It’s December – the very best month for submitting and entering! Most people are too busy with winter celebrations and holidays of all kinds to sit down and send their writing out into the world. By all means have fun, but do try submitting too. There are so many opportunities this month!
It’s also the time of year when we take stock of the last twelve months. As many of you know, in 2021 I’ve had long Covid as well as a breast cancer scare and a number of procedures, on top of the usual fibromyalgia, arthritis etc. But I’m also in a lovely little house with my awesome husband and much-loved cat, so I’m not having a moan. I also had a lovely booklet published in aid of an animal charity, and I won a small competition, as well as being published in exciting places. Anyway, I hope your year contained plenty of good to outweigh the difficult.
A massive thank you to my Patreon peeps, who help to keep the site going but get nothing whatever in return, except the knowledge that they are helping a lot of writers. I admire these people enormously.
Another big thank you to those who have been in touch for whatever reason – telling me of their fabulous success, sharing the challenges they face as a writer, or all kinds of other things. We’ve become a community thanks to you.
Have a wonderful winter festival of whatever kind, and a very Happy New Year!
Here are some 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.
Weekly: poem. PAYING https://www.poetrynook.com/
3rd Dec Spectator Competition No. 3229: born again, You are invited to provide the story of the Nativity retold in the style of a well-known author. Please submit up to 150 words/16 lines. PAYING https://www.spectator.co.uk/article/spectator-competition-winners-o-scintillate-bright-orb-celestial-gleam-twinkle-twinkle-little-star-
5th Dec 5pm ‘To celebrate 50 years of The University of Limerick, the 2022 edition of The Ogham Stone will be running a 50 word anything competition. You can enter poetry, verse, stories, prose, monologue, dialogue or any literary form you want as long as it is 50 words.’ VOUCHER/OTHER https://theoghamstoneul.com/2021/10/20/50-words-competition/
6th Dec ‘The Bocas Emerging Writers Fellowships, to be awarded simultaneously in 2022, are a pair of one-time fellowships for emerging Caribbean-based writers in English, in two categories: prose (fiction or non-fiction) and poetry.’ PAYING https://www.bocaslitfest.com/awards/emerging-writers-fellowships-2022/ (many thanks to www.erikadreifus.com for this one)
14th Dec Speculative Flash Fiction Contest. Fiction up to 1000 words, inspired by Zelia Nuttall. PAYING https://apparitionlit.com/submissions/
15th Dec Micro/mini poetry or flash. PAYING https://tablefeastlitmag.com/trypartakesubmissionsguidelines (thanks for this to www.erikadreifus.com )
17th Dec Crime novel. ‘The Competition is open to any writer, regardless of nationality, aged 18 or older, who has never been the author of any Published Novel (in any genre), as defined by the guidelines below, (except that authors of self-published works only may enter, as long as the manuscript submitted is not the self-published work) and is not under contract with a publisher for publication of a novel.’ PAYING https://mysterywriters.org/about-mwa/st-martins/
25th Dec Fiction 1500-4000 words on the theme of Were-beasts. PAYING https://www.eerieriverpublishing.com/open-submission
31st Dec 101-word fiction on the theme of New Year, New Me. https://www.tortivetheatre.com/flash101 (Cathy’s note: there’s no real prize other than publication, but I just liked the look of this.)
31st Dec Drabble on the theme of Marcia’s Murder Mysteries. PAYING https://www.hiraethsffh.com/drabble-contest
3rd Dec ‘We look for well-crafted poetry and prose that is bold and memorable. We want art that challenges.’ Theme: Worlds in Flux. https://foliolitjournal.submittable.com/submit
5th Dec ‘Writers from Commonwealth countries are invited to submit poetry (up to 2 poems, 5 pages maximum), literary non-fiction (2000-5000 words), short fiction (2000-5000 words) and graphic fiction (finished panels or samples of illustrations) that are in conversation with the Commonwealth’s commitment to freedom of expression.’ PAYING https://www.addastories.org/call-submissions-freedom-expression/
6th Dec Poetry, flash, short fiction and more on the theme of To Make Much of Time. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) https://www.ncc.edu/programsandcourses/academic_departments/english/nassau_review/submission_guidelines.shtml
7th Dec Poetry and short fiction on the theme of Food. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) https://ninearchespress.com/magazine
7th Dec ‘What endures after the future has vanished? In (the long crisis of) the present, who is haunting whom? Dilettante Army’s Spring 2022 issue, A Spectre Is Haunting…, invites contributors to play Mad Libs with Marx and Engels’s famous phrase and fill in the blanks of this popular and flexible metaphor. “A spectre is haunting ______; the spectre of ______.” Topics might include: the logic of late capitalism, haunted houses, mourning, the long crisis of the present, pastiche, palimpsest, institutional memory, sampling, pop music, failed movements, outdated genres, things that go bump in the night, Goosebumps, echoes, literal or figurative waking nightmares, literal or emotional blackmail, guilt, “The Tell-Tale Heart,” the intimacy of algorithms, and the ghost in the machine.’ PAYING https://dilettantearmy.com/submission-guidelines-privacy-policy
7th Dec Horror flash, drabbles and short fiction on the theme of Christmas. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://horrortree.com/submissions/ (Cathy’s note: themed short stories are paid a token amount. Unthemed horror drabbles are welcome any time, but aren’t paid.)
