Monday Writing Markets (and More): The Icefire Edition

20160209_104552

I keep written & digital files. How about you?

Some say the universe will end in boiling,

Others say in Frost, or Snow.

But from what I know of roiling,

I prefer the fate whose face waits to show.

 


 

Whew, I’m glad that’s out there in the aether now. Moving on . . .

To writing. So, keep in mind, carpe diem (carpe scribere diem? why yes, I’ve forgotten high-school Latin completely). In other words, seize the day and write!

To help you in that regard, I’m wielding another edition of the somewhat-biweekly sword that is Monday Markets (& More). Partake, imagine, write, edit, submit, accept, integrate, and enjoy!

  1. Tonight only (Feb. 15), starting at 7:30 p.m.!

    See feminist firebrand, author, and essayist Claire Vaye Watkins—she of “Let us burn this motherfucking system to the ground” fame—and poet Steven Schreiner at the River Styx reading series in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Tavern of Fine Arts. Entrance fees are $5 at the door or $4 for students, members, and seniors.

  2. Deadline: as soon as possible! Milkfist, a self-described “compendium of art and writing for stammering low-lifes who barely know what year it is” wants your poetry, art, and/or nonfiction. They are a paying market. Check out their guidelines or buy a back issue.
  3. Deadline: Feb. 20, 2016. After the Happily Ever After (anthology) by TransMundane Press is in search of new blood. That is, they want updated takes on old (fairy)tales like Cinderella, Goldilocks, or even Snow White. Exactly what does happen after Ariel gets her voice back and marries her prince? Does Cinderella ever see her Fairy Godmother again; does she keep that glass slipper forevermore? Does Red Riding Hood grow up and develop agoraphobia or, alternatively, an overwhelming fear of canines? It’s up to you to give them new experiences.

    20160215_163419.jpg

    Thanks to my audience volunteer (who didn’t even have to get sawed in half, except by the photographer!).

  4. Win a book, through Feb. 27! Author Sarah Potter is giving away a copy of her newest novel, the sci-fi crossover Desiccation. This novel is suitable for ages 14 to 90-plus, as she says. Here’s her blog post about the Goodreads #giveaway.
  5. March 13, 2016: Grammar Ghoul Press (full disclosure: they reprinted one of my poems in their Spring 2015 edition of The Ghouls’ Review) is holding a Winter 2016 Fiction competition. There’s a $10 entry fee per fiction story, 100 to about 3500 words (so, both flash fiction and short story categories), and a $100 top prize, per category, as well as publication in the Winter/Spring 2016 issue of The Ghouls’ Review. Multiple submissions allowed. Be advised that they like weird and wacky tales, so give them a whirl if oddities are in your wheelhouse.
  6. Deadline: Now through March 15. The Indiana Review has waived their traditional $3-per-entry general submission fee for their Spring 2016 window. Get your general submissions of poetry, fiction, or visual artwork in pronto (only 1 submission per genre)!

 

Now, as Rush might write in a lyric, get out there and rock!

Open the Door and Write: Monday Markets & More #amwriting

Giant Red DoorI’m in mind of doors. That is, forays, entrances, portals, and openings, rather than egresses or exits.

Monday gives rise to that vein, though, doesn’t it? We can sweep away the old (“last”) week and begin anew, or we can take on a previous project in a new way and add to it through accretion.

Hence, I wanted to bring you (all) some more writing markets (#amwriting) as links, reminders, and a little bit more; these are not endorsements by me per se, but more like nudges toward what seem to me to be worthwhile causes, markets, and publishers. I strongly encourage you to read their publications, buy a subscription if you’re able, and support and engage with them before submitting. I know several of you readers ply the trade, so to speak, as I do, and I want to make this blog feature a more regular endeavor for myself than in the previous years.

I hope you will drop me a line when you’ve found a market you like, a stellar editor, and/or other publishing successes.

