June 2021 Markets Newsletter (50,000+ subscribers!)
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In this issue:

  • Markets Column: "A Lesson from the Bees: Fly to Your Writing Colony!" by Ashley Memory
  • On Submission with... Maria Rogers, Literary Agent with The Tobias Agency - Interview by Ann Kathryn Kelly
  • June Deadlines: Poetry, Fiction, Nonfiction, Playwriting, Multigenre
  • Ask the Book Doctor: Editorial Opinions
With the approach of June, we’ve officially entered summer. Yay! The days are longer than ever, which means our yards and gardens are getting a full dose of sunshine.

Our honeybees dance for joy this time of year. It’s so much fun to watch those little workers fly out every day and bring in nectar for the hive from all the flowers in bloom.

Our bee family has at least 10,000 members and every single one performs a crucial role for the colony—from foragers to guards to nurse maids to royal attendants. And then there’s the queen, whose sole job is to lay those precious eggs that keep the colony chugging along. Nonetheless, her work would be useless without the battalion of workers by her side.

At WOW, we continually promote the importance of supporting our sister “bees.” In fact, in October we covered the value of feedback from other writers. So we ask, do you have a writing group or “colony” that celebrates and encourages you? If not, this article is for you because we’re giving tips on how to find one. But even if you do already belong to a colony of your own, this piece may help you meet even more writing sisters, because you can never have too many. 🐝
On Submission With ... Maria Rogers
By Ann Kathryn Kelly

Last month, we heard from an editor who offers developmental editing services and helps acquire manuscripts for a publisher. It seemed fitting to follow that with an interview with a literary agent, offering another essential perspective along a writer’s “path to publication” journey.

As writers, we’re often brainstorming ways to attract agents, dream of one day hearing a “yes” from them, and tend to build our writing worlds to a great degree around what we think they’ll desire. Wait a minute, this is starting to sound like an article about dating … LOL!

I’ve read enough Q&As with agents to know that, despite our tendencies to mythologize them, they just want what we, as readers, want. A great story. A protagonist to root for. To feel something, as they read. It’s as simple as that, despite how we may psych ourselves out in the process. Our next guest helps us demystify the writer-agent dynamic, offering valuable industry perspective and approachable, concrete advice that can help boost our confidence when outreaching to agents. We’re excited to sit down with literary agent Maria Rogers with The Tobias Literary Agency!

Maria Rogers has been with The Tobias Literary Agency for just over a year, working from their Nashville office. Maria’s editorial and agenting experience spans nonfiction to poetry, literary to commercial fiction, as well as books for children and young adults. She’s worked on behalf of Pulitzer Prize winners, National Book Award winners, Guggenheim fellows, PEN/Hemingway Award winners, and New York Times bestsellers. Learn more about Maria from The Tobias Literary Agency agent bio page. Writers can query Maria through this form. She aims to respond within six weeks of receipt.
WOW: Welcome, Maria! Before we start talking about your agenting experience, I noticed in your bio that you’re a graduate of Kenyon College. Many writers list the Kenyon Review as a top dream journal they’d love to be published in one day. It’s certainly on my wish list, but I know it’s an incredibly selective literary journal with an eye-popping list of famous writers who have been published in it, including T.S. Eliot, Joyce Carol Oates, Maya Angelou, Flannery O’Connor, Woody Allen, Don DeLillo, and more. No pressure, right?

I’m curious, did you read for the journal as an undergrad? If yes, how was your experience? Any insider tips for someone trying to break into this prestigious journal?

Maria: Oh my goodness, in retrospect I wish I took advantage of being in such close proximity to the Kenyon Review! Working in publishing was not on my radar when I was in college, so I suppose I really missed out on acquiring insider information. What I can tell you is that the Kenyon Review works out of the most charming little building called Finn House. It’s like something out of a fairytale, but I believe it’s actually an example of “Steamboat Gothic” architecture. Maybe Steamboat Gothic is the next cottagecore? You heard it here first!

WOW: Finn House is right up my alley! I live in an 1890s Victorian, so I’m a big fan of all the gingerbread bells and whistles. OK, back to the main event: Agenting! I also learned from your bio that you started as an intern with Writers House before moving into roles with W.W. Norton & Company, followed by Scholastic. How has your career as an agent grown? And, here’s another thing I’ve wondered about. We hear sometimes that agents transition to become acquisitions editors and other times acquisitions editors move over to become agents. How do you think the roles complement each other? 

Maria: They require a lot of the same broad skills, sensibilities, and market savvy. With some exceptions, I find the type of editing that agents and editors do to be quite similar. I think one of the lessons that took a long time for me to learn has to do with figuring out how to edit, and how to generate an editorial vision. At the beginning of my career, I felt that when I was editing I had to have all the answers. Now, a lot of my editing and problem-solving is often more intuitive, and takes the form of questions.

