Tuesday, September 28, 2021

35 Writing Contests in October 2021 - No entry fees

This October there are nearly three dozen contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and short plays. Prizes range from $60,500 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! 

(Image: Pxfuel)


Non-Binary StarsGenre: Speculative fiction stories containing a character or characters that are representational of oppressed/under-represented groups, whether that be due to issues of gender, orientation, mental/physical health, body size, skin color, etc. Prize: $100, $50, $25. Deadline: October 1, 2021.

No Tokens: Young Writers' PrizeRestrictions: Open to writers ages eighteen and under. Genre: Fiction, nonfiction and hybrid works. Prize: $300, $200, $100. Deadline: October 1, 2021.

The Furious Gazelle’s 2021 Halloween Writing ContestGenre: Halloween-themed poetry, fiction, short plays and creative non-fiction. Prize: $50. Deadline: October 1, 2021.

International Booker Prize. The International Booker 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. The work must be published by a UK or Ireland publishing house. Authors are not permitted to enter their own works. 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: October 1, 2021.

Furious FictionGenre: Flash fiction, 500 words max. Contestants have 55 hours to write a 500-word story based on the prompt. Prize: $500. Deadline: Opens October 1, closes October 3, 2021. 

Women's Prize for FictionGenre: Full-length novels (no short story collections or novellas) by women, first published in the UK. Prize: 30,000 pounds. Deadline: October 4, 2021.

#PassOrPages Query Contest. Participating agents give brief feedback on a handful of entries, explaining why they're passing ... or requesting pages! The queries and accompanying feedback are posted on our blog anonymously, which helps querying authors get a peek into agents' minds as they go through their slush piles. Genre: Genre reveal September 21. Deadline: October 4 - 8, 2021.

American Antiquarian Society Fellowships for Creative Writers is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences. The Society's goal in sponsoring this program is to multiply and improve the ways in which an understanding of history is communicated to the American people. Prize: A stipend of $1,150 to $1,350 and on-campus housing is provided; fellows residing off-campus receive $1,850. Deadline: October 5, 2021.

Dream FoundryRestrictions: Conditions: You have published a total of less than 4,000 words of paid or income-earning speculative fiction in English. You have earned a total of less than USD 320 from those words. You have never been nominated for any award listed here as a major award in speculative fiction. Genre: Short speculative fiction, up to 10,000 words. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: October 11, 2021.

The Lancaster Playwriting PrizeRestrictions: Open to anyone from the North West of England who identifies as LGBTQAI+ aged 16 and up to and including the age of 30. Genre: Script (for a play). Scripts must be a minimum of 30 minutes long. Prize: £1500. Deadline: October 11, 2021.

Adina Talve-Goodman FellowshipRestrictions: Open to fiction writers aged 21+ who have not yet published a book and have never been enrolled in an MFA program. Writer must not have a book under contract with an agent and/or publisher at time of application, and writer cannot have been published by One Story (or have a forthcoming publication with One Story). Genre: Short fiction that "speaks to issues and experiences related to inhabiting bodies of difference." Prize: Free tuition for all of One Story's online classes and programming, a travel stipend of $2,000 and tuition to attend week-long summer writers' conference in Brooklyn, and a full manuscript review/consultation of a story collection or novel in progress with an executive editor. Deadline: October 11, 2021.

Tales from the Moonlit PathGenre: Short story on theme of Halloween; 2000 words max. Prize: $50. Deadline: October 14, 2021.

Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling ScholarshipRestrictions: Poet must be born in the United States.  Genre: Poetry. The sample must not exceed either (1) 40 typed pages or (2) one printed volume plus no more than 20 typed pages of your most recent work. There is no minimum page requirement.  Prize: $60,500 for a year of travel and study abroad. Deadline: October 15, 2021.

North Carolina State Fiction ContestRestrictions: Open to residents of North Carolina with no published fiction books. Genre: Short stories. Prize: $500 for fiction (up to 5,000 words) and $250 for shorter fiction (up to 1,200 words). Deadline: October 15, 2021.

Apparition LitGenre: Speculative fiction; under 1,000 words. Prize: $30. Deadline: October 15, 2021. Opens October 1.

John Pollard Foundation International Poetry PrizeGenre: Published book of poems. Publishers may submit four copies of a debut full-length poetry collection (or bound galleys) published originally in the English language between October 1st 2020 and October 18th 2021. Prize: €10,000 (approximately $11,400) Deadline: October 18, 2021.

Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short FictionRestrictions: Open to residents of UK. Genre: Short stories between 2000-6000 words on the theme "Crime." Prize: £500 and 10 shortlisted authors will be published in an ebook anthology. Deadline: October 29, 2021.

The Funny Pearls Short Story CompetitionRestrictions: Open to women of all nationalities. Genre: Humor. "Please send us your farce, satire, screwball, or any other subgenre that qualifies as comedy. We need the laughs." Length: 1,000 - 2500 words. Prize: Amazon gift card to the value of £200. Deadline: October 30, 2021.

Preservation Foundation Essay Contest for Unpublished WritersRestrictions: The contest is open to writers whose creative writing has never produced revenues of over $750 in any single year. Genre: Travel Nonfiction. Prize: First prize is $200. Runners-up will receive $100. Finalists will receive $50. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

The John Byrne AwardRestrictions: Open to residents of Scotland. Genre: A piece of creative work on a chosen theme or value (written work must be no more than 15,000 words in length). Prize:  £7500. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

The Barbellion PrizeGenre: Fiction, memoir, biography, poetry, or critical non-fiction. “The Barbellion Prize is dedicated to the furtherance of ill and disabled voices in writing. The prize is awarded annually to an author whose work has best spoken of the experience of chronic illness and/or disability." Prize: £600. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is the most prestigious literary award in the US. Restrictions: Authors must be living American citizens. Self-published works not accepted. Genres: Novels, novellas, and collections of short stories. Prize: $15,000. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

The Eric Gregory AwardsRestrictions: Applicants must be under 30 and a British subject by birth and must ordinarily be resident in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. Genre: Poetry collection. Previously published work accepted. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

The Young Walter Scott PrizeRestrictions: Open to UK authors aged 11-19. Genre: Historical fiction between 800 and 2000 words. Prizes: £500 travel and research grant to further explore historical places in the UK, and an invitation to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland. Two runners-up in each category receive a £100 book token, and all four winning stories are published in a special YWSP anthology book. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

Tom-Gallon Trust AwardRestrictions: Open to citizens of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland with at least one short story published or accepted for publication. Genre: Short story, maximum 5,000 words. May be unpublished. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

Lex:lead Essay CompetitionRestrictions: Candidates must show citizenship in an eligible country and be enrolled in studies with at least one law class in an eligible country at the time of the award. Genre: Essay: How can laws promoting gender and disability rights support economic development? Prize: $500 scholarship. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

The Benjamin Franklin House Literary PrizeRestrictions: Entrants must be aged 18-25 years and living in the UK. Genre: Fiction and nonfiction. Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. Prize: First prize of £750, second prize of £500. Winning entries will be posted on the website and also published online by The TelegraphDeadline: October 31, 2021.

McKitterick PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors over age 40 on December 31, 2021. Genre: First novel. The work must have been first published in the UK in the year in which the deadline falls (and not first published abroad), or be unpublished. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

Otherwise AwardGenre: Work that is changing the way we think about gender through speculative narrative. Prize: $500. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, sponsored by the African Poetry Book Fund and in partnership with the literary journal, Prairie Schooner, is the only one of its kind in the world and was established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and to recognize a significant book published each year by an African poet. A standard edition is 48 pages or more in length. Genre: Open to any book of original poetry, in English, published during 2015 in a standard edition by a full-length collection of poetry. Restrictions: African nationals, African residents, or poet of African parentage with roots from any country, living anywhere in the world. Prize: USD $5,000. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

Smokelong Comedy PrizeGenre: Comedy flash fiction and nonfiction up to 782 words. Prize: $400. Deadline: October 31, 2021. Entry fee waived for writers who are financially unable to pay an entry fee.

ECW Press Best New Speculative Novel Contest. Restrictions: Open to Canadians. Genre: Speculative Novel. Prize: $3000 prize and a publishing contract. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

The Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest is sponsored by Hollins University. Restrictions: Open to young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Genre: Poetry. Prize: Up to $5,000 renewable annual Creative Talent Scholarship in creative writing if winner enrolls at Hollins. Free tuition and housing for the university’s Hollins summer creative writing program. $200 cash prize. Publication in Cargoes, Hollins’ award-winning student literary magazine. Ten copies of Cargoes. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

Rune Bear QuarterlyGenre: Drabble of exactly 100 words on theme of  “Last Bus to Station 9.” Prize: $10. Deadline: October 31, 2021.

StoryhouseGenre: Nonfiction. Stories must be true, not semi-fictional accounts. 1000 - 10,000 words in length. Stories must be suitable for children. See themes. Prize: $200. DeadlineOctober 31, 2021.