 

  1. February 15, 2016 (6 p.m. GMT): Win accommodations in Provence, one of the jewels on the tiara that is France. Need I say more? Oh, then, if I must . . . Finish or embellish on a cat-themed extract provided by “indie” author Curtis Bausse, from his first in a series of Magali Rousseau detective-fiction books, One Green Bottle. Two thousand words maximum; prompt is at the first link. No entry fee (a rarity these days). Check out his blog for more contest details and just for the sheer joy and education of it all; do spread the good word to all your writerly friends!
  2. March 8, 2016: As part of the Robert J. Carr Visiting Authors Series, Richard Hoffman, poet and fiction writer, will be speaking at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana this spring. Hoffman is author of Half the House: a Memoir and several poetry collections, including Without Paradise. He also has a new memoir out. Visit the U of I’s creative writing department site for more information on this event, which is free and open to the public.
  3. March 15-April 15: Mascara Literary Review, a New South Wales (Australia)-based publication, both seeks and offers a diversity of authors, particularly from the Oceania region (broadly defined), with a distinct interest in the political, from eco-poetry to “diaspora dialogues” to “aboriginal” and bilingual writing to essays by refugees. They might not be able to pay at this time, which is a shame, but perhaps with some donations and subscriptions . . . ? Their 19th (special) issue is about Animals (poetry), but do read some back issues to familiarize yourself with their criteria, needs, and so on.
  4. Ongoing: This is more a “save this information” note than a deadline. Shade Mountain Press is a feminist press I recently discovered for myself when I happened upon the intriguing title The Female Complaint: Tales of Unruly Women. As such, SMP depends on donations to subsist, but they thrive in publishing the unseen, unheard, and under-represented, that is, “literature by women, especially women of color, women with disabilities, women from working-class backgrounds, and lesbian/bisexual/queer women.” Give them a read sometime!
  5. Continuous/Rolling: The Indiana Voice Journal, a currently nonpaying market (but no reading fees and free subscriptions) that drops monthly, is accepting work now for its March 2016 publication, themed for music, including visual art, some fiction forms (no erotica or science fiction), essays/creative nonfiction (CNF), and poetry. They look for “work that breathes and moves and is alive. We believe that ‘good art’ comes forth from the spirit to reveal, to comfort, to heal, to bring joy, to surprise!” Janine Pickett is the founding editor. If this looks like it’s up your literary alley, check them out, subscribe, and best wishes from me to you!
  6. Evergreen. Fiction writer Dave Farmer was good enough to post an interview with speculative fiction author Sarah Potter on his blog today. Sarah just released, in December 2015, her novel Desiccation and, although I’m biased (I was a beta-reader of the novel), I do think it’s something special, and well worth picking up for your e-reader and/or paperback. Do check out the post and consider Dave’s work (like The Range) as well, especially if you’re into zombies (figuratively into, I mean!), the supernatural, or speculative fiction.
  7. Evergreen. The International Association of Professional Writers and Editors offers memberships (there is a fee) that offer a gateway to writing resources, a job board, and more. In their own words, they are “dedicated to bringing the most updated, legitimate and vetted writing and editing job opportunities to its members.”

 

You know the aphorism ‘sometimes you have to spend money to make money’; well, it’s no less true with writers or the writing profession, so consider sliding a few dollars, bitcoins, Euros, yen, etc. to help your favorite literary magazine or publisher thrive in the “everything for free” era.

And then get out there (or in there, pants to chair, as the case may be) to some good writing–your own or another person’s. Open that door as only you can!

 

Rise of the Monday Markets: Where to Submit Your Writing

Papa writing

Papa advises: Just go write!

Because I really enjoy connecting people with information, which perhaps stems from my background in journalism, I have long been wanting to continue or resurrect market listings. These listings have appeared from time to time on the blog: (as) Monday Markets and Submission Sundays, if I recall correctly.

I read multiple magazines, newsletters, blogs, and university Web sites, as well as subscribe to Duotrope for $5 basic membership a month, to receive and cull these markets for your use. If you have enjoyed or benefited in any way from these posts, please consider following me here, on Facebook, and/or Twitter. [Oh, and I’d love to hear of your writing or art-related successes in literature!]

