Thursday, January 30, 2020

42 Calls for Submissions in February 2020 - Paying markets

There are more than three dozen calls for submissions in February. 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 the following month's calls for submissions toward the end 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!


Once Upon a Hallowed Eve: An Anthology of Romantic Ghost StoriesGenre: Romantic ghost stories. "Originally, Samhain marked the beginning of Winter in Gaelic Ireland. It was believed that the Lord of the Underworld walked the earth during Samhain, along with all his cohorts: ghosts, spirits, fairies, and many other creatures. How can you use this pagan holiday in your character’s lives? How can you bring a phantom, ghost, spirit, or some other spiritual entity into your story? Will your tale be about a lover come back from the dead?" Length: 7,000-15,000 words. Payment: $75. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

Small Loves: A Queer Microfiction AnthologyGenre: LGBTQ flash and micro fiction. Payment: 2½¢ per word. Deadline: February 1, 2020. Reprints accepted.

The First LineGenre: Stories that use a first line provided by the journal. (See journal for first lines.) Also 500-800 word critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work.  Payment:  $25.00 - $50.00 for fiction, $5.00 - $10.00 for poetry, and $25.00 for nonfiction (all U.S. dollars). Deadline: February 1, 2020.

Belmont Story ReviewGenre: Fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. Payment: $50 for prose, $25 for poetry. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

Tales from the Moonlit PathGenre: Dark, eerie, speculative stories and poetry. "Horror is not a necessary element, although fiction should contain some aspect of the weak, frail, changeable human condition." Payment: $10 for short stories publishes in quarterly issues only. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

RAYGUN RETRO: A Science Fiction AnthologyGenre: "We're seeking science fiction stories 2000-6000 words in the style of 50s and 60s classic science fiction." Payment: $10. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

World Weaver Press: Multispecies CitiesGenre: Science fiction/solar punk short stories. "We’re looking for stories that acknowledge humans as part of a larger ecosystem, for characters who strive for balance with (rather than dominance over) the creatures surrounding them, for settings that depict an optimistic balance of nature and technology." Payment: $0.03/word. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

HavokGenre: Mystery, scifi, comedy, thriller, and fantasy on theme of The End of the World As We Know It. Length: 300 to 1,000 words. Payment: $10. Deadline: February 2, 2020.

The Other Stories (Audio)Genre: Horror on theme of Parasites. Payment: $5. Deadline: February 3, 2020.

Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale MagazineGenre: Fairy tales, and essays on theme of Angels. Payment: $100. US dollars only. Essays: $50. Deadline: February 3, 2020.

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: February 7, 2020. Opens to submissions on February 1.

RaconteurGenre: Short stories, poetry, art, and CNF. "Raconteur is a literary magazine publishing engaging, interesting, eclectic and witty writing and artwork by international writers and artists, online and in print, 3 times per year. Payment: Fiction & Non-fiction: $10; Poetry: $5. Deadline: February 9th, 2020.

Cricket Media: Faces: Elections Around the WorldGenre: Nonfiction articles, fiction, activities for children. Send query only. Payment: Not specified. Deadline: February 10, 2020.

Luna Station Quarterly. Restrictions: Open to women writers only. Genre: Speculative fiction. Payment: $5. Deadline: February 15, 2020.

The Spectacle. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry. Payment: $50. Deadline: February 15, 2020.

It Calls From the Forest. Genre: Horror/ Dark Speculative Fiction. "Give me your tales of monsters in the woods, urban legends, a family that mysteriously goes missing, a haunted cabin, a hiker that stumbles upon something unthinkable. Anything that happens in the woods or is from the woods is welcome." Payment: Royalties. Deadline: February 15, 2020, 12AM.

Inverted Fairy Tales & Folklore. Genre: Fairy Tales. "We're looking for folklore, mythology, or fairy tales from other places, and fantasy stories that invoke these, that can have a furry (anthropomorphic animal) twist. Have a story about Baba Yaga? Toss it over here. One about Raw Head and Blood Bones? Sure, would love to see it! We want tales that have been lost to time, but we want you to twist it into being your own story." Payment: $0.04 per word (maximum of $100 for a story) for original stories, or $0.01 per word (maximum of $25 for a story) for a reprint. You will also receive a copy of the finished book. Deadline: February 16, 2020.

The Other Stories (Audio)Genre: Horror on theme of Remote Places. Payment: $5. Deadline: February 17, 2020.

Minding Nature: Ecological Citizenship. Genre: Essays, artwork, poems, and reflections for the citizenship themed 2020 Spring Minding Nature issue. "We encourage a diversity of perspectives that address historical viewpoints, alternative forms of public decision making, critiques of the Citizenship concept itself, and ways we might imagine what an Ecological Citizenship can look like." Payment: Honorarium (not specified). Deadline: February 21, 2020.