WOW: Let’s talk about trends you’re seeing in the industry right now. What does the publishing landscape look like, from a 50,000-foot view? How about from a 500-foot view, say inside The Tobias Literary Agency? What’s hot in 2021? What do you think will be in demand next year? In the next five years?

Maria: On the nonfiction side, I’m seeing a lot of editor interest in revisionist histories as well as books that seek to examine the intersection of work and life from a critical perspective. I’m also seeing a lot of literary fiction books that blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction. Think, Drifts by Kate Zambreno, or Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar. In terms of what will be in demand in the next few years, that’s the million-dollar question. Call me when you find out!

WOW: I’ve seen so many authors on social media—first timers, as well as established authors—pivot, where they’re now holding virtual book tours. I imagine it must be a bit disappointing not to have in-person launches and get energy from the room. Then again, maybe some authors appreciate it if they’re more introverted. 

How have the authors you represent rolled with this change from physical to virtual tours? And, do you see this as a trend that will continue or do you think authors and publicists will go back to physical tours as more of the U.S., and the world, opens back up? 

Maria: I’m sure publicists can speak more to how folks are handling online press events, but to my (admittedly low-tech) point of view, I’m consistently impressed by how digitally savvy everyone around me is! Perhaps I’m in the minority, but book tours haven’t been a particularly significant aspect of my work. I have a soft spot for in-person book events, but they tend to be something many publishers won’t put a lot of money or effort into. If that continues, I think online events are a great, accessible alternative!

WOW: I’m with you on preferring in-person events, but I can see how authors can cast a much wider net online. So, tell us, what do you look for in manuscripts that hit your desk? How far do you generally have to read to know whether or not it’s a fit for you?

Maria: Speaking generally, I look for writers who lead with curiosity, have canny insights about their audience, and demonstrate engagement to their particular subject beyond the page. Be it fiction or nonfiction, I appreciate writing that is imbued with a strong sense of discovery, and can bring the reader along for the ride. I can typically sense if a project isn’t right for me within the first 25 pages, but sometimes I won’t know until I’ve read the entire manuscript and had a few nights to sleep on it.
On the nonfiction side, I’m seeing a lot of editor interest in revisionist histories as well as books that seek to examine the intersection of work and life from a critical perspective. I’m also seeing a lot of literary fiction books that blur the lines between fiction and nonfiction.

~ Maria Rogers, Agent, The Tobias Literary Agency

WOW: On average, how many queries do you receive in a year? Your bio mentioned you aim for a six-week response after receipt of materials. Do you find this is a moving target, depending on your queue? 

Maria: I get over 100 queries a month, coming in somewhere around 1,500 queries a year. I am deeply awed by agents who are systematic in terms of their response time, but mine is certainly a moving target. If I am torn between attending to my query responses or attending to the needs of my current clients, I owe it to my clients to choose them.

WOW: I’m glad to hear clients come first—as they should! I’m also curious what the working relationship is like between the agents within The Tobias Literary Agency. Do you pass leads among each other? Should a writer try another agent there if a manuscript isn’t the right fit with you? Or, does one No from any agent there mean a No across the board?

Maria: My colleagues and I consistently pass leads if we think one agent might be a better fit over another. And yes, it’s possible to query another Tobias agent if you’ve received a pass from one of us. By and large though, we operate in different markets with little overlap, so I encourage querying writers to research each agent and be strategic about who best fits the bill.
WOW: You mention a few books you love in your agent bio, with Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir In the Dream House among your current favorites. I haven’t read it but one of my friends loves it, so this question is for her. 

She says: “In the Dream House is one of my favorites too because it’s so innovative in form. Most of it is written in second person, and the chapters are structured like the architecture of a house. Machado even has a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ section. How open are acquisitions editors or Big Five publishing houses to unique formats such as Machado’s? Are books like hers seen as risky?”

Maria: Thanks for this question! There are certainly editors out there (and agents, too! Hi!) looking for projects that have that sort of creative approach to form. However, publishing in general is a rather risk-averse industry. Beyond all other considerations, editors must have confidence that a project won’t hurt their bottom line, which often means that first-time writers have to work incredibly hard and strategically to get their first book deal.

I don’t think this was the case with Machado or In the Dream House, but often that first book is the hardest to get published at a Big Five imprint. Subsequently, the author has that relationship with an editor, and a track record that allows the publisher to choose riskier works.