I hope you will enjoy today’s eclectic collection. #amwriting

  • January 15: Bring out your dead! World Weaver Press is seeking tales of the uncanny, under 10,000 words. They may be reprints or new stories. Payment: $10 + paperback copy of the anthology. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but you may only send one story per anthology. #specfic #supernatural #fiction
  • January 15: If you’re a runner who writes or a writer who runs, you’re set for this theme. Tree-Lion Press awaits your speculative fiction inspired by long-distance running, 500 to 10,000 words. N.B.: “We tend toward (soft) Science Fiction and Fantasy,” but well-written horror without gore and meeting the other guidelines is okay. Follow their guidelines exactly! This is for the “Keeping Pace with Eternity” anthology. #running
  • January 20 (absolute latest): Put on your honorary fedora and chart your most winding adventures for benefit of Popshot magazine, a UK publication. Poems on adventure are accepted (up to 25 lines). Short fiction addressing the theme must be 2,500 words or fewer. You may obtain a copy for £6 plus postage or a yearly subscription starting at only £10. #fiction #poetry
  • February 1: Has Nature ever been your tutor? If you can craft a creative nonfiction story about your education at the pedestal of the wild, using “research and reportage . . . at least to some degree,” then you might like to consider Creative Nonfiction magazine’s themed call/contest “Learning from Nature.” Submit online ($3/story) or by regular mail. #essays #writingcontest
  • February 19: Use words wisely! Daisy-chain your best 91 bons mots into a memoir and win a free class with Gotham Writers. #memoir
  • October 1 to May 1: It’s not an easy road, considering a (short)list of publishees in the last 3 years—Joyce Carol Oates, Albert Goldbarth, “Charles” Simić, Alice Hoffman, and Anis Shivani—but should you decide to take the road-to-publication not taken, you might like to consider the literary magazine Boulevard. Published by St. Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), Boulevard seeks your fiction, poetry, and essays through May 1, 2016. No e-mail submissions are accepted; however, you can submit online via Submittable ($3 fee) and via regular mail (no fee, but mailing cost). Familiarize yourself with the magazine by buying a copy or subscription (or perusing it at your local library). They do post a few excerpts, such as this stunning Billy Collins (poetry) gem from Spring 2015 (at the bottom of the page): “Poem to the First Generation of People to Exist After the Death of the English Language.”

Good luck, and keep writing, reading, and learning!

 

Speculative Poetry: The Mirror-Ship

Janus 1: The Mirror-Ship

GENRE: Speculative Poetry

556px-Janus.xcf

A fascinating image from Bernard de Montfaucon’s L’antiquité expliquée et représentée en figures, which is in the public domain. Janus (Latin: Ianus) stands as the Roman god-figure of changes and beginnings, and thus of doorways, passages, gates, and endings; that is why he is represented as looking both back in time and forward.

 

Twinkling from stem to stern, the slim ship

parted the black tide of space, a drip

into the washbasin of infinity.

The jeweled hull reflects not divinity

but instead a cascade of faceted realities.

Unconcerned with its own folded dualities,

the mirror mother-craft plaits, tucks, turns

with, in, and through time forced-flat.

It meanders emotionless and does not yearn

as years yawn into centuries, ion one with eon.

Light welded to night, as collar with frill.

And all that was within your own orbit pulsars still.


I hope that your week so far has been productive and peaceful. In line-of-sight with the speculative poetry theme of today’s post (for which I always gratefully receive input), I’d like to offer up a few markets and resources for you to explore. Best wishes, writers!

  • Strange Horizons is a paying market—imagine that! Thirty-per-poem is offered by this editorial triumvirate, who seek “modern, exciting poems that explore the possible and impossible: stories about human and nonhuman experiences, dreams and reality, past and future, the here-and-now and otherwhere-and-elsewhen. We want poems from imaginative and unconventional writers; we want voices from diverse perspectives and backgrounds.” If you’ve got some stellar horror, science fiction, fantasy, or slipstream poetry, do consider SH, but be sure, at a minimum, to read their definitions and manifesto article first.
  • The annual speculative poetry contest from the Science Fiction Poetry Association (SFPA) is ready for takeoff! With an Aug. 15 deadline and a $1-or $2-per-poem submission fee, now might be the time to dust off that speculative poetry for one or more of their three categories: dwarf, short, and long. Among other perks, there’s a $100 first-place prize in each category and “publication on Poetry Planet (StarShipSofa.com) podcast magazine and on the SFPA website for first through third places.” SFPA is also a great overall resource if you write speculative poetry; do consider membership therein.
  • Not speculative fiction, but perhaps of interest to those of you who enjoy memoir and/or essays, personal or otherwise. If you’ve ever experienced a “eureka!” moment—it need not have been while in the bathtub—and can pen a compelling “Life Lessons” essay of no more than 1,500 words, Real Simple magazine just might want to publish your writing and pay you for it (the best combination, I might add). As always, be sure to read all the rules, especially regarding rights protection of your story, and make your submission, if you so choose, by Sept. 18 (e-mail or snail-mail). Good luck!