Monday, September 27, 2021

35 Outstanding Writing Conferences in October 2021

This October there are nearly three dozen outstanding writing conferences. You can attend workshops, presentations, readings, discussions, lectures, and critiques via Zoom. Some are also offering workshops in person. 

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.

Plan ahead! Conferences often offer scholarships, but these have deadlines and most close early. If one of these conferences interests you, put the deadline date on your calendar for next year.

For a full list of conferences, organized by month, see Writing Conferences. While nearly all of those are in the United States, you can find links on that page that will take you to world-wide conference lists.

(Image: Im a Puzzle)


Bookgardan: A Year's Sustenance for Writers. October 1, 2021 - October 1, 2022: Keene, NY. "Devote a year to writing your book in community with an intimate group of dedicated writers, nurtured from start to finish by acclaimed author, seasoned editor, and literary mentor Kate Moses. The program opens and closes with week-long fall residency intensives at Craigardan, a secluded artists' retreat set at a circa-1800s farm nestled in the Adirondack mountains of upstate New York. From the first residency onward Kate will provide writers the structure, tools, and guidance required to cultivate and nourish their manuscripts, with the goal of bringing projects to fruition (a full first draft, a revised draft, or meeting an individual goal) by program's end. Throughout the year, writers will receive ongoing individual and group mentorship, one-on-one monthly conferences in response to their manuscript submissions, and take part in online craft tutorials, group seminars, interviews with published writers and publishing professionals, and other opportunities for connection with like-minded artists sharing in an often solitary endeavor. Bookgardan culminates twelve months later—once again syncing with the autumn harvest—with a second Craigardan residency focused on the business of writing and publishing, the sustenance of lasting fellowship, and a deserved celebration. Limited to a maximum of 6 participants each year." Will be held online and in person.

The Loft's Wordsmith Conference. October 2021, Minneapolis MN. "The conference is intended for those ready to pitch their work, those already with a book out or with an agent, and those who want to get more prepared to publish their work. It's intended for prose writers and poets, genre and literary writers, beginning and advanced. In short, we are working hard to pull together a gathering that will feature meaningful sessions, workshops, one-on-one pitch and craft meetings, and networking opportunities for writers of all levels and genres." Will be held online.

Idaho Writers Guild Conference. October 1 - 2, 2021, Boise, Idaho. Meet with agents, editors, and authors. Panel discussions, workshops, and a keynote speaker. Your registration - $195 for IWG members, $225 for non-members. Canceled.

Write on the Sound Writers' Conference and Pre-Conference. Oct 1 - 3, 2021: Edmonds, WA. WOTS offers the opportunity to explore various writing craft techniques with nationally recognized industry professionals in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Will be held online.

Gold Rush Writers Conference. October 1 - 4, 2021, Mokelumne Hill, CA. "Writing professionals will guide you to a publishing bonanza through a series of panels, specialty talks, workshops and celebrity lectures. Go one-on-one with successful poets, novelists, biographers, memoirists and short story writers." Writing workshops in Autobiography/Memoir, Children's, Fiction, Marketing, Non-fiction, Poetry, Publishing, Romance, Travel, Young Adult. Individual sessions available. 

Picture Book Summit. Oct 2, 2021, Online. A one day live event for picture book writers including author keynotes, interviews, workshops and agent & editor panels. Recordings provided for attendees for four months post-conference.

Orion Nonfiction Writers' Workshop. October 2 - November 6, 2021. Online. This nonfiction course taught by Jessica J. Lee will center on long-form nature writing, personal essays, and a wealth of contemporary work inspired by the more-than-human world. We’ll examine ways of portraying our changing planet on the page, considering not just place and nature in our writing, but also the commitments such writing can make. For example, we’ll ask how readers can be excluded from or invited into environmental conversations, how writing about land engages with issues of access and migration, and how writing about nature is necessarily tied to struggles for justice and a better world. Six consecutive Saturdays from 12-3 p.m. ET. Application Period: August 1 – 15, 2021.

Ozark Creative Writers Conference. Oct 7 - 9, 2021: Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Workshops by published authors, editors and agents; Publishers Row, independent publishers available to hear about your next project; Writing contests available to all participants. 