WOW: Moving to social media and the dreaded phrase, “writer’s platform.” How important, really, is it? I’ve heard it said that a writer’s platform is more relevant for prescriptive nonfiction, like self-help or even cookbooks. I’ve got a laundry list of questions coming at you because this topic keeps so many of my writing friends up at night!

What does platform mean to you? Would you take on a client who doesn’t have one? What’s a respectable number of followers on social media? And, if a writer doesn’t have much of a presence, what are some steps you’d recommend to grow her follower count or platform? Should she stress over it, or let her writing speak for itself?

Maria: Because I acquire mainly nonfiction, I cannot overstate the importance of platform, even though it’s not the most exciting part of my evaluation—and yes, it really is a pillar of any nonfiction proposal. I know social media engagement can often move the dial, but I have no real expertise or interest in being “good” at social media. What’s important to me is seeing a history of prior publications (be they in magazines, newspapers, literary journals, for example). This demonstrates that the author has pitched ideas and followed stories. So, if you’re a writer (particularly of nonfiction) and social media isn’t your thing, my advice is to pitch articles and get some bylines under your belt, particularly from national and/or widely circulated media.

WOW: I’m glad you mentioned publications, because my number one goal has always been to get published in literary journals as the biggest help with platform. That said, although I have a portfolio with literary journals, I’ve yet to break into a national publication, so that remains a shining star. As for social media, it’s an enigma. I gave up on Twitter due to almost zero engagement and moved to Instagram, where I’ve connected with a solid writing community. It seems better on IG, but on the whole I find all social engagement is a hit or miss.

Shifting gears, should your clients expect a few rounds of editing with you before their manuscript goes on submission? Do you consider yourself hands-on with edits?

Maria: I tend to have rounds of edits that are more generative, fleshing out a project with broader brushstrokes. This process often work best if the author and I take notes before talking on Zoom. As the project becomes more refined, my authors and I will exchange edits over email.

WOW: Do you like to sign an author for one book, or would you prefer and/or expect to sign them for multiple books?

Maria: I’m delighted to sign authors for multiple books, but I do not expect it. Some writers can churn them out, but books can be such behemoths that I also understand if, after the first book, an author has no immediate plans for another! Either way, I’ll be around.
What’s important to me is seeing a history of prior publications. This demonstrates that the author has pitched ideas and followed stories. So, if you’re a writer (particularly of nonfiction) and social media isn’t your thing, my advice is to pitch articles and get some bylines under your belt, particularly from national and/or widely circulated media.

~ Maria Rogers, Agent, The Tobias Literary Agency

WOW: Do you follow a set submission strategy, or is it customized project by project?

Maria: I customize it project by project, and also tailor it to the rhythms of the industry and larger societal trends. For example, the pandemic changed the way a lot of editors work and acquire, and consequently, agents had to course-correct as well.

WOW: At what point in the process do you start talking about your client’s next project? 

Maria: Whenever they’re ready! I try not to rush anyone.

WOW: I saw on the website that The Tobias Literary Agency lists information about rights with international partners, as well as film and TV. Do you work side by side with these partners on behalf of your clients, or is there a hand-off (if and when applicable)?

Maria: Knowledge about domestic book markets doesn’t always translate to international markets or film and TV, so I feel very lucky to work with my co-agents who have tremendous expertise in these areas! Stefanie Rossitto is our Director of Foreign Rights, and works closely with our international co-agents. I really trust her when it comes to which titles might be competitive abroad.

WOW: What gives you joy as an agent? On the flip side, can you share a challenge?

Maria: It’s such a great feeling to have editors express excitement and appreciation for the projects my clients and I submit. It’s a gratification that comes after months of toil. At the same time, receiving passes from editors is an intrinsic part of the process, an inevitability. Still, it’s a bummer!

WOW: OK, last question. Tell us something about yourself that can’t be found on your agent bio page.

Maria: In my spare time I really enjoy studying languages! I’ve maintained a pretty good grasp on Italian, French, and Spanish—in that order. Over the past year, I’ve delved into Japanese. I think the practice of learning a language, or a language-learning environment, could be a cool motif or setting for a book. Just saying!
My thanks to literary agent, Maria Rogers, for chatting with me—who we’ve now learned is multilingual, and how cool is that? I hope to start querying my own memoir manuscript at some point this summer. If some of you are ready to query and your manuscript aligns with her wish list, consider reaching out to Maria through her submission form. Until next month!