Midweek Markets: The Dark Earth Edition

If there’s any auspicious day to be a writer, it’s most likely today, William Shakespeare’s birthday. But I’ll spare you the astrology and entrails- or tea-leaf readings and simply wish the Bard a happy birthday. What do you get the 450-year-old cultural icon who has everything? Naturally, you write in his honour.

will.i.am.not--folio

Title page of the First Folio, with copper engraving of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout. Image courtesy of Elizabethan Club and the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University (via Wikipedia).

On that note, here are some midweek markets to help you blast away that coating of quintessence-dust!

  1. Get grisly: Writer, it’s the wee hours of the morning and you’re plotting revenge. If you can scare people with your own desert places or alien races, then Dark Markets could be after your new blood. Check out this clearinghouse/treasure-trove of sources and resources to send your “dark” writing darlings out to, for possible sacrifice. It’s wordcraftery, Lovecraftery, and more!
  2. Love Your Mother: Brother, can you spare a rhyme? Okay, it need not rhyme, but if you can tap into a brevity of wit about Mother Nature/Earth Day, Six-Word Memoirs and SMITH magazine want your six-worded thoughts. Their SixContest #22 seeks nuggets of “What You’d Say to Mother Nature” and features a small prize (a keychain). Submit through Friday, 25 April, until 3:00PM ET, on their site. Good green luck to you all!
  3. You down with OTP? That would be On the Premises, “a Web-based fiction magazine . . . [that] aims to promote newer and/or relatively unknown writers who can write what we feel are creative, compelling stories told in effective, uncluttered, and evocative prose.” There are no entry fees. Nonetheless, they offer cash prizes, publication/exposure for winners, and free critiques for contest finalists who do not get published (nonfinalists can also purchase critiques). The latest contest unravels in the form of decisions. They write: One or more characters face an especially difficult decision.” To find further criteria for your “1,000 but no more than 5,000 words” piece due 30 May 2014, visit OTP online. Note that they also hold mini-contests (with small cash prizes) for only their e-newsletter subscribers. My personal observation as a several-year newsletter subscriber is that if you’ve got spec-fic (speculative fiction) chops, this market will be particularly fruitful for you.

Monday Writing Markets, The Speculative Fiction Edition

Hic sunt dracones!

Three-headed Russian dragon

A three-headed Russian dragon (titled “Общины св. Евгении,” 1912) from Wikimedia Commons. Originally by Ivan Yakovlevich Bilibin.

For those of us many years in arrears on our Latin studies, as I, this phrase is translated as “Here are dragons.” To date, this sentence has been found on a dyad of old globes.

Dragons perhaps best typify that crux of imagination and uncertainty. They are terrible and terrifying to some, powerful and majestic myth to others.

On that note, let’s get on the trail of some speculative-fiction writing markets, where I hope you’ll be able to chart your own course to creativity, complete with dragons or critics (or do I repeat myself?). As always, please read back issues of the publications themselves (where available) or subscribe to them; scour their pages or Web sites to see what work they like to publish; do your own research on the market(s); and, if you decide to submit, marry yourself to their submission guidelines or calls for queries.

