University of Cambridge and by writing a short book (25,000-40,000 words) to be published by Cambridge University Press. Prize: $100,000. Deadline: January 18, 2021.

Elie Wiesel Prize in Ethics Essay ContestRestrictions: Registered undergraduate full-time Juniors or Seniors at accredited four-year colleges or universities in the United States during the Fall 2015 Semester. Genre: Essay Topic: Articulate with clarity an ethical issue that you have encountered and analyze what it has taught you about ethics and yourself. 3,000 to 4,000 words. Prize: First Prize $5,000, 2nd Prize $2,500, 3rd Prize $1,500, two Honorable Mentions $500 each. Deadline: January 19, 2021. Read details here.

Poetry Society of Virginia - Student Contest. Restrictions: Open to students in Virginia, grades 3 - 12. Prize: $10 - $25. Deadline: January 19, 2021.

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: January 22, 2021.

The Roadrunner ReviewRestrictions: Open to students, graduate and undergraduate. Genre: Fiction, CNF, Poetry. Prize: $100. Deadline: January 21, 2021.

Lex Allen Literary Festival PrizesRestrictions: Open to undergraduate college students. Genres: Poetry and fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: January 22, 2021.

Zocalo Public Square Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to US poets only. Genre: Poetry that evokes a connection to place. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 29, 2021. Note: Winning author gives up all rights.

Technology Addiction Awareness ScholarshipRestrictions: Open to a high school freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior or a current or entering college or graduate school student of any level. Home schooled students are also eligible. There is no age limit. You must also be a U.S. citizen or legal resident. Genre: 500- to 1,000-word essay about technology addiction. Prize: $1000 scholarship.  Deadline: January 30, 2021.

Walter Rumsey Marvin GrantRestrictions: Open to authors under 30 years of age who have not had a book published. Applicant must have been born in Ohio or have lived in Ohio for a minimum of five years. Genre: Short fiction and creative non-fiction. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

A Public Space Emerging Writer FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to writers who have not yet contracted to publish a book. Prize: $1000 and six months of editorial support from A Public Space editors to prepare a piece of prose for publication in the magazine. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest. "The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America." Genre: previously unpublished work of short fiction. Prize: $100.00.  Deadline: January 31, 2021.

The Danuta Gleed Literary Award for best first collection of short fiction in the English language was initiated by John Gleed in honour of his late wife to promote and celebrate the genre of short fiction, which she loved. Restrictions: Canadian residents only. Prize: A $10,000 prize will be awarded for the best first collection of published short fiction in the English language. Two finalist will also be awarded $500 each. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

The 2021 Stratford Literary Festival/Salariya Books Children's Picture Book CompetitionRestrictions: Open to residents of the UK and Ireland. Writers must be unpublished by a mainstream publisher. Genre: Children's picture book, unpublished. Prize: First prize: £1000.  Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Caine Prize for African WritingRestrictions: Open to writers born in Africa, or nationals of an African country, or with a parent who is African by birth or nationality, Genre: Short fiction (published). Prize: £10,000. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Stephen A DiBiase Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize. The annual Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year.  Genre: Published fiction or non-fiction, may include: novels, novellas, short stories, plays, poetry, biographies, essays and correspondence. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: January 31, 2021.

Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry AwardsRestrictions: Only undergraduates currently enrolled in accredited United States medical schools are eligible. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $1,000 top prize. Deadline: January 31, 2021. Note: Winners do not retain copyright.

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

7 Great Writing Conferences in January 2021

The new year kicks off with seven great conferences for writers. These conferences offer everything from intensive workshops and panels, to pitch sessions with agents and one-on-one tutorials. There is something for everyone.

For a full list of conferences held throughout the year see Writing Conferences. During the pandemic most of these are being held virtually at reduced rates. Quite a few offer scholarships, so apply early.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)


Pacific University Master of Fine Arts in Writing Residency Writers Conference. January 7-17, 2021: Forest Grove, Oregon. Writers seeking to deepen their craft and expand their professional community are invited to attend the Residency Writers Conference together with MFA students, faculty and guest speakers. Join us for 10 full days of craft talks, workshops, panels, classes, readings and more featuring some of the best minds of the literary world. This residency is a rare opportunity to engage in sustained and meaningful conversation with others who share your passion for the art of writing.  Because of ongoing concerns due to COVID-19, this will be a virtual residency.

TMW January Jumpstart. January 9, 2021. “Fresh Slate/Fresh Page in 2021: This Zoom workshop will address the writer as beginner, even when we are experienced, even when we’ve already started or written most of a project. We will explore tools and exercises to help begin a project or begin a project again, generate or develop a new idea, or return to an old idea that for some reason stalled and see that project with new eyes. These tools and exercises can be used for fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry, and be beneficial to writers of all levels from novice to seasoned author."

Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway. January 14-18, 2021, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft talks, one-on-one tutorials, featured readings, and open mics. Tuition, which includes some meals, ranges from $490 to $690, depending on the workshop. Will be held online.

Writing By Writers DRAFT. Application deadline: January 15, 2021: Lake Tahoe and Boulder, CO. DRAFT is an intensive program for 15 writers who are committed to completing a novel, memoir, short story, or essay collection over the course of two years. Whether starting a first draft, or working through a new revision, this program is appropriate for writers who want a rigorous and supportive community throughout their process.

Eckerd College Writers’ Conference. January 16-23, 2021, St. Petersburg, FL. Workshops, roundtables, panel discussions, Q&As, readings book signings, and receptions. The faculty includes poets Billy Collins, Gregory Pardlo; fiction writers Michael Koryta, John Dufresne; creative nonfiction writers Stephanie Elizondo Griest and Dani Shapiro; editor George Gibson (Grove/Atlantic); and agent Ann Rittenberg (Ann Rittenberg Lit Agency) and many more. Canceled for 2020, but a 2-day virtual event for applicants, will take place on Sunday and Monday, January 17 and 18.

Palm Beach Poetry Festival. January 18-23, 2021 , Delray Beach, Florida. Workshop Faculty Poets: David Baker, Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Traci Brimhall, Eduardo C. Corral, Vievee Francis, Kevin Prufer, Martha Rhodes, and Tim Seibles. Special Guest is Gregory Orr accompanied by The Parkington Sisters; Poet-at-Large Brian Turner; and Conference Faculty: Lorna Knowles Blake, Sally Bliumis-Dunn, Nickole Brown, Jessica Jacobs, and Angela Narciso Torres. Will be held online.

Breakout Novel Graduate Learning Retreat. January 25 - February 31, 2021: Tampa, Florida. An intensive week of critiques, one-on-one sessions, query clinics, brainstorming and writing. Limited to 16 students. Will be held virtually.

Thursday, December 3, 2020

5 Agents Seeking Fantasy, YA, Kidlit, Nonfiction, Romance, Memoir, Mysteries, Thrillers and more

Updated 7/29/22

Here are five agents currently expanding their client lists. Barb Roose acquires adult fiction and non-fiction. Ameerah Holliday is primarily interested in young adult fiction, new adult fiction, fantasy/paranormal romance and novels in verse. For non-fiction she's interested in writing derived from performing arts or passion projects and discussions of mental health in minority communities. Jonathan Agin is looking for serious non-fiction—mainly history, politics, and popular culture. Amy Collins is seeking Business, How-To, Reference, History, Historical Memoir, Historical Fiction. Beth Marshea is actively seeking narrative nonfiction centering around cultural phenomena, adult fiction, YA, MG, and picture books.

Always check the agency website and agent bio before submitting. Agents can switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements can change.

You can find a full list of agents actively seeking new clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Barb became a part of Books & Such in 2014 as a client represented by Rachelle Gardner. Barb saw herself as an author who didn’t know anything about the publishing industry other than being thrilled someone wanted to publish her book. Fast forward several years and a growing library of books with her name on the cover. Barb now wants to help other writers achieve their publishing dreams. The thrill of partnering with authors compelled Barb to say “yes” to joining the Books & Such Literary Management agent team in 2020. Her desire is to come alongside hopeful and established authors to create the most marketable, appealing manuscripts that will build lasting careers and influence readers. 

What she's looking for: Barb acquires adult fiction & non-fiction.

How to submit: Please send your query to


Ms. Ameerah Holliday
of Serendipity Literary Agency

Ameerah Holliday is a dancer and self-proclaimed poetess from San Diego, California. She received her Bachelor's degree in English Literature from San Diego State University. Holliday is a former editorial assistant intern for Poetry International and currently serves as editorial director for the San Diego Poetry Annual and assistant editor for Kids! San Diego Poetry Annual.

What she's looking for: Ameerah is primarily interested in young adult fiction, new adult fiction, fantasy/paranormal romance and novels in verse. She looks for writing that explores diverse experiences with elements of intersectionality. Stories that take you on a journey through growth and she loves a good friendship story. For non-fiction she's interested in writing derived from performing arts or passion projects and discussions of mental health in minority communities.

How to submit: Use the agency's form HERE.


Mr. Jonathan Agin
of O'Connor Literary Agency

Jonathan holds degrees from SUNY Binghamton and Columbia University. He started in publishing at Writers House and Maria Carvainis Agency, and has worked as a bookseller and as an educator in Brooklyn.

What he is seeking: Jonathan Agin is looking for serious non-fiction—mainly history, politics, and popular culture. His clients include journalists, academics, and other writers working to make complex, intriguing, sophisticated concepts accessible. He likes to see vivid portraits and timely ideas that spark conversation woven into a gripping narrative.