Ann Kathryn Kelly lives and writes in New Hampshire’s Seacoast region. She’s an editor with Barren Magazine, a columnist with WOW! Women on Writing, and she works in the technology sector. Ann leads writing workshops for a nonprofit that offers therapeutic arts programming to people living with brain injury. Her essays have appeared in a number of literary journals. https://annkkelly.com/
Gyroscope Review: 2021 Summer Issue Submissions
Deadline: June 1
“Submit up to 4 poems per author per reading period. Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but we ask that you consider our acceptance of your poem(s) as a commitment to be published by Gyroscope Review, and the poem(s) will not be withdrawn after acceptance to go to another publication.” No fee.

Up the Staircase Quarterly: A Journal of Poetry and Art
Deadline: June 15
“Established in 2008, Up the Staircase Quarterly is an online journal of poetry, art, interviews, and reviews. New issues are published every February, May, August, and November, unless otherwise stated. Submissions are open for our next issue until June 15th, 2021. Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please withdraw accepted pieces promptly from consideration. We will try to respond to your submission in less than 30 days. After 60 days query to upthestaircase [at] gmail [dot] com.” Guidelines: Submit three to six poems in a single document. No fee.

2021 Akron Poetry Prize Submissions
Deadline: June 15
“The Akron Series in Poetry was founded to bring to the public writers who speak in original and compelling voices. Each year, The University of Akron Press offers the Akron Poetry Prize, a competition open to all poets writing in English. The winning poet receives $1,500 and publication of his, her, or their book. The final selection will be made by a nationally prominent poet. Other manuscripts may also be considered for publication in the series.” Guidelines: Manuscripts must be a total length of at least 48 pages and no longer than 90 pages. The judge for the 2021 Akron Poetry Prize competition is Erika Meitner. Fee: $25.

42 Miles Poetry Press
Deadline: June 15
“The 42 Miles Press Poetry Award was created in an effort to bring urgent and original voices to the poetry reading public. The winning poet will receive $1,000, publication of their book, and 50 author copies. Guidelines: The manuscript should be paginated (between 50 and 120 pp.) and include a table of contents and acknowledgments page.” Fee: $25.

The MacGuffin: Poet Hunt 26
Deadline: June 16
“One (1) First Place Winner will receive a prize of $500 and publication.
Up to two (2) Honorable Mentions may also be awarded and published.
Each entrant will receive one free issue of The MacGuffin that includes the winners of the 26th Annual Poet Hunt Contest.” Guidelines: An entry may consist of up to 5 poems at no more than 200 lines each. Fee: $15. https://themacguffin.submittable.com/submit/191529/poet-hunt-26

Palette Poetry: The 2021 Sappho Prize - $3500
Deadline: June 20
“This contest only accepts submissions from women poets. The winning poet will be awarded $3000 and publication on Palette Poetry. Second and third place will win $300 & $200 respectively, as well as publication. The top ten finalists will be selected by the editors, and guest judge Maggie Smith will then select the winner and two runner ups. Winners and finalists will be announced toward the end of August 2021. There is no page requirement, but submission must be no more than 3 poems. Please submit all your poems in ONE document. Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. We can't wait to dig in!” Fee: $20.

2021 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition
Deadline: June 30
“A prize of $1,500, royalty contract, and publication for a chapbook-length poetry manuscript in perfect-bound print edition and a two-year Duotrope Gift Certificate (a USD $100 value). Open to women, or those who identify as women, who have never before published a full-length poetry collection. Previous chapbook publication does not disqualify. International entries are welcome. Multiple submissions are accepted. Final judge: Leah Maines. All entries will be considered for publication.” Fee: $15.
The Writer: 2021 Short Story Contest - $1,000 Prize
Deadline: June 1
“Submit your very best fictional short story in 2,000 words or less. Any theme, subject, or genre is fair game, as long as it falls under 2,000 words. Remember, no matter where your work places in our contest, you can purchase a critique with your submission to receive feedback on one of your stories.” Fee: $25.

The Conium Review: 2021 Innovative Short Fiction Contest - $500
Deadline: June 1
“The winning story will be published in The Conium Review's next issue. The winning author will receive $500, five copies of the issue, and a copy of the judge’s latest book. Innovative short fiction should take risks that pay off. Don’t tell us a story we’ve already heard before. Show us something new with your subject, style, or characters. Your submission may include any combination of flash fictions or short stories up to 7,500 total words.” Fee: $15

Martian Magazine
Deadline: June 9
Martian magazine publishes drabbles, stories of exactly 100 words (excluding title). Stories submitted of greater than or less than 100 words will be rejected. We publish science fiction. Every subgenre of science fiction is acceptable but the science fiction element must be present. Submitted works must be stories. They must have a beginning, middle, and at least hint at the end. They may be 100 words, but we are not interested in thoughts or feelings without action or characters that don’t do anything. We pay $0.08 per word for original fiction, paid on publication of the selected work.