  1. Even if you’ve never personally made the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs, if you write science fiction (or fantasy), Parsec might be just the venue for you. Their latest short story contest, with a theme of “parch,” seeks stories from the horror, fantasy, and science fiction genres. “Stories must be original, unpublished, unsold and no more than 3500 words in length,” and can be submitted only by non-professional writers, whom they define as “those who have not met eligibility requirements for SFWA or equivalent: sale of a novel or sale of 3 stories to a large circulation publication.” Deadline is April 30, so throw on that wingéd thinking cap!
  2. Try it before it’s gone (time travel notwithstanding): Kazka Press has an unthemed SFF (“sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or related sub-genres”) writing contest, called 713 flash fiction after a previous incarnation of a 713-word count, whose deadline is April 20 and, the month after that, nil.Sadly, this speculative fiction competition is closing after April 2014, so get to work on your as-yet-unpublished short story between 500 and 1,000 words. They note that “If you’re selected as a winner of our monthly contest, we’ll purchase First Worldwide Electronic Rights from you for $15, regardless of word count.”
  3. And now, at last armageddon (translation: I’ma gettin’) to this week’s last market. Do you have a disturbing apocalyptic potboiler of a manuscript? Then Dystopia Press might be just the place for your chiseled wordcraftery. DP publishes “post apocalyptic (what happens after the world/civilization collapses) and dystopian (what happens after the world/society veers off in some disturbing direction) trade paperback novels.” If you have an 80,000- to 100,000-word unpublished manuscript, consider working up a synopsis and sending them the first 50 double-spaced pages of the edited manuscript. Submissions are managed free via the online service Submittable. Read complete submission details here.

Happy wordcrafting, fellow spec-fic-ionados!

 

Midweek Markets: The Bards and Bell Jars Edition

Good day, friends. The “cruellest” month has arrived. No foolin’. Yet you needn’t sit around and watch lilacs breed out of the dead land. I hope you’ll instead tilt your thoughts to action, put your pen to paper, hitch your heart to the art, and cartwheel your cares into the aether. In short, I wish you writing, or any creative striving, for the remainder of the week.

ART-Will

William Shakespeare statue situated at the heart of Tower Grove Park in St. Louis, MO. Created by artist Ferdinand von Miller and dedicated on 23 April 1878, it bears “Hamlet” and “Falstaff” pieces and other insets on its four sides. Photograph by Leigh Ward-Smith.

So let’s get write into this week’s markets, which include a fellowship and a couple of contests.

  1. Mooky Chick online has been bashing the bell jar since 2005. An online United Kingdom–based endeavor, MC seeks feminism, activism, LGBTQ, reviews, fashion, how-to guides, arts and crafts, and other approximately 600-word previously unpubbed pieces to populate its literary manse. “Surprise us. Surprise yourself. Send us what you’ve got,” they urge folks of “all genders,” and, presumably, from around the world. If mindcake, “inclusivity and joy . . . sweet and ballsy” mark your writing and persona, then Mooky Chick is where it’s at. No deadlines, just an evergreen market here!
  2. Although it might not be “that time of year thou mayst in me behold” leaves steadily yellowing, it is almost that time of year again where we bring out the “happy birthday” signs . . . for the 450th time (okay, 449th time, if you don’t count the first April 23rd birthday in 1564). So, locate your sparkly hats; it’s time for a Bardy party, courtesy of Litro magazine. William Shakespeare is t’ birthday boy, and sonnets are the subject. C’mon, ye paragon of animals, just craft 14 lines, a Shakespearean sonnet with the ababcdcdefefgg rhyme pattern and in iambic pentameter, of which this is a most excellent example. The deadline is midnight April 10 (presumably Greenwich Mean Time Zone UTC), so don’t wait until 11:57 to get started, lest you leave no time to out, out that damn annoying blank (or red) spot on the page.
  3. Pen Parentis offers writing fellowships to “new” parents, with at least one child under the age of 10. They note: “Writers at any stage of their career may apply. The winner will have his or her entry published in Brain, Child magazine and [is] encouraged to present their winning entry at the Pen Parentis Literary Salon [in Manhattan, NY] in September 2014 to receive the prize money” of $1,000 granted toward your writing career. There is a $25 entry fee, and the deadline is April 16, 2014 (postmark deadline; though online submissions are also accepted). Find full grant guidelines here.
  4. Want headlines good enough to undam waves of lachrymal laughter? Well, you need not scour the pages of The Onion (besides, that might damage your eyes). Just skippidy-do-da over to Writer’s Digest and Brian A. Klems’ fourth annual #AprilFools4Writers contest. Here’s the beef on the April Fools 4 Writers contest: “Create entertaining, clever and witty headlines that would appear in an Onion-style newspaper for writers about anything writing-related (grammar, authors, books, etc.) and post it in any of the ways mentioned . . . ” Your deadline, should you choose to accept this hilarious challenge, is Friday, 4 April 2014. When you visit Brian’s blog piece, you can (re)confirm the hour of the deadline (i.e., there’s a couple date typos on the original post). Good luck, we’re all counting on you (and don’t even think about calling me Shirley)!

