Comps and calls for January 2017

Happy New Year! I’m full of a cold, and I’m hoping that my fuzzy head hasn’t affected these listings — make sure to visit the websites and read the guidelines extra carefully! I’m feeling optimistic, though, because it’s not 2016 any more. Hurrah!

A huge thank you to those who’ve taken the time to email me and tell me about their successes, or just to say that they like the site. It makes my day when that happens. You’re stars — and your courtesy is one of the hallmarks of the professional.

New year, new writing resolutions — make yours to write, submit and enter. That, in a nutshell, is how it’s done.

Cathy x

Here are January 2017’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.


2nd Jan ‘The award recognizes excellence in fiction or creative nonfiction on the topic of serious physical illness. The winner of the award must demonstrate both high literary standards and a broad audience appeal while exploring the impact of illness on the patient, family and friends, and others. Writers must have previously published in literary journals or magazines, or have published a book with an independent or traditional publisher.’ PAYING

4th Jan ‘Competition No. 2980: comic effect. You are invited to submit an extract from a politician’s speech ghostwritten by a well-known comedian (150 words maximum). Please email entries, wherever possible, to by midday on 4 January.’ PAYING

8th Jan ‘Octavia Estelle Butler was born on 22 June, 1947, and died in 2006. In celebration of what would have been her 70th birthday in 2017, and in recognition of Butler’s enormous influence on speculative fiction, and African-American literature more generally, Twelfth Planet Press is publishing a selection of letters and essays written by science fiction and fantasy’s writers, editors, critics and fans. We are looking for letters addressed to Butler, which should be between 1000 and 1500 words.’ PAYING

15th Jan ‘Doris was always creating new worlds with her unexpected poetics. Following upon that spirit of creative invention and inventive creation; engaging wit and ingenious playfulness; discovery in construction; and radical appropriations based on classical forms, pastiche, and love: the Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry Award will be given to a long poem (minimum 3 pages) with a truly inventive spirit.’ PAYING

15th Jan Poem on the theme of your favourite thing about Winter. VOUCHER/OTHER

15th Jan Poems and essays on the theme of To a Friend. PAYING

16th US and part of Canada only: ‘How has trusting a family member, friend, or stranger affected your life? To enter the contest, write up to 1,000 words on how trust (or distrust) has changed your outlook.’ PAYING

20th Jan Age 13-18: story up to 2500 words on the theme of Memory. PAYING

29th Jan 18-35 only: Essay, on any subject, up to 3500 words. PAYING

31st Jan The children’s category of this comp is free, while you need to make a purchase to enter the adult category. Poetry and/or prose. ‘We hope the writing prize continues to generate interest in our little, indie press and our books that aim to normalise breastfeeding and mindful parenting. It is also hoped that it will stimulate creativity and produce some great writing!’ (Cathy’s note: this is one of my favourite presses – very fair and well worth the effort, in my opinion) Children’s prize: VOUCHER/OTHER Adults prize: PAYING

31st Jan ‘Select one or more paintings from the image gallery and use your creative prowess to write a short story around that piece.’ 2000-5000 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st Jan ‘Radiant Crown Publishing seeks new, emerging, and established author’s and poet’s previously unpublished submissions for The Kármán Liminality (100km) chapbook prize. The series will comprise of gothic science-fiction, surrealist horror, and or magical realist prose and poetry from those typically on the margins. Works that are transitioning between time and space, and are engrossing should submit.’ PAYING

31st Jan ‘Spirit First is pleased to announce its 8th Annual Meditation Poetry Contest. Poetry submissions may be of any length and any style but must have a theme of Meditation or Mindfulness. Poems may reflect any discipline, any faith, or none.’ PAYING

31st Jan 3000 word essay (and a book outline) answering the question: Are digital technologies making politics impossible? PAYING

31st Jan What would your Quaker meeting do with an unexpected $1M? 500-2000 words. PAYING

31st Jan ‘Do you identify as an LGBTQ author, or are you writing stories with LGBTQ themes and characters? Submit both fiction and nonfiction book proposals here in the month of January.’ PAYING

31st Jan Short story, up to 2500 words, set in Little Tokyo. PAYING

31st Jan US only: fiction up to 8000 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one.)

31st Jan ‘Three times a year, Jerry Jazz Musician awards a writer who submits, in our opinion, the best original, previously unpublished work of short fiction.

The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America.’ PAYING

1st Feb ‘Write a short story of no more than 8,000 words, that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration.’ PAYING

1st Feb Travel Poetry. NON-CASH PRIZE


2nd Jan ‘What Fresh Witch Is This? wants to hear the writing you build from rage—what you create when fury feeds your pen. In this issue, we are asking you to burn it all down and paint with the ashes. Send us fiction and creative non-fiction (no more than 4000 words), flash fiction (70-500 words), poetry (maximum three per submission), and visual projects that engage with the theme of rage.’ (thanks for this one to )

2nd Jan ‘Fairy tales have long been used to entertain, teach, and even sometimes frighten readers of all ages. Whether it’s witches eating unsuspecting children, princes cursed because they are terrible people, young maidens outsmarting fairy creatures, or just tales of mystical fairy folk, fairy tales are an indelible part of the storytelling experience. For this anthology we want you to give us your sexy take on fairy tales or fairy stories.’ PAYING

3rd Jan Erotic tales of wanderlust, 1000-5000 words. PAYING

3rd Jan Poetry of personal myth.

