Comps and calls for October 2016



Hello all! It’s October, which is the best month of the year because it has my birthday in it. Also, it’s the month I’ve chosen to launch my creative writing consultancy. I get asked for advice, feedback and critiques all the time – and now, for a very reasonable fee, you’ll be able to get them. The Comps and Calls website and listing will always be free as long as I have anything to do with it, so don’t worry, but Cathy Bryant’s Creative Writing Consultancy is a paid-for service.

Click on the link above if you’re interested, or just email

As always, good luck this month with your writing and entries!

Cathy x

Here are October 2016’s writing competitions and calls for submission, all with free, electronic entry.

As usual 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! The links are in the comments, and any dates at the start are deadlines.

Where possible, I have marked the relevant entries with ‘paying’, ‘contributor copy’ etc. However, you are best off checking the info for yourselves as I am not infallible and the info isn’t always available or clear. Please be aware that a contributor copy may be in print or digital format. Also, some publications offer several things, eg payment as well as a contributor copy. Where this is the case, I have assumed that payment is enough of an incentive, so I haven’t listed everything. It’s a rough guide and should be treated as such.


5th Oct Spectator Competition number 2969: autumnal. ‘You are invited to submit a poem about autumn in the style of the poet of your choice. Please email entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 5 October.’ PAYING

12th Oct Spectator Competition number 2970: ig nobel. ‘The Ig Nobel Prizes are spoof awards handed out at Harvard annually ‘for achievements which cannot — and should not — be reproduced’. You are to supply an extract from an award-winner’s speech that describes the ‘achievement’ (invented by you) being honoured. Please email entries of up to 150 words to by midday on 12 October.’

14th Oct 200-word stories on the theme of Hallowe’en. PAYING

14th Oct UK only: Share your tip on how you fit exercise into your busy day. VOUCHER/OTHER

15th Oct Story 3500-5000 words. PAYING

15th Oct Story up to 500 words including the words ‘chicken’, ‘potato’ and ‘bathrobe’. PAYING

24th Oct UK children aged 5-11 only: story 200-800 words on the theme of animals.

30th Oct Socially aware and satirical poetry. PAYING

31st Oct Australians only: poems on the theme of plants in general, or plants in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Oct Published African writers only: excerpts from your previously-published work. PAYING!-scholarship-announcements/ralvv (with thanks for this one to

31st Oct UK residents aged 18-25 only: ‘Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. The 2016 Franklin quote is : ‘Light often arises from a collision of opinions, as fire from flint and steel’ – Benjamin Franklin, 1760’

31st Oct Story 3000-10,000 words on the theme of The Journey. PAYING

31st Oct Family-friendly haiku. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Oct Fiction up to 1000 words inspired by the illustration. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Oct Fiction up to 2000 words on the theme of Haunted Amusement Park. VOUCHER/OTHER

31st Oct ‘Manuscripts must be original and unpublished (either in print or digitally). Minnesota settings and authors are preferred but not mandatory–anyone can submit.

Do not send the whole book. (This is important.)’ ADVANCE + ROYALTIES (With thanks to for this one.)

31st Oct Poem inspired by the image. PAYING

1st Nov Up to 3 poems on the theme of Reality Has Never Betrayed Me. PAYING

1st Nov Up to 3 poems (Cathy’s note: according to Firstwriter’s newsletter, there is a commemorative trophy up for grabs, and the top three poems get a free copy of the anthology, but I can’t find any mention of this on the website. Fingers crossed that there is a prize of some sort other than just publication!). NON-CASH PRIZE

1st Nov ‘The Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2,000–5,000 words) in English written by a citizen of a Commonwealth country. All stories submitted must be unpublished, but both unpublished and published writers are eligible to apply. The competition is free to enter.’

1st Nov US only: your real-life story 2500-3500 words. PAYING

1st Nov ‘The Jane Lumley Prize will only be awarded to emerging poets who have not published more than one full length collection of poetry/prose (both traditional as well as self-published), and/or have only published chapbooks, and/or found a home for their works in literary magazines and anthologies. We also strongly encourage unpublished writers to submit their poems for consideration.’ PAYING


2nd Oct Story 800-2000 words on the theme of Us and Them.

2nd Oct Current and recent grad students only: writing on the theme of Glass Ceilings.

3rd Oct Creative nonfiction by women. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

3rd Oct Flash and short fiction on the theme of Nightmares.

5th Oct ‘Thrilling and frightening’ ghost stories 1500-2500 words.

6th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of East and West.

Pitches due by 7th Oct: fiction, essays, poetry and more on the theme of Millennials Strike Back. PAYING

7th Oct Poetry, fiction and more up to 500 words on the theme of True. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

10th Oct Fiction on the theme of Marine Wildlife.

10th Oct Murder and crime mysteries.

10th Oct Poetry and fiction on the theme of Fear.

14th Oct ‘October’s issue is now open for submissions! The theme prompts this time around are “macabre” and “Gothic”. Here’s the important part: October’s issue is a flash-submission issue – this means that all non-fiction and fiction submissions are limited to a maximum word-count of 1000 words, and all poems are limited to a maximum of 1 page, up to 5 poems per submission. Art submissions remain unaffected.’ PAYING

14th Oct Stories of around 200 words on the theme of Halloween (sic). PAYING

15th Oct ‘Found poems crafted from public domain sources.’

