Love Yourself, Love Your Writing
February 2023 Markets Newsletter
View the entire newsletter online:
In This issue:

  • "Love Yourself, Love Your Writing" by Ashley Memory
  • "On Submission With ... She Writes Press, Publisher Brooke Warner" interview by Ann Kathryn Kelly
  • February Deadlines: Poetry, Playwriting, Fiction, Nonfiction, Multigenre, Just for Fun
  • "How to Appropriately Write Race and Ethnicity in Fiction" by Nanditha Narendran
  • Success Stories from the WOW! Community
While no one likes to get a rejection email, I recently received one that wasn’t quite as bad as most. It read: “Unfortunately, your submission is not the right fit for what we’re seeking at the moment, but please know that your story is valid and important. We would love to see your work again Ashley!”
I realize that this message was a form letter, and even the name field was auto-populated, but it had a curious effect on me. This note not only softened the blow, it also made me feel better about my writing. It reinforced my belief that all writers instinctually pull from a collective consciousness of love, sadness, grief, joy, and everything in between. This does indeed make my work, and your work, both valid and important.

As we celebrate the quintessential holiday of love, I urge you to take this opportunity to love yourself and your work. As often as writing exhilarates, liberates, and soothes, it equally infuriates, bewilders and exhausts us. That’s why it’s so important to give yourself permission to write and believe in your work.
To help, I’ve provided six quick steps designed to celebrate both the writer you are and the writer you can become.

1) Remember the time when you first knew that you were a writer. This happened for me in the sixth grade, when I wrote a poem on the first Thanksgiving that my teacher Mrs. Robbins posted outside the classroom. My first “masterpiece” was a little corny, and certainly contained predictable rhymes, but it meant so much that a teacher I admired was proud of me. I want to do this for the rest of my life, I remember thinking. This little victory has sustained and lifted me up ever since.

2) Tell people that you’re a writer. This step is so obvious I almost didn’t include it. But in my career, I’ve met so many people (even at writers’ conferences!) who hesitate to call themselves writers. They scribble under the cover of darkness, never share their work, and don’t trust themselves enough to tell the world about their greatest, albeit secret, passion. It’s time to come clean. “Outing” yourself as a writer will bolster your confidence and open a new world of friends and connections.
Max is a master of all five senses!
3) Celebrate your strengths. Marilyn, a dear writing partner, recently asked me to compile a list of her greatest writing strengths, something that I was delighted to do. She plans to use this list as part of her 2023 writing plan, which in my mind is nothing short of brilliant. You should do the same. Ask someone in your life—either a fellow writer or a reader of your work—what they admire most about your writing. Keep this list handy and refer to it often.

4) Love your writing enough to make it better. While it’s important to celebrate our talents and victories, it’s vital that we look beyond those moments and seek to improve. If you’re naturally good at setting a scene, consider pushing yourself to add more conflict. If characterization is your strong suit, tinker with your descriptions a little more. Or get better at finding just the right word to express yourself. One of my Christmas presents was the game “Wordsmithery” and by playing it, I hope my writing will soon be much more incandescent.
On Submission With ... She Writes Press
By Ann Kathryn Kelly
We’re just a month into a new year, and I’m doing my best to stick to my resolutions! Looking at you, homemade peanut butter cup truffles. I cannot—will not!—let you continue to tempt me with your siren song, where I’m polishing off a dozen every weekend because you’re just a little ball, after all, and the recipe is so easy and really, what’s the harm?

One of my New Year’s resolutions from 2022 is on repeat for 2023: Find a publisher for my memoir manuscript. While I continue querying agents, I’m also researching other routes to publication to possibly add to my outreach this year. I’m therefore excited to welcome our next guest, Publisher of She Writes Press, Brooke Warner!

First, an overview on the press:

As the first hybrid publisher recipient of the 2019 Independent Publisher of the Year, She Writes Press (SWP) is unique in the world of publishing because it is neither traditional publishing, nor self-publishing. As an independent publisher, SWP bills itself as a “third way” for authors, and proudly occupies the gray zone, a much-needed alternative in a rapidly changing publishing landscape.

Unlike self-publishing platforms that publish whatever comes through regardless of quality, SWP is a curated press that works with authors to ensure that their books will be well-received in the marketplace. Unlike traditional publishing houses, which buy the majority stake in a book but often don’t deliver when it comes to providing the editorial and marketing help authors need, SWP provides an experienced editorial and production team, while allowing authors to retain full ownership of their project and earnings.
WOW: Welcome, Brooke! She Writes Press (SWP) has been called hybrid publishing, partnership publishing, and co-publishing. However, the term that resonates best with me is what the SWP website calls a “third way” for writers to get published. I love the promise of that phrase because it tells us—specifically, women writers, which is the community SWP focuses on—that there is another door that may open, aside from the either/or, black or white scenario of traditional versus self-publishing routes. 

It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot in the last year as I query agents and dream of that traditional path to publishing, while at the same time recognizing how hard and possibly unattainable this may be to pull off. I’m looking forward to discussing this third way with you!

Brooke: Thank you so much. I’m excited, too, and always love to be in conversation with WOW!

WOW: Your mission at SWP is to publish projects based on the merits of the writing alone, and not on brand or celebrity or platform reach and numbers. So refreshing to hear! You touch on this mission in this short video clip, which also helps our readers put a face to your name. [smile]
This gives us a great snapshot on SWP, but is there anything new you would add since this video came out? Let’s say you ran into me in a hotel elevator and we discovered that we attended the same writer’s conference across the street. I ask you to press the button to the fourth floor, then mention that I’ve written a memoir manuscript that I’m querying. You have 20 seconds before I leave the elevator. How might you convince me to consider SWP as a potential publisher? Can you add a bit more color to the benefits listed here?

Brooke: Ha. So much pressure! And thanks for that video, because it’s five years old but I could have said all that yesterday and all of it is still true. I’ll add that we have continued to prove ourselves as the gold standard for this third-way publishing and I’m very proud of that. We bring a lot of legitimacy to our authors, because of our proven track record, the fact that authors qualify to submit their books to be reviewed traditionally, because our books are so award-winning. If you want to publish your memoir with SWP, you’ll be in the good company of other memoirists, too. We are so strong in memoir and fiction, and we publish a lot of other genres as well. I would add that our capacity to get you widely distributed and into brick-and-mortar stores and libraries is a major asset. We really are at the height of our game, and going strong after ten years.

WOW: Marketing and publicity are two of the most challenging aspects on the path to publication, and something all authors need help nailing down. That’s one of the big draws to landing a traditional publishing contract; their publicity contacts. How does SWP help its women authors publicize their books to drive awareness and sales? Does SWP help authors secure mainstream bylines? How about written or podcast interviews?

Brooke: This falls to the publicist, and we have strong relationships with a lot of publicists but the authors hire the publicists separate from our publishing agreement with them. That said, there is a lot we do to support our books behind the scenes. We have relationships with trade reviews and we opt into a lot of programs through our distributor. Publicity is important, but it doesn’t really matter how great your publicity is if you don’t have a strong sales force in your corner. They’re intertwined. Our authors promote their work by securing marketing and publicity, typically with the support of a marketing expert or publicist, and then we either push that or pull that or supplement that by the power of our reputation, the programs and opportunities we participate in, and offers we put forward to our authors around advertising, and also through the feet-on-the-ground work of our sales force to pitch and sell our titles. To your specific question about bylines and interviews, authors or their publicists secure those, but I do think being part of She Writes Press lends legitimacy to our authors and makes it more likely that various outlets will say yes to their participation.
WOW: Does SWP help author clients find appropriate contests to which they can submit their books? 

Brooke: We curate a list of contests and awards that we make available to our authors in the Author Handbook that I update once, sometimes twice, every single year. We add to the list, or take contests off, as needed. Our authors are keen on awards and we are one of the most award-winning presses during awards season—and I have to give credit to the authors here. Those are their wins, and I love how ambitious they are.

WOW: You mentioned in your video clip that in its first year, SWP published 30 authors and that within a few years that number had soared to more than 270. What would you say drove this impressive growth in attracting authors to submit manuscripts? And, what does your total client number stand at, today?

Brooke: Now we’ve published well over 850 authors and have nearly 1,000 signed, so that means 150 or so in the pipeline. What drove the growth was a mosaic of things—our reputation, the fact that we’re a women’s press. Women authors love the idea of publishing their work on a women’s press, and they love the community. I know that the community of She Writes Press authors is a huge draw because the authors tell me all the time. Every season of authors goes through the process together as a cohort and some amazing friendships and alliances have been created that way. Our growth is also due to our professionalism and the fact that we have traditional distribution and a proven track record on sales, on awards, on well-published books. We’re ten-plus years in, and I’m coming on twenty-three years in the publishing industry. Our Art Director, Julie Metz, has been doing this for more than three decades. We’re veterans in traditional publishing and we bring all that expertise to what we do at She Writes Press. I think also we’re known for our transparency. Authors may not always be completely dazzled by their sales results, but we give a lot of information. I make myself available to authors. I tell them the truth. I’m not trying to sell false promises. We’re all about the reality—the amazing parts and the challenges—of getting published. Our authors go into publishing with us with their eyes wide open, and as such it’s an empowering experience, and there really shouldn’t be any surprises for those who are taking it all in.

