Comps and calls for September 2015

Here are September 2015’s writing competitions and calls for submission, all with free, electronic entry. I’m passing these on in good faith but mistakes may be made, so do check all the submission guidelines carefully. Any info in quotes comes from the website itself and any dates at the start are deadlines. Also, I don’t know the sources personally, so do check them out for yourselves.

There are three headings (click to jump straight to them):

If you aren’t a submitter (why not? Nothing to lose! Rejection is something we all share!) then the themes can make great writing prompts/exercises.

Although I mention only fiction or poetry, many publications accept non-fiction, art or other forms, so do check if interested. Good luck and do let me know of successes!

cathy_holding_book_SMALLLOOKING FOR AN EARLY XMAS PRESENT?! I’ve won TWENTY writing competitions and literary awards, most recently (August 2015) the Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest that got me $1,000, a cool polo shirt and a certificate! I’ve written all about how to win comps and contests – and how NOT to do so – in my new book How To Win Writing Competitions! It’s available from Amazon (US or UK), as a Kindle eBook (US or UK), direct from the publisher, and from all good book shops (ISBN 978-0-9565819-5-2). Take a look! Meanwhile, have a great month entering and winning writing contests!


2nd Sep ‘Forty-five years ago, after a speech by the late Sir Keith Joseph in which he said that the government was trying to ‘Bennboozle’ the country, competitors were asked to supply their own coinages. The time has come to revisit this challenge. You are invited to submit coinages inspired by today’s politicians, supplying full dictionary definitions and illustrative examples of their use. Email entries (up to three each) to by midday on 2 September.’ PAYING

4th Sep ‘We are searching for the UK’s most inventive and creative film fans to take on Hollywood and come up with an alternate ending to your favourite movie for a chance to win £2,000. If you ever thought you could take on Scorsese, Lucas or Kubrick then this competition is for you. Whether it’s ET getting home, Bogart and Bergman at the airport, that twist in The Sixth Sense, it is the ending that can truly make a movie and this is your chance to give it a rewite. All we need is 750 words, either as prose of scripted dialogue, which shows us why your Altie kicks ass.’ (Cathy’s note: entrants also have to write a blog entry.) PAYING

5th Sept Fiction 1000-5000 words written with a straightforward chronological progression. PAYING

9th Sep ‘ Robert Conquest wrote a limerick that begins: ‘When Gauguin was visiting Fiji’. You are invited to submit a limerick featuring an artist and destination of your choice. ‘ PAYING

11th Sept Stories by unpublished writers with an LE (Cathy’s note: i.e. Leicester area, UK) postcode. PAYING

13th Sep Travel haiku (Cathy’s note: the plural of haiku is haiku, but the organiser seems unaware of this….). NON-CASH PRIZE

13th Sept ‘What do you tell yourself to get that little boost? Use the box below to tell us in no more than 300 characters… and we’re looking for the most entertaining and inventive lies to choose our three winners from. Each will win £1,000.’ PAYING

14th Sep Up to three poems. PAYING

15th Sep ‘To help inspire a lifetime of body confidence, we want to gather your words of advice and share them with people of all ages across the UK. It might be something you wish you’d known when you were younger, some great advice your mother gave you, or simply your take on what matters when it comes to being body confident.’ Up to 12 words.  NON-CASH PRIZE

15th Sep Ethnographic Poetry. PAYING

15th Sep Flash fiction up to 600 words. PAYING

17th Sep ‘Nearly everyone has memories of a former sweetheart. Write your true story of an earlier love, in no more than 700 words. Tell us about someone whose memory brings a smile or a tear, or both: What feelings arise if you allow yourself to be fully open to remembering that person? What is it about that special someone that you still cherish? Your story may be heart-warming or humorous. Just tell about your earlier sweetheart as if you were talking to your best friend. IN PARTICULAR, how did that person’s presence in your life change you and how you experience the world?’ PAYING

21st Sep USA only: ‘ Would your world now be completely different—even unthinkable—if, at some point in the past, you hadn’t made a seemingly random choice? Tell us about it.’ Essay up to 1500 words. PAYING

22nd Sept Disability themed poems, stories and more. PAYING

24th Sep Short story up to 6000 words by a writer with a record of publication in the UK (Cathy’s note: do check the eligibility because it’s quite complicated). PAYING – LOTS!