Philadelphia Stories: Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction
Deadline: June 15
“This is an annual national short fiction contest that features a first place $2,500 cash award and invitation to an awards dinner on the campus of Rosemont College; a second place cash prize of $750; and a third place cash prize of $500. The winner stories will be published in the print issue of Fall of Philadelphia Stories. The Marguerite McGlinn Prize for Fiction is made possible by the generous support of the McGlinn and Hansma families. Accepting previously unpublished works of fiction up to 8,000 words.” Fee: $15.

New American Press: 2021 New American Fiction Prize
Deadline: June 15
The winning manuscript will be published and its author will receive a publication contract including $1,500 and 25 copies. Manuscripts should be at least 100 pages, but there is no maximum length. All forms and styles of full-length fiction manuscripts are welcome, including story collections, novels, novellas, collections of novellas, flash fiction collections, novels in verse, and other hybrid forms. Fee: $25. https://newamericanpress.submittable.com/submit/174431/2021-new-american-fiction-prize

Craft First Chapters Contest
Deadline: June 30
“Open to all fiction writers; CRAFT is a market for adult literary fiction. International submissions are welcome Excerpts of book-length fiction only—please submit the first chapter or chapters* of your unpublished novels/novellas, completed or in progress. Please do not submit short stories or nonfiction. We review adult literary fiction, but are open to a variety of genres and styles. Please submit work in English only.” Word limit: 5,000. Fee: $20.
Hobart - Rejected Modern Love Essay
No deadline
If you would like to submit a 'rejected Modern Love essay' or a 'fucked up Modern Love essay' for our new Sunday feature, please email Elizabeth Ellen (ee@hobartpulp.com) thank you!

The Offing
No deadline
The Offing is seeking personal essays and memoir, rather than commentary or criticism, of any length. All pieces should be original, and previously unpublished in any format in English. They acquire first serial rights worldwide in English and non-exclusive anthology rights. Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Upon publication, contributors will be paid $25-$100, depending on department and number/length of works published. They have several other opportunities like "Back of Envelope," which seeks writing of any length which relates to, or draws on, science and the natural world. And "Micro," a ten- to 560 character work.

The Sun Readers Write - "Caught in the Act"
Deadline: June 1
Readers Write asks readers to address subjects on which they’re the only authorities. Topics are intentionally broad in order to give room for expression. The Sun publishes only nonfiction in Readers Write. Writing style isn’t as important as thoughtfulness and sincerity. There is no word limit, but we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the section before you submit. Feel free to submit your writing under “Name Withheld” if it allows you to be more honest. Themes: "Caught in the Act" (June 1); "Trash" (July 1). No fee.

HerStry: Dear Past Me (July 2021 Theme)
Deadline: June 1
“What would you say to your past self if you could write her a letter? What advice do you have? What do you want to tell her to do or not do? How did things turn out? We're collecting your letters from yourself to your past self. The rules: All stories should be true and about you. All stories need to be in letter form. Stories should stay between 500-3,000 words.” Fee: $3.
Arts & Letters: Drama Prize
Deadline: June 30
“We accept one-act plays 30-60 pages in length (typed, standard stage play format). We prefer, for the prizes, that your work not be simultaneously submitted. Do not put your name anywhere on the manuscript or it will be rejected unread. We offer the winner a $500 prize (and up to $500 to reimburse the winner's domestic, main cabin class airfare to attend a production of the play). The winning playwright's lodging and meals in Milledgeville, Georgia, will also be provided, and the play will be performed at Georgia College.” Fee: $10.
F3LL Magazine: Summer 2021
Deadline: June 5
F3LL Magazine was founded in 2020 with the mission of publishing and promoting creative work that pushes the boundaries of genre. We publish and work with creators from a variety of backgrounds and experience levels.” Poetry: 1-3 poems. Fiction: Under 2,000 words. Creative Nonfiction: creative nonfiction pieces, including memoir, essays and op-eds under 2,000 words. No fee.

Black Fox Summer 2021 Writing Contest: Theme—Rebirth
Deadline: June 6
Black Fox is accepting submissions for its fifth writing contest. The theme this year is ‘Rebirth.’ Please submit your strongest fiction, nonfiction, or poetry, and we will choose one winner that we feel interprets the theme best. The prize is $200 and publication in the Summer 2021 issue.” Guidelines: Submissions should be no more than 5,000 words. For poetry, send up to three poems in the same document. For flash fiction, send up to two stories in the same document. Author’s name and page number should appear in the top right-hand corner of every page. Fee: $12. https://blackfoxlit.submittable.com/submit/189352/the-black-fox-writing-contest-summer-2021

Burningword Literary Journal
Deadline: June 10
Burningword Literary Journal is a quarterly international publication of poetry, short fiction, short nonfiction, and photography. Poetry: Accepting poetry in any form or style up to 5 poems, may be submitted as one file, should run fewer than 10 pages in length, and must be unpublished.” Flash Fiction and Flash Nonfiction: Submissions should aim for a word-count of 300-500 words or less per piece. You may submit up to two (2) pieces per issue, may be submitted as one file, should run fewer than 5 pages in length, and must be unpublished. Fee: $3.