WOW: I admire your point about leading with reality. Many writers, especially first-time authors, need a clear-eyed guide—a partner, really—beside them during this time that will surely be full of many questions and learnings. Hearing about SWP’s deep bench of experience is impressive! By the way, how many authors does SWP expect to publish in 2023?

Brooke: We’re on track to publish 115 authors this year.

WOW: Can you tell us more about the curation process? How far does the SWP vetting staff generally have to read to know whether or not a submitted manuscript is a fit? What generally factors into a “yes”? 

Brooke: We tightened up our vetting process about two years ago to create a two-tiered process for the very purpose of being more rigorous. So it goes through two stages—an outside read and an internal read by the team. I honestly think we know within ten pages whether it’s a fit. When you do this for a living and you read as much as we do, you know whether you’re hooked by then. You know whether the book is well written. In addition to the writing, we also ask for the summaries of the entire book because we want to see how well the story holds up—the plot, the arc, the structure. This has been a game-changer because we can sometimes get really well-written pages but then there are major holes that are evident in the summaries. When this is the case, we’ll invite the author to resubmit the summaries. So we have a lot of interaction with the authors and we’re in conversation with would-be authors about the editorial journeys that might need to happen when a book is good conceptually but needs developmental work. We’re very hands-on in our efforts to get every book we accept to the absolute best it can be. And then increasingly every year we are green-lighting fewer and fewer submissions too.
Brooke Warner
“Our growth is due to our professionalism and the fact that we have traditional distribution and a proven track record on sales, on awards, on well-published books. We’re ten-plus years in, and I’m coming on twenty-three years in the publishing industry. Our Art Director, Julie Metz, has been doing this for more than three decades. We’re veterans in traditional publishing and we bring all that expertise to what we do at She Writes Press."
WOW: On average, how many queries does SWP receive in a year? 

Brooke: It’s hard to keep up and it can fluctuate month over month, but I think on average we’re at about 25-40 submissions a month. I know that’s kind of a big range, but some months seem to be much more popular for submitting than others.

WOW: How involved are authors in the final title choice and cover design for their books?

Brooke: Ah, good question. This is probably the most important and sometimes hardest but also more rewarding part of the collaboration with authors. It’s one of the many things that sets us apart from other third-way publishers, too, because we care—a lot—about our covers and our titles. Everything we do is about supporting our authors to have a fair shot alongside their traditionally published counterparts, so we care a lot about presentation, package, positioning. We do want to be collaborative, and we work with authors by asking them to fill out a cover memo so we can get a sense of what they want. But at the end of the day, we do control this process, and we will veto authors’ desires for certain images—artistic or photographic. We have to approve the titles, and if they’re not right, we retitle the books. I would say we retitle at least 50% of the books on a given season.

WOW: Does SWP prefer to sign writers for multiple books, or are one-book deals acceptable?

Brooke: We are always just thinking about the first book. We love it if and when authors have multiple books, and we’re always pleased to have return authors. Some authors make it clear up front that they have a series, but they don’t always know until after the book is finished. Or sometimes authors don’t know how many books there will be in their series. We have signed two-book deals before, but the vast majority are single-book deals and I don’t have my eyes on trying to cultivate multiple-book deals. We’re focused on what’s coming up next!

WOW: I love the straightforward presentation on this page. Numbers two and four under the “7 Reasons” list will especially interest authors, so can you go into more detail around each? Which outlets are included under national accounts? Places like Amazon, Target, and the like? In addition to working with Barnes & Noble, does SWP also reach out to an author’s local bookstores, or is that something each author must drive? 

And with royalties, can you provide a dollar amount of what you’ve seen for an “average” return on the $9,500 upfront investment? I realize this is difficult to estimate, as each project differs, but more clarification will be helpful for readers who may be weighing an investment of this type. 

Brooke: Distribution is such a massive topic. I could speak about it for hours, literally. And I wrote a whole chapter in my book, Green-Light Your Book, about distribution. I’ll give the short version here to say that distribution is essential to any author who wants to be in brick-and-mortar stores and in libraries. It’s also our distribution that allows our books to be traditionally reviewed by outlets like Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist, and Library Journal. We have reach and access due to our sales team and our distribution, and we make it seamless for stores to work with us to get and to return books.

As for royalties, it’s important to us that authors get royalties that are commensurate with their investment, and so that’s the lion’s share and it’s the way that they’ll chip away at their investment. We do keep 40% of net proceeds on print and 30% on ebooks, but the vast majority of that goes back to our distributor for their good work of representing us and preselling our books into the marketplace. National accounts are all the ones you mentioned—Amazon, B&N, Books-a-Million, Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Costco, etc.

We or the publicists will reach out to local bookstores for events, but not just to carry our books. How book distribution works is sort of mysterious because it has to do with the buyers’ habits and what they want to carry in their stores. Our books are picked up and carried into so many stores, countless, across the country, but we of course don’t have all of our books available in every store. Buyers buy from catalogs, based on reviews they see, and also based on the pitches they get from our reps. But they also buy because local authors come into the store and introduce themselves. We try to do all the things and encourage our authors to be proactive. That said, if we have an author who lives in the Bay Area with no ties to Boston, it’s unlikely that that author will see a lot of pick-up of their book in the Boston area unless there’s some sort of national publicity. Book sales usually start local, or with connections authors have to other areas, then gain momentum with more publicity hits and word-of-mouth recommendations. Most books gain a lot of traction over time, and this is extra true for debut authors.

Average ROI is a tough question to answer. I would say that something like 30-40% of authors earn back their investments in the publishing package. And if you add on top of that what authors spend for publicity and travel and websites and building an author presence, well that number goes down. Being a new author does require a lot of upfront investment. I think authors who are earning real money are those who’ve published more than one book, or those authors who stay at their marketing and publicity well past the one-year mark on their book being out in the world. You have to be pretty tireless, and some authors don’t have the wherewithal to keep at it in that way, or even to write another book. I am really proud of the successes of our authors and the fact that so many of them earn good money. But I also tell people when I’m onboarding them that if they have to earn out, if that’s one of the absolute necessities of publishing with us, that there’s no guarantee that will happen, and it’s unlikely given all the additional costs involved. For most first-time authors, this way of publishing is not about earning money, but for those authors investing in the long game, it certainly can be. I’ve seen some of our authors get giant checks. To me that’s the icing on the cake since many of our authors publish for reasons in addition and/or beyond the single goal of making a profit.

WOW: That’s such an important point you raise, Brooke. For many authors, the goal they have in mind is first and foremost to usher their story into the world at last—not necessarily to “make bank.” I appreciate that SWP offers a viable third way for women authors to realize their publication dreams, should their manuscripts be chosen through SWP’s vetting process. And so, what tips would you share with writers who are preparing to send a manuscript your way, knowing that your vetting process is competitive?

Brooke: This would be advice I’d share with all authors sending to any editors or agents. Make sure it’s clean! Get your work edited. Make sure you know it’s ready to go. Get an editorial assessment. We see a lot of manuscripts that aren’t ready—and I know it’s difficult because the industry can be fairly subjective. I also know there are a lot of people out there who do assessments and reads and they tell authors what they want to hear. It can be hard to find the right person. But they’re out there—and writers need to trust their guts that the work is as good as it can be. It takes a lot of effort and a lot of revision to get a manuscript to the place where it’s final, where you’re ready to send it into the world. And that’s not done alone, it’s done with the support of professionals.
Brooke Warner

“Everything we do is about supporting our authors to have a fair shot alongside their traditionally published counterparts, so we care a lot about presentation, package, positioning."
WOW: The SWP website is chock-full of information that walks potential clients through the process, and is worth a careful look. We appreciate you shedding additional light on the many moving parts, Brooke. 

Let’s turn now to some of your other ventures and accomplishments—because there are many! You offer coaching and editing services, you’re a TEDx speaker, a weekly podcaster, a published author, and a columnist for Publishers Weekly. What can writers expect when working with you?

Brooke: It’s true that I have a lot going on, and I think for that reason, and because it’s my personality, I do like to get down to business with authors. I’m not particularly chatty when I connect with authors, though I can be if we’re in a social setting, like a retreat. I am direct, transparent, honest about expectations and outcome. I’m invested in authors understanding publishing because I know they’ll be more successful if they get the ins and outs of this often-complicated industry. I see myself as a champion of authors and I truly want the best experience for all my authors. I also am not one to dwell on hypotheticals, my authors will tell me that. Authors can do a lot of hand-wringing about things that might never happen, and I don’t engage in that kind of thing, though I will always give a needed pep talk. I’ve worked with authors for so long and I know all their anxieties, so I try to strike a balance between being very compassionate and also reminding authors that this book is a business as much as it’s their baby. I want to validate authors but also work with them, especially during the publishing part, to engage more with their empowered self and to remind them that the experience will be what they make of it. I guess I’m part-therapist, part-cheerleader, part-drill sergeant!

WOW: “The experience will be what they make of it.” Love that. Your TEDx talk, meanwhile, had me out of my chair, exclaiming Yes! I loved your points about how traditional creative industries—publishing, film, music—often make “sweeping generalizations about what sells and what doesn’t …” and that “there’s a perception in our culture that the only people who get to call themselves artists are those who have been ordained by the powers that be.”
Readers, if you want to feel energized and optimistic about your path to publishing success and how you hold the keys to green-lighting your own project, listen to Brooke’s TEDx talk: Green-Light Revolution: Your Creative Life on Your Terms. It must have been an amazing experience to stand on a TEDx stage and share your vision and learnings. How did this opportunity come to you, and how did you choose the most important points to focus on in only 18 short minutes?