25th Sept Poems on the theme of either Halloween, Christmas or The Musician. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Sep Residency for African artists, including creative writers. NON-CASH PRIZE

30th Sep Story including two generations, up to 300 words. PAYING

30th Sep Short story up to 10,000 words. PAYING

30th Sep ‘In no more than 200 words, tell us what golf is to you, why you love it and why you think women and girls should get into the game.’  NON-CASH PRIZE

1st Oct Fellowship for emerging writers. Successful applicants will work in New York and receive a stipend of $12000. PAYING

1st Oct Collaborative work with a literary element. PAYING

1st Oct Poetry or prose on the theme of Farewell.  PAYING

1st Oct Poem or story on the theme of Food. PAYING


3rd Sep Poetry on the theme of Water.  PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

4th Sep ‘If you have folklore-fairytales-myths-and-legends-related poetry with a decidedly spooky flavour, send 1-6 of them to me.’

4th Sep Retellings of the Baba Yaga fairytale/folk stories up to 2000 words. PAYING!submissions/c1vmu

6th Sep Fiction 800-2000 words on the theme of Signs and Omens.

7th Sep Poetry, articles and more on the theme of Economic Justice and Poverty. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

8th Sept ‘For this inaugural anthology, NeuroQueer Books seeks to feature works that focus on consent and compliance. We are particularly interested in depictions of the ways that expectations for compliance can be frustrated or subverted, including but not limited to work that explores the various ways that neurodivergent and disabled individuals are forced to use misdirection, manipulation, or deception to avoid having their personal autonomy and dignity compromised by social forces that seek to dictate the expression of their identity and/or limit their choices.’ PAYING

9th Sept YA poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Witches. PAYING

9th Sep ‘Poets Wear Prada has an open reading period for chapbooks of poetry, prose poems, flash and micro fictions now through Labor Day. If you are interested in submitting your manuscript for consideration please submit a book proposal first. We have a couple of important requirements. 30% of work at the time of submission should be already published in literary magazines or accepted for publication. (We require 50% for publication.) We like themed chapbooks not a smorgasbord. We like writing with a strong narrative. (Tell as a good story.) We don’t shy away from formal or metrical verse if that’s your fancy.’ You can email your query and book proposal to . CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

12th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Monsters.

13th Sept Fresh modern campfire horror stories for adults. No YA (Cathy’s note: I had a ‘Verizon’ moment with this listing, as their original pay rate was quoted as 0.06 cents a word. I emailed them to clarify – to be told that they didn’t know what I meant, as it was just a way of writing 6 cents per word…..anyway, I took the time to reply politely, explaining. I didn’t get a reply to that, but they did change the pay rate on the page. Anywone who gets published by this lot owes me a drink, I reckon 😉 ) PAYING

13th Sep Poems to do with particular numbers (Cathy’s notes: as always, check in the guidelines to be sure).!submit/c1qnp

13th Sep SF poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Sept ‘Traditionally, winter is a time for weird and creepy tales, stories to pass the long, dark nights. So, give us creepy and chilling, sending a shiver down our spines as we huddle near the fire and turn the yellow lamplight up a little brighter against the darkness. Ghosts, spectres, unearthly creatures and things that go bump in the night lurk just outside that lit window, and sometimes…they look inside.’ ROYALTIES!d_clients/cqh1

15th Sep Speculative poetry and prose on the theme of Solstice. PAYING

15th Sep ‘Poems from poets of color: give us your voices.’

15th Sep Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Life.

15th Sep Speculative poetry on the theme of Race. PAYING

15th Sep ‘Queer Studies is experiencing a methodological renaissance. In both the humanities and the social sciences, scholars have begun to identify research protocols and practices that have been largely overshadowed by advances in queer theory. The fall 2013 “Queer Method” conference at the University of Pennsylvania indexed this shift toward methods by reframing the question “what is queer theory?” to “how is the work of queer theory done?” ‘ Poetry and more.

15th Sep ‘How do you see your black womanhood in all its intersectionality (class, sexuality, gender, history, personal experience) affecting your response to current politics of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement as it concerns police misconduct?’