In fiction, he’s drawn mainly to realist, emotionally-resonant stories, often with a dark sense of humor and profoundly-flawed characters. Work steeped in issues of class, race, and migration are of particular interest, as is anything with folkloric or mythical roots.

How to submit: Send your query to



"Besides being a USA TODAY and WALL STREET JOURNAL bestselling author and on the national advisory board for IngramSpark, I am a featured columnist for THEBOOKDESIGNER, WRITERS DIGEST MAGAZINE, IBPA, and a sought-after teacher at conferences world-wide. I teach and speak at many of the publishing industry’s top festivals and conferences including Publisher’s Weekly’s BookCon, Oklahoma Writer’s Conference, Author U, AAPS, Dublin Writers Conference, BAIPA, PALA, St. Louis Writer’s Conference, Writers Digest indieLAB, Henderson Writers Conference, and many others.Uniquely positioned to help authors because of my decades of marketing experience, I would love to work with authors who have a passion for business and the promotional side of this industry as well as the writing side. When not in the office, my focus is on the working poor and poverty elimination, and I spend a great deal of time personally and professionally working with and training women from disadvantaged backgrounds."

What she is seeking: Business, How-To, Reference, History, Historical Memoir, Historical Fiction.

How to submit: Use her query manager HERE.


Ms. Beth Marshea
 of Ladderbird Literary Agency

Beth is the owner and Lead Agent at Ladderbird Literary Agency. She has a BA in Literature and a Masters in Business Administration and is always looking for new and exciting ways to bring more diversity into publishing and beyond. Outside of agenting, Beth, teaches writing in her local community with a focus on bringing reluctant writers and readers into the magical world of books. She loves the outdoors and is also a certified lifeguard.

What she is seeking: For added emphasis, in all areas Beth would like to see more works from disabled writers, from LGBTQIA+ writers, from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, Middle Eastern, and all other groups who do not regularly get to see their stories in print. She would love to see more non-binary representation across categories as well. 

Beth is actively seeking narrative nonfiction centering around cultural phenomena, hidden or weird histories, issue-driven books, and books that offer new ways to look at spiritualism, witchcraft and paganism.


Adult: Literary Fiction- She's looking for work with exceptional voice and beautiful style, unusual settings, and works that involve clever plots with dynamic characters. She wants to see work that brings to light new perspectives on old ideas. Of particular interest are multi-generational stories that show family dynamics, stories centered around found family or friendship, Currently she is especially interested in seeing works by and about BIPOC communities, especially Latinx and Indigenous writers.

Mainstream/Commercial Fiction- She'd love to see more multicultural Meet-Cutes/RomComs (especially LGBTQ+), Family Drama, stories about friendships of any kind, work that is light and fun, but emotionally poignant.

Mysteries- Cozies with a twist. It might be an unusual setting, or simply written from BIPOC perspective to give this genre a new voice.

Thrillers- She loves a thriller that really keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing! She's particularly looking for thrillers set outside of the United States. She does not love thrillers that feature violence towards women as their main plot.

Fantasy- Books that are fast-paced with wonderful (ideally non-European) characters. She'd love to see more dark fantasies based on non-European folklore, especially Latinx (new imaginings of El Cucuy, El Sombrerón, Duendes, etc...)!

Science Fiction- She really wants grounded Sci-Fi with characters that are engrossing, tight plots, and really beautiful voice. She prefers stories set near future, featuring unusual tech, that are not focused around the US. She's not the best candidate for a space opera or any military Sci-Fi.

Young Adult: Contemporary- She is very actively looking for stories about found family, the difficulties of friendship, LGBTQIA+ Rom Coms, anything that is really poignant and pulls at your heart strings, especially if it is set outside of the U.S.

Mysteries/Thrillers- Stories with high stakes and complex friendships stretched thin. In YA, Mysteries/Thrillers of almost any kind are appealing as long as they are emotionally focused and bring a new point of view. She is not a fan of the unreliable narrators.

Fantasy- Very similar to Adult Fantasy, she prefers dark folkloric tales, but is very glad to have a happy ending! Tales that feature friendships rather than romance as their base, but really dig in to the full emotions of that particular love and struggle.

Middle Grade: She's looking for contemporary stories that have fun, compelling characters dealing with real problems that Middle School kids face: friendship, divorce, gender identity, budding feelings of attraction or a lack of those feelings, feelings of isolation, and found family stories. She's also interested in Fantasy that explores similar themes. Books she's loved are: Lalani and the Distant Sea, Wonder, Pet, and Lily and Dunkin

Picture Books: She's dying to find books with really cute hooks like The Day the Crayons Quit, or nice messaging like Not Quite a Narwhal. She'd love to find a book that brings parents and kids together with language simple enough for a young child to read, but engrossing enough for an adult to enjoy.