Women Writing the West 2021 Conference. October 7 - 9, 2021. "Women Writing the West resonates the inspiration of Colorado Springs for its 2020 Virtual Conference. Just as mountain climbers find the niches necessary to scale vast heights, so we, too, will discover our own niches in craft, identity, and platforms. We’ll tackle methods to mount our own walls and climb to our summits. We’ll discover endless vistas of possibilities and create our personal visions, as endless as the views around us." Will be held online.

New York Comicon. October 7 - 10, 2021. On Youtube. New York Comic Con is the East Coast's biggest popular culture convention: Show Floor plays host to the latest and greatest in comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies and television; Panels and Autograph Sessions give Fans a chance to interact with their favorite Creators; Screening rooms feature sneak peeks at films and television shows months before they hit big and small screens. Online format.

San Francisco Writing Day Workshop. October 8 - 9, 2021: Online. A full-day “How to Get Published” event. "This writing event is a wonderful opportunity to get intense instruction over the course of one day, pitch a literary agent or editor (optional), get your questions answered, and more." Online format.

The Pacific Coast Children's Novel Workshop & Retreat. Oct. 8-10 & 22-24, 2021: Santa Cruz, CA. Intensive seminar offers editor or agent feedback on selected whole-novel manuscripts, including two in-person consults with your mentor. Editor and agent critiques on your polished, opening chapters. Faculty includes Sarah Shumway of Bloomsbury USA, Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, Allison Hellegers of Stimola Literary Studio and more. Will be held online.

Be a Better Freelancer October 8 - 10, 2021: St. Louis, MO. Annual conference for freelance writers, editors, proofreaders, indexers, graphic artists, website managers and developers, etc., with presenters offering guidance and tips on marketing, promotions, new skills and other business aspects of freelancing. Focus: Nonfiction. 

James River Writers Conference. October 8 - 10, 2021: Richmond, Virginia. The conference will feature pitch sessions with agents and panel discussions for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. The conference will also offer pre-conference master classes on October 8. The keynote address will be given by fiction writer David Bowles. Participants include poets Roscoe Burnems and Mila Cuda; fiction writers Mike Chen, Alechia Dow, Kosoko Jackson, and Ruta Sepetys; nonfiction writer Shonda Buchanan; and literary agents Erica Bauman (Aevitas Creative Management), Heather Carr (Friedrich Agency), Dawn Michelle Hardy (Literary Lobbyist), Rebecca Podos (Rees Literary), Eric Smith (P. S. Literary), Latoya C. Smith (LCS Literary), and Laurel Symonds (Bent Agency). The cost of the conference, which includes a virtual one-on-one meeting with an agent, is $249 for James River Writers members and $309 for nonmembers. Single-day tickets are also available starting at $130 for members and $155 for nonmembers. The cost of a master class is $50 for members and $75 for nonmembers. The cost of a ShopTalk pass, which includes query letter and first page critiques, is $50 (free for members). The deadline for registration is October 4. Will be held online.

State Writing Conference & Convention, sponsored by The Kansas Authors Club, Oct 8 - 10, 2021Wichita, Kansas. Writing workshops, panels, and presentations by Timothy Keane, Thomas Fox Averill and more. Will be held on Zoom.

Orion Poetry Workshop. October 10 - November 21, 2021. Six consecutive Saturday afternoons from 3-6pm EDT. Instructor: Nickole Brown. Each six-session Zoom workshop is available for $500. Payment within five days of acceptance will guarantee your spot. Cancellations up until a week before the start of the course will result in a full refund. After that, refunds will be conditional on our ability to fill your spot before the course begins. Application deadline: August 15.

Annual Florida Writers Conference. October 14 - 17, 2021: Altamonte Springs, Florida. Over 75 workshops, major speakers, agent interviews, professional manuscript critiques, lively social events, and much more.

Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. October 15 - 16, 2021, Grapevine, Texas. The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference is a forum for journalists, writers, readers, students, educators and the general public to listen to, be inspired by and practice their craft at the highest possible level. Every year, the Mayborn Conference gathers some of the most talented storytellers in the country to share their stories, life-changing experiences and expertise with aspiring writers through three days of lectures, panels, one-on-one sessions, and student classes. In addition, the conference includes a variety of writing contests for anyone from high school students to Pulitzer prize winning professionals, who receive hand-made trophies, more than $26,000 in cash awards and have their work published in Mayborn's journal, Ten Spurs, or anthology, Best American Newspaper Narratives.

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference. October 15 - 17, 2021: Denver, CO. Keynote Speakers: Gail Carriger, Rachel Howzell Hall, and John DeDakis. Faculty includes a wide variety of published authors, marketers, editors, and agents. Opportunities to pitch projects to agents and editors. 