15th Sept Writing and more on the theme of Comfort. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Sept Fiction and novellas on the theme of either Bucket List or The Adventures of Pirates. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

15th Sept ‘SECOND HAND SMOKE–themed anthology seeks submissions; P.O.V. of smokers and non-smokers alike. Seeking thought-provoking writing with hope to open dialogue and awareness surrounding second hand smoke in our lives. Looking for more personal experience than scientific research, but educational is ok; i.e. how smoke travels in apartment buildings, homes, etc. Topics might include: struggle to stop smoking, affected relationships, conflict resolution, children’s health, etc. Nonfiction, fiction, poetry; deadline: September 15. Send in Word Document via e-mail to  ‘

15th Sep  Speculative fiction on the theme of Looking Forward, Looking Back. PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

15th Sep ‘ This anthology will contain stories in which _one_thing_ in our world is changed. For example, war is ended. What would be the good — and bad — results? Or, animals can talk. What would be the good or bad results? Of course you can think of better ideas — please do so!’ Up to 4000 words. PAYING

15th Sep US only: Lovecraftian horror, 4000-9000 words.  PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

15th Sep Writing on the theme of Disgusting.

18th Sep Poetry and art by women on the theme of Bras and Breasts. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

18th Sep ‘We are also excited to accept submissions for our first special issue: Castaway. We are looking for unexpected and inventive perspectives on this theme, stories set anywhere from the depths of the Mariana Trench to the most remote outposts of the human soul. Nothing with a volleyball, please.’

18th Sep YA F and SF on the theme of Giants and Ogres.

19/9 Historical retellings. Prose, poetry and more.

21st Sep Writing on the theme of Psychedelics and Psychotropics.

25th Sept Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

25th Sep ‘Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and we want stories that warm the heart like hot cocoa after a snowstorm. This Christmas list is by no means complete, but here are a few of my favorite things: Silver bells, sleigh rides, snowball fights, surfer Santas, blizzards, the perfect gift, a Christmas card stamped “returned to sender.” Our wish list is for stories that makes us feel the Christmas spirit, alive and well.’  PAYING

25th Sep Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of The Monsters in Our Mind. CONTRIBUTOR COPY

25th Sep Flash and short fiction on the theme of Space.

27th Sep Flash and short fiction on the theme of Possession. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

30th Sept ‘Poetry, prose fiction, essays and reviews, symposia and thematic sections. Particularly interested in history and politics.’ (Cathy’s note: you can send a preliminary enquiry by email.)


30th Sep ‘We are looking for original and exciting work that presents a futuristic representation of the Kuiper Belt and everything between it and the Sun.’ 3000-8000 words. PAYING

30th Sep Poetry on the theme of Mothering.

30th Sept Poetry, very short and short fiction.!submissions/ck0q

30th Sep Stories about witches. PAYING

30th Sept Poetry and flash fiction on the theme of holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving,Christmas, Hanukah, and New Years). CONTRIBUTOR E-COPY

30th Sept Speculative fiction on the theme of It’s Come to Our Attention. PAYING

30th Sept ‘We’re looking for stories about angels, miracles, answered prayers, messages from heaven, and all your other awe-inspiring experiences, whether religious or non-religious.’ PAYING

30th Sept Geeky poetry.

30th Sep SF and F fiction 1000-6000 words on the theme of Nonsense. PAYING

30th Sep Poetry, fiction and more.

30th Sep Writing and art on the theme of Worlds Apart for this Manchester-based magazine that is dedicated to conversations about mental illness. ‘Our aim is to promote open-mindedness in society especially for related issues and help remove the stigma following people affected.’ (Cathy’s note: Duotrope says that the deadline is 30th Sep, but the website says 12th Oct. I’m putting the listing in both places, just in case.) CONTRIBUTOR COPY

30th Sep ‘Indolent Books is seeking poems or works of creative nonfiction for The HIV Here & Now Project. The project consists of a poem-a-day website that launchd on June 5, 2015, and a print anthology scheduled for release in 2016. No restrictions as to the author’s sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, race, ethnicity, or any other identity category. No restrictions in terms of HIV status: the writer can be HIV-positive or HIV-negative or not know their HIV status. As long as the work relates in some way, literally or metaphorically, to HIV and its impact today.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY

Until filled or 30th Sep Lovecraftian erotic poetry and fiction. CONTRIBUTOR COPY, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

30th Sep ‘Tell us your recollections about sweets in a poem (any reasonable length) or prose poem/flash fiction piece (200 words or less). For the series, you can also submit found or erasure poems based on a “sweet” recipe or article from a cookbook or magazine (please cite source).’