7th Dec ‘Scum is interested in publishing feminist-friendly work of any variety, but as a general rule your piece should be under 2000 words (50 lines for poetry, max. 3 poems) and able to be classified as “fiction”, “non-fiction” or “poetry”.’ PAYING https://www.scum-mag.com/submit-to-scum/ (thanks to https://publishedtodeath.blogspot.com/ for this one)
8th Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Precedented Times. https://electricraillit.wixsite.com/website/submissions
10th Dec Poetry and much more on the theme of Farmers Write. PAYING https://farmerish.net/winter-solstice-2021-submissions/
10th Dec Nonfiction poetry on the theme of Architecture. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) or PAYING https://www.rabbitpoetry.com/contribute-to-rabbit (Cathy’s note: Australian contributors get paid, whereas international contributors get copies.)
10th Dec ‘The Broken City is currently accepting submissions for its winter 2021 edition: So this is Christmas? It has been a while since the magazine ran a December-ish holiday issue. Snow; ice; Hanukkah; Festivus; hockey; sleigh rides; touques—if it has something to do with winter, we want to read it. We’ll even read poetry about Santa Claus. Send your poetry, fiction, essays, illustrations and photography.’ https://www.thebrokencitymag.com/submissions.html
13th Dec Prose poems. https://dmqreview.submittable.com/submit
15th Dec ‘Walled City Journal is a poetry and prose magazine. We want work that makes us feel something, and writing that is thoughtful-provoking and powerful.’ PAYING https://walledcityjournal.com/submit/
15th Dec ‘Plainsongs presents poems that seem to be aware of modernist and postmodernist influences, not necessarily by imitation or allusion, but by using the tools provided by that rich heritage.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES, PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORS https://www.corpuscallosumpress.com/plainsongs
15th Dec ‘Ancient Paths publishes poetry, flash fiction, photography, and art work. We do not publish articles or devotions. We welcome works by contributors of all religions, but you should be comfortable with having your work appear in a predominantly Christian publication.’ Theme: Christmas and the Epiphany. PAYING https://www.skylarb.com/submit-your-work
15th Dec ‘Visual Verse is a unique publication offering writers a specific creative challenge: write 50-500 words, in one hour, in response to an image prompt. Please take the time to read the submission guidelines before you submit your work.’ https://visualverse.org/submission-guidelines/
15th Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Certainty. PAYING https://www.brinkliterary.com/submit
15th Dec ‘I will be accepting up to 100 Flash Fiction stories (between 500 words and 1000 words, no more, no less) & 100 poems (between 10 to 25 lines) that fit the theme of Music or Song incorporated into the story either as a major element or a minor element of the story, but either music, songs, musical instruments, musicians (or a musician), or singing, must be incorporated in the story.’ https://www.sweetycatpress.com/blog
15th Dec ‘Our theme is MEANINGFUL CONNECTIONS — whether it’s human connection, connecting to nature and the environment, or connecting with your authentic self, we want to read your meditative poetry for this special issue!’https://blueheronreview.com/submission-guidelines/
15th Dec Speculative poetry on the theme of Light. PAYING http://www.eyetothetelescope.com/submit.html
17th Dec ‘For our next issue, we are accepting creative work that explores the theme of healing. It could be about recovery, a journey with grief, day-to-day living afterward, the relationships that help or challenge, ongoing work to overcome, moments of reconnecting to a place, or even some hope.’ http://www.pilgrimagepress.org/
17th Dec ‘New independent publisher Florida Roots Press issues a Call for Papers for a peer-reviewed anthology dedicated to all things related to coming of age in Florida. The current working title of this collection is Coming of Age in Florida: Words and Images’ https://floridarootspress.wordpress.com/
19th Dec ‘It’s Psychology meets Literature at The Parliament Literary Journal and for our Winter 2022 issue, we’re going MANIC.We’d love to see your prose, flash and micro fiction, poetry, essay, creative non-fiction, photography, ekphrastics, and more!’ https://theparliamentliterarymagazine.submittable.com/submit
20th Dec ‘Stories that evoke a sense of wonder, have deep emotional resonance, and have something unreal about them. We aim for a 12-17 age range: that means sophisticated, non-condescending stories with wide appeal, and without gratuitous or explicit sex, violence or pervasive obscene language. Think Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.’ PAYING https://www.castofwonders.org/submissions/schedule/