American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) Conference. October 15 - 17, 2021: Rochester, NY. Panels, workshops, readings, a book fair, and opportunities to meet with editors for translators. "The ALTA Annual Conference is a refreshingly collegial gathering of amateurs and professionals alike, both within the profession and outside it, all wholeheartedly committed to fostering, furthering, and supporting the practice of literary translation.Will be held virtually and in person.

Flathead River Writers Conference. October 15 - 17, 2021: Kalispell, MT. Writers help writers in this two day conference packed with energizing speakers and workshops. Features: Workshops, MS preparation & submission, working with agents, movie deals, media use, & children's book publishing.

Haiku North America Conference. October 15 -17, 2021. Winston Salem, NC. Conference devoted to haiku as a literary art. Includes presentations, readings, panels, bookfair, exhibits, banquet, anthology. ​Haiku North America is designed for, and open to, everyone—beginners and seasoned specialists alike.  We are expecting participants from Japan, Australia, Europe, and of course, Canada, Mexico, and the United States.  Workshops, performances, as well as readings, panels, and presentations for all levels of accomplishment will fill the four days, in addition to a very full Tanka Sunday plus for those interested. HNA 2017 saw over 220 attendees. 

Gotham Writers Conference. October 15 - 17, 2021: NY, NY. A writing conference built by agents, for writers, with a faculty of some of the top agents in New York City. Receive focused attention within your genre from some of the best in the business. Will be held on Zoom.

Emerald City Writers' Conference. Oct 15 - 17, 2021, Bellevue, WA. Local Romance Writers of America conference, featuring film and television scouts, who will be taking pitches along with editors and agents, keynote speakers, workshops, and a master class. Will be held online.

Craft of Writing Conference. October 16, 2021: Glenpool, Oklahoma. The Craft of Writing Conference is focused on learning the skills needed to be an excellent writer. This includes topics such as plot & story structure, character development, conflict & motivation, point of view, editing—facets of the craft.
Faculty: Michael Wallis, Keynote Speaker; Rex Griffin, Tierney James, Julie Kimmel-Harbaugh, Betsey Kulakowski, Christopher Murphy (and others to be confirmed). The conference is free to the public, and everyone is welcome to attend.

6th Annual Broadleaf Writers Conference. October 16 - 17, 2021: Atlanta, GA. Once again, we have assembled one of the strongest list of writers you will ever find at a conference, with a list of agents, editors and publisher representatives ready to guide you forward! Combined with educational sessions and workshops, the 6th Annual Broadleaf Writers Conference will offer you all that you need to refine and improve your craft and get you on the road toward publication! Will be held online.

Annual Maryland Writer’s Conference. October 16 - 17, 2021: Baltimore, MD. The Brain to Bookshelf Annual Conference offers over 20 workshops and agent panels. Agent pitches and critiques are available, but agent slots are limited, so register early. Jane Friedman is the keynote speaker presenting two Master Session Workshops. Saturday: Essential Book Marketing Strategies for All Authors Sunday: Today's Key Book Publishing Paths: What's New, What's Old and What's Right for You? 

Writing By Writers Workshop @ Tomales Bay. October 20 - 24, 2021: Tomales Bay, California. Manuscript and poetry workshops are limited to 12 participants and generative workshops are limited to 15 to ensure an intimate setting. 

Writer's Digest Novel Writing Conference. October 21 - 24, 2021: Pasadena, CA. Experienced authors, editors, agents and publishing experts will be on hand, ready to help you develop your own craft and position yourself for success.

Annual Rochester Writers’ Conference. October 23, 2021: Rochester, Michigan. Lectures, Workshops and Panel Discussions in fiction, non-fiction and business of writing presentations. Open to new, working and published writers of all genres. Attendees select four presentations from a dozen to tailor fit their needs.

Kentucky State Poetry Society. October 23 - 24, 2021. Readings, workshops, panels, and keynote. "The Kentucky State Poetry Society seeks to inspire, encourage, and develop Kentucky’s poets through a wide variety of workshops, lectures, and publishing opportunities. The Kentucky State Poetry Society publishes the biannual literary journal Pegasus, offers a student and adult poetry contest, and hosts an annual poetry conference." Note: Membership not limited to Kentucky residents. Registration: $15. Will be conducted via Zoom.

Medical Writing and Communication Conference. October 27 - 29, 2021: San Diego, CA. Workshops in medical writing, designing materials for patients, analysis, clinical reports, and more. Will be held virtually.