Silk & Steel: An Adventure Anthology of Queer Ladies. Genre: Short fiction. "We’re looking for stories of high adventure that feature one weapon-wielding woman and one woman whose strengths lie in softer skills, but who is just as powerful in her own right. You’re free to choose any setting – from historical to modern to wildly futuristic. We're looking for all speculative genres except straight-up erotica or hard-core horror." Payment: 8 cents/word. Deadline: February 22, 2020.

Claw & Blossom: Stripes. Genre: Poetry and prose on theme of Stripes. Payment: $25. Deadline: February 24, 2020.

Every Day FictionGenre: Flash fiction up to 1000 words. Payment: $3. Deadline: February 26, 2020.

The RumpusGenre: Essays. Payment: $300 divided among all contributors (?). Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Ninth LetterGenre: Poetry and essays. Payment: $25 per printed page, with a maximum payment of $150, as well as two complimentary copies of the issue in which the work appears.  Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Listen to Your DreamsGenre: True stories about dreams. "When we are asleep, we dream. Are dreams a connection to the unconscious mind? Are they omens of things to come—both good and bad? Dreams are often the way we tap into our own inner wisdom. Sixth sense, gut feeling, premonitions, instinct. Whatever you call it, sometimes we have no logical reason for knowing something—but still we know it. We want to know about your dreams. What have you learned from your dreams? Did you listen? Did any of your dreams come true? Did a dream strengthen your faith or help you change the direction your life was headed in? Did some miraculous insight serve as a warning about something that was going to happen?" Payment: $200, publication, and 10 author copies. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

HinnomGenre: Weird fiction. Payment: 2 cents/word for fiction. $50 for poems. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Quommunicate Publishing: Queer Youth: LGBTQ+ True Stories AnthologyQueer Theater series: LGBTQ+ Ten-Minute & One-Act Plays for Students & Adults/General AudiencesGenre: Short scripts on LGBTQ+ themes. Payment: $5/page. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Blue Mesa ReviewGenre: Fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Payment: $25. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Strange ConstellationsGenre: Speculative fiction between 3000-7500 words. Payment: $30.  Deadline: February 28, 2020.

The New QuarterlyRestrictions: Open to Canadian writers. Genre: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction.  Payment: $250 for a short story or nonfiction entry, and $40 per poem or postscript story. Deadline: February 28, 2020. Snail mail submissions only.

Metaphorosis Books: Best Vegan SFF of the Year. Genre: Vegan science fiction and fantasy – no meat, no hunting, no horse-riding, no leather. Payment: $.01/word for non-exclusive electronic and print rights. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

The Were-Traveler: Superfreak – Freakpunk Issue 2. Genre: Weird fiction. The setting should be a carnival, theme park, circus or fair/festival. Payment: $10 for flash, $1 for drabbles. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Southword Literary Journal. Genre: Poetry. Payment: €40 per poem. Deadline: February 28, 2020. 

Triangulation AnthologyGenre: Speculative Fiction on theme of Extinction. "Every day, another species creeps closer to extinction, often brought on by things out of their control. The world changes every time an insect, a rhino, a macaw ceases to exist. These changes are tangible. Tell us about them. Bring us stories of imposing threats, extraordinary creatures brought low, stories of those warriors who fight tooth and nail for their survival. What does extinction mean to you? We like our stories to be profound, relatable, poignant yet familiar. Tell a tale for the ages." Payment: 3¢ per word.  Deadline: February 29, 2020.

JMS Books: LGBTQ Chance MeetingsGenre: LGBTQ stories of serendipitous meetings that lead to happy ever after. Payment: Royalties. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Stonecrop Review: Sky. Genre: Creative Non-Fiction, Fiction, Reader’s Corner, Artwork, Photography on theme of Sky. "Cities are becoming increasingly rich with animal life: rats, pigeons, sparrows, squirrels, and raccoons, but also peregrines, herons, coyotes, and bobcats. Whether you’ve come face-to-face with an urban animal, or simple seen evidence of its presence, we want to see your artwork and photography and read your stories! We are particularly keen to publish works that explore nature in cities that have not been as widely represented in the urban nature canon." Payment: $20. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Little Boy Lost: More Tales of Youth Disrupted. Genre: Short stories varied genres. Previous volume (“Little Girl Lost”) included Horror, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Crime Drama. Payment: Contributor copy (print & ebook); cents/word dependent on crowdfunding. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Midnight Street Anthology #4: Strange Days. Genre: Sci-fi, horror, slipstream, weird fiction. They are looking for stories that reflect the strange times we are living in and that sum up the precariousness of modern existence. Payment: £50. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Grain Magazine: Queer Issue. Genre: LGBTQ fiction, literary nonfiction, and poetry. Payment: CAD50/page up to CAD250 for writing, up to CAD500 for art. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Mud Season ReviewGenre: Poetry, Fiction, CNF. Payment: $50. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

FunicularGenre: Poetry, Fiction, Flash  Fiction. Payment: Short story: $10/printed page (up to a maximum of $100); Flash: $25 per piece; Poetry: $25 per piece. Payment for print only. No payment for online publicationDeadline: February 29, 2020.