Brooke: The journey to TEDx was the fulfillment of a dream. I set my sights on doing a talk and then drilled down on how to get there. I got the talk because the team in Traverse City, where I did my talk, is connected to the folks that run Spirituality & Health magazine, and I had a bit of a relationship with them. I still had to try out, though. They rejected my first idea, and so I went back to the drawing board. I hired the amazing Deborah Siegel, who co-founded, to support me. I workshopped the heck out of the talk, and then I memorized it. I probably put 100+ hours into it, and it was worth it. I knew those lines inside and out, and I knew I had to because freezing up on stage was my absolute nightmare going into the experience. It was exhilarating, but honestly I had an experience that’s the closest I’ve come to an out-of-body one while delivering the talk. I felt like I was observing myself, like my mind and my body were separate. But I’d gotten training about how to be in my body, position myself, move my arms, so somehow my body was still moving. It was sort of like muscle memory. The best part was finishing and feeling like I did a good job.

WOW: Such a fascinating glimpse into your behind-the-scenes and on-stage experience! You’ve also authored several books published by SWP, including Write On, Sisters! (2019), Green-Light Your Book (2016), and What’s Your Book? (2012), as well as three books on memoir. 

And, you co-host a podcast with Grant Faulkner of NaNoWriMo called Write-minded. What inspired you and Grant to start this podcast? What do you most enjoy about it, and what content are you planning to showcase this upcoming year?

Brooke: The idea to start a podcast started like a lot of other things—just a way to get my thoughts into the world. And I love collaborating. Grant and I have been friends for a long time and we run in the same writing circles, and so I asked him to be my co-host. He was someone I could imagine having literary conversations with—and never getting bored. He’s been an amazing partner in that way because we’re in our fifth year and I love talking with him. We enjoy each other, we respect each other. I’m so grateful he said yes because our podcast has been a touchstone for me, especially through Covid, and I get exposed to a lot of things I wouldn’t otherwise because of his choice in guest and in literature. I love that we get to inspire others while we inspire ourselves.
WOW: You also offer a six-month intensive workshop to help memoirists on their writing journeys. You co-lead the workshop with Linda Joy Myers, president and founder of the National Association of Memoir Writers. What makes this intensive workshop special and valuable to memoirists?

Brooke: Thanks for asking about this. I love the work I get to do with memoirists, and I am so grateful for my collaboration with Linda Joy, which is coming on eleven years of teaching together. We teach a six-month class, and we also teach shorter courses in the spring and in the fall at The intensive course is special because it’s a small group of students who go through a very supportive six months together. Linda Joy and I teach every class together. The students are assigned to one of us as their mentor and they get feedback on their submissions. I think students thrive because of the accountability, and Linda Joy and I truly love memoir. So it’s also an environment where we’re validating the students’ genre of choice and teaching them about the mechanics of writing memoir. In the shorter classes, we’ve often had guest teachers. We’ve been so blessed to have people like Kiese Laymon, Ashley C. Ford, Elizabeth Gilbert, Dani Shapiro, Carmen Maria Machado, Stephanie Foo, and others teach for us. This spring we’re doing a course on our own for the first time since before the pandemic, but we vary it up each time and that keeps things fresh for us and our students. Memoir is the genre of my heart, so these classes are a true joy, and they remind me always about the power of personal narrative—to heal, to change and save lives, to inspire, and to bear witness.

WOW: What an incredible list of past workshop teachers—wow! As we bring our interview to a close, I noticed that SWP’s calendar is filled already for all of 2023 and halfway through 2024. Not to rush time that already moves too fast, but what types of projects are you hoping to see cross your desk for the latter half of 2024? 

Brooke: We are always about the writing. I feel grateful that I’m not in traditional publishing anymore, actually, because at traditional houses you always have to balance the list. There are a lot of projects you have to say no to as an acquiring editor because of the reasons I talk about in my TEDx talk—they’ve been done before, the market is saturated, the author doesn’t have a strong enough platform. We have the luxury of just taking the book for what it is—considering the content and whether it’s a good book on its merits and not with all those other factors. This is what I most love about our model, even if it sometimes means that we have a lot of books about the mother-daughter relationship, or leadership, or widows writing about the final years of their husbands’ lives. There are some recurring themes. But all of the books that are similar thematically are their own unique stories and the authors bring their unique strengths and takeaways to the projects. So I’m never hoping for something in particular. One of the places where I get to feel a lot of delight in my life is simply around the projects that come in and all the different kinds of stories. I’m not particularly moved if something is so unique or outside the box, though it’s nice when that happens. We really do get to consider each book for what it is and whether it’s a good fit and we want to publish it. And I still find that so refreshing after thirteen years in traditional publishing where I did not get to think this way!
My thanks to She Writes Press publisher, Brooke Warner, for an illuminating and exciting conversation! I’m feeling inspired and hopeful after a lackluster year of agent outreach and this gives me, personally, so much to think about. Are you also looking for a home for your manuscript? Why not send it to Brooke and her team, and find out if there’s a fit? Remember, they’re already signing contracts for the second half of 2024, so plan accordingly.

Until next time!
Ann Kathryn Kelly
Ann Kathryn Kelly writes from 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 writing has appeared in a number of literary journals.
Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards
Deadline: February 1
Honoring Allen Ginsberg’s contribution to American literature and his Paterson upbringing, this annual poetry competition awards a first prize of $2,000, a second prize of $1,000, and a third prize of $500. Up to five unpublished poems per person will be accepted for consideration. Three copies of each poem should be submitted for distribution to the judges. Each poem should be no longer than two manuscript pages. The winners will be announced in spring 2023 on the website. Poems by the Winners, Honorable Mentions, and Editor’s Choice recipients are included in the Paterson Literary Review, and poets are invited to read at The Poetry Center in historic downtown Paterson. Fee: $18

Michael Waters Poetry Prize
Deadline: February 1
Southern Indiana Review will award a prize of $5,000 and publication for a full-length poetry manuscript. Your submission must be available for exclusive manuscript publication (individual poems may have been previously published in magazines, anthologies, or chapbooks) by SIR Press. It must consist of at least 40 and no more than 100 pages of poetry in 12-point font (no more than one poem per page) per each individual submission. Fee: $30

Clair Keyes Poetry Award
Deadline: February 1
A prize of $1,000 and publication in Soundings East will be given annually for a group of previously unpublished poems. Submit 8 to 10 pages of poetry poems (no more than one poem per page). Final Judge: January Gill O'Neil. Fee: $10

Deep Wild 2023 Graduate Student Poetry Contest
Deadline: February 1
The editors of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry invite students currently enrolled in graduate studies to submit work for their 2023 Graduate Student Poetry Contest. They seek work that conjures the experiences, observations, and insights of backcountry journeys. "By 'backcountry,' we mean away from roads, on journeys undertaken by foot, skis, snowshoes, kayak, canoe, horse, or any other non-motorized means of conveyance." Send up to three poems that are backcountry infused and inspired, and that together add up to no more than 100 lines. 1st Place prize is $300, 2nd Place $200, and 3rd Place $100. No fee.

Ambroggio Prize
Deadline: February 15
The Ambroggio Prize is a $1,000 publication prize given for a book-length poetry manuscript originally written in Spanish and with an English translation. The winning manuscript is published by the University of Arizona Press, which is nationally recognized for its commitment to publishing the award-winning works of emerging and established voices in Latinx and Indigenous literature, as well as groundbreaking scholarship in Latinx and Indigenous studies. The original manuscript in Spanish must be between 48 and 100 pages, typed single-spaced unless the poems are meant to be presented using nonstandard spacing. Multiple poems may not appear on a single page. Poets may translate their own work or collaborate with a translator who may or may not be a poet. The poet and translator must share the $1,000 prize. No fee.

The Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry
Deadline: February 15
The judge for the 2023 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry is Ilya Kaminsky. This contest is open to any poet writing in English. Individual poems from the manuscript may have been published previously in magazines, chapbooks of less than 48 pages, or anthologies, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award, publication of a full-length collection of poetry, and a standard royalty contract. Kathryn A. Morton was a published author and devotee of fine literature, especially poetry. Minimum length of submission is 48 pages, and the manuscript must be paginated consecutively with a table of contents and acknowledgements page (a list of publications in which poems in the manuscript have appeared). Fee: $29

Furious Flower Poetry Prize 2023
Deadline: February 15
The Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, the nation’s first academic center devoted to Black poetry, offers a $1,500 prize for a group of three poems through its annual prize. The Furious Flower Poetry Center is committed to ensuring the visibility, inclusion, and critical consideration of Black poets in American letters, as well as in the whole range of educational curricula. The Center seeks to support and promote Black poets at all stages of their careers and to preserve the history of Black poets for future generations. Submissions that support this mission are welcome. Poets with no more than one published book are invited to submit up to three poems for consideration. The winner receives $1,500 and an Honorable Mention receives $750. Both the winner and honorable mention will be invited to read as part of the Furious Flower Poetry Reading Series in April 2023. The winner, honorable mention, and select finalists will also be published in Obsidian. 2023 Judge: Evie Shockley. Fee: $15

Harold Morton Landon Translation Award
Deadline: February 15
The Academy of American Poets will award $1,000 for the best book of poetry, 48+ pages, translated from any language into English and published in the US during the previous calendar year. Translator must be a living US citizen or someone who has resided in the United States for the past decade. No fee.