Main Street Rag: Novella, Short Story Collections, Novel, Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: June 13
Novella / Short Story Collections / Creative Nonfiction: Length: 25,000 to 50,000 words. Contents can be fiction, creative non-fiction, or short stories. Fee: $12. Novels / Full Length Short Story Collections: Length: 70,000 to 120,000 words (length of finished manuscript). Please submit either the first five chapters, or up to 40,000 words. Fee: $15. https://mainstreetmag.submittable.com/submit/

Five South: Poetry and Short Fiction Awards
Deadline: June 14 and June 28
The Five South Poetry Prize - $1,000 awarded for one grand prize winner. Two finalists with honorable mention. Poems will be selected by poet Darren Demaree, who will choose one winner and two finalists from a provided shortlist. Your $15 reading fee allows up to 3 poems per entry—please put them all in one document not to exceed 5 pages. Deadline: June 15.
The Five South Short Fiction Prize - $1,000 awarded for one grand prize winner. Two finalists with honorable mention. Pieces will be selected by Kristen Arnett, who will choose one winner and two finalists from a provided shortlist. Your $20 reading fee allows up to 1 short fiction piece per entry no more than 3,000 words. Deadline: June 29.

2021 Autumn House Press Contest for Full-Length Poetry, Fiction, and Nonfiction
Deadline: June 15
“For the 2021 contest, the Autumn House editorial staff serves as the preliminary readers, and the final judges are Eileen Myles (poetry), Deesha Philyaw (fiction), and Steve Almond (nonfiction). The winners will receive book publication, a $1,000 honorarium, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote their book.” Guidelines: Poetry submissions should be approximately 50-80 pages. Fiction and nonfiction submissions should be approximately 200-300 double-spaced pages (50,000- 75,000 words) Fee: $30.

Tiferet 2021 Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction Contests
Deadline: June 15
“TIFERET publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, interviews, and art. We look for high-quality creative work that expresses spiritual experiences and/or promotes tolerance. Our mission is to help raise individual and global consciousness, and we publish writing from a variety of religious and spiritual traditions. We strongly urge you to read an issue of Tiferet to increase your chance of acceptance.” Poetry: No more than 6 poems per submission. All poems must be submitted in one document with each poem on a separate page and each page/poem titled. Fiction and nonfiction: Not to exceed 12 pages. Fee: $20

Tangled Locks Journal
Deadline: June 15
“We are looking for complex stories, poems and essays with strong female point of view. Our focus is literary work. We love unexpected poetic language and a bit of magic realism.” Poetry: Please submit up to three works in a single document. Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Memoir, Essays: Please submit works up to 2,000 words in a single document. Work should be previously unpublished. We know writers often use their personal blogs for material. If you have posted on personal blog and their piece has had less than 1,000 views, your work is still eligible as long as the page is live during the submission period and prior to publication. Fee: $3. https://tangledlocksjournal.submittable.com/submit/

Sequestrum: Theme—Family 
Deadline: June 15
“Families are an endless source of material. We want buried secrets. We want generational stories. We want stories of betrayal and belonging, of fractures and survival, of losing hope and redemption. At this point in literature, a ‘normal’ family might be the strangest story of all. We want that too. We want your most ambitious writing in its most imaginative form. Whether that’s realism or fantasy, slipstream or traditional, we want to read it.” Poetry: Submissions should be no more than thirty-five (35) lines; up to four (4) poems per submission. Fiction and nonfiction: submissions should generally not exceed 12,000 words. Fee: $6.35 https://sequestrum.submittable.com/submit/165018/theme-family-fiction-nonfiction

Inverted Syntax
Deadline: June 28
“Although we strongly resist the categorization of genre, for the purpose of assigning work to appropriate readers, our submission forms will be categorized by genre. We seek to publish unorthodox approaches to form and aesthetics. We love work that is nongenre, those that straddle multiple categories, however you may submit previously unpublished work to the following categories: fiction, flash fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. We also publish photographs, illustrations, and other visual art.” Poetry: Please submit 6-8 poems in a single document. There aren't length restrictions for poems published in our online journal, however for our print journal, we prefer poems no longer than 50 lines or two pages. Each poem should begin on a new page. Fiction: Submit one short story or chapter excerpt at a time. Maximum 2,000 – 3,000 words. Keep in mind, longer pieces (over 2,000) are typically considered for online publication. Flash Fiction: Submit ONE piece (1,000 words) or no more than TWO pieces of flash fiction (500 words each) in one document. Nonfiction: Submit one piece of memoir, essay, hybrid, lyric, or flash at a time. Maximum 2,000 – 3,000 words. Keep in mind longer pieces (over 2,000) are typically considered for online publication. We are not interested in scholarly articles. Fee: $4.