The Penn Review. Genres: Poetry, Fiction, CNF, Art. Payment: $40. Payment for print only. No payment for online publication. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

61 Writing Contests in February 2020 - No entry fees

Wikimedia Commons
February is a short month, but it packs a punch. This month there are more than five dozen 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.

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!


Allen Ginsberg Poetry AwardsGenre: Poetry, up to five poems per person. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2020. 

Tales from the Moonlit Path: Bloody Valentine’s ChallengeGenre: Dark fiction with an element of love. Prize: $50. Deadline: February 1, 2020. 

Paterson Prize for Books for Young PeopleGenre: Most outstanding book for young people published in 2016. There is a $500 award in each category: Pre-K - Grade 3;  Grades 4 - 6;  Grades 7 - 12. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

Paterson Poetry PrizeGenre: Poetry book published in 2018. Prize: $1000. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

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, 2020.

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, 2020.

$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, 2020. 

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, 2020.

North Carolina Student Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to student poets from 3rd grade to university undergraduates attending schools in North Carolina. Genres: Unpublished poems (submit one poem). Prizes: 1st Place winners will receive a $60 check, an NCPS award certificate, and a free copy of Pinesong. 2nd Place winners receive $40, an NCPS award certificate, and a free copy of Pinesong. 3rd Place winners receive $25, an NCPS award certificate, and a free copy of Pinesong. Deadline: February 1, 2020. Snail mail entries only.

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 the previous calendar year. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

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 1, 2020.

Wednesday Club Junior Poetry PrizeRestrictionsHigh School Students in Grades 9 through 12 in the St. Louis Area. Genre: Poetry. Two individual poems. Prizes: $200,  $150,  $100, $80, $50, and up to five $25 honorable mentions TEACHER AWARDS: $200, $150, $100. (Applies to teachers of first three student winners.) Deadline: February 1, 2020.

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 2018. Prize: $1,000.   Deadline: February 1, 2020.

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, 2020.

Hart Crane Memorial Poetry AwardGenre: Poetry. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 1, 2020.

The Waterman Fund Essay ContestGenre: Personal essays between 2000 and 3000 words. The topic is, simply, changes in the wild. Prizes: The winning essayist will be awarded $1500 and publication in Appalachia Journal. The Honorable Mention essay will receive $500. Deadline: February 2, 2020.

Graywolf Press Nonfiction PrizeRestrictions: Open to US writers only. Genre: Full-length manuscript of creative nonfiction by a writer not yet established in the genre. Prize: $12,000 and publication. Deadline: February 2, 2020.

Life Writing PrizeRestrictions: Open to UK residents. Genre: Life writing. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. Prize: Winner will receive £1,500, publication on Spread the Word’s website, an Arvon course, two years’ membership to the Royal Society of Literature and a development meeting with an editor and an agent. Deadline: February 3, 2020.

Zocalo Public Square Poetry PrizeRestrictions: Open to US poets only. Genre: Poetry that evokes a connection to place. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 3, 2020. Note: Winning author gives up all rights.

Spectator Competition No. 3135: just the job. Genre: Flash fiction. Dominic Cummings’s recent job advert said that the ideal candidate for one of the positions on offer might resemble a weirdo from a William Gibson novel. But perhaps there are other fictional characters out there who might fit the bill. You are invited to submit an application letter for a job at No. 10 from a fictional character of your choice (please specify). Please email entries of up to 150 words to  Prize: £30. Deadline: February, 5, 2020.

The University of Chester Flash (Youth)Restrictions: Open to Scottish students aged 16-19 who are studying in the UK. Genre: flash fiction of up to 360 words. Prize: Up to £100. Deadline: February 7, 2020.

Bethesda Poetry ContestGenres: Poetry. Adult and high school student categories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First place: $350, published on The Writer's Center's blog and magazine, and a free class and membership to The Writer's Center. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. All winners will be published on the Bethesda Urban Partnership website and honored at a special event during the Local Writer's Showcase, April 16-17, 2020. Deadline: February 7, 2020.

Luminarts Creative Writing Fellowship. The Creative Writing Fellowship awards two $7,500 grant Fellowships for excellence in creative writing in the categories of prose and poetry, in fiction and nonfiction. Applicants submit a two-page written piece (either a stand-alone piece or an excerpt of a larger piece such as a novel or short story). 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: $7,500. Deadline: February 7, 2020.

