Comps and calls for July 2017

Hello all! Many thanks, as always, to those of you who have sent me messages telling me about your successes. I really should have put them on a page to inspire the rest of you… As usual I’ve been busy – writing, editing, and reading some wonderful work by other people. I’ve had some acceptances but it hasn’t been the most succesful month for me.

In fact, it’s the summer slump. While December is by far the best month to enter or submit, as there are loads of opportunities and many writers are far too busy to do as much as usual, July and August come joint second. People are on holiday, or busy with children home from school – which means that you and I should be submitting and entering, submitting and entering! If we do, then later in the year we should get some very nice emails indeed.

Many thanks to this month’s sponsor, UK-based indie press Mother’s Milk Books. They’re inviting submissions of short stories/fairy tales for the next in the series of The Forgotten and the Fantastical. Stories can be up to 5000 words long, and may be set in the present day or in any fantastical setting. Each accepted author receives payment, a copy of the book and the chance to read at the launch. Deadline: 31st August.

Good luck with whatever you decide to enter!

Cathy x

Here are July 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/tap 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 Jul Full length play. PAYING

5th July Spectator Competition No. 3006: laughing matter. ‘You are invited to submit a sonnet that takes as its opening line Keats’s ‘Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell:’. Please email entries, wherever possible, to by midday on 5 July.’ PAYING

5th Jul Various awards for writers based in Scotland. PAYING

12th Jul ‘Spectator Competition No. 3007: CAT CAL1(sic). You are invited to submit a poem about Larry the Downing Street cat. Please email, wherever possible, entries of up to 16 lines to by midday on 12 July.’ PAYING

16th Jul Short story 1500-5000 words on the theme of Light (Cathy’s note: this is free for those 21 and under, but those older will have to pay a fee). PAYING (thanks to for this)

18th Jul ‘Aspiring art critics are invited to submit one unpublished review of a recent contemporary art exhibition, which should be 700 words in length.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

30th Jul Poem (Cathy’s note: the first entry is free, but you have to pay if you want to enter two or three). PAYING

30th Jul Writers aged 14-21 living in Ireland: Writing exploring the ethical challenges associated with intercultural diversity in Ireland. PAYING

31st Jul Writing up to 750 words on the theme of Travel for Seniors. PAYING

31st Jul New Zealand only: essay up to 4000 words. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st Jul ‘We are looking for a standout junior novel. It could be contemporary or magical, it could have the makings of a series, or be one crystalline stand-alone. We know we’re setting the bar high. We hope to find a book that will be in print in fifty years, as Joan achieved with the Wolves series – and many other books.’ PAYING

31st Jul Canada only: poetry and/or short story. PAYING

31st Jul Non-professional writers only: story on the theme of Journey. Children’s prize: story on the theme of Maps. PAYING

31st Jul Poem by a child aged 11-17. NON-CASH PRIZE

31st Jul Poem by a writer aged 10-13. PAYING

31st Jul ‘The $500 Diverse Writers grant is intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc. — those whose marginalized identities may present additional obstacles in the writing / publishing process. The $500 Diverse Worlds grant is intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background.’ PAYING

31st Jul ‘This year we’re welcoming poems and short stories on all aspects of caring, but we’d particularly like to receive entries on the theme of ‘This was not in the plan’. Sooner or later, most of us will face the challenge of caring for a loved one who is older, disabled or seriously ill, but it can often happen unexpectedly. We look forward to receiving your poems and stories which address this theme.’ VOUCHER/OTHER

1st Aug ‘Entries will be accepted of unpublished poetry and prose from writers who have not yet published a collection of poems or short stories or a novel. Writers who have published chapbooks may enter.’ PAYING

1st Aug Poem in the ballade (not ballad!) form. PAYING


2nd Jul Poetry and more (Cathy’s note: they urge you strongly to subscribe or buy back issues, but I think my submission got through without. Of course it’s good to support litmags and I hope that you do, but if you submit, as I do, around 400 pieces a year, then it’s simply impossible to buy every publication you submit to). PAYING (thanks to for this one)

3rd Jul Poetry and more on the theme of Conscience.

5th Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of A Reaping. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

5th Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of True Facts.

7th Jul Fiction 2000-4000 words on the theme of either Agents and Spies or Pirates and Ghosts. PAYING

7th Jul Short stories by writers living and working in Cornwall.

7th Jul Fiction up to 8000 words on the theme of Victorian Mash-up.

10th Jul Fiction 3500-5000 words on the theme of Alien Weather. ‘Set it in space, in the far future, and include some friendly non-humanoid aliens helping to solve a pseudo-scientific problem.’ PAYING

10th Jul Poetry and more on the theme of Conscience for this Quaker mag.