Boston Review Poetry and Aura Estrada Short Story Contest 
Deadline: June 30
“All entries must be related to this year’s theme of Repair. We want the theme to be very broadly interpreted, but we also shouldn’t have to guess at the connection between the theme and your entry.” Poetry: Send up to 5 poems or 10 pages, whichever comes first. The poems must be unpublished. Short Story Contest: Stories must not exceed 5,000 words and must be unpublished. The winning authors will receive $1,000 and have their work published in Boston Review's special literary issue Repair (March 2022). Some finalists and semi-finalists will also be published in the issue or online. Fee: $20 (Free for those with hardships.)

New Ohio Review: General Submissions
Deadline: June 30
“We accept literary submissions in any genre. We do not reprint previously published work, book reviews, or unsolicited translations. We recommend considering the page count of your work before submitting. Since NOR is a relatively thin volume, a prose piece of more than 20 pages will have to work hard to find a place.” Poetry: Each typed poem should be on a new page. Please single- or double-space. Subscribers may submit up to three batches of poems per reading period. Fiction: One story per submission. Prose should be typed double-spaced and be no longer than 20 pages. Nonfiction: One essay per submission. Prose should be typed double-spaced and be no longer than 20 pages. Cross-genre work or any work that is unusually formatted is welcome, but please be aware that our page width and font size are restricted. Subscribers may submit two stories per reading period. Fee: $16. Note: Our normal 1-year subscription rate is $16. For this submitting option, pay $16, get your subscription, and we waive our reading fee.

Heartwood Literary Magazine
Deadline: June 30
“We are interested in writing that pushes into, dares to reveal, its own truth, that takes emotional risks, that gets to the heart of the matter.” Poetry: 3-5 single-spaced poems in a single document; no more than 10 pages total. Fiction: short stories, flash fiction, or novel excerpts if the excerpt can stand alone; 3,000 words or fewer. Creative Nonfiction: personal essay, memoir, lyric, literary journalism, or some blurring in between; 3,000 words or fewer. No fee.

Sunspot: Rigel - $750 for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry or Art
Deadline: June 30
“Rigel is the brightest star in the Orion constellation. Sunspot Lit is looking for the single short story, novel, novella, artwork, graphic novel, or poem that outshines all the rest. Rigel offers $750 plus publication to the winner, and offers publication to select finalists. No restrictions on theme or category. Guidelines: The length for prose is restricted to a maximum of 5,000 words for short stories, or ten pages for poetry and graphic novels. The first 5,000 words of a novel or novella should include a synopsis of the entire work (the synopsis counts toward the total word count). Artwork should consist of a single piece. Any novels, novellas, or graphic novels selected as the winner or as finalists will be offered publication only for the submitted sample.” Fee: $5

iō Literary Journal: Fall 2021 Refractions - Nightfall 
Deadline: July 1 
Refractions is our online publication. Online submissions have the added capability of being visually and technologically dynamic. We accept writing, art, photography, and more. (Note: Check link below for forms accepted and length specifications.) You may submit no more than 3 pieces total for any yearly theme. Theme: Nightfall. Color and light are draining from the sky, stealing away warmth and energy, but a new peacefulness begins to blanket you. Show us the relieved sigh of a day's end.” Donations accepted. https://www.ioliteraryjournal.com/online-publication.html

WOW! Women on Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Contests - Deadlines: May 31 (Fiction) and July 31 (Creative nonfiction). Our favorite writing community offers quarterly contests judged blindly with multiple cash prizes and more for 20 winners, up to $1,350 (fiction) and $1,175 plus a gift certificate to CreateWriteNow (nonfiction), an affordable critique option, and a 300-entry limit on each contest. What’s not to love? This season's guest judge is Literary Agent Emily Forney with BookEnds Literary Agency. Fee: $10 (Flash Fiction) and $12 (Nonfiction).
Just for Fun
June is Great Outdoors Month! To celebrate, go outside and relish the beauty and calming forces of nature.