White Oak Kitchen & CocktailsRestrictions: 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. (Residency will be verified before prize winner is announced.). Writers who have published 2 or more full-length collections of poetry or who do not meet the residency requirements are NOT eligible. Genre: Poem on topic of "Shared Spirit." Prize: $1,500. Deadline: February 7, 2020. Note: Winning author gives up all rights.

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, 2020.

Western Australian Premier's Book AwardsRestrictions: Open to authors who either are citizens or permanent residents of Western Australia. Genre: Book published during the preceding calendar year in a variety of genres. Prize: A$15,000. Deadline: February 10, 2020.

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, 2020.

Spectator No. 3136: love me don’t. Genre: Flash fiction. You are invited to submit a lonely hearts ad guaranteed to send those looking for love running in the opposite direction. Please email entries of up to 150 words to Prize: £30. Deadline: February 12, 2020.

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, 2020.

Lex Allen Literary Festival PrizesRestrictions: Open to undergraduate college students. Genres: Poetry and fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: February 14, 2020.

Scotiabank Giller PrizeRestrictions: Open to books published in Canada in English. Books must be published in Canada in English between October 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020 to be eligible for the 2020 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 14, 2020.

Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry is an annual regional prize. Restrictions: Open to residents of Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or Michigan. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $10,000 as well as a contract for publication to the author of the winning manuscript. Deadline: February 14, 2020.

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, 2020.

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, 2020.

Ambroggio PrizeRestrictions: Poet must be a U.S. Citizen; Resident of the United States for the ten-year period prior to the submission deadline, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), Legal Permanent Status (LPS), or any subsequent categories designated by the U.S. authorities as conferring similar enhanced status upon non-citizens living in the United States. Genre: Book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. Prize: $1000 and publication. Deadline: February 15, 2020.

Haiku Society of America Merit Book Awards for Excellence in Published Haiku, Translation, and CriticismGenre: Published book. Books must have been published in 2019 and must clearly contain a printed 2019 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, 2020.

Raiziss/de Palchi Translation AwardGenre: Poetry - translation into English of a significant work of modern Italian poetry. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: February 15, 2020.

New England Youth Outdoor Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to students in grades 6-12 in the New England states. Genre: Nonfiction essay about the outdoors. Prize: Up to $150. Deadline: February 15, 2020.

The 10th Muse 2020 Interactive Fiction Writing Contest. Genre: Short story. Submit original interactive fiction stories with a supernatural romance theme. Stories should be at least 6000-10000 words long in total and must be written in English. The contest is open internationally. Prize: 600 euros. Deadline: February 15, 2020.

Nelson Algren Literary Award 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 17, 2020.

Judith A. Markowitz Award for Emerging LGBTQ WritersRestrictions: The nominee must self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. The nominee must have written and published at least one but no more than two books of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction, or poetry. Prize: $1000. Deadline: February 17, 2020.

Dr. Jim Duggins Outstanding LGBTQ Mid-Career Novelist PrizeRestrictions: Open to LGBTQ mid-career novelists who have published at least three novels. or two novels and substantial additional literary work (including poems, stories, or essays). Genre: Published book. Prize: $5000. Deadline: February 17, 2020.

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 19, 2020.

Gaithersburg Book Festival Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to high school students (grades 9-12) from across the Washington Metropolitan Area (Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC). Genre: Poetry. Prize: First, 2nd and 3rd place winners will receive $250, $100 and $50 gift certificates.  Deadline: February 20, 2020.

North Carolina State Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to North Carolina residents with no published books. Genre: Poetry. Deadline: February 24, 2020.

RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging WritersRestrictions: Candidates must be: A Canadian citizen or permanent resident; Under the age of 35; Unpublished in book form and without a book contract. Genre: Poetry. Prizes: Winner: $5,000; Finalists: $1,000. Deadline: February 25, 2020.

500 Words BBC Radio 2 ContestRestrictions: Open to any child who is aged between 5 and 13 years old on 12th June 2020 who is a full time resident of the UK. Genre: Short story of  no more than 500 words. Prize: Child's height in books! Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Black Caucus of the American Library Association Self-Published E-Book Literary Award.  Restrictions: Open to African-Americans. Genre: Self-Published E-Book in fiction and poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

The Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multi-Lingual TextsGenre: Literary translations and multi-lingual texts. Prize: $200. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Diana Woods Memorial Award in Creative NonfictionGenre: Essay, maximum 5,000 words. Prize: $250 top prize. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

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 28, 2020.