You are My Sunshine: Poetry for Children Collection
Deadline: February 15
Share your art and poetry for children, the perspective of a child, the silly times and serious times, the best poetry and very short story for children to give them the joy and awareness of rhythm of the English language. Whether it's metaphorical, whether it makes us catch our breath or read it again and again, we want to hear from you. The most lifting poems and stories will be published in a poetry anthology for children. Poets will receive a copy of the book. Fee: $5

Pigeon Pages Poetry Contest
Deadline: February 15
Pigeon Pages is seeking original, previously unpublished poems by a single author. Judged by Sally Wen Mao, author of Oculus & The Kingdom of Surfaces. The winning author will receive $250 and publication. Honorable mentions will receive $50 and publication. All submissions will be considered for publication. Fee: $15

The Freshwater Review
Deadline: February 17
Submit up to 4 poems in a single document. If the poems aren't submitted as a single document, we may delete them immediately; they occupy precious space in our limited Submittable account. All submissions will be considered for the 2023 Rose Warner Poetry Prize. No fee.

Willow Run Poetry Book Award
Deadline: February 20
Hidden River Arts offers a prize of $1,000 and publication with Hidden River Press, an imprint of Hidden River Publishing, for an unpublished book-length collection of poetry. The editors will judge. Using the online submission system, submit a poetry manuscript of 75 to 100 pages. Individual poems included in the submission may have been published, as long as all rights have reverted to the poet. Please provide a full list of publications: titles, where published, date of publication, and confirmation of your rights. Please include an introductory statement about your collection (approximately TWO paragraphs) where you discuss the themes, subject exploration, and the ways in which the poems in this collection coalesce to create a larger, overarching, work. This serves as a synopsis of the collection. Entries without this requested synopsis will be immediately discarded. Fee: $20

Nick Blatchford Occasional Verse Contest
Deadline: February 28
Sponsored by former The New Quarterly editor Kim Jernigan and family in celebration of her father, Nick Blatchford, of the man who sparked the family’s love of poetry. This contest is for poems written in response to an existing occasion, personal or public, or poems that make an occasion of something ordinary or by virtue of the poet’s attention. They are interested in light verse and in verse more sober, in the whole spectrum of tones and occasions. A $1,000 top prize will be awarded for one work of occasional verse (no word limit). An additional $1,000 will be distributed at the discretion of the judges. All entries will be considered for publication in The New Quarterly ($50/poem paid upon publication). Fee: $40

Bath Magg
Deadline: February 28
Founded by poets Mariah Whelan and Joe Carrick-Varty in 2019, bath magg is an online poetry magazine and a home for the best new writing. Their aim is to offer a platform for both established and emerging writers to share a space. Please send no more than three poems to the email address noted on their website. They have no restriction on theme or length but for long poems or sequences they suggest no more than three A4 pages. No fee.

21st Annual BrainStorm Poetry Contest
Deadline: February 28
We are looking for poetry about your experience with madness or mental health challenges. Poems are judged on poetic merit: originality, creativity, how well it changed or provoked readers’ thoughts, how well it was written, the effective use of imagery and sound devices, writing mechanics, and whether the poem imparted a sensation after it was read. The winning poems will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of Open Minds Quarterly. $250 for First Place; $150 for Second Place; $75 for Third Place. Any Honourable Mentions will also be published in the Spring 2023 issue of Open Minds Quarterly and receive the regular contributor honorarium for that issue (contributor honorariums are subject to change). Fee: $12 CAD

James Welch Prize for Indigenous Poets
Deadline: February 28
Poetry Northwest’s James Welch Prize is awarded for two outstanding poems, each written by an Indigenous U.S. poet. Two Indigenous poets will receive $1000 and a trip to read at a premier literary venue in Seattle or Missoula. Each entrant may submit up to three poems in a single submission. Submissions must include a cover letter with any tribal affiliation(s) and ties (official enrollment is not necessary) as well as a brief biography. Guest judge is Heid E. Erdrich, author of the poetry collection Little Big Bully, which won a National Poetry Series award. No fee.
The International Radio Playwriting Competition 2023
Deadline: February 12
Hosted by BBC World Service and the British Council, the competition offers the unique opportunity for writers from outside the UK to use the medium of audio drama to tell stories for an international audience. All scripts submitted must be approximately 53 minutes in length – this usually equates to a minimum of 45 pages of A4 paper (or equivalent) and a maximum of 65 pages (note, a rough guide is a minute per page; please read and time your play before you send it). The play should have a maximum of six central characters (there may be up to 3 small “doubling” characters too, who don’t have more than a few lines each). There must be no central roles for children. Word count approx. 9000-10000 words. Your script should be accompanied by a short synopsis which outlines the complete story of the play. This must be no more than 400 words. Prize is £2,500 sterling and a trip to London (standard airfare and accommodation for one person) to see the winning play being recorded and attend a prize-giving event. No fee.
Romance Includes You Mentorship
Deadline: January 31
Have you always wanted to write romance? You have the chance to win a mentorship with Harlequin and work one-on-one with a Harlequin editor for a year to develop your happily-ever-after story for publication under the famous Harlequin name. You'll also get a publishing contract with an advance and
a grant to support your writing and career development. The contract advance plus grant will have a value of $5,000 U.S. This opportunity is open to debut romance writers in Canada (excluding Quebec) and the United States and its territories who are unpublished or self-published and not already represented by a literary agent. Harlequin is particularly interested in submissions by authors in underrepresented communities, including but not limited to: writers who identify as Black, Indigenous, People of Color, biracial and multiracial; writers in LGBTQ+ communities; members of marginalized ethnic and religious cultures; writers with disabilities; and writers identifying as neurodiverse. No fee.

The Leyla Beban $1,000 for 1,000 Words Middle and High School Creative Writing Contest
Deadline: February 1
The Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation awards two top prizes of $1,000 for previously unpublished flash fiction, exactly 1,000 words long, by students worldwide in grades 6-12 (one prize for grades 6-8 and the other for grades 9-12). Winners may be published online and in the sponsor's annual Bluefire journal. No fee.

The Short(er) Fiction Prize
Deadline: February 1
This prize recognizes extraordinary short fiction under 1,000 words. The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 prize and publication. Previous winners of the Short(er) Fiction Prize have gone on to be anthologized in places such as The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. All entries will be considered for publication. Stories must be 1,000 words or fewer. You are allowed to include up to three stories per entry. Please submit all stories in one document. Each story must begin on a new page and be clearly titled. Fee: $18

Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award
Deadline: February 1
Seeking short stories, up to 8,000 words, that shows the near future (no more than about 50-60 years out) of manned space exploration. They want to see Moon bases, Mars colonies, orbital habitats, space elevators, asteroid mining, artificial intelligence, nano-technology, realistic spacecraft, heroics, sacrifice, adventure. They do not want stories that show technology or space travel as evil or bad, galactic empires, paranormal elements, UFO abductions, zombie stories, thinly veiled copies of previous winners, non-standalone novel excerpts, or screenplays. Prize is publication and $0.08/word. No fee.

Forest Avenue Press 2023 Novel Submissions
Deadline: February 10
Forest Avenue Press is open for un-agented novel submissions by U.S. based authors. Their titles are supported by an in-house publicist and distributed to the trade by Publishers Group West. They prioritize historically marginalized voices, including BIPOC, queer, neurodivergent, and/or disabled authors. Agents are also welcome to submit their authors' manuscripts at this time.
Forest Avenue publishes literary fiction on a joyride! Open to contemporary fiction, genre-blending tales, historical fiction, and fantasy projects that are language-driven. Their readers are especially interested in seeing work driven by hope, not despair, especially in these pandemic times. They only work with U.S.-based authors because of our decade of building relationships with independent bookstores and regional trade organizations. Submit novels in the 50,000-90,000 word count range. No fee.

Recommended Reading
Deadline: February 12 (Opens February 1)
Recommended Reading publishes fiction between 2,000 and 10,000 words. Simultaneous submissions accepted, and their response time is six to eight months. Pay is $300 per story. No fee.

Cast of Wonders - Theme: Seasonal Holidays
Deadline: February 14 (Opens February 1)
Cast of Wonders is a young adult short fiction market, open to stories up to 6,000 words in length in the fantasy, sci-fi, and horror genres. Their February theme is Seasonal Holidays (e.g. Christmas, Halloween, Valentines and others). They publish stories online and on their podcast. They are looking for "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." Pay is $0.08 per word. No fee.

Luna Station Quarterly
Deadline: February 15
Luna Station Quarterly publishes speculative fiction written by women-identified authors. “We think women write awesome characters and really cool stories and we want to show it to the world. We will consider stories submitted by any woman-identified writer, regardless of experience or writing resume. If you consider yourself on the woman end of the gender spectrum in any significant capacity, you’re welcome here.” Stories should be 500 to 7000 words in length. They may publish longer or shorter works, but the greater your story is above or below limit, the less likely they are to publish it. Luna Station Quarterly pays $5 USD for each story, payment made via Paypal. In addition, authors receive a lifetime subscription to the ebook version of the magazine. No fee.

The Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction
Deadline: February 15
This contest is open to any short fiction writer of English. The judge for the 2023 Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction is Manuel Muñoz. The prize includes a $2,000 cash award, publication of the winning manuscript, and a standard royalty contract. Manuscript must be between 150 to 250 pages. Must be typed, standard font, 12 pt., double-spaced; if printed must be on standard white printer paper, unbound (binder clip or rubber bands preferred). Multiple submissions are permitted if submitted separately, each with a submission fee. Fee: $29

2023 Montana Prize for Fiction
Deadline: February 15
Author Rick Bass serves as the judge for Whitefish Review's annual fiction prize. The first-place (and only) winner of the fiction award will receive $1,000 and be published in issue #29 to be released in summer/fall 2023. All submissions will be considered for publication, but only one story will be awarded the prize. There is no theme restriction. Submit one previously unpublished story under 7,000 words and typed double-spaced in 12-point Times font. Says Rick: “I'm so hungry for good stories, I will simply choose the best submission regardless of theme. That said, Shakespeare reported that all literature is about the odds are that the winning story will look at loss in some way. But who knows? Surprise me. What makes me smile when I read a good story? The basics. Beauty. Attentiveness. Crystalline specificity in an era of great uncertainty. The basics. Hold the adverbs.” Fee: $22

Fractured Lit Anthology Prize
Deadline: February 19
Submissions are open for The Fractured Lit Volume 3. This year stories will be selected by Peter Orner, who will choose 20 winners from a shortlist of 40 stories. 20 published authors will receive $250 award, publication in the print edition of our 2023 Anthology, and 5 Contributor’s copies. Submit up to two stories of 1,000 words or fewer, 3 stories of 100 words or fewer. Fee: $20

Fish Flash Fiction Prize
Deadline: February 28
The Fish Flash Fiction Prize, open internationally, is an opportunity to attempt one of the most interesting and rewarding tasks – to create, in a tiny fragment, a completely resolved and compelling story in 300 words or less. Ten stories will be published in the Fish Anthology 2023. Prizes include, first: €1,000, second – online writing course with Fish (worth €250), third: €300 and the ten published authors will each receive five copies of the Anthology and will be invited to read at the launch during the West Cork Literary Festival in July. Submit a maximum number of 300 words. You can enter as many times as you wish. Fee: €14
Herstry - Theme: Mental Health
Deadline: February 1
Mental health and all the struggles that come with it are more and more becoming part of the mainstream; nevertheless, sometimes the personal stories, the struggles and triumphs that come with taking care of ourselves, don’t make it into the general lexicon. In March, we’re asking for your stories about what it’s really like to take care of your mental health in today’s world. Stories must stay between 500–3,000 words. All accepted pieces receive a $20 payment. Fee: $3

The Sun - Theme: Idols
Deadline: February 1
"Who did you look up to but don't anymore? Who took their place? What teacher, pop star, family member, or religious leader has been a guiding light in the darkness? Or was it all smoke and mirrors? Tell us your true story." They don't specify word count, but typically, stories in the Readers Write section are under 600 words. Other themes, such as "Privacy" (deadline: March 1), are available at the link below. No fee.

Barrelhouse - Book-Length Memoir and Essay Collections
Deadline: February 5
Barrelhouse is interested in full-length memoirs and essay collections that combine personal narrative with... something else. That could be reportage, criticism, history, etc. We're especially interested in projects where the external element has something to do with pop culture, and projects that do something unexpected and original with form and structure. A straightforward narrative memoir, no matter how engaging, is not going to be a fit for us. Send us your hybrid project that you worry might be too weird to publish, the project you thought was going to be a memoir but ended up as some new part-memoir form that you're not quite sure how to label. The project that was driven by your genuine obsession and fascination with a niche topic so close to your heart that you couldn't write about it without also including personal narrative. We want the exciting in-between stuff that pushes the boundaries of what makes a "memoir" or an "essay collection." We're especially interested in seeing work from marginalized writers. Submit the first 20 pages of your book. No fee.

GreenPrints Magazine - Your True Personal Winter Gardening Story
Deadline: February 17
GreenPrints publishes personal gardening stories from the heart. They are seeking winter-themed gardening stories; stories that are true and personal, expressive and thoughtful, humorous and witty, and that have a winter theme! They focus on the human, not the how-to, side of gardening, so your story should be entertaining, moving, unexpected, touching, and funny—a heartfelt story you would tell a friend or family member. They want stories that “show, don’t tell.” Dialogue is a great way to demonstrate the feelings and situations. They don’t do sappy or preachy stories, so please avoid those types. Finally, your winter-themed story should have a strong ending. Word count is 600-1,500 words. Pay is $100-$150 per story, and they pay on your acceptance of First North American Serial Rights (unless you’ve already published your story somewhere else first; they’re happy to reprint garden writing pieces—as long as they’re good!). No fee.

The Reporting Award 2023
Deadline: February 21
Launched in 2010, The Reporting Award award provides up to $12,500 for a significant work of journalism, in any medium, on an under-reported subject in the public interest. Over the last ten years, Reporting Award winners have covered Haitian earthquake victims; a shelter for homeless pregnant women; and membership disputes within Native American tribes. Writers will apply with a provisional title and a full article proposal, keeping in mind that the subject of the article and the depth of treatment must warrant the major financial support that the Reporting Award offers. Please be sure to tell how you will develop a narrative for your story. No fee.

Chicken Soup for the Soul - Themes: Miracles, The Power of Positive Thinking, and Angels
Deadline: February 28
Chicken Soup for the Soul has three book topics with a Feb 28th deadline. They are looking for true stories on the themes of "Miracles," those events in our lives that are completely unexplainable; "The Power of Positive Thinking," how our attitudes can help us achieve our goals and lead to happier lives; and "Angels," divine intervention, an answered prayer, or a miraculous occurrence courtesy of someone you think just might have been an angel. See theme details here. Pay is $250 for work up to 1,200 words, as well as 10 contributor copies. No fee.

The Writer 2023 Essay Contest
Deadline: February 28
Submit your very best essay in 2,000 words or less. Any theme, subject, or genre is fair game, as long as it is nonfiction and falls under 2,000 words. First place is $1,000; second place is $500; and third place is $250. All include publication in The Writer and a one-year VIP membership. Fee: $25

Diana Woods Memorial Prize in Creative Nonfiction
Deadline: February 28 (Opens February 1)
Diana Woods Memorial Award serves as a special opportunity for authors worldwide to be published in the literary journal Lunch Ticket. The reading period for the award is the month of February for the issue that publishes in June. Creative nonfiction authors are invited to submit an essay of up to 3,500 words on the subject of their choice. Winners will receive $250 and their work will be featured in the next issue of Lunch Ticket. No fee.

The Rumpus - Essays
Deadline: February 28
We welcome essay submissions up to 4,000 words in length. In addition to personal narrative-driven essays we are interested in non-traditional forms of nonfiction. Essays should explore issues and ideas with depth and breadth, illuminating a larger cultural context or human struggle. Regardless of topic, we are looking for well-crafted sentences, a clear voice, vivid scenes, dramatic arc, reflection, thematic build, and attention to the musicality of prose. Pay: They set aside $300 a month to be split between contributors. No fee.
Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing 2023-24
Deadline: February 1
Named for Bucknell's renowned literary alumnus ('54) and initiated in fall 1993, the Philip Roth Residence in Creative Writing offers up to four months of unfettered writing time for a writer working on a first or second book. In the current application season, The Roth Residence is open to writers in any creative genre in the literary arts, including fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, graphic novel, etc. The residency provides an apartment in Bucknell's Writers' Cottage and a stipend of $5,000. No fee.

fron//tera - Theme: Phantoms
Deadline: February 1
Frontera is an English-Spanish bilingual literary journal based in Portland and Madrid. They are accepting submissions for the fourth volume on the theme of PHANTOMS. Fiction and nonfiction submissions should be no longer than 5,000 words. They will only accept up to three poems per submission cycle. They also accept translations, visual arts, and comics. Pay ranges from $25-50 dollars per author/artist featured in the magazine. No fee.

Ghost Girls Zine - Theme: Grief
Deadline: February 1
Ghost Girls is a literary magazine which welcomes all submissions, but is made by and for queer people, with the intent to center, magnify, and uplift marginalized voices. We are particularly interested in the works of BIPOC, queer and trans folks, and women. We are also interested in the experimental, the unpolished, the weird, and the messy. Consider this a space to showcase your work that takes chances or might not have a home anywhere else. We accept most forms of writing, including: poetry, short works of fiction, short works of nonfiction (including diary entries) and visual art of all mediums. All written pieces need to be under 5,000 words. The theme for our third issue is Grief. No fee.

Soundings East
Deadline: February 1
Soundings East is the annual literary journal of Salem State University, published with support from the Center for Creative and Performing Arts. Soundings East is dedicated to publishing high-quality poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction. The magazine is distributed nationally, with recent press runs of 750 copies. They accept creative nonfiction, fiction, and poetry. Submit unpublished creative nonfiction and fiction up to 3,500 words. Please submit up to five previously unpublished poems in a single file. No fee.