15th Oct Our Spring 2017 issue will be dedicated to Civil Servant Poets. The poems may be written on any subject, in any style or length, but must be written by those who have worked a significant amount of time for a non-military governmental department or agency (whether U.S., foreign, or international). Please explain how this applies to you and how this work affects your poetry in your contributor note. PAYING

15th Oct ‘Temptation Press is holding open submissions for short stories to be featured in this upcoming collection that tells tales of becoming the favorite of a Madam. Whether the main character is the Madam herself, one of her clients, or one in her employ, the story arc should contain how the character came to be in the position of favorite and what being the favorite really means.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct Poetry, fiction and more. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Oct Dark, spooky stories 1000-6000 words, set in New Orleans. PAYING

15th Oct Fiction and nonfiction, 3000-5000 words.

15th Oct US only: Fiction 2000-5000 words on the theme of Body Horror. PAYING

15th Oct Fiction, poetry and more on the theme of Imagining Peace.

15th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Ghost Hunters.

15th Oct ‘The secrets being kept from us reveal a world in of themselves. Science fiction has a long speculative history of new technology and species, the likes of which humanity has never seen. The horror genre always aims to excite and instil fear, with depictions of possessions and cruel vengeance. Fantasy literature can always teeter on the edge of a grim dark worldview. RE_ACTED wants stories that explore the dark side of human progression. What are the secrets we’ve erased from our families shared histories?’ Fiction, poetry and more. PAYING

16th Oct ‘Following up our Summer Edition of 2016 – The Work Issue, NOUS 8 will focus on the exploration of its flip side: “Play”. We are searching for stories, poems, and essays taking on themes such as Addiction, Gambling, Virtual Reality and Computer Games, Therapy, Community Action and Social Change.’ PAYING

16th Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Cities. PAYING

20th Oct Poetry and more on the theme of Politics and Poetry.

21st Oct US writers only: Dieselpunk fairytales, 4000-9000 words. PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

22nd Oct Fiction and drama up to 3000 words, and poetry, on the theme of Bedtime Stories. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

25th Oct ‘For this anthology, we are looking for stories that focus on strong heroines. We want to see stories of damsels who save themselves instead of waiting for a man to do the job for them. We want Rapunzel to find her own way out of the tower, the little mermaid to shove that dagger into the prince’s heart and win back her life, Snow White to shove that poisoned apple into the queen’s face… you get the idea.’ 100-25,000 words. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

28th Oct POSTAL SUBMISSION ONLY (Cathy’s note: I rarely include postal opportunities, but I love this publisher and recommend them highly. If you’ve got the postage and your MS is a good fit….) MSS of poetry or prose on the following themes: Normalising breastfeeding; Empowering both mothers and fathers;  Celebrating femininity and empathy (which is by no means only a female trait); Providing positive role models; Encouraging creativity

28th Oct ‘What if White Fang was actually a chupacabra? What if a pod of warmongering mermaids sank the Titanic? What if Oliver Twist turned out to be a twisted leprechaun? In these literary retellings, we want to know who really populated the stories that history wouldn’t allow told. The plot and motivations will stay largely the same, but the characters will be a little different than we remember. Think Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter, and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters when you’re writing the true versions of these classic spec-fic masterpieces.’ PAYING

30th Oct ‘We are looking for short fiction (1,500 to 5,000 words) that takes place in space and has a strong horror element. This can include aliens, ghosts, or disturbing circumstance. The key to success, as with all strong writing, is the human struggle and relatable characters.’. PAYING

31st Oct ‘We are looking for works that combine text and images in interesting ways. We are primarily thinking of 2D works, but will also consider pop-ups, limited layering and other ventures into the 3rd dimension. Works should incorporate significant text, not just a few words.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct ‘Our cats make us smile and laugh every day, but sometimes they really outdo themselves. Whether they came up with the idea themselves, or you put them in a situation that caused them to do something unusual, we want to hear about it!’ Poems and stories. PAYING

31st Oct Poetry.

31st Oct Horror fiction 2000-5000 words on the theme of Clockwork Wonderland. ‘Following the rabbit down the hole is the easy part. Battling time is what will kill you. Whether you’re trying to get back home or struggling to survive in Wonderland, your stories MUST be horrifying.’ PAYING

31st Oct ‘Book of Blasphemous Words is a weird fiction, horror, and speculative fiction anthology about humanity’s relationship with its gods. When we answer the call for salvation from the bondage of the material—when we believe in gods—we reach a hand into the unknown and risk losing it to something peckish. When we forget the power of the hearth, we risk a conflagration that can return civilization to the dirt whence it has come.’

31st Oct Poetry and more.

31st Oct Poetry.