Creative Capital AwardRestrictions: Entrants must be US citizens or permanent residents, aged 25+, with 5+ years' professional writing experience, and not be full-time students. Genre: Poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and graphic novels. Grant: Up to $50,000. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

The Willie Morris Award for Southern FictionGenre: Novel published in 2019 (50,000 words minimum). Book has to be set in one of the original eleven states in the Confederacy. (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.) Prize: $2,500.00, and an expense paid trip to New York City. (The winner must come to NY to receive the award, attend a luncheon with the contest judges and a reception in his/her honor.) Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Lost Words Competition. Genre: Short stories. "We have partnered up with the Northumbrian Words Project and the Northumbrian Language Society to bring you a new writing competition which offers writers the chance to celebrate the North East dialect. We’re inviting adults, aged 20 and over, to submit contemporary short stories between 500-1000 words in length which use The Word’s Word Bank of Lost Dialects as their inspiration." Prize: The top 3 entries will receive cash prizes of £100, £50 and £25 respectively. Deadline: February 28, 2020.

Frank O’Connor International Short Story FellowshipRestrictions: Writers working in English from outside Ireland. Must have at least two full-length works of fiction published of which at least one must be a short story collection. Genre: Short fiction. Fellowship: €2,500, totaling €7,500 and self-catering accommodation. The costs of travel to and from Cork would also be covered. Writer must reside in Cork for 12 weeks.  Deadline: February 29, 2020.

The Kelpies Prize (Scotland)Restrictions: Open to Scottish authors. Genre: Children’s fiction and illustration. Prize: £1,000, a publishing contract, a writing retreat, and a year of mentoring by an editorial team. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

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 29, 2020.

Quantum Shorts CompetitionGenre: Fiction stories, under 1,000 words, that are "clearly inspired by some aspect of quantum physics." For 2020, entries also must contain the phrase "Things used to be so simple." Prize: $1,500 and online publication. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Bite Size Fiction. Genre: Flash fiction. Your story must be no more than 999 words. Prize: £30.00 + publication. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Bite Size FictionGenre: Flash fiction: Drabble. Your story must be no more than 100 words.  Prize: £30.00 + publication. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Tread BikelyGenre: Short story, poem, essay, song lyrics about cycling. 1500 words max. Prize: Up to $150. Deadline: February 29, 2020.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

9 Great Writing Conferences in February 2020

Conferences are not only the best way to meet agents, get tips from other writers, and learn about the publishing industry, they make you feel like a writer. We all need community, and this is how we, as writers, get the necessary incentive to keep writing.

All of these conferences and workshops charge tuition, but some offer financial assistance. There are deadlines for applying for aid, so make sure you plan ahead.

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.)


San Francisco Writers Conference, February 13 -16, 2020, 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."

Southern California Writers’ Conference (and Retreat). February 14 - 16, 2020: 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.

Futurescapes. February 16 - 18, 2020:: Salt Lake City, Utah. Futurescapes Workshop of Utah Valley University, is an intensive, exclusive workshop, offering writers an unparalleled chance to work with top authors and agents in speculative fiction (science fiction, horror, fantasy, paranormal). Each participant will work with three workshop faculty mentors on the first 3,000 words of their manuscript, while receiving substantive feedback on the overall structure of their work in progress and query letters.

Florida Heritage Book Festival & Writers Conference. February 20 - 22, 2020: St. Augustine, Florida. Since 2008, The Florida Heritage Book Festival and Writers Conference has brought more than 200 nationally known authors and writers to teach, network, and enjoy time in beautiful St. Augustine, Florida. Thousands of Festival attendees have participated in author presentations, panel discussions, book signings, and a Writers Conference focusing on both the craft and the business of writing.

Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference. February 21 - 22, 2020: Tempe, AZ. "The Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference creates a unique and intimate creative writing experience where writers of all backgrounds, genres, and skill levels gather together and connect through the celebration and study of literary craft, culture, and community. Featuring over 25 faculty members teaching more than 50 sessions, we seek to create a warm and welcoming environment that meets people wherever they are, where writers can learn from and support each other as they work toward their goals. Beyond regular programming, we also feature advanced pre-conference workshops, an exhibitor fair, scholarships, and fellowships. We also offer opportunities to advertise with or sponsor the conference as well."

Publishing Workshop. February 22, 2020: Hammonton, NJ. "Do you want to publish your writing but struggle with a lack of know-how and fear of rejection? Join us for this hands-on workshop where we will guide you through the process from blank page to published piece. If you are an aspiring author you will learn how and where to submit your work. If you are experienced you will discover new markets and resources to expand your readership. Whether you are working on a novel, memoir, short stories, personal essays or poetry, you will go home with an action plan and the tools to carry it out."

The Writers Studio, sponsored by the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, February 27 - March 1, 2020, 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.

St. Augustine Author-Mentor Novel Workshop, Feb 27 - March 1, 2020, 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."