 

Submission Sunday #2: Writing Markets, March Madness Edition

Hark! she speaks. I will set down what comes/
from her, to satisfy my remembrance the more/
strongly. (Macbeth, Act 5, Scene I, spoken by the Doctor, who prepares to observe Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking behaviors)

Lion- or lamb-like, March 2014 has come and very nearly gone. Here in the States, many are swept up in a maelstrom of March machismo. Sadly, across the globe, others are ensnared in different kinds of life-and-limb madness altogether.

Muse Calliope

Calliope/Kalliope, eldest of the Greek Muses, goddess of eloquence, and Muse of epic poetry. Detail from a representation of an oil-on-canvas piece by Simon Vouet, from Wikimedia Commons and in the public domain.

But, to look at it more positively, if you are a writer or artist, perhaps this month has afforded you the time to self-reflect or make progress on a novel, short story, poem, or other work. In that vein, I would like to offer you a few potential markets to consider in your progression as a creative individual. I’ve decided that most of the markets I search out and share will be free, and I will endeavor to find international markets as well as North American ones—so that you may learn to navigate yourself through the submission processes at work at different magazines, publishers, or other forums, both fee-based and no-fee. I myself occasionally chose to submit to a contest or magazine that charges a reading fee, because I know that many literary magazines operate on a micro-shoestring budget and I want to support their work. Some markets these days also offer critiques or subscriptions when you pay a submission fee. So, it’s then up to you to read the instructions fully with regard to what copyrights you retain or give up with your submission, as well as the submission parameters—and hew to them or face the rejection pile.

  1. ENTRY FEE & NO ENTRY FEE: The moonShine Review: This North Carolina–based literary magazine accepts previously unpublished prose and photography, noting that “Our goal is to bring about understanding through art and writing by providing a venue for unique voices.” During a regular submission cycle, you can submit up to 4 shorter pieces, with nothing more than 3,000 words in length. Their preference is for 2,200 or fewer words. Payment is in one comp, or complimentary, copy of the magazine. They say they accept work from anywhere, but prefer southeastern (U.S.) writers. The upcoming reading deadline is Sept. 1, 2014 (postmark). See more general submission criteria on their site. Note that they are also holding a 10th anniversary writing contest with entirely different criteria, a $5 submission fee, and a July 1, 2014 deadline. As ever, I recommend you familiarize yourself with the market, agent, or magazine prior to submitting.
  2. ENTRY FEE & NO ENTRY FEE: Situated along the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri, River Styx magazine has been navigating literary waters since 1975. They have (or have had) microfiction, poetry, and prose contests afoot, as well as regular submissions (including visual art, which has different criteria & submission period) during a reading period from May 1 through November 30 (postmark) every year, so sharpen those pencils, brains, or calloused computer fingers, friends! Right now, they have several contests in swing, including an international poetry competition ($1500 top prize; $10 or $20 entry fee) and a poetry competition for high school students, called the River Styx 2014 Founder’s Award. Check the previous link for submission deadlines and details.
  3. ENTRY FEE REQUIRED:  A special thanks goes out to writer-friend Ali Abbas, who has some outstanding prose of his own, in that I have received another suggestion: NYC Midnight. NYCM has a series of challenges throughout the year; right now, their screenwriting competition is about to kick off. For a $39 entry fee, you will be given an assignment then have 8 days to craft “an original short screenplay no longer than 12 pages” FOR ROUND ONE. If selected, your manuscript will advance through rounds, where the criteria will differ. The final deadline (along with entry fee) is May 1.
  4. NO ENTRY FEE: Finally, the editorial staff of The Louisville (Kentucky) Review read manuscripts year-’round. I really like TLR‘s mission statement: “The goal of the magazine continues to be to import the best writing to local readers, to juxtapose the work of established writers with new writers, and to export the best local writers to a national readership.” They review previously unpublished manuscripts of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama only. TLR prefers electronic submissions. Poetry from students in grades K-12 is also considered for The Children’s Corner. Their reply time is 4 to 6 months, and they consider simsubs (or simultaneous submissions), but be sure to touch base with them if you have any questions about their process.