5th Jan ‘The only instructions are that the piece should be based around the colour Red, between 500-1500 words. The article is also to be ideas based: intelligent, thoughtful, provocative, different, creative, beautifully written, accessible and interesting. Also the piece has to be timeless, a reflection rather than fast news.’ Articles and creative essays only – no poetry or fiction. PAYING email

8th Jan ‘2017 is the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution & its betrayal by the Bolsheviks & the 50th anniversary of the Detroit Rebellion, but articles can reflect micro-aspects of these concepts as well. A story of personal revolt, a neighborhood rebellion, a high school riot, etc. Essays, fiction, poetry, and graphics are welcome.’

9th Jan Drama script of at least 30 mins. (thanks to for this one)

9th Jan ‘We exist in a country where we must constantly remind those in power of our humanity. We stand against continued colonial violence and hold our heads high in prayer and love for our communities and culture. Submissions open to Indigenous writers, writers of color and allies.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

9th Jan Poetry, fiction and more.

10th Jan Poetry and fiction on the theme of All About the Weather. PAYING

10th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Toys and Games.

11th Jan Pitch for a play you’d like to write.

13th Jan Flash fiction on the theme of Literary Time Warp. PAYING

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Commercial Cosmonauts and Hired Guns. PAYING

15th Jan Poetry, flash and short fiction by queer/trans people of colour.

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Wild Joy. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Jan ‘Submissions are open for Bikes in Space Volume 5. The theme is Intersections. Stories that are accepted will all have a feminist perspective and incorporate bicycling in some way, whether or not they are actually about feminism or about bicycles.’ PAYS PERCENTAGE OF KICKSTARTER

15th Jan ‘Our fourth issue is OPEN WATER: LONGFORM. You may write about any topic you want, but poems must be at least 50 lines, short fiction from 1,000-2,000 words. Art sequences should contain at least five (5) pieces.’ PAYING

15th Jan ‘This open call seeks to connect to writers and artists we might not meet otherwise. Building on the “Migration” theme of our first VERSO / season, we are looking for works that cross borders and terrains, works that shift cultural tectonics in literal and metaphorical ways.’ UNKNOWN PAYMENT

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

15th Jan ‘Our Summer 2017 issue will be dedicated to Poets with Mental Illness. The poems may be any subject or length, but must written by poets who have themselves lived with mental illness. The poems need not be about mental health—our goal is to honor these poets by sharing the diverse creative work that they’re producing, while helping to raise awareness and diminish the associated cultural stigma.’ PAYING

15th Jan ‘Ella @ 100 anthology project seeks poems, stories, essays, scripts, and graphic essays or stories inspired by the life and work of the incomparable Ella Fitzgerald.’ PAYING

15th Jan ‘The Arctic Circle 2017 programming takes place in the international territory of Svalbard, a mountainous Arctic archipelago just 10 degrees from the North Pole. Each expedition provides the opportunity for artists and innovators to pursue their personal projects on board while exploring collaborations with the expedition’s fellow participants.’ TRIP TO THE ARCTIC

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Boundaries.

15th Jan ‘great weather for MEDIA seeks poetry, flash fiction, short stories, dramatic monologues, and creative nonfiction for our annual print anthology.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS

15th Jan Poetry and prose on the theme of Secrets.

15th Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Refugees and the Displaced. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

19th Jan Fiction up to 4000 words on the theme of Change.

20th Jan ‘Submission requirements begin with having an invisible illness or being the child, parent, or partner of someone with an invisible illness. Submission need not address the subject of invisible illness but the platform is presented to allow that without censorship. Artwork, poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction accepted. No reviews at this time.’

20th Jan ‘From November 9 until January 20, the Indolent Books website will publish a poem-a-day intervention in the unprecedented presidential transition we embark up today. We do not want poems that trash-talk anybody—even if that is what is in your heart.’

25th Jan Poetry, fiction and more for The Quantum Issue.

26th Jan Poetry and short fiction on the theme of Future. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

27th Jan ‘Everybody has thoughts on the results of the 2016 presidential election. The aim with States of the Union is to create a book that will preserve the climate at this flashpoint.’

30th Jan Poetry and stories on the theme of The Steadfast Tin Soldier. PAYING

30th Jan ‘We are now accepting submissions of poetry and flash fiction based on urban (or rural, or suburban, or the internet…) legends and modern folklore from any culture and any continent.’ PROFIT/REVENUE SHARING MODEL

30th Jan Poetry on the theme of Anti-Bullying. ‘The work we select must be a positive force not full of complaints but rather uplifting to the spirit.’