California Creative Writers Conference. February 28 - March 1, 2020: Los Angeles, CA.  Educational and inspirational guidance from more than 40 literary agents, veteran educators, industry professionals, professional editors, and publishers in the craft and business of writing fiction, nonfiction, and screenwriting taught by Hollywood veterans. Over three days, you can learn how to take your writing to the next level and what it takes get published.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Open to Submissions - No agent required


Farrar, Straus and Giroux is an imprint of Macmillan, one of the Big Five publishers. The company is noted for its literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children’s books.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux authors have won numerous National Book Awards, Pulitzer Prizes, as well as twenty-two Nobel Prizes in literature. Nobel Prize-winners include Knut Hamsun, Hermann Hesse, T. S. Eliot, Pär Lagerkvist, François Mauriac, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Salvatore Quasimodo, Nelly Sachs, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, Pablo Neruda, Eugenio Montale, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Czeslaw Milosz, Elias Canetti, William Golding, Wole Soyinka, Joseph Brodsky, Camilo José Cela, Nadine Gordimer, Derek Walcott, Seamus Heaney, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

That impressive list is equaled by the poets Farrar, Straus and Giroux has published, including Elizabeth Bishop, Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, John Ashbery, Thom Gunn, and Les Murray.

Astonishingly for a major publisher, they accept unsolicited submissions. All submissions must be submitted through the mail—they do not accept electronic submissions, or submissions delivered in person. Please include a cover letter describing your submission, along with the first 50 pages of the manuscript.

Note: Farrar, Straus and Giroux does not publish commercial or genre fiction. Their children's book division only accepts submissions that are represented by an agent.

Read guidelines HERE.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

6 Agents Seeking Mysteries and Thrillers NOW

Updated 9/7/23

Here are six agents currently seeking mysteries and thrillers. All work with reputable literary agencies that have good track records.

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


Gail Fortune of The Talbot Fortune Agency

Gail Fortune is a former book editor with over 25 years of publishing experience. Prior to becoming an agent she spent 16 years at Putnam Berkley (now part of Penguin Random House), where she rose from Assistant to the Editor-in-Chief to Executive Editor. Her authors have won RITAs and Agathas and have been nominated for Edgar and Anthony Awards. She has edited and agented New York Times bestsellers and Publishers Weekly Books of the Year. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

How to submit: Send your query to: Be sure to include the word "query" in the subject line, and specify whether the query is addressed to John Talbot or Gail Fortune. Below your query letter PLEASE PASTE IN THE FIRST FIVE PAGES of your manuscript (but do not attach those pages as a separate file).


Bibi Lewis of The Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency

Bibi Lewis joined the Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency in 2014 as an associate agent and subsidiary rights manager. In addition to her duties as an agent she sells foreign and audio rights for agency clients.

How to submit: Please send submissions to to the attention of Bibi Lewis. Send a brief query letter, followed by your synopsis, followed by the first 50 pages of your manuscript. Paste all materials into the body of the email in the above order.


Peter Rubie of FinePrint Literary Management

Peter Rubie is a former BBC Radio and Fleet Street journalist and for several years was the director of the publishing section of the New York University Summer Publishing Institute. He was a member of the NYU faculty for 10 years, and taught the only university-level course in the country on how to become a literary agent. Prior to becoming an agent he was a publishing house editor for nearly six years, whose authors won prizes and critical acclaim. He has also been the editor-in-chief of a Manhattan local newspaper, and a freelance editor and book doctor for major publishers. He was a regular reviewer for the international trade magazine Publishers Weekly, and is a published author of both fiction and non-fiction. He is a member of AAR, and regularly lectures and writes on publishing and the craft of writing. He is the author of two published novels and close to ten non-fiction books ranging in subject matter from publishing and writing to music and Shakespeare.

How to submit: To query Peter, send an email to and write "Dear Peter" in the body of the email. Include the opening 3 or 4 pages embedded in the body of your email.


Joseph Perry of Perry Literary, Inc.

Before founding Perry Literary, Joseph began his book publishing career when he attended the New York University Summer Publishing Institute in 2010. After interning at FinePrint Literary Management, Joseph enrolled at St. John’s University School of Law to learn about the legal aspects of publishing and graduated with a juris doctor in 2015. During law school, Joseph interned in the legal departments at Hachette Book Group; Rodale, Inc.; and William Morris Endeavor, as well as the subsidiary rights department at Columbia University Press. Joseph also holds a B.A. and M.A. in English from St. Bonaventure University.

What he is seeking: True Crime.

How to submit: Queries should be sent to with the words “QUERY (the title of the manuscript)” in the subject line. Please submit a query letter and the first ten pages of your manuscript within the body of the email (not as an attachment, please).