If you know of others you would recommend, please consider leaving a comment. As always, best wishes on your writing and artifying. Keep at it!

Submission Sunday #1: Writing Markets and Contests

409px-Edward_Bulwer_Lytton_Disderi_BNF_gallica

This writer didn’t always kill his darlings, but there is a humorous fiction-writing contest in his honor, called the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest.

Sometimes the first step in becoming a published writer can seem like deliberately jumping into quicksand; when you hang your darlings out there in the world, others can (and often will) step forward and disembowel them. Similes as familiar as siblings, favorite phrases, precious passages, cherished chapters . . . all could fall under the editor’s, agent’s, reviewer’s, or reader’s guillotine.

Does that mean you never submit your work? For some, yes. And yet, others seek out the challenge. If you are the latter (or the former), this post is for you.

Today I’d like to begin a weekly feature I’ll call Submission Sunday. Each weekend, I will share some markets or contests (or both) that you might like to consider if you’re a writer. I hope to bring you at least a couple every Sunday (North American time zones) in further hopes that you will consider putting your work out there for critique or, if no feedback is given, for the experience of having gone through the machinations of submitting to an editor, publisher, or agent. Best-case scenarios apply, too, of course, so hitch your writing wagon to a star: write furiously, edit mercilessly, and aim to win, place, or show.

Although I cannot personally vouch for these sites, contests, publishers, or markets, in some cases I have submitted to them—or intend to do so again—and I’ll indicate this where called-for. If you have any suggestions at all, please consider leaving them in the comments. For this, I thank you in advance.

So, without further finger-dragging, here are some online and print markets.

  1. The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest: This yearly humor-writing contest, where “wretched writers” are welcome, suggests that even an inkless pen is mightier than the sword. It highlights the work of nineteenth-century British novelist, poet, and politician Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, whose work you likely know, even if only through Snoopy, of Peanuts cartoon fame. Submit one horrifically bad sentence—there are several genre categories in this contest, such as science-fiction, crime, fantasy, and romance—and keep it under about 60 words. In general, don’t use puns in your submission (though they do have a “vile puns” category). Have fun writing the worst opening line to a novel that you can think of and you never know what might happen. I’ve submitted to this contest in the past, placed in one category, and plan to submit again. On the basis of the 2013 winners, it looks like they accept international submissions, all written in English. Deadline, June 30, but submissions are accepted every day of the year.
  2. Another humor-based writing contest, this time for the versifiers among us, is the yearly Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest. Held by Winning Writers, which also has a handy free database of more than 200 “quality poetry and prose contests with no entry fees” (you need only sign up for their e-newsletter, also free), the Wergle Flomp is a big ball of fluffy literary fun. It boasted thousands of entries in 2013, and 2014 marks its thirteenth year. If you win or place, this free contest actually has prize money. I’ve written several poems, mostly parodies, for this contest; several I’ve gone ahead and submitted, and several I haven’t. Either way, I always learn a lot about writing humor and poetry, self-critique, and the musicality of language, even when language fails. Poems can be of any length and should be humorous; one submission per person, per year. Deadline April 1.
  3. The final market I will share today is called The First Line. TFL is a magazine offering print and electronic editions. In addition to “critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work,” they also offer a fiction component. Each season, they offer a prompt wherein you must begin a short story with the first line they provide, verbatim. They write, “the story should be between 300 and 5,000 words (this is more like a guideline and not a hard-and-fast rule . . .) . . . The sentences can be found on the home page of The First Line’s Web site, as well as in the prior issue. Note: We are open to all genres.” The upcoming deadline for the summer prompt is May 1, 2014.

Now, get writing—and good luck!