31st Oct Poetry and fiction either on the theme of Narrow, or in response to the provided photograph. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct SF/F flash fiction up to 500 words. PAYING

31st Oct Fiction 1000-12,000 words on the theme of Cannibalism. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct Fiction 800-3000 words on the theme of Dreams and Aspirations.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Four Elements.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more including the elements Glaze, Thread and Murmur.

31st Oct Poetry on the theme of either Gambling or Surrealism. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Oct Poetry and more on the theme of Home.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more by women on the theme of Rebirth.

31st Oct Canada only: poetry, fiction and more. ‘The Maple Tree Literary Supplement provides a platform for dialogue or interviews on any topic between and amongst Canadian writers, while featuring their work and reporting on literary events, landmarks or festivals in Canada and around the world–with an emphasis on their Canadian composition.’ PAYING

31st Oct Writing and more on the theme of “Surrealism and the Sea / Marine Communism”.

31st Oct Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Publication.

31st Oct Fiction and more on the theme of Winter. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Nov Fiction 300-5000 words, starting with the line: In the six years I spent tracking David Addley, it never occurred to me that he didn’t exist. PAYING

1st Nov Poetry on the theme of Ekphrastic (Cathy’s note: only Australian contributors are paid). PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

1st Nov Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Missing Letters. PAYING

1st Nov Poetry, fiction, plays and more. PAYING

1st Nov Dark poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

1st Nov ‘Please submit one mixed-genre mystery story (so mystery + any other genre, including romance, science fiction, fantasy, etc.) no longer than 7,500 words or up to three mixed-genre mystery poems (poetry is the genre mixed with mystery in this case).’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

1st Nov ‘We’re looking for work that revolves around parties and celebrations, from the sophisticated to the debaucherous: soirées, shindigs, galas, cotillion balls, beer busts at The Moontower—if someone’s raising a glass, we want to know about it. Send your poetry, fiction, essays, illustrations and photography.’

1st Nov Flash and short fiction on the theme of Reflection.

1st Nov Genre fiction 1000-5000 words on the theme of Women of War. PAYING

1st Nov or when full: ‘Porkbelly Press (in partnership with the reading staff of Sugared Water) is seeking work inspired by dark forests, fanged girls, fierce women, feral princesses, a sisterhood of witches deep in the woods. Send us your tale of a girl that eats the wolf’s heart a piece at a time. Send us your poetry, your prose poems, micro/short fictions & short essays.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES


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.

‘All of the manuscripts that we select involve conveying meaningful messages to children or youth. They catalyze conversations between parents and children, teachers and students, about the topics that matter most to the generation of children we are shaping today.’

Full length MSS of poetry, fiction or nonfiction.


‘We want stories set in what Tolkien called a “secondary world”: some other world that is different from our own primary world in some way. It could be different in terms of zoology (non-human creatures), ecology (climate), or physical laws (the presence of magic). It could be set on Earth but an Earth different from our primary world in terms of time (the historical past) or history (alternate history).’ PAYING

Open until filled (or Dec 31st): ‘Lucky issue thirteen of Workers Write! will be Tales from the Casino and will contain stories and poems from workers in the gambling industry.’ PAYING

Fiction and more.

Fiction 500-2500 words.

Hippocampus Magazine and Press LLC is looking for its first few book-length works for its small press division. We’re looking for work in the following categories (and, in parentheses, is what to submit for consideration): Memoirs (query + first three chapters), Essay collections (query + three essays), Literary journalism – (query + first three chapters OR proposal, as we’ll entertain strongly developed ideas that may not yet be completed projects), Creativity books (proposal), Craft books (proposal). ADVANCE + ROYALTIES

(thanks for this one to )

‘We publish brilliant fiction of all types, whether it be literary or genre – sci-fi, YA, fantasy, crime, short stories, or whatever you’re having yourself. Please note that we don’t publish children’s books, history, poetry, memoir or non-fiction. If you’re a short story writer, please submit three sample stories. Please also note that you’ll have to have enough stories for a complete collection.’

‘Do you dream of being a highly paid, famous comedy writer? Living the opulent life that goes with such a lofty title? Well, then this might not be for you. However, if you can write stuff that’s funny, this might be your lucky day! We are currently casting a wide net to find some worthy comedy writers for article submissions to Article submissions can be topical, conceptual, open letters, photoshops, fake news blurbs, reviews of inanimate objects, etc. Please keep it to 1500 words or less.’ PAYING

SF and H fiction, 1500-6000 words. PAYING

‘We only publish novels in which at least one of the main characters is of indigenous African descent. Sorry, White South Africans, but you are of European descent. Indigenous Africans are not necessarily Black. Lands like Egypt and Algeria have been relatively multiracial for millennia.’ ROYALTIES


Dark fiction (Cathy’s note: although they are open until 16th Nov according to the website, they close when they have 300 submissions, so get yours in early if possible). PAYING

‘The Unnamed Press publishes literature from around the world. Whether it’s fiction, memoir or something in between, we are always interested in unlikely protagonists, undiscovered territories and courageous voices.’

Beautiful creative work.

‘Creators, Inc. distributes a great variety of continuing features, such as comic strips and panels, columns and political cartoons, as well as books and original manuscripts. We are constantly on the lookout for quality features.’



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