Marlo Berliner of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency


Marlo Berliner is an award-winning young adult author, freelance editor, and bookseller. She joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency in March 2018 as an editorial intern after having completed a previous internship with The Bent Agency. Now, she is actively building her list as an associate agent. She is a member of SCBWI, RWA, NJ-RWA, and YA-RWA. Prior to her career in the publishing world, Marlo was an accounting manager for a Fortune 500 company. She holds B.S. degrees in Economics and Industrial Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

How to submit:  Please submit your query and first 20 pages of your finished and polished manuscript to http://QueryMe.Online/marloberliner


Claire Harris of P.S. Literary

Claire received her B.A. in English from The University of Texas at Austin and attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute. She enjoys the creative process of working with writers and collaborating closely with them throughout all stages of their careers.

What she is seeking: Psychological and commercial thrillers, works of fiction inspired by actual crimes, mystery, suspense.

How to submit: Please send your query to

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

6 New Agents Actively Seeking Nonfiction, Memoir, Speculative Fiction, Mainstream Fiction, Kidlit, and more

Updated 9/6/23

Here are six new agents actively building their client lists. Jennifer Weis is looking for new voices and authors preferably with a platform. Areas of specialty include but are not limited to health, psychology, memoir, current events and narrative nonfiction of special interest to women. Max Sinsheimer represents a range of adult nonfiction, with a particular interest in food and culture. Ben Miller-Callihan's interests include humor, YA and middle grade novels, speculative fiction, cookbooks, mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related. Callie Deitrick is primarily interested in adult literary or upmarket-commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction.

Sam Farkas wants upmarket fiction of all stripes, but especially historical; fast-paced, high-concept speculative thrillers that make her heart race; lyrical and immersive fantasy; and single-title romance that simmers. Sam is also open to Young Adult and Middle Grade of all genres, but she has a special fondness for thoughtful contemporary, often with a speculative twist; historical with modern sensibilities; fantasy with morally gray protagonists and complicated character dynamics; the very strange, and the very funny. In all categories and genres, she is looking for diverse and underrepresented voices. Jamie Carr represents novelists, short story writers, journalists, activists, and food and culture writers.

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


Jennifer Weis of Ross Yoon Agency

Jennifer recently left St. Martin’s Press, where she was Executive Editor for 30 years, to move to the other side of the desk. She joined Ross Yoon this summer. Many things have changed for her but one thing has remained constant: her excitement when engaged in the hunt for page-turning fiction of all kinds as well as compelling nonfiction. Jennifer brings to the table an ability to offer editorial guidance and development as well as an advanced understanding and knowledge of the inner workings of publishing houses and the publishing landscape today.

What she is seeking: In nonfiction, she is looking for new voices and authors preferably with a platform. Areas of specialty include but are not limited to health, psychology, memoir, current events and narrative nonfiction of special interest to women.

How to submit: Please send the following: query letter briefly explaining your idea, media platform, and qualifications for writing on this topic or a complete book proposal featuring an overview of your idea, author bio, media and marketing strategy, chapter outline, and 1-3 sample chapters. Please send these as attachments in .doc or .docx format to


Max Sinsheimer of Sinsheimer Literary

Max Sinsheimer founded Sinsheimer Literary in the Fall of 2016 after spending seven years as an editor at Oxford University Press. "I treasured the close editor-author relationships I formed, but wanted to represent my authors’ interests more completely. As an agent, I can!"

​What he is seeking: Max represents a range of adult nonfiction, with a particular interest in food and culture.

How to submit: Email Max at Write QUERY and the title of your book in the subject line.

In the body of your email include who you are, a short book pitch, and a plot synopsis/overview. Attach your proposal as a PDF file.


Ben Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency

Currently closed

Ben Miller-Callihan joined Handspun Literary Agency as an associate agent in 2019, after working behind the scenes since the agency's founding in tech support and bookkeeping roles. He spent more than a decade teaching high school English, and has begun taking on his own clients at the agency.

What he is seeking: His interests include humor, YA and middle grade novels, speculative fiction (especially decolonial sff), cookbooks, mainstream-ish fiction a la David Mitchell and William Gibson, and anything food-related.

How to submit: Queries should be sent to

For fiction: please send a query letter, short synopsis (ideally 5 pages or less), and the first three chapters or 50 pages of the novel, whichever is more.

For nonfiction: please send a query letter and proposal.

Attachments are okay; they prefer Word docs to PDFs.


Callie Deitrick of Wendy Sherman Associates

Callie Deitrick graduated from Hamilton College in 2016 with a major in creative writing and a minor in art and completed the Columbia Publishing Course in 2017. Professionally, she has worked as a publicity and editorial intern at Europa Editions, as an editorial intern at Henry Holt, where she illustrated the cover of Number One Chinese Restaurant, and as a bookseller at Little Joe’s. She has been working as an assistant at Wendy Sherman Associates since the fall of 2018 and is currently looking to take on clients.