You can also submit a poem to the Tiny Seeds Literary Journal for their special “Forest” Anthology. Deadline: June 1. “Forests evoke something different from all of us. For some, a peaceful place with nature sounds. Others think of adventure, unknown territory, or fear. What comes to your mind when you think about Forests? What is your relationship to a Forest, your family's, your community's?” Submission Guidelines: 3 poems per submission. Poems only please, and poems must fit on one page (approximately 300 words). Conservation Donation: 50% of submission fees and book sales will be directly donated to the Arbolution! Oaxaca Reforestation Project. Fee: $15.
Ask the Book Doctor: Editorial Opinions
By Bobbie Christmas

Q: I have been steadily working on my corrections so I might start the search for an agent; however, when I asked my brother, who used the same editing services, to read through it, he ended up marking numerous areas that needed correction based on what his editor advised. I am confused. The editor for his manuscript recommends one thing, while mine never mentions it. I know the service I used employs many editors, and all editors have their own style. Should I just stick to what the editor who revised my writing corrected, or should I change the things his advisor says are wrong? If it’s the latter, it almost seems like my book needs to be completely edited again.

A: Among editors we have an expression, “Ten editors, ten opinions.” Every person who reads a manuscript will have a different opinion of what would improve it. When you use an independent editor—one that does not work for a publisher that bought the rights to your book—you have the right to agree or disagree with your editor. In the end the book and the decisions about it should be yours, until a publisher makes an absolute demand.

Some suggested changes may not refer to something that is wrong, but a missed opportunity to make the writing stronger. If it’s not wrong, you don’t necessarily need to change it, but consider whether you want to change it.

Gather all the opinions that you can and then make your decisions from your gut, deciding what is best for you and for your manuscript. If a complete rewrite seems out of the question to you, then don’t do it—yet. You can always make that decision later, if the manuscript meets with too much rejection.

Q: Would the paragraph below be stronger if I changed the gerunds to past-tense verbs? The change sounds awkward to me and wouldn’t give the situation the frantic nature I’m going for.
We huddled beneath the basement stairs and held each other more tightly with the sound of each new noise. Glass breaking. Objects crashing. Wood beams splitting. Furniture colliding. For the first time I realized we were in the middle of a tornado. 

A: On the good side, sometimes intentional repetition (of the “–ing” sound, in this case) adds a poetic touch to a paragraph. For the purposes of discussing gerunds and strong writing, however, I’ll ignore that potential, to make my point about how to make the paragraph stronger. The example has many sentence fragments (crashing, breaking, splitting, and colliding are not verbs). In addition, it mentions things a little out of order (“each new sound” appears before the sounds). To eliminate extra words, delete weak adverbs, keep the action tight, put things in better order, and use active verbs, the paragraph would be stronger written this way:

We huddled beneath the basement stairs. All around us, glass broke. Objects crashed. Wood beams split. Furniture collided. With each new noise, we held each other tighter. I realized we were in the middle of a tornado. 

I can see that the sentence fragments gave the situation a frantic nature, but my suggested rewrite does the same thing, while it avoids sentence fragments.

Alas, ask ten editors, and you’ll get ten opinions. In addition, it is not the job of an editor to rewrite. I recast the example for only one purpose, to illustrate what I mean about tight, strong writing in correct order. It’s your paragraph, so you can decide how you would like it to be.

Bobbie Christmas is a book editor, author of Write In Style: How to Use Your Computer to Improve Your Writing, and owner of Zebra Communications. She will answer your questions too. Send them to bobbie@zebraeditor.com. Read Bobbie’s blog at www.zebraeditor.com/blog.
Submissions Consultation:
With over 150 publications in the past five years, Chelsey Clammer knows the literary journal world quite well. She is knowledgeable about paying markets, journal aesthetics, and what different literary journals are specifically looking for in a submission.

Submit up to 12 pages (4,500 words) of your writing for Chelsey to read, assess, provide 5 or more suggestions for where to submit the piece, and to format your document according to each journal’s guidelines. If you don’t have one long piece, you may send multiple, shorter pieces, though a maximum of 3 pieces. Return time is one week. (Only $25!)

Last tip!
We hope that the above market list inspired you to take a closer look at your current writing projects. Which one(s) might work for one of these markets? We’re crossing our fingers for you!

Now, without further ado, we’ll close with one last tip for finding a writing group.

Create your own! That’s right. Put the word out to friends and family members that you’re founding a writing group. You can also Tweet about it or post a notice at your library. All it takes is finding one other like-minded “sister bee” and presto! You now have a new colony of your own.

Whatever you do, keep reading. The authors you discover in your journey will also become your writing sisters and they will be with you always.

We at WOW wish you all success with your writing this month. We just know that we’ll see your writing published very soon!