Ecotone Literary Magazine
Deadline: February 3
Ecotone, the literary magazine dedicated to reimagining place, welcomes work from a wide range of voices. They are particularly interested in place-based work by people historically underrepresented in literary publishing and in place-based context. Submissions are considered for all upcoming issues, themed and unthemed. Send one prose piece of no more than thirty double-spaced pages (ca. 10,000 words) in a standard font. Note that most work we run is shorter than this upper limit. We are also interested in shorter prose works (minimum 2,000–3,000 words), one per submission. Include page numbers and a word count; do not include your name in the filename or the file itself. For poetry, send three to five poems at a time. Fee: $3

Coffee People Zine - Theme: Earth
Deadline: February 1
Coffee People Zine celebrates the creativity of the coffee community. “We showcase the multi-dimensionality of folx who work in and around the coffee industry. Through our seasonal submission-based zine, we publish art and articles, poetry and photography, music and musings, doodles and drawings, and other creative works by baristas, roasters, and other coffee professionals around the world.” Rules for Submission: (1) If you work in the coffee industry, your submission can be anything. and (2) If you do not work in the coffee industry, your submission must be about coffee in some way. The upcoming theme is “Earth.” No fee.

The Spectacle
Deadline: February 5
We aim for content that reminds us that our lenses matter—they focus, distort, clarify, conceal. We value and emphasize relationships between the literary and visual arts, pairing the majority of the pieces we publish with original work from a variety of contributing visual artists. Fiction and Nonfiction (memoir, personal essay, literary journalism): Up to 5,000 words. Poetry: Please submit 3-5 poems, and up to 8 pages. Pay: $50 per piece. No fee.

Penumbra Literary Magazine
Deadline: February 6
This literary magazine is accepting submissions for their next issue. For hybrid, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry, submit a maximum of 1,000 words total, whether in the form of one long piece or several shorter pieces. Only two submissions total allowed. All submissions should be submitted individually. No fee.

Qwerty - Issue 47
Deadline: February 11
Qwerty publishes new poetry, fiction, and art, and is staffed by graduate students in UNB's creative writing program. Their number one criterion, above all else, is mastery of craft. Though Qwerty has primarily published literary fiction and fine art, they have no qualms with publishing genre fiction that subverts convention, experimental work that inverts tradition in pursuit of innovative storytelling, or images that play on the senses in unusual ways. Fiction/Creative Non-Fiction: previously unpublished fiction and creative non-fiction up to 5,000 words in length. Poetry: previously unpublished poetry in any style, up to 6 pages. They also publish artwork and photography, as well as reviews and interviews (please query for those). Pay is CDN $15 per piece. No fee.

The Porter Fleming Literary Competition
Deadline: February 13
The Porter Fleming Literary Competition honors the memory of Porter Fleming, one of Augusta, Georgia’s leading citizens and foremost philanthropists. The competition is administered, with the support of the Porter Fleming Foundation, by the Morris Museum of Art, the first museum in the country to focus on the art and artists of the American South. This contest offers up to $7,000 in cash awards and is open to writers ages 18 and older who reside in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Entries accepted in Fiction (up to 2,500 words); Nonfiction (article or essay up to 2,500 words); Poetry (up to three poems per entry), and one-act plays (limited to 15 pages, double-spaced). Fee: $15

Round Table Literary Journal
Deadline: February 15
The Round Table Literary Journal is the historic print literary journal of Hopkinsville Community College. They publish literary fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and art once a year. They only accept prose submissions under 2500 words, although they will give preference to work under 1000 words. Contributors will receive one copy of the journal. No fee.

Fiction International - Theme: Refugee
Deadline: February 15
Fiction International is the only literary journal in the United States emphasizing formal innovation and social activism. Founded by Joe David Bellamy in 1973 at St. Lawrence University in New York, the journal was relocated to San Diego State University in 1982 and is edited by Dr. Harold Jaffe. Each issue revolves around a theme and features a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, indeterminate prose, and visuals by leading writers and artists worldwide. Submit fiction, non-fiction, and indeterminate prose texts of up to 5,500 words, and visuals that address the theme of “Refugee” are welcome. They will consider submissions of narrative, anti-narrative and indeterminate texts but only accept submissions reflecting the theme. No fee.

Delicate Friend - Theme: BODYLOVE
Deadline: February 15
Delicate Friend is an adult (18+) space for erotic and intimate art and literature that you enjoyed creating. Their current theme is “BODYLOVE:” a simple, sensual tribute to the practice of self-love. They accept poetry up to five poems; prose up to 2000 (total, not per piece); visual art and video and audio. Pay is $10 per piece. No fee.

Eastern Iowa Review: Issue 16: Come, Wander
Deadline: February 15
Eastern Iowa Review seeks work on the theme of "Come, Wander" for issue sixteen. Send them your wanderings in any genre you choose: poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, hybrid, artwork. They want to see your finest wanderings. Anything, everything (except porn and children's works). Any length. Really. Let's say up to about 10,000 words. No fee.

The Commuter: Prose, Poetry, and Graphic Narrative Submissions
Deadline: February 19 (Opens February 13)
The Commuter is Electric Lit's home for poetry, flash, graphic, and experimental narratives. It publishes weekly on Monday morning. For Prose, submit one or more pieces, either standalone or connected, in a single document, not exceeding 1500 words. For Poetry, submit 4–6 poems in a single document, and please limit the page count to 8. For Graphic Narrative, submit up to 3 pieces of narrative illustration, comics, mixed media narrative, or genre-negative oddments. For comics, each piece should contain a minimum of 3 panels. Pay is $100 per piece. No fee.

The Prism Prize for Climate Literature
Deadline: February 23
Potential climate writers need not be intimidated by a perceived need for extensive research. Just start where you stand, and write out of your experience and expertise. How does climate change affect who you are, what you care about, where you live, why you do what you do, and how you view the future? Through intuition, insight, integration and imagination, creative climate writing could help awaken a critical climate consciousness and inspire action equal to the greatest challenge humankind has ever had to face. Submit a complete manuscript (preferably no more than 65,000 words for nonfiction or fiction submissions and no more than 125 pages for poetry.
The winner will receive $1,000 and publication with a standard royalty contract with Homebound Publications or its divisions. No fee.

Capsule Stories - Theme: Lost in Translation
Deadline: February 28
They are looking for stories, poems, and essays about miscommunications and cultural differences for their Spring/Summer 2023 Edition. Write about traveling to a new location and feeling a little out of place. Send them pieces about trying to express your innermost thoughts and feelings and grappling with the limits of words and language. Write about studying abroad or visiting a different city, region, or country. Write about connecting with someone despite your differences. They are especially interested in pieces that take place in spring and/or summer and evoke the feeling of those seasons. For short stories and essays, we’re interested in pieces under 3,000 words. No fee.

Ninth Letter - Print Edition CNF & Poetry
Deadline: February 28
Ninth Letter is seeking work for its print edition. CNF: Please send only one essay at a time, up to 8,000 words. For flash essays, you may send up to three pieces as long as the total word count does not exceed 8,000 words. Poetry: Submit 3-6 poems (max. 10 pages) at a time. For both poetry and creative nonfiction, they do not accept previously published work. Simultaneous submissions are okay as long as they are identified as such in a cover letter. Pay: $25 per printed page, with a maximum payment of $150, as well as two complimentary copies of the issue in which the work appears. Fee: $3

The Welkin Writing Prize
Deadline: February 28
The prize is open for narrative prose of up to 400 words. "The competition is open to all forms of narrative prose, be that flash fiction, short-short, vignette, haibun, hermit crab, prose poem or work that sits outside such labels." 1st place receives £250 + annual membership of Writers' HQ. 2nd place receives £120 + AdHoc Fiction book voucher. 3rd place receives £60 + a copy of Deflection by Roberta Beary. There are additional prizes of £25 for the best non-placed in various categories and genres. No fee.

AWP Award Series - Book-length Works
Deadline: February 28
This is an annual competition for the publication of excellent new book-length works. The prizes are supported by the AWP Award Series Endowments. The competition is open to all authors writing in English regardless of nationality or residence and is available to published and unpublished authors alike. The prize for nonfiction is $2,500 and publication by the University of Georgia Press. The prize for poetry is $5,500 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press. The prize for fiction is $5,500 and publication by Red Hen Press. The Award Series defines “book-length” as: poetry is 48 pages minimum text; short story or creative nonfiction collection is 150–300 manuscript pages; and novel is at least 60,000 words. Fee: $30 for nonmembers; $20 for members

Sundress Publications - Book-Length Manuscripts
Deadline: February 28
Sundress Publications is open for submissions of full-length prose manuscripts in all genres. They are particularly interested in prose collections that value genre hybridization, the lyric, flash, strange or fractured narratives, new fiction, experimental work, or work with strong attention to lyricism and language. These collections may be short stories, novellas, essays, memoir, or a mixture thereof. Manuscripts should be 125-165 double-spaced pages of prose; front matter is not included toward the page count. Individual stories may have been previously published in anthologies, chapbooks, print journals, online journals, etc., but cannot have appeared in any full-length collection, including self-published collections. They will choose one manuscript for publication by Summer of 2023. Selected manuscripts will be offered a standard publication contract, which includes 25 copies of the published book as well. Fee: $15

Sunspot Lit: Supernova (Very Long-form) Fiction, CNF, Poetry, Graphic Novel
Deadline: February 28
Sunspot Lit is seeking works of fiction or nonfiction, including scripts and screenplays, from 7,501 words up to 17,500 words. Graphic novels should be 26 to 40 pages. A single poem between 11 and 15 pages is also accepted. Sunspot Literary Journal offers an Editor's Prize of $10 for each digital edition and an Editor's Prize of $35 for the annual print edition. Artwork selected for a digital or print cover will be paid $20. Fee: $10

Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum Writer-in-Residence Award
Deadline: February 28
The Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center in Piggott, Arkansas, is pleased to announce its 2023 writer-in-residence position. The residency will be for June 1-30, 2023, and includes lodging at a beautiful loft apartment on the downtown square in Piggott over the City Market coffee shop. The writer-in-residence will also have the opportunity to work in the studio where Ernest Hemingway worked on A Farewell to Arms during an extended stay with his wife’s family in 1928. The residency includes a $1,000 stipend to help cover food and transportation. Candidates with an MA or MFA in a relevant field are preferred. Please send a cover letter, CV, and writing sample of roughly 20 pages (in any genre) to Dr. Adam Long at [email protected] by Feb. 28. No fee.
WOW! Women on Writing Quarterly Flash Fiction and Creative Nonfiction Contests
Deadlines: January 31 (nonfiction) and February 28 (fiction). 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. Previously published work is accepted! 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
Valentine's Day celebrates love, and Limit Experience Journal is seeking submissions for its Love & Lust Issue, which explores the continuum of the libidinal forces. Consider the extremes presented in the conditions, spiritual and sexual and explore this terrain with your unique perspective of your culture, family, education and political experiences. Submit by February 22. Fee: $11.11
In honor of National Groundhog Day on February 2nd, why not step out of the shadows and embrace the sunshine by submitting to Asymptote's Animal-themed Special Feature by February 28! They are seeking fictional and nonfictional narratives that place animals at the center, whether in natural or urban environments (the animal or animals in question must play a central role in the story’s plot; we also welcome stories where the narrator is an animal). Pay is $100 per piece. Fee: $10.
February is National Heart Month! Submit to Flying Ketchup Press' Tell Tale Heart Call for Speculative Fiction by February 28. Some people argue that every short story should have a little bit of "The Tell-Tale Heart"–something hidden just below the surface. They are looking for characters whose choices are up for debate and a setting you can sink your teeth into. Whether you time travel to the past, the future, or the world that is now, we want to read your work for our next short fiction collection. Pay is $100 per piece. Fee: $5
Craft Corner: How to Appropriately Write Race & Ethnicity in Fiction
By Nanditha Narendran

Writing character descriptions can seem like a rather daunting task initially. How much is too much? How little is too little? Add in the aspect of describing the character’s race or ethnicity, and you’ve got a hundred more reasons to put that laptop down and give up. But hold on a bit longer because this article is for exactly the opposite. To not give up.

Every primary character deserves a description, including, but not limited to, their skin tone, superficial features, cultural background, and of course, their personality traits. Often, race and ethnicity are ignored or hard to work into the descriptions and can cause writers anxiety and worry over doing it correctly. So, the often unintended mistake of skipping description of ethnic details perpetuates the idea that white characters are the default unless explained otherwise.
Here’s a list of general things to avoid as much as possible:

1. Avoid delaying race and ethnicity descriptions just like you would other character descriptions. These descriptions are as key as introducing the killer in the first couple of chapters in a mystery novel.

2. Avoid lengthy descriptions of minor characters, unless very necessary for your story.

3. Don’t use food-related terms as adjectives, especially to describe characters who are persons of color (POC). This practice has been met with much criticism in recent times, as it can come out to be dehumanizing, fetishizing, and cliché. These include, but are not limited to, words like caramel, cinnamon, or butterscotch. An exception to this could be olive as a skin tone descriptor; but again, it shouldn’t be relied on alone, as it is racially vague, much like the term tan.

4. It was a different time when Scout Finch from Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird said, “Atticus said Calpurnia had more education than most colored folks.” Presently, it is best to avoid the term “colored” in your writing unless you are writing a political or historical fiction novel where characters would use this descriptor in their speech.

5. The term dark is not only inexplicit, but may also be offensive to some readers and should seldom be used without a secondary descriptor. Example: Her dark brown skin had a sheen of misplaced pallor that was most difficult to ignore.

6. Avoid writing accents. Intentionally misspelling words to convey a different accent is most likely going to upset more than impress. Simply stating that the character has an accent, with or without additional descriptors depending on the context, such as an American accent or Indian, Australian, etc. will do the job efficiently. Example: The woman had a strangely familiar accent reminiscent of his grandmother’s famous French drama collection.

7. Historically, there has been the implication of light colors symbolizing good (character traits included) and darker shades symbolizing more negative terms. This should be modified in modern literature, at least to the extent of character and personality description.
Describing Skin Tones Effectively
Most great character descriptions are born out of simplicity. Black, brown, beige, pink, and white are all effective skin tone descriptors that fit well in most contexts. These terms can also be used to illustrate undertones, if necessary. Additionally, more specific colors—like ivory, pearl, gold, amber, tawny, khaki, and sepia—can be used in combination with the basic colors mentioned above to improve details. These simple and complex indicators work even better with terms like dark, rich, deep, warm, tan, pale, and light. Then finally, add in a simile or metaphor, and you’ve got yourself a victory!

A modification of one of the previous examples could be: Her dark brown skin looked tawny under the orange lights, as remarkable as her faithful sparrow, even behind the sheen of misplaced pallor that was most difficult to ignore.

Note the small explanation of tawny (being an orange-brown color and rare) within the sentence and the usage of sparrow suggest not only the color of the bird, but also encompass the ideas of happiness and friendship surrounding the bird, which gives us a small insight into the character being described. Character and creative descriptions (the use of sparrow here) are two sides of the same coin in fiction that when paired together can provide immense input into the kind of person your fictional character is in addition to their physical traits.

Other terms that could be used to describe skin tone can be inspired from nature, such as the sky and its several attributes (dawn, dusk, twilight, sun, moon, stars, etc.); plants (rose, jasmine, wheat, etc.); different types of wood (mahogany, chestnut, etc.); and metals (gold, bronze, etc.).
Examples from Classic Literature
Some examples from popular classics illustrate these points:
1. From Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe.

“My brother Ben’s face, thought Eugene, is like a piece of slightly yellow ivory; his high white head is knotted fiercely by his old man’s scowl; his mouth is like a knife, his smile the flicker of light across a blade. His face is like a blade, and a knife, and a flicker of light: it is delicate and fierce, and scowls beautifully forever; and when he fastens his hard white fingers and his scowling eyes upon a thing he wants to fix, he sniffs with sharp and private concentration through his long, pointed nose.”

The author used the descriptors, slightly yellow ivory, white head and white fingers to indicate that Ben, the man being described is fair-skinned. The rest of the description uses creative description to depict the kind of person Ben is through Eugene’s perspective.
2. From The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

“He was most fifty, and he looked it. His hair was long and tangled and greasy, and hung down, and you could see his eyes shining through like he was behind vines. It was all black, no gray; so was his long, mixed-up whiskers. There warn’t no color in his face, where his face showed; it was white; not like another man’s white, but a white to make a body sick, a white to make a body’s flesh crawl – a tree-toad white, a fish-belly white...

Mark Twain used both character and creative description together in the italicized sentence above to portray the fifty-year-old man being described, his fair-skin becoming more prominent through the years. The comparisons with the tree-toad further amplifies the fact that this character’s appearance is a sickening sight and could also be an analogy towards his personality traits.
3. From I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Dr. Maya Angelou.

“Her skin was a rich black that would have peeled like a plum if snagged, but then no one would have thought of getting close enough to Mrs. Flowers to ruffle her dress, let alone snag her skin. She didn’t encourage familiarity. She wore gloves, too. I don’t think I ever saw Mrs. Flowers laugh, but she smiled often. A slow widening of her thin black lips to show even, small white teeth, then the slow effortless closing. When she chose to smile on me, I always wanted to thank her.”

Maya Angelou used the descriptors rich black and black lips to convey the skin tone of the character, Mrs. Flowers. The use of plum instead of any other easily peel-able fruit also solidifies this idea of the character’s skin tone.

A side note to avoid possible obscurity when it comes to using only skin tone to establish race and ethnicity can be understood from an example from the modern young adult (YA) fiction book, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas.
Note how the author uses physical characteristics other than skin tone, such as body type, to describe the character.

"Kenya could be a model, if I’m completely honest. She’s got flawless dark-brown skin—I don’t think she ever gets a pimple—slanted brown eyes, and long eyelashes that aren’t store-bought. She’s the perfect height for modeling, too, but a little thicker than those toothpicks on the runway...”

Also from the same book, note how in the example below, the author incorporates a specific hairstyle to convey race.

“This big, light-skinned girl with bone-straight hair moves through the crowd toward us. A tall boy with a black-and-blond Fro-hawk follows her."
Stating a Character's Race
State the character’s race along with any combination of all the other traits already discussed. Be it Black, White, African, Asian, or any race, depending on how important it is for your story that the reader does not misread your character’s race, explicitly stating it works perfectly well, too. It’s just a matter of avoiding overuse. This can work well for all primary and minor characters.

The Hate U Give has an example for that, too.

“...The ironic thing is though, at Williamson I don’t have to ‘play it cool’—I’m cool by default because I’m one of the only black kids there.”

Note that this isn’t necessarily a character description. A simple statement from the character’s own voice or another character stating it through dialogue can work also.
An example of how magically dialogue clues work can be found in the popular YA fiction novel, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han.

“No, I could not. You know why? Because I’m Asian, and people will just think I’m in a manga costume.”

This book also has great examples to show how describing parents or siblings can help effectively depict a character that is mixed race.

"I’ve asked Margot what she thinks it would have been like if Mommy hadn’t died. Like would we spend more time with our Korean side of the family and not just on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day?”