21st Dec ‘I am seeking writers for an experimental anthology titled “letters i’ll never send”. This anthology will be a compilation of first-person accounts including letters, prosaic poems, diary entries, postcard letters, very short personal essays, and other genre-bending experimental pieces.’ PAYING https://www.jackiebluu.com/news/blog-post-title-one-hhc8a
21st Dec Poetry on the theme of The Importance of Words. http://www.writingyourvoice.org.uk/as-above-so-below/
25th Dec ‘We publish work on the topic of history and we have specific themes per issue. This issue’s theme is ASIA.Anything and everything related to Asian history is welcome. Alternate history and speculative literature are acceptable! Anything goes! Submissions are open to everyone, but (as Asians ourselves) we especially encourage Asian writers to submit.’ https://sites.google.com/view/provenancejournal/submit
28th Dec Friends Journal welcomes articles, poetry, art, photographs, and letters from our readers. We are also helped by your comments and questions. Theme: Safety in Meetings. CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) https://friendsjournal.submittable.com/submit
30th Dec ‘Our next anthology, aptly titled For Those Who Deserve to Exist, will be about marginalized folk, by marginalized folk. We will be looking for passionate, visceral stories about rising up, overcoming, and righting (and rewriting) transgressions. The general theme is that of reclaiming narratives through the genres of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. In true Inked fashion: no sugar-coating, no watered down characters or situations. No punches pulled.’ PAYING https://inkedingray.com/2022-anthology-open-call/
31st Dec ‘Felis Futura is an anthology focused on stories about the future which feature cats. This volume will contain stories, poetry, and visual art.’ PAYING http://www.manawaker.com/submit-to-felis-futura/
31st Dec ‘It’s time to reclaim the “f” word. Diet Riot: A Fatterpunk Anthology is dedicated to empowering fat characters within the horror community. Give us your rage over weigh-ins, your detest over detox cleanses, your rebellion against diet culture. Give us bad-ass characters who own their size and never apologize for taking up space. This is a horror anthology, so be sure to have your character in some kind of horror story–but, we are open to what that story is!’ 4000-6000 words. PAYING https://nicole-jarrell.squarespace.com/diet-riot-a-fatterpunk-anthology-submission-info
31st Dec Genre novels over 60,000 words. https://aelpress.com/index.php/submissions/
31st Dec ‘There have been a lot of retellings of classic Fairytales, but we noticed that there were very few GRUMPY retellings. We’re looking for fun new twists on classic Grimm fairytales and well-known folklore.’ 3000-4000 words. ROYALTIES https://stormdancebooks.junetakey.com/posts/category/open-call-for-submissions/
31st Dec ‘For Simple Machines No. 2: Epochal Shift, we are searching for poems from the migrating margins of sputtering imperium, settler colonialism, and the carceral state, for we are shook, and the future is upon us. Send us your dispatches, your missives, your breaking reports, embedded as you are, eye level to the ground, all loose end and unthinkable new tomorrow.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY/COPIES (MAY BE PRINT OR DIGITAL) https://simplemachinesmag.submittable.com/submit
31st Dec ‘Throughout the decades, so many musical artists have had just the one hit, and that’s a crime. So is murder. So what better way to celebrate both than by combining them into an anthology? Here’s your chance to be inspired by your favorite One-Hit Wonder and give a chance to breathe some new life into the greatest hits of our lives.’ CONTRIBUTOR COPY+ ROYALTIES https://www.untreedreads.com/crime-fiction-inspired-by-one-hit-wonders/
31st Dec Poetry, flash and more on the theme of Communities of Care. ‘Share your sanctuary, your sacred or communal spaces. Where do you go for rest, healing, or comfort?Please add a note to your submission if you would like us to consider it for the themed issue. All theme submissions will be considered for General Submissions.’ PAYING https://newfound.org/contribute-journal/
31st Dec ‘CROW TOES QUARTERLY: ART & LITERATURE FOR CHILDREN WHO DON’T SCARE EASILY reads general submissions ALL YEAR ROUND. But please note that we only read and respond to submissions that follow our guidelines. We are looking for “playfully dark”, intelligent, humorous, descriptive literature written for children ages 8 – 13. We invite poetry and fiction submissions by email.’ Theme: Broken. PAYINGhttps://www.crowtoesquarterly.org/submit