Orion Nonfiction Writers' Workshop. October 27 - December 1, 2021. Online. Instructor: Pam Houston. This will be a workshop in which we focus on all the ways the sensory details that surround us—the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures from the physical world, often the natural world—can give us access to that much more elusive interior landscape we are always trying to access when we write. We will focus on what I believe to be the real artistry of prose writing: the way we dip our ladles into the bottomless pot of metaphor soup of our lived and witnessed experience and pull out what we need; the way we pick up hunks of the physical world and bring them back to the page, translated into language. We will work toward demystifying some of the essential components of prose writing (image, metaphor, structure, dialogue, character, scene, among others) and turning them into comprehensible tools that are at our disposal. Six consecutive Wednesday evenings from 7-10pm ET. Application Period: August 1 – 15, 2021.

TLA Power of Words Conference. October 29 - 31, 2021: Scottsdale, Arizona. Conference that explores the use of expressive language arts, including written, spoken, and sung words. Special tracks in Narrative Medicine, Right Livelihood, and Social Change.

Ossabaw Weekend Writer’s Retreat. October 29  - 31, 2021: Ossabaw Island, GA. Workshops and seminars led by nationally recognized faculty, and evening readings (special emphasis on ghost stories) by faculty and participants. Application deadline: September 15.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

7 Million Pageviews ... and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog

I blame my children. Nine years ago, they said, "Mom, you need to start a blog." And I listened to them. Those innocent eyes, those sweet little faces ...  no, wait. They weren't kids anymore. They were adults, and they knew exactly what they were doing. 

Now, nearly a decade later, I've caught a tiger by its tail. And if I let go, it will eat me. 

My goals were humble when I began Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity. I simply wished to share some of my insights about the publishing process with the world or, more specifically, with writers. But I had to admit that the brave new world of the Internet was beyond me. So, I simply began by shedding light on all the mistakes I was making. 

Lord, there were so many of them.

Eventually, I realized that humorous as they were (and continue to be), my mistakes were not only limited in scope, they didn't get at what my blog was actually for, which was to impose order on the disorganized mess I affectionately call "my files." What the Internet is for, I realized somewhat belatedly, is not to watch cute ducklings with arms chase a cat around (although it's really very funny), nor is it for being outraged on Twitter (which is not nearly as entertaining as those ducklings or - even more amusing - watching a teenager try to figure out how to work a rotary phone). No, dear distracted readers, the Internet is for organizing and storing things which are more useful once they are not in a file drawer gathering dust. 

In particular, this blog which my spawnlings roped me into is useful for assembling places to submit writing, keeping track of agents who are looking for precisely what I have written, along with publishers that don't require those feckless agents who have so heartlessly rejected my queries, even though I really did write precisely what they were looking for. 

(Oh, shoot, I missed it again! No matter how closely I watch that pageview count, I never quite catch it.)

So now I am bravely going where I have repeatedly gone before, and like Mickey Mouse with those brooms that kept multiplying in Fantasia, I keep finding more calls for submissions every month (even though you'd think that the caveat of having to pay writers would diminish their numbers), and more fee-free writing contests (same as above, more or less), and more agents (so many of them ... how do they find enough publishers to keep themselves busy?) and more godawful news about the latest mergers, buy-outs, and increasing monopolization in the publishing industry (oh, it's enough to make you want to self-publish). 

My hope is that in my quest to keep my file cabinet relatively uncrowded (that's a blatant lie), this blog has been useful to you, beloved writers. Don't stop writing!

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

5 New Agents Seeking Fiction, Narrative Nonfiction, Thrillers, Romance, SFF, YA, Kidlit and more

Here are five new literary agents actively seeking clients. Bethany Fulk wants MG, YA and adult fantasy Historical Fiction/Fantasy, Retellings (myth, folklore, legends, fairytales), Mysteries/Speculative/Suspense. Susan Velazquez is looking for upmarket/book club fiction and women’s fiction, thrillers and horror, romance, science fiction, fantasy, YA, and narrative non-fiction that explores little-known time periods, historical events, or historical figures. Annie Romano is seeking adult fiction and narrative nonfiction. Juliana McBride loves commercial and literary fiction, young adult novels, and fantasy. Helena Sandlyng Jacobsen has a special interest in translated literature. She is particularly loves narratives involving complicated heroines, characters caught between two (or more) cultures, and the occasional blood-curdling, but impeccably constructed thriller. As for nonfiction, memoir and personal essay are her favorite genres, but she loves to explore new ideas in popular science and delve into historical biographies.