10th Jul 50 word fiction on the theme of Outlaws. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Jul F, SF and H: flash and short fiction. PAYING

15th Jul ‘We invite contributions most particularly from people (of all ages) who did not expect to live to adulthood. We also welcome contributions from those around them, family, physicians, nurses, caregivers, teachers, counsellors, and friends, whose own understandings of how adulthood is defined and valued may have been changed as well.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

15th Jul Pop culture nonfiction and more. PAYING

15th Jul Fiction and more on the theme of Bodies.

15th Jul ‘Queer Southeast Asia: A Journal of Transgressive Art invites artists, critics, scholars, curators, cultural workers, activists doing trans-work in/on Southeast Asia from all worldly zones to reflect on the question of trans as a differential calculus of precarious gender in the 21st century, with a particular consideration of queerness as a method of inquiry that makes the traversals of trans both restive and irresistible.’ Poetry, fiction and more.

15th Jul Speculative fiction 1500-3000 words on the theme of Strange Beasties. PAYING

15th Jul Nonfiction poems on the theme of Jazz.

15th Jul Canada only: Poetry and fiction on the theme of Alice Unbound. PAYING

16th Jul 3-6 poems. (Cathy’s note: Duotrope says ‘unknown advance, unknown royalties’, but I can’t fnd any payment info on the website) UNKNOWN PAYMENT

19th Jul ‘We are looking for talented writers who have stories to tell about their recovery, directly or indirectly from drugs or alcohol. We will also consider submissions on the theme of recovery in a broader sense (from mental or physical illness). Through our creative writing group and mentoring, we aim to inspire artistic excellence in our writers, helping nurture talent that has previously gone unnoticed.’

20th Jul Poetry and more on the theme of Practical Magic.

21st Jul or when filled: ‘Franklin/Kerr Press is looking for exceptional horror short stories with post-apocalyptic and dystopian themes or settings for our upcoming horror anthology Down with the Fallen. ‘ 2000-8000 words. PAYING

21st Fiction, nonfiction and more for children aged 9-14, on the theme of Scotland. PAYING

24th Jul ‘As with the first issue, we’re looking for 300-500 word pieces of non-fiction poetry and prose – we’ll even accept prose poetry – or 144 character long pieces of Twitterature. For this issue, we’re looking for interesting and unique insights behind identity and the multitude of things (from hobbies, relationships, schools, interests, beliefs, events or places to name but a few) which form a key part of who we are as individuals.’ (thanks to for this one)

24th Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of ‘Oh the shame! Exploring our uniquely human emotion.’

25th Jul Poetry and short fiction on the theme of Light. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

27th Jul Heartfelt poetry outlining the challenges faced in the current economic climate, yet highlighting how by working together we can make positive changes for everyone and save the world one life at a time.

28th Jul ‘Think Nightmare before Christmas and Rise of the Guardians and other mash-ups for this Halloween issue. We’re looking for stories that combine two or more holidays and splash in a bit of Halloween creepiness for a twisted celebration.’ Flash fiction. PAYING

30th Jul Poetry and fiction on the theme of Emperor’s New Clothes. PAYING

30th Jul Fiction on the theme of Beginnings. PAYING

31st Jul Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Skin. PAYING (thanks to for this one)

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more, by women, on the theme of Family Secrets. PAYING

31st Jul Poetry and fiction on the theme of Education.

31st Jul ‘We are open to submissions which relate to the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen. We encourage you to explore Project Gutenberg for reference, and suggest Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, First Series, and Hans Andersen’s Fairy Tales, Second Series as your source of inspiration (and accuracy.)’ PAYING

31st Jul ‘Theme: People whose lives do not reflect those in mainstream media. They might be stories with minority protagonists, pieces about unconventional lifestyles, or stories set in fantasy worlds unlike the usual quasi-medieval fare. Also welcome would be stories about people living different lives in some way – perhaps having the opportunity to go back and change a decision or slipping between timelines.’

31st Jul ‘We are looking for weird fiction that explores the mystique and terror of caverns, abyssal spaces, and subterranean worlds. As with previous MMP anthologies, we will be including a seed story from H. P. Lovecraft’s oeuvre (in this case, The Rats in the Walls, though many of his stories went underground). We want to see bizarre civilizations, mind-boggling physical and biological phenomena, horrific rituals, mad science and madder sorcery.’ PAYING

31st Jul ‘Brad King, Amber Peckham, Nicole Mathew, and Elise Lockwood are seeking narrative essay, creative nonfiction, script photo, and poetry submissions for an edited book collection titled Dear America: Reflections on Race. This collection takes the issue that most divides this country, and moves it to the quiet, intimate stories of people from across the country. This collection isn’t meant to advocate a position. Instead, we want the personal stories and reflections from people who come from diverse backgrounds and want to share their American story.’ Poetry, ficiton, scripts and more. ROYALTIES

31st Jul Horror fiction 4000-6000 words on the theme of one of the listed phobias. PAYING

31st Jul Poetry and short fiction. PAYING

31st Jul ‘We are accepting submissions of prose, poetry, and art from women of color and non-binary people of color. All submissions receive detailed feedback from genre editors to encourage artistic growth.’