31st Dec Poetry, fiction and more on the theme of Work. A CUP OF TEA IF YOU VISIT THEM IN ADELAIDE https://pureslush.com/submissions/current-submissions/work/
31st Dec ‘A quick Google search will yield hundreds of vintage advertisements that are shocking, weird, and downright funny when viewed with our contemporary eye. For this anthology, we are seeking stories and poems that use one or more of these vintage ads as the inspiration or prompt. Submissions can be horror, science fiction, fantasy, or crime fiction. They can also be a mashup of two or more genres.’ CHARITY/GOOD CAUSE https://brigidsgatepress.com/?page_id=17
31st Dec ‘Themed submissions form for short stories, flash fiction, and poetry Current Theme: Relationships “I’d love to be the light that finds you.” ‘ https://www.rhetaskewpublishing.com/anthology-askew-submissions
31st Dec LGBTQ romance on the theme of Opposites Attract. ROYALTIES https://www.jms-books.com/submission-guidelines-ezp-35.html
31st Dec Canadians only: ‘Transformation. Tell us about metamorphosis and mutability, send us your phoenixes and cockroaches, your end days and times of renewal.’ PAYING https://antilangmag.submittable.com/submit
31st Dec ‘We’re looking for fiction and poetry about music teachers, singer/band members, band managers, roadies, conductors, DJs, studio musicians, anyone who makes money making music. Drop us a line if you have a question.’ PAYING http://www.workerswritejournal.com/
1st Jan ‘The Particular Passages anthologies are for stories that really need a home, but maybe don’t quite fit in anywhere else. Or maybe they do. That’s up to you. Either way, they can find a home here.’ ROYALTIES https://knightwritingpress.com/particular-passages-2/
1st Jan ‘Still Point Arts Quarterly is now accepting writing submissions (fiction, creative non-fiction, essays, poetry; 5000 words maximum) on the theme MIXING MEDIUMS.’ https://www.shantiarts.co/SPAQ/SPAQ_calls.html
(Publishers might not give out their pay rates on their submission pages, so make sure to find them out before signing a contract!)
Fiction and poetry MSS. https://puncherandwattmann.com/submissions/
‘The Storyteller’s Refrain was created to bring the music and literary communities together in perfect harmony.’ Fiction, poetry, and more. https://storytellers-refrain.square.site/submissions
‘MONO. is a literary journal inviting dark humour, satire and brutally honest reflections on ordinary life that sit on the borderline of the melancholic and amusing. We welcome unpublished flash fiction, poetry, short stories up to 3000 words, and amateur monochrome photography (the more creative the better!)’ https://www.monofiction.org/submissions
‘Day One is a weekly literary journal dedicated to short fiction from debut writers, English translations of stories from around the world, and poetry. Each issue showcases one writer and poet and includes an introduction from the editor, an interview with the authors, and occasional bonus content.’ PAYING https://www.amazon.com/Day-One/dp/B00FDWVIHO
42-word stories with 42-character titles. Various themes. PAYS SOME CONTRIBUTORShttps://42storiessubs.submittable.com/submit
‘Have a cool project and looking for a funding? We love hearing about new projects and endeavours, whether it be story collections, podcasts, or another creative work. Funding and lack of support should not hold you back from bringing your project to life.’ Scroll down at: https://inkedingray.com/submissions/
‘The Pi Review is an online journal founded in August 2020 for the sake of exploring poetic form. Seeking submissions of unpublished text-based poetry, visual poetry and literary prose, the journal will also post interviews with contemporary writers, but utilizing questions from individual interviews published throughout the lengthy history of The Paris Review.’ https://thepireview.blogspot.com/2020/08/the-pi-review-about.html
‘We are looking for stories between 5,000 – 10,000 words, where work is a central theme.’ PAYING http://www.workerswritejournal.com/overtime.htm
Novels and novellas. https://btwnthelines.com/submissions/
‘We believe in writing. So we try to provide our readers with books that are readable, creative, and inspiring. Our books cover a wide range of form, genre, style and topic. We publish books of many lengths (some in both print and digital forms, and some in digital only).’ https://www.orangepetalpress.com/blank-page-1
‘We will publish novice, emerging, and established writers of poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and children´s books. We are open to submissions all year long and will make it a goal to have a rapid response to every submission.’https://duotrope.com/duosuma/submit/flowersong-press-0hNxg