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

NOTEDon't submit to two agents at the same agency simultaneously. If one rejects you, you may then submit to another.

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


Ms. Helena Sandlyng Jacobsen of Susanna Lea Associates - New York


Helena Sandlyng Jacobsen is an assistant agent at SLA. A recent graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she interned at New Directions Publishing before joining SLA, and has a special interest in translated literature. 

What she is seeking: Helena is always open to stories from new perspectives and unrepresented voices, but she particularly loves narratives involving complicated heroines, characters caught between two (or more) cultures, and the occasional blood-curdling, but impeccably constructed thriller. As for nonfiction, memoir and personal essay are her favorite genres, but she loves to explore new ideas in popular science and delve into historical biographies. She is always on the lookout for thorough, adroit translators from various languages, but is especially interested in Scandinavian literature, as a first generation immigrant from Denmark. She is always on the lookout for thorough, adroit translators from various languages, but is especially interested in Scandinavian literature, as a first generation immigrant from Denmark.

How to submit: Read submission guidelines HERE.


Ms. Juliana McBride of Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency

Juliana began her career in New York City at Random House in 2000. After a decade working with all the in-house and third-party publishers, she and her husband (and twin daughters) embarked on their second act in California producing and selling wine. She never gave up her penchant for good stories though; enter act three. 

What she is seeking: Juliana loves commercial and literary fiction, young adult novels, and fantasy. I mean, who doesn’t secretly believe in magic? Like any true bookworm, Juliana is looking for transcendent stories that linger.

How to submit: Please query her at queries@rfliterary.com


Ms. Bethany Fulk of Holloway Literary 

Bethany Fulk is a junior agent at Holloway Literary.   Prior to being promoted to her current position, she has been with the agency as an intern and then an assistant for the past two years.  She graduated from Davis and Elkins College cum laude in 2017 with a BA in English. Following graduation, Bethany worked as a public relations assistant and most recently as an editorial assistant. Before joining Holloway Literary, Bethany interned with North Star Editions and Foundry Literary and Media.

What she is seeking: MG, YA and adult fantasy Historical Fiction/Fantasy, Retellings (myth, folklore, legends, fairytales), Mysteries/Speculative/Suspense.

How to submit: Read guidelines HERE.


Ms. Susan Velazquez
 of JABberwocky Literary Agency 

Susan was born and raised outside of Dallas, Texas and received a B.A. in Creative Writing with a minor in Gender Studies from SUNY Oswego in 2016. Her hobbies include visiting art museums, trying new restaurants, and practicing her French. Before joining JABberwocky, Susan interned at Foundry Literary + Media, Coral Press, and Folio Literary Management.

What she is seeking: Upmarket/book club fiction and women’s fiction, thrillers and horror, romance, science fiction, fantasy, YA, and narrative non-fiction that explores little-known time periods, historical events, or historical figures.

How to submit: To query, you can follow the submission guidelines on Query Manager. Send a 1-2 page synopsis and the first 20 pages. Link; https://QueryManager.com/susanvcolmant


Ms. Annie Romano
 of Olswanger Literary 

Following an internship with agent Anna Olswanger, Annie Romano is now an associate agent.

What she is seeking: Adult fiction and narrative nonfiction. "I am open to submissions in the areas of adult fiction and select narrative nonfiction. In adult fiction, I enjoy upmarket and commercial fiction, women’s fiction, psychological thrillers/suspense, crime dramas, mystery, and historical fiction. I do enjoy literary fiction so long as there is a discernible structure/plot. (I am not the best fit for stories focused on an emotional or sensory journey—beautiful as the writing may be—if the storyline is vague or absent.) I adore stories with humor, well-done ensemble casts, and plots that deliver the unexpected. I am not a good match for science fiction, but I am open to stories with light elements of fantasy. I welcome diverse narratives, including but not limited to LGBTQ+ and underrepresented ethnicities/cultures. In narrative nonfiction, areas of interest include (but are not limited to) true crime (i.e., The Trial of Lizzie Borden, by Cara Robertson) and unique windows into history (i.e., Mudlark, by Lara Maiklem).

How to submit: For fiction and narrative nonfiction, send a concise query letter and the first 15 pages pasted in the body of the email to: annie@olswangerliterary.com.  In the subject line, include the word “Query” and the title of your manuscript. Note: Do not send attachments when querying. Attachments will be deleted unopened.