How to submit: Use her form here:

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

4 New Agents Seeking Fantasy, YA, Horror, Memoir, Fiction, Nonfiction, Kidlit and more

Updated 8/25/21

Here are four new agents actively building their client lists. Elle Thompson is interested in a wide variety of genres within YA and Adult fiction. Jen Nadol is seeking fiction and general nonfiction as well as all types of children’s literature (picture books, middle grade, and young adult). Jolene Haley represents middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction. Haley Casey wants adult, YA, and MG fiction.

Always check the agency website and agent bio before submitting. Agents can switch agencies or close their lists, and submission requirements can change.

You can find a full list of agents actively seeking new clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Ms. Elle Thompson
of Triada US Literary Agency 


Elle Thompson joined Triada US as a literary assistant to Uwe Stender and is now looking to build her list with stories that are evocative, intelligent, and character-driven. She is interested in a wide variety of genres within YA and Adult fiction.
What she is seeking: In YA, she is most excited for high fantasy that features sweeping world-building and character-driven narratives; romantic fantasy filled with heists, fresh takes on lore, or lush adventure narratives; contemporary fiction that features relatable and charming voices going through periods of growth, discovery, and fresh takes on familiar problems; and horror/thriller, innovating on women as victims or antagonists, exploring terror in fresh ways, and examining how the myriad troubles of youth can be played out and communicated through the unknown. LGBTQIA+ representation is of particular importance to her across all genres.
In adult fiction, Elle is currently seeking smart horror rooted in terror (particularly with gothic elements, special attention paid to atmosphere, and horrors that set themselves around the house or that have a historical rooting); cozy mysteries that evoke the countryside and the home; literary fiction that explores grief, historically centered and character-driven stories, or relationships (platonic or romantic, and I am particularly interested in stories that center the relationships and friendships of women); historical fiction centering on individual moments of change for either the environment or the protagonist and that is strongly character-focused; dark academia takes on thrillers, horror, or evocative literary fiction; women’s fiction that offers stand-out protagonists and ensemble casts; and fantasy of all kinds.
How to submit: Please send an email with QUERY and the manuscript title in the email’s subject line. In the body of the email, please include your query letter and the first ten pages of the manuscript. EMAIL:


Ms. Jen Nadol
of The Unter Agency 

Jen Nadol has worked in publishing for over ten years, first as a Young Adult author with novels published by Bloomsbury USA and Simon and Schuster. After a one year internship with Entangled Publishing, she joined The Unter Agency as an Associate Agent. Jen is originally from Reading, PA, graduated from American University with a BA in literature and has lived in Washington D.C., Boston, NYC, and now, an old farmhouse north of the city with her three sons. She is not currently considering picture books.

What she is seeking: Fiction and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in memoir, food/cooking, nature/environment, biography, pop culture, travel/adventure, true crime, politics and health/fitness and all types of children’s literature (picture books, middle grade, and young adult).

How to submit: Send your query to "Please know that we have received the query and will be in touch if we are interested in pursuing your work, but if you do not hear from us within 3 months, please assume that your work is out of active consideration."


Ms. Jolene Haley
of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Jolene Haley joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2022. She has been in the publishing industry since 2012 on both the publisher and agency sides in editorial, marketing, publicity, contracts, and agent positions. She has worked for literary agencies such as Marsal Lyon Literary Agency and The Bent Agency. Her well-rounded experience and extensive background in PR and marketing provides a unique perspective and a solid foundation to support authors as they build their careers.

What she is seeking: Jolene represents middle grade, young adult, and adult fiction. She is drawn to original concepts, compelling characters, and stories with plot twists that keep her guessing. In all genres, she welcomes diverse stories and characters that reflect the world we live in.

How to submit: Use her query manager HERE.


Ms. Haley Casey
of Creative Media Agency 

Haley Casey has always had a special place in her heart for stories, but it was when she wrote her first chapter book in fifth grade that her true love of literature was realized. In 2015, she graduated from The University of Kansas with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing, and that fall, she attended the Denver Publishing Institute. She began her full-time career at Ogden Publications, where she was an editor for four years. There she worked with a variety of authors across multiple magazines, wrote articles, edited podcasts, and even styled photos—anything to add some creativity to her days. In 2020, she interned at Metamorphosis Literary Agency and Creative Media Agency, Inc. before stepping into her role as a junior agent at CMA.

What she is seeking: Adult, YA, and MG fiction. "Send me anything that focuses on minority voices, including POC, LGBTQ+, disability, and mental health issues. I love thoughtful and meaningful magical realism for any age group, nuanced character relationships, urban fantasy, clever fairytale retellings, and reimagined classics "

How to submit: Send a query letter and first five pages of text to
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