30th Sep ‘‘The Chronicles of Eve’ will celebrate Woman; her form, her soul and her strength. We want your poems (any length) and flash fiction (no more than 500 words) about all aspects of woman.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY

1st Oct Poetry and fiction.

1st Oct Stories 1500-7500 words of ‘strange things in dense places’. PAYING

1st Oct Non-western/traditional fantasy stories 1000-6000 words. PAYING

1st Oct Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Weather. PAYING EDIT 16 Sept: Magazine now discontinued.

1st Oct Poetry and fiction on the theme of Endings.

1st Oct Fiction up to 500 words and poetry suitable for Christian children, on the theme of Angels. PAYING

1st Oct ‘Beyond the familiar tropes of knights and castles, elves and dragons, there is a whole world of possibilities for fantasy literature. This collection seeks to explore the stories available in non-traditional fantasy.We are looking for secondary world fantasy, where the world building and story telling is based on sources other than medieval Europe.’ 1000-6000 words. PAYING

1st Oct ‘This tavern invites short work reflecting themes of nature, environment and ecology. Three to 14 lines per poem sounds about right. Through October 1, the tavern especially invites work on the theme of valleys. Be specific as to name and place, season and time of day, colors and scents.’


NOTE: Publishers sometimes don’t discuss their royalty rate upfront. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t pay! I just haven’t put them as paying/giving royalties whenever I haven’t found details on the website.

‘BookFish Books is looking for novel and novella length MG, YA, and NA works in all subgenres. Both published or unpublished, agented or unagented authors are welcome to submit. Novel length submissions should be between 40,000 and 80,000 words in length, and novellas should be between 20,000 and 35,000 words.’!submissions/c1d94

‘It works like this: You write your list (1,500 words/10 items minimum), you send it in, we reply and say “Great—we’ll publish it” and send you $100 by PayPal (don’t have an account? just make one—it’s easy and free) or Bitcoin; or we reply and say “Sorry—it isn’t the sort of thing our readers will love—give it another shot.”’ PAYING

‘Please send entire manuscript as an email attachment to the address below.  We are always interested in reading cozy mysteries (that is, mysteries with engaging characters, intriguing plots, but WITHOUT lots of violence, rough language, or explicit sex).  Most of our books run approximately 50,000 to 65,000 words in length.’

Innovative, original fiction, poetry and study guides. ROYALTIES

‘Priestess & Hierophant Press publishes short fiction, non-fiction, novels, novellas, poetry, artwork, and mixed mediums in the following areas:
1) Speculative – any genre.  We consider magical realism to be borderline speculative.  Please submit.
2) Esoteric Works – any path or practice.
3) Fine Artwork – any medium.
4) Cross-Genre – any combination of the above.’ ROYALTIES!services/c13aa

Poetry, flash fiction and art.

Stories for children aged 8-13. PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Folklore.

Flash and short fiction on the themes of Grave Digging or Grave Robbing. PAYING

Speculative fiction and more. PAYING

Crime novellas. ROYALTIES

‘Short fiction or poetry based on zombies or any other horror subgenre. Let your imagination be your guide… zombies, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, paranormal or anything your mind can conjure up.’ PAYING

Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

‘We are spanning our book genres for Children, YA, Horror, Science-Fiction, Steam-punk, and maybe even a little Erotica if we find the right book.’

Fantasy fiction. PAYING

Asinine poetry and prose.

Humorous fiction and nonfiction.

Books of various kinds.

Until filled: ‘What exactly is an ODD-ISM? –ISM can be an action noun, a way of thinking, belief or ideology. Maybe your character has seen every Bill Murray movie and has adopted a way of life called Murrayism, this is the type of oddness we are looking for. What we are not looking for is Feudalism, Institutionalism or Barbarism. What might work is Fantasticism, Idiotism or Barbarellaism. Take any random word and add –ism to the end, it might work. The stranger, the more outlandish the -ISM, the better.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES

‘Mad scientist’ fiction from a first person perspective.

Fiction 750-1000 words. PAYING

Mystery story, 1000-10,000 words. PAYING



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