Thursday, September 2, 2021

5 Literary Agents Actively Seeking Kidlit, SFF, Literary and Commercial Fiction, Memoir, Cookbooks, Nonfiction and more

Here are five literary agents actively building their client lists. The Feldstein Agency (UK) is seeking adult fiction (excluding romance, historical fiction, and science fiction and fantasy) and adult non-fiction. D. Ann Williams represents Middle Grade and Young Adult novels and selected PB. Susan Finesman works with a broad range of genres, including fiction, cookbooks, and lifestyle. Laurie Robertson (UK) is looking for literary and upmarket commercial fiction as well as memoirs and social commentaries. Lauren Wendelken is passionate about nonfiction books with a social mission, or those which aim to make science accessible to all, as well as upmarket commercial fiction, literary fiction, and speculative fiction.

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

NOTEDon't submit to two agents at the same agency simultaneously. If one rejects you, you may then submit to another.

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


The Feldstein Agency (UK)

The Feldstein Agency combines the talent and experience of Susan (née Dalzell) Feldstein and Paul Feldstein, who together have worked for over 60 years in the book industry in both the U.K. and the U.S. Susan and Paul have complementary skills in publishing - Susan in commissioning, editorial and rights, and Paul in management, sales and marketing, and finance and distribution - meaning that the Feldstein Agency can provide a service in each specific area which is informed by an in-depth understanding of the publishing process as a whole.

What they are seeking: Adult fiction (excluding romance, historical fiction, and science fiction and fantasy) and adult non-fiction. No children's or young adult books, poetry, short stories, or screenplays/teleplays/stage plays. 

How to submit: Please email a cover letter, a 1-2 page synopsis of your work, and a brief biography. They respond to all enquiries within a week. Send your submission via email to submissions@thefeldsteinagency.co.uk. 


D. Ann Williams
of Emerald City Literary Agency

D. Ann is a queer Black American writer, writing coach for WNDB Black Creatives Revision Workshop, sensitivity reader, and freelance editor with 10+ years’ experience. She has worked with all big 5 publishers, indie publishers, and self-published authors on a variety of adult and kidlit manuscripts. D. Ann brought her passion for kidlit to Emerald City Literary Agency in 2021 as an intern before being promoted to Associate Agent. She is a member of SCBWI, Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Color.

What she is seeking: D. Ann represents Middle Grade and Young Adult novels and selected PB.

How to submit: Use her querymanager HERE.


Ms. Susan Finesman
of Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency

Susan Finesman began her career as a scout for film and TV before turning her attention to agenting in 2010. Her background in Hollywood has given her a wide range of experience that informs her work with her clients. 

What she is seeking: She works with a broad range of genres, including fiction, cookbooks, and lifestyle. She challenges authors to make her laugh or cry–preferably both. She loves the twists and turns of a great page-turner, and most of all is looking for work that features characters she cannot shake. 

How to submit: Email query: Susan@rfliterary.com


Ms. Laurie Robertson
 of Peters Fraser & Dunlop (UK)

After completing a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Westminster, Laurie worked in the sales team at Dorling Kindersley before joining Peters Fraser + Dunlop in 2017 as assistant to CEO Caroline Michel. She began building her own list in 2020. Laurie also looks after serialisation rights and journalism at PFD.

What she is seeking: "I am looking for literary and upmarket commercial fiction. Strong, original voices with characters that become part of your life, uplifting narratives and fiction that blinds you with subtlety.  Stories with beautiful prose, with sentences you can’t help but underline and write down in whatever paper or device available.

On the non-fiction side, I am looking for hidden and untold histories that tell us something new about society today. Social commentaries told from a different perspective. Unexpected memoirs and commentaries that make you laugh as well as make you think. Not currently looking for children’s or YA, sci-fi or crime."

How to submit: Please send the first three chapters of your novel or non-fiction project, as well as a full synopsis to lrobertson@pfd.co.uk. In the body of the email, please write a covering letter, including brief details about your writing career.


Ms. Lauren Wendelken of Susanna Lea Associates - New York

Lauren Wendelken is a Midwesterner and a neuroscientist by training. She began working with Susanna Lea Associates in New York in 2007. After a six year hiatus in San Francisco, where she worked at UCSF with Dr. Victor Valcour’s NeuroAIDS research group, she was thrilled to return to the SLA fold in 2016. 

What she is seeking: Lauren is passionate about nonfiction books with a social mission, or those which aim to make science accessible to all, as well as upmarket commercial fiction, literary fiction, and speculative fiction.

How to submit: Read submission guidelines HERE.

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