What she is seeking: Callie is interested in books that change the way we look at the world, whether that is through magical realism, investigative research, or unique perspectives. In whatever she reads, Callie is drawn to strong and unusual voices and thought-provoking and moving stories. She is primarily interested in adult literary or upmarket-commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction.

How to submit: Please send all e-mail submissions to  Include your last name, title, and the name of the agent you are submitting to in the subject line.  For fiction, please include a query letter and your first 10 pages copied and pasted in the body of the email. For non-fiction, please include your query letter and author bio.


Ms. Sam Farkas of Jill Grinberg Literary Management

Sam Farkas grew up in South Jersey and attended the College of William & Mary, where she received her B.A. in History and English. Upon graduation, she moved to New York to intern with Maria B. Campbell Associates, where she discovered her love for collaborating with agents and publishers around the world. She worked in the subsidiary rights department at Penguin before she joined the JGLM team in 2018. She handles foreign rights for all JGLM authors. An avid traveler, Sam has been to 14 countries spanning 4 continents, and dreams of visiting them all. She speaks Spanish, and can often be found on language-learning apps.

What she is seeking: In Adult, Sam is looking for upmarket fiction of all stripes, but especially historical; fast-paced, high-concept speculative thrillers that make her heart race; lyrical and immersive fantasy; and single-title romance that simmers. Sam is also open to Young Adult and Middle Grade of all genres, but she has a special fondness for thoughtful contemporary, often with a speculative twist; historical with modern sensibilities; fantasy with morally gray protagonists and complicated character dynamics; the very strange, and the very funny. In all categories and genres, she is looking for diverse and underrepresented voices.

How to submit: Please send your query to: info [at] jillgrinbergliterary [dot] com. Your subject line should follow this general format: QUERY: [Title of Project] by [Your Name] / [Age Category/Genre]. Please paste your query letter in the body of the text and attach your materials as a docx. file.  For all fiction submissions, please send a query letter and the first fifty (50) pages of your manuscript.


Jamie Carr of The Book Group

Jamie Carr joined The Book Group in January 2020 as an agent. Prior, she worked in the literary department of William Morris Endeavor for almost six years where she championed New York Times bestsellers, award winning titles, and groundbreaking debuts. Born and raised in Lower Manhattan, she has an MFA in fiction writing and began her career in the books department of Tin House.

What she is seeking: Jamie represents novelists, short story writers, journalists, activists, and food and culture writers. Most interested in adult literary and upmarket commercial fiction and narrative nonfiction, she is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, from unique perspectives and marginalized voices, and that seeks to disrupt or reframe what appears to be known.

How to submit: Send a query letter and ten sample pages to Please include the first and last name of the agent you are querying in the subject line. All material must be in the body of the email.

Most Popular Publishing Posts of 2019

It's traditional for blogs to do a "most popular" retrospective at the beginning of the new year. Since I am a sucker for traditions, here goes.

In 2019, I published 79 posts. (My total number of posts is 746. They just keep multiplying ... like triffids.) All of my posts have to do with publishing, of course, though I occasionally sneak something in about the craft of writing.

In 2019, my two most popular posts were:

30 Traditional Publishers Accepting Submissions - No agent required 17,863 views

24 Publishers Accepting Picture Books - No Agent Required 14,575 views

After those two posts came all of my posts listing monthly Calls for Submissions and Writing Contests. (There are too many to list here.) Following those were Agents Seeking Submissions.

In addition to my 2019 posts, I should mention my most popular posts of all time, since these were visited regularly over the past year. All of these posts have been recently updated.

20 Most Popular Posts - All Time

23 US Children's Book Publishers Accepting Manuscripts Directly From Writers 260,118 views

Agents Looking for Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers 134,526 views

3 Major Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts 88,723 views

6 Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts from Writers - No Agent Needed  71,032 views

17 UK Children's Book Publishers Accepting Manuscripts Directly from Writers 55,923 views

325 Paying Markets for Short Stories, Poetry, Nonfiction 52,730 views

19 Poetry Publishers Accepting Unagented Manuscripts 33,968 views

Mega-List of Paying Markets for Horror, Dark Fiction and Poetry 33,116 views

82 UK Literary Agencies Seeking Clients  32,335 views

41 Paying Markets for Personal Essays 29,837 views

13 Paying Markets for Humor 26,044 views

5 Established Agents Looking for Writers - Literary fiction, Memoir, MG, YA, Fantasy, Romance and more 25,814 views

28 Paying Markets for Fiction, Poetry, Creative Nonfiction 23,350 views

14 Publishers Accepting Unagented Short Story Collections 20,832 views

251 Hashtags for Writers 20,050 views

27 LGBT Publishers Accepting Manuscripts - No agent required (Plus 8 paying journals) 19,963 views

10 Agents Representing Short Story Collections 19,229 views

DAW Books Opens Its Doors to Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers - No agent needed 16,793 views

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