Monday, November 28, 2011

Get Published: Contests & Calls for Submissions

I'm always surprised when I hear from students in my MFA cohort that they never submit their work for publication. Then again, until several years ago, neither did I.

Trolling through contests and calls for submissions is now a favorite pastime of mine. Sometimes the specific topics remind me of a story idea or unfinished essay lurking in a file drawer. Proposed deadlines give me something tangible to aim for beyond "someday." Since I've got a couple months "off" from my program coming up, I plan to dig out a story or two to polish for publication (someday). The great thing is, even if you get rejected you'll now have something to submit to the next one.

Here are some possibilities for poetry, prose and play writing--from short works to chapbooks and publication prizes, including several PEN awards. Most are taken from the Classifieds at Poets & Writers, and some others from people in my writing network. Let me know if you submit anything or get accepted anywhere!

PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship ($5,000)
for a significant published author of children or young adults' fiction to aid in completing a book-length work in progress.  

PEN Emerging Writers Awards ($2,500)
one award each to an up-and-coming fiction writer and nonfiction writer who show exceptional talent but who have yet to publish a book-length work.

PEN Emerging Writers Awards ($1,660)
one award each to an up-and-coming fiction writer, nonfiction writer, and poet who shows exceptional talent but who has yet to publish a book-length work.

SIXTEEN RIVERS PRESS, a shared-work publishing collective, seeks poetry manuscripts from Greater Bay Area poets. No reading fee. All styles and forms welcome. Authors must become active members of the press for a three-year period. Deadline: February 1, 2012. For guidelines, see

MAGNOLIA JOURNAL seeks socially engaged poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by women who interact with and challenge social injustices of our time. Guest-edited by renowned poet, journalist, and activist Karen Connelly, this year’s submission period is open from September–December. For guidelines, see

CHANGES IN LIFE monthly online newsletter is seeking personal essays from women of all ages. New writers are encouraged to submit their work. For details and submission guidelines, see

THE CENTER FOR BOOK ARTS invites submissions for its 2012 Poetry Chapbook Competition. The winner receives a letterpress hand-bound chapbook, a $1,000 honorarium, a reading in New York City, as well as the opportunity to stay at the Millay Colony. Deadline December 1. Guidelines at

FOLDED WORD seeks submissions of novels, short story collections, travel narratives, and novels in verse/flash fiction. PG/PG-13 content only. A cover letter, 10 sample pages, and a synopsis should be submitted electronically through Submishmash. Full details at Questions should be e-mailed to J.S. Graustein at

SMALL PRESS seeking submissions for mystery anthology with genealogy theme. Open to interpretation as long as genealogy is main theme. You never know who’s part of your family! 3,000–4,000 words. Deadline: February 29, 2012. Free book upon publication. Send submissions to M. Dellafera, 94 Wheeler Rd., Hollis, NH 03049. Questions: or

GRANDMOTHER EDITIONS is accepting submissions of short (40 pages max) collections of poetry, fiction, memoir, creative nonfiction, or prose-poetry by women of the wisdom years. For more information, visit:

ADVENTUM MAGAZINE seeks outdoor adventure writing from new and established writers, as well as outdoor photography and haiku for Issue 2/January 2012. This biannual digital/print magazine accepts creative nonfiction, essays, and memoir pieces that explore some aspect of personal experience in the outdoors. For guidelines and philosophy, see

PMS poemmemoirstory seeks submissions during our new reading period: January 1–March 31. While PMS is a journal of exclusively women’s writing, the subject field is wide open. For guidelines, see: Send all submissions and correspondence to: PMS poemmemoirstory, HB 213 1530 3rd Ave. S., Birmingham, AL 35294-1260.

BEST FICTION ( publishes superb short stories by new, emerging, and award-winning authors. The editors seek submissions of stories for winter and spring publication. For submission guidelines and information about awards, please visit

TRAVELLING POETS SOCIETY needs quality poems and prose about love, relationships, vows, oaths, weddings, and all members of weddings, to be placed on new website. If your work is used, you will be compensated. Send to:

WOMENARTS QUARTERLY JOURNAL seeks essays, fiction, poetry, visual art, reviews, and interviews by women. For submission guidelines and more information, visit

CLOCKHOUSE REVIEW, published by the Clockhouse Writers’ Conference and alumni of the Goddard College MFA in Writing program, seeks submissions for its inaugural issue. All genres taught within Goddard’s MFA in Writing program accepted: poetry, fic-tion, memoir, creative nonfiction, dramatic works for stage or screen, and literary comics/graphic narrative. We encourage submissions from both established and emerging writers. Deadline January 1, 2012. Visit the journal’s website for submission guidelines:

COLERE, a journal celebrating explorations of cultural experiences, welcomes thought-provoking fiction, poetry, essays, and artwork for its 12th annual issue. Please limit submissions to 8 poems or 20 pages on experiences abroad or at home. Submissions (deadline: January 15, 2012) or subscriptions ($5 annually) to Colere, Coe College, 1220 1st Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.

WORKERS WRITES, a literary journal of 9–5ers, loves good stories from the printed page to movies and the theater. Accepting all genres for our inaugural issue: short stories, novellas, screenplay and play excerpts, and comics. Fiction only please. Submission period November 1, 2011–January 15, 2012. Guidelines at

Our multimedia company specializes in children's literature, audio, video and web content that promotes eco-awareness, social responsibility, and health and wellness through holistic lifestyles of sustainability. We utilize traditional and emerging media to encourage humanity to embrace our connection with the environment and one another. 

Catch a Star Theatrical Players Contest
Entry Fee: $10
Deadline: December 31, 2011
One-Act Playwriting Competition.  Aspiring playwrights of all ages who reside within the United States are invited to submit their unpublished works. All styles and genres are welcome. Top plays will be showcased at the 2012 One Act festival to be held in Beaumont, CA. The top ten plays and authors will be listed on CAST Players website through December 31, 2012.  The top six plays will each receive $100 and three performances at the One-Act festival in June, 2012, plus one all-access festival Pass.  At the conclusion of the festival, additional monetary prizes of $400 for First Place, $300 for Second Place and $200 for Third Place will be awarded, as will $100 for the play voted Audience Favorite.

Seventeen Fiction Contest
Entry Fee: None
Deadline December 31, 2011
Open to female writers, ages 13-21, in the US and Canada. Word Count: 500 words. No entry fee.
Grand prize: $5000 and publication in Seventeen.

2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards
Entry Fee: $75
Deadline: February 24, 2012
Calling all indie book authors and publishers - including small presses, mid-size independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors who have a book written in English released in 2011 or 2012 or with a 2011 or 2012 copyright date to enter the most rewarding book awards program. It offers 60 Categories - More than 60 Awards - with 67 monetary prizes totaling more than $10,000 in cash, including $1,500 cash prizes plus trophies for best fiction book and best non-fiction book, $750 cash prizes plus trophies for second best fiction book and non-fiction book and $500 cash prizes plus trophies for third best fiction book and non-fiction book!  Entry Deadline - February 24, 2012. The Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the largest NOT-FOR-PROFIT
book Awards program for independent authors and publishers. 

Ruminate Nonfiction Prize
Entry Fee: $15 (includes Summer 2012 issue with winning piece).
Deadline: January 15, 2012 
Submit one nonfiction piece of 7,000 words or less. Winner receives $1,000 and publication. The runner-up receives publication.


rosaria said...

Nicole, this is so generous of you! I shall return and copy and perhaps think about some of these opportunities. You are a gold mine of information!

Nicole R. Zimmerman said...

I'm so glad I could be helpful and that the list serves as inspiration.

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