31st Jul ‘Sharp & Sugar Tooth is looking for creepy, seductive stories about the dark side of culinary life. The emphasis should be on the preparation, or the consumption, of food—horrifying, mouth-watering stories that make us hungry despite ourselves. Authors must identify as female, non-binary, or a marginalized sex or gender identity.’ Up to 5000 words. PAYING

31st Jul 10-15 pages of poems for the Boxset Series. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more by writers over 50 (Cathy’s note: non-US residents can submit by email).

31st Jul ‘We are now looking for novel-length material. Vicinity of 70,000 words +. We are especially looking for surrealist material or work that expands the normal bounds of structure and perception. We are not looking for memoir this round. And we are not looking for young adult, coming-of-age, historical fiction, or – frankly – anything the Big 5 Publishers would love.’ UNKNOWN PAYMENT

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Metamorphosis. Cathy’s note: They state that ‘Contributors will be paid once their work is included in our annual print anthology.’ It’s not clear whether all accepted work is included in that or not. I’ve listed them as paying, anyway, until I find out more.) PAYING

31st Jul ‘Butcher’s Dog welcomes submissions from writers currently living in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, particularly those with a connection to Northern England. Submit up to three previously unpublished poems.’

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Tethys. PAYING

31st Jul Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Askew Communications.

1st Aug Flash, short fiction and more on the theme of Nothing but Witches, Bitches! PAYING

1st Aug Poetry, fiction and more. PAYING

1st Aug ‘Thurston Howl Publications is now accepting submissions for its third furry anthology, Infurno: The Nine Circles of Hell.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES

1st Aug ‘Poems with lyricism and imagery, interesting language & emotional resonance.’ (Cathy’s note: according to Duotrope, the theme is ‘Skin Deep’, but there’s nothing that I’ve found to confirm that on the website.)


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.

‘We’re interested in writing and visual art that spans the worlds of queer culture, the feminine narrative, marginalized communities, and politics and culture.’ PAYING (thanks to for this one)

Poetry, fiction and more.

Poetry, flash and short fiction.

Until filled or 31st Aug (Cathy’s note: they usually close submissions early!) ‘Now we are looking for stories involving the creatures which hide in the shadows — the monsters of cryptozoology. Bigfoot, Nessie, el Chupacabra, The Jersey Devil — cryptids so well known that they have become part of the cultural zeitgeist. For our new anthology, tentatively entitled Hidden Animals: A Collection of Cryptids, we are looking for lesser known cryptids, creatures of the dark corners of cryptozoology. They can be the antagonist, the protagonist, the creeping dread which drives the story, but they must be present.’ Fiction up to 6000 words. PAYING

‘An open space for artistic exploration into the curiosities that shape us and the underpinnings of how we think and feel. Published quarterly. Submissions accepted on a rolling basis. short fiction, poetry, flash fiction and libretti, interviews, essays, columns or series, criticism, visual art, multi-media collections, travel writing and reportage’

‘Send us your coolest, deepest, most fun, most emotionally power-packed prose, poetry, or hybrid genre-bending triumph of autotheory. We’ll read it.’

Query the editor who best fits your novel.

‘City Lights Press would love to see your work. We are currently accepting unsolicited manuscripts in the following three genres: romance (not including erotic romance), young adult and new adult. Our goal is to find and share fun, sexy, laugh-out-loud stories from authors in all stages of their writing careers.’

Game-related stories (Cathy’s note: this is a lot of pay, and I don’t know quite how this sort of thing works, but good luck if you have a go!). PAYING

Ghost-themed novels and short story collections.



1 Comment

  1. I can’t thank you enough for your Comps and Calls each month. I used to spend far too much time looking for contests to enter; by the time I had my monthly list prepared, the month would be half over, and I wouldn’t have enough time to write, edit, and submit. Now, I just wait for your email to appear. It’s FANTASTIC! I have been recommending your newsletter to all my writing friends. With NaNo this month, I’m not doing many contests, but I’ll be back strong in August; and I can’t wait for your next Comps and Calls! THANK YOU!

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