31st Jan Poetry, flash fiction and more on the theme of Tyrant.

31st Jan Speculative fiction 6000-10,000 words on the theme of either Infinite Dysmorphia, Terra Nullius or Holding on By Our Fingertips. PAYING

31st Jan or when filled: poetry, prose and art on the theme of Brown Face, White Space.

31st Jan Poetry on the theme of Revival.

31st Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Saturnalia. PAYING

31st Jan Literary speculative poetry and fiction on the theme of Resurrected Things.

31st Jan Flash fiction up to 250 words on the theme of Remnants.

31st Jan Writing by women, including trans* persons, gender-variant and two-spirit women, and women of non-binary sexual orientations, on the theme of Migration. PAYING

31st Jan Poetry, fiction, plays and more.

31st Jan Fiction 800-8000 words. PAYING

31st Jan Poetry and short prose on the theme of Happy.

31st Jan Adventure story, 3000-6000 words, suitable for middle grade readers (aged 8-12). PAYING

(thank you to for this one)

31st Jan ‘The next release is Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird, presenting tales that combine space opera with cosmic weird horror, either set within the Cthulhu Mythos or inspired by it.’ PAYING

31st Jan ‘Frangipani Press is currently accepting submissions for its inaugural issue. Open theme. You can write a story or poem on absolutely anything you wish to. It can be horror, romance, magical realism, hell it can even be sci-fi but just make it good. Really good.  Word count: 2000 words or below. 30 lines for poetry. Email your submissions/queries to

31st Jan Romantic vampire stories 1000-15,000 words. PAYING

31st Jan Poetry and fiction on the theme of Medicine.

31st Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Breaking Barriers or Pushing Against Boundaries. PAYING

31st Jan Poetry on the theme of Back Roads & Byways.

31st Jan Writing and art by neurodivergent writers on the theme of Time Travel.

31st Jan or when filled: Food-related erotic horror. PAYING

31st Jan In Memoriam poetry for public figures who died in 2016. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jan Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe. PAYING

31st Jan Fantasy novella. PAYING

1st Feb Speculative and/or esoteric poetry, fiction and more on the theme of A Becoming. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Feb Fiction 500-3000 words starting with the line, Eddie tended to drift into whatever jobs were available that would pay the rent. PAYING

1st Feb ‘Essay theme: Stories about traveling, wandering, the wonder of our great big world’ for this mag centring on women’s interests. PAYING

1st Feb ‘Please submit your work to an important new anthology of poems, whose working title is The Poetry of Capital. This collection will contain a diverse range of poets coming together to assess the 21st-century American relationship with money: the adversarial and the addicted, the private and the political, the exuberant and the destitute.’

1st Feb Poetry, essays, fiction and more on the theme of Beyond Red and Blue: Voices of America.

1st Feb ‘As fall turns to a hazy shade of winter, our next issue theme explores how the history of L.A. (past, present and yet to come) provokes change.’


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.

‘Please submit only those works that can be reasonably described as expressions of resistance, whether poetry, fiction, narrative nonfiction or images.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

‘We seek poems of high literary quality—poems we can be proud to publish and which we believe will generate their own light for our readers.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Flash, short fiction and more.

Various types of romance MSS. ROYALTIES

‘Publishes historical based children’s fiction for middle grade and young adult readers. Each book contains accurate historical information while captivating the readers with fascinating stories. White Mane Kids™ does not, however, publish picture books at this time.’ (with thanks to for this one)

Poetry and non-fiction.

Poetry, fiction, and more.

Poetry, flash, short fiction and more (Cathy’s note: you have to scroll through loads of fee-charging options on their Submittable page, but the ‘general’ category is free!). SOME CONTRIBUTORS GET CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

Write a funny short story or monologue in 500 words or less.

‘Anak Sastra consists of two main platforms. The first is to give writers of Southeast Asian countries a place to publish their work on any topic written in English. The second is to allow expatriates, tourists, and regional connoisseurs to share their experiences living or traveling in Southeast Asia through written word in English.’ Poetry, short fiction and more.

’50GS accepts short fiction; book reviews; interviews; craft essays; creative non-fiction; poetry; photography; and visual art.’


‘Rise Up Review is a landing site for the poetry of opposition. We feature a new poem each day dedicated to making the political personal and vice versa.’

Fiction 1500-7000 words. ROYALTIES

Twitter-length fiction and memoir.

Poetry, flash, short fiction and more. PAYING

‘Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, experimental writing, and art.’

‘Entertaining: QUIPS & QUOTES, FOOTNOTES and ANECDOTES. To be no more than 5-lines, 5th line to be byline identification. Use no larger than #12 Font. To be no more than 60 space lines.’ email:

Science Fantasy stories. PAYING



  1. Thanks Cathy, for sending us a list on New Year’s Day. You’re a trooper! Sorry to hear about your cold, get well soon. And wishing you writing success in 2017. Shirleyxx

  2. I am a lifelong writer who waited until he was 75 years of age before self publishing my first mystery novel. Your list is a true service to me and writer like me. Thank you!

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