Also from the same book:

"I was the flighty one, the flibbertigibbet, as my white grandma would say."
Describing Ethnicity
Ethnicity can also be depicted by simply stating it (Indian, Arab, etc.) or through scenic descriptions of the place your story is set in; cultural attributes, such as names and surnames; religion; festivals; food; clothing; and even language. For instance, a character who is Muslim can be depicted by describing the hijab they are wearing.

Establishing the external setting, country, and culture in your story’s initial chapters greatly assists your existing character descriptions.

Take a look at three different contemporary published works that have incorporated this beautifully. Note: All of these stories have established that their primary setting is in the Indian subcontinent in either the summary or the first few chapters.
1. From The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

“She had a delicate, chiseled face, black eyebrows angled like a soaring seagull’s wings, a small straight nose and luminous, nut-brown skin. On that sky-blue December day, her wild, curly hair had escaped in wisps in the car wind. Her shoulders in her sleeveless sari blouse shone, as though they had been polished with a high-wax shoulder polish..."

The author used descriptors such as luminous, nut-brown skin to depict the appearance of the South Indian woman being described. Even without the last sentence describing the character’s traditional attire (sari blouse), the Southern Indian state of Kerala, having been already established as the setting in the initial chapters, makes it merely a good addition rather than a necessity.
2. From Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

"The people who found me took me to their village, and there some women gave me a bath and scrubbed me so hard that I wondered if they realized I was naturally brown-skinned and not a very dirty white boy. I tried to explain."

Yann Martel used the descriptors naturally brown-skinned to describe the character is from India, but this simple descriptor would not have been enough to convey this if the character’s Indian background and the story’s primary location being India was not already established in the book summary and the first few chapters of the novel.
3. From The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga.

“A blinding flash of light: a blue door opened, and four light-skinned Nepali women, in gorgeous red petticoats, looked out."

The author used the direct descriptors light-skinned Nepali women to describe the protagonist meeting Nepali women in India, the setting of the novel that was already established in the book cover and initial chapters. Nepali as an added descriptor would not have been necessary if the women the protagonist met were Indian because they are assumed to be the default in this context.
Comparing Your Characters
And finally, there’s one last way to smoothly incorporate race and ethnicity into your writing. It is the tried and tested method of comparison with another character in your story. What is best about this technique is that it gets two jobs done for the same number of words as one!
Here’s an example from the published classic, Middlemarch by George Eliot.

”The rural opinion about the new young ladies, even among the cottagers, was generally in favour of Celia, as being so amiable and innocent-looking, while Miss Brooke’s large eyes seemed, like her religion, too unusual and striking. Poor Dorothea! Compared with her, the innocent-looking Celia was knowing and wordly-wise.”

George Eliot used a single paragraph to effectively incorporate the public’s point of view in order to compare and contrast two characters based on both physical and personality differences. This is an example from one of my writings.

“...Gaia Dunne noticed a particular skinny boy, dusky eyes holding a perplexing shimmer, skin rivalling her Afro-Latin brown, crooked teeth and curly black braids almost as long as her own brushing just inches past his shoulders...”

Note that the name of the character (Gaia Dunne) isn’t a sure indicator of the character’s race or cultural background. Therefore, comparisons also work well when names aren’t enough to convey the message. Also note the usage of Afro-Latin is an indicator used to reference the character is mixed race.
Final Thoughts
For a long time in the history of writing fiction, sensitive topics, such as race and ethnicity, were handled with anything but because the idea of inclusivity was merely a shadow at the time.

This is no longer the reality, and the diverse audiences for your fiction demand this inclusivity and variety, bringing more responsibility to you as a writer to cater to these needs.

When stories are an established gateway to freedom for a significant portion of the public, every single person, regardless of their skin color or cultural background, deserves to grow up befriending their own version of Harry Potter or Heidi.

A failure to expand on these limitless avenues offered by characterization and stories aided through diversity can cause unwanted criticism for an otherwise good work of fiction.

Therefore, all things considered, the beginning of this learning process can seem like a never-ending cycle of ifs and buts; however, I sincerely hope this article makes at least the start easy, so that the ending can in turn be less tortuous.
Nanditha Narendran

Nanditha Narendran is a medical student whose spare time is spent writing short stories, visiting old monasteries, and watching sports and films.
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Success Stories from the WOW! Community
By Margo L. Dill

February has a lot going on for such a short month—it’s Black History Month, and two holidays—Valentine’s Day and Presidents’ Day. Plus Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were both born in this month. So was I! And my mom and my grandma. So what’s my point? Sometimes, when you get a month like this, you won’t have as much time to write—you may have special plans, go on a weekend trip, attend a lecture, or be the room parent for your child’s Valentine’s Day party. (Stop saying yes! HA!) But I want to make sure that our WOW! community knows that we celebrate ALL and EVERY success here at WOW!, and I’ve also said it before—this is one of my favorite things to do.

I’ll start—I’m working on an adult novel again. And it is all thanks to my wonderful critique group who now spans four states. All four of us live in different places—we live in Kansas, Texas, Illinois, and Missouri. (We used to all live in the St. Louis area, but life happens.) Thanks to my critique group members who are amazing, inspiring women, they have kept the group going; and in 2023, we are meeting five times a week—sometimes at night and sometimes in the morning—to chat and then work on our novels, marketing, or whatever we need to do for our own writing careers. We get on Zoom, and we stay on it when we write.

I have made more progress on this novel (I finished a rough draft during NaNoWriMo in 2018) than I have made on many things since the pandemic and then my mom being in and out of the hospital and passing away a few months ago. This is a big success for me! These are the kinds of successes we love to hear about because they inspire others and give other writers ideas of how to keep themselves motivated in a world where there’s too much going on, including the shortest month of the year having all this “stuff” in it.

Remember, you can always send me any success at any time of the month at [email protected] and please cc: [email protected]. Here’s what we received this month:


Angela Mackintosh writes, “My creative nonfiction, ‘Fake Nails and a Gun’ was just published in January 2023 in Harpur Palate’s issue, 21.2. I was thrilled to find out that my piece was a finalist in their annual Creative Nonfiction Prize!”

Ann Kathryn Kelly writes, “My essay, ‘A Calling to Return’ landed in a loving home with the fine folks at eMerge Magazine, the literary journal from the Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow. I had a residency at Dairy Hollow in 2019, and I highly recommend that writers consider applying!

“I also had a short essay appear in Dorothy Parker’s Ashes, titled ‘A Hole in the Head.’”


Kay Castaneda wrote, “I recently reached out to people I've met in writing groups to ask if I could add them to my newsletter list. They all said yes! I'm naturally shy so that was difficult to do. I just published my first newsletter and several people replied.”

Andrea Dorn wrote, “My revisions are going great on my upcoming cat memoir. Yes, It's a genre and popular.”

June Groshek Czarnezki wrote, “I wrote a story for a magazine reminiscing about the Polish weddings in Central Wisconsin of decades ago. I loved writing it. When I posted it, I received 300 likes with many comments recollecting their own fond memories and 90 shares. It really made my day!”

Lynn Nicholas wrote, “I've had a short story accepted for inclusion in an anthology, Trouble in Tucson, which will be launched at the regional Sisters in Crime conference, called Left Coast Crime. The conference is in March.”

Claudia H Long Author wrote, “My next book, the second mystery in the Zara and Lilly series (though I call them sister-novels with a mystery flowing through them) comes out in February! (It’s called Our Lying Kin, and is available for pre-order if you’re interested!)”


@auriemiller2015 wrote, “I'm 68, and last fall, I was published for the first time! My flash fiction piece won honorable mention in Vestal Review's Food Writing Contest. My prize was a dozen cookies that were sweet, but not as sweet as finally seeing my story in print! I was over the moon. Then, I sold an essay to a soon-to-be-published anthology. Remember, it's never too late!!”

@rebeccawwheeler_author wrote, “My YA, Whispering Through Water, earned a spot and a review on the American Library Association January booklist!”

@dawn10325 wrote, “After many failed attempts, I was able to finally write a 50K novel for NaNoWriMo in 2022!”

@gandtiff wrote, “I had an essay accepted by Grown and Flown.”

@bernadettegeyer wrote, “I've had articles accepted for publication in Oh Reader and Your Teen!”

@lisamariemeadows wrote, “Just self-published my 4th book. Hero’s Journey.”

@genalea_barker wrote, “I officially signed my third manuscript, and now have two books releasing in 2023 (The first, my debut, releases in JUST THREE WEEKS! [Editor’s Note: Life After releases at the beginning of February.]) I was also thrilled to move through to the next round of judging in WOW!'s Fall Flash Fiction Contest.”

Lesson Learned

We also wanted to draw your attention to one important lesson learned by one of our Facebook community members, Roberta Codemo, and so you are aware that there are people on social media trying to take advantage of writers:

Roberta Codemo writes, “This isn’t so much a success story as lesson learned. I was hired by a client to ghostwrite an article on domestic violence for a presentation he was giving. He said LinkedIn had recommended me. Pay was good—$7,500. After three days of going back and forth over the contract—which he had me write—and reaching out to LinkedIn and my bank, he voided the contract without giving a reason. I suspected from the beginning it was a scam, and even asked him if he was legit or was he scamming me. All along, there were alarm bells going off in my head, but I played along because I was curious as to what would happen. I mean, if he was legit, I didn't want to lose out on $7,500. Oh, well. Fortunately, all I was out was my time, and I probably saved myself a big headache.”
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