'Tis the season to be scared to death. 

Now is the time to put that plastic skeleton back on your lawn (or a real one), and dig out that horror story you wrote and never submitted anywhere.

Also see5 Horror and Dark Fiction Publishers Accepting Unsolicited Manuscripts

Bell Bridge Books / BelleBooks, Inc.

BB is looking for dark, gritty, serious urban fantasy & horror. Vampires, werewolves, and other things that go bump in the night on the mean streets of contemporary life. "A book we've currently bought is an epic series about a clan of vampires. (Right, epic means the series spans centuries. You can never trust guidelines.) Read Laurell K. Hamilton, Robin McKinley (Sunshine), Patricia Briggs, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, etc."

Advance: Yes

Simultaneous submissions: No

Formats: Print and ebooks

Black Bed Sheet Books

Black Bed Sheet Books specializes in publishing fiction of a dark nature: Horror, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Suspense, Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller. Accepting novels, novellas, short story collections. Black Bed Sheet Books has published over 80 authors.

Advance: No information

Formats: Print and ebooks

By Light Unseen Media

"By Light Unseen Media is currently seeking outstanding and unique manuscripts in the area of vampire fiction and non-fiction. Authors are asked to query before submitting manuscripts. Unsolicited manuscripts will not be considered."

Advance: $200

Formats: Print (POD) and ebooks

Cosmic Egg

Cosmic Egg is an imprint of John Hunt Publishers, a mid-list house located in the UK. The publisher offers traditional publishing deals as well as co-operative publishing for authors. The parent company publishes a total of 300 titles per year with global sales and a focus on physical stores. Worldwide distribution.

Cosmic Egg imprint publishes speculative fiction: Vampires, Werewolves. Dragons and Faeries or Angels and Demons, Fantasy (including magical realism and spiritual fantasy), Metaphysical Cosmology, Horror or Science Fiction (including Steampunk).

Advance: None. Royalties are 10% of net.

Formats: Print and ebooks

Note: Authors are expected to help with marketing, and in some cases may be required to pay for publishing. While John Hunt is not a vanity press, requiring authors to pay for publishing costs is not the norm for legitimate publishers.

Dark Hall Press

Dark Hall Press, a division of New Street Communications, LLC, was launched on October 31, 2011, "The Dark Hall list includes works of supernatural and non-supernatural horror, as well as cross-genre pollinations (sci-fi/horror, fantasy/horror, noir/horror, etc.) and experimental works."

Formats: Print and Kindle

Dark Regions Press

Dark Regions is a small press specializing in dark fantasy, horror and science fiction. "Each book that is accepted for publication in Dark Regions Horror, Dark Regions Fantasy and Dark Regions Sci-Fi will have a Kickstarter/crowdfunding campaign associated with it. The campaigns will be created as a means for readers to preorder the book and to fully fund each project. Authors, artists, editors and everyone else involved in each book project will be asked to contribute to the campaign with videos, promotional efforts etc. Crowdfunding campaigns aren't always favored by authors, so it's important to know before thinking about submitting that if your manuscript is accepted for publication in Dark Regions Horror, Dark Regions Fantasy or Dark Regions Sci-Fi a crowdfunding campaign will be associated with it."

Advance: Author will receive a base payment (or advance) in the amount of $500 and starting rates of 35% NET royalties (profit sharing) for trade paperback editions and 45% NET royalties (profit sharing) for ebook editions which can increase to 40% and 50%, respectively, based on sales thresholds being reached.

Note: Book expenses are crowd-funded.

Severed Press

"Established in 2008 Severed Press is a leading independent publisher of horror and science fiction. Publishing trade paperbacks and E-Books. Severed Press has earned a reputation for excellence, quality and commitment to new and established authors alike. We are proud of the diversity of our authors and aim in continuing to build strong relationships worldwide. Authors include seasoned masters of horrors such as Tim Curran, Mark Tufo and Jake Bible to best selling newcomers David Achord and Joseph Talluto."

Severed Press is currently accepting novel submissions in the following categories: Apocalypse/Survival Horror, Dark Humor, Sci-Fi Horror, Anything out of the ordinary.

Advance: No. Pays royalties only.

Note: Promotion and marketing for novels locally in Australia.

PictureA Quiet Half Hour by Lionel Charles Henley
Women's fiction - often coupled with the word "upmarket"  - is any fiction centered on the experience of women. 

Frequently, that means your protagonist will be buying shoes (brand names prominently mentioned), trying to lose weight (she does!), looking for a man (she finds one and he loves her even though she is fat and owns too many shoes), or any number of deeply apolitical things that commercial publishers would like to have us believe comprise women's experience. (Rarely do these books cover topics such as the rising rate of homelessness among women with young children, abortion and reproduction rights, and equal pay for equal work. Who's interested in reality?)

Okay, I'm a cynic. But, if you happen to write fiction - especially commercial fiction - featuring "women's experience," here are eight agents looking for your work.


MacKenzie Fraser-Bub of Trident Media Group

Trident is an enormous agency located at the hub of the publishing industry in New York. MacKenzie was Publishing Manager at Touchstone Books (a division of Simon & Schuster) and worked closely with the sales and marketing departments for a wide-array of bestselling authors, such as Philippa Gregory, Lisa Unger, Bethenny Frankel, J.A. Jance, and R.L. Stine.

How to contact: Send a query letter, pasted in the body of the email, to MFraserBub@TridentMediaGroup.com. Please do not send a manuscript or proposal until you have been requested to do so.

Kimberly Brower of Rebecca Friedman Literary

Although she is a new agent, Kimberly has represented a number of New York TimesWall Street JournalUSA Today and Amazon best selling authors (both traditionally and self published).

How to contact: E-query Kimberly@rfliterary.com. Submit a brief query letter and your first chapter (pasted into the email, not to exceed fifteen double-spaced pages). No attachments.
Mallory C. Brown of TriadaUS

Mallory is a new agent. She is especially drawn to pieces with strong character-driven plots and witty humor.

How to contact: E-query Mallory@triadaus.com. When querying, please include the first ten pages of your manuscript in the body of the e-mail after your query.
Danielle Burby of HSG Agency

Danielle is a new agent. She enjoys complex female characters, narratives that explore social issues, and coming-of-age stories.

How to contact: Email a query letter and the first five pages of your manuscript to dburby@hsgagency.com. No attachments.
Marie Lamba of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Marie is an author in her own right, and an experienced agent. She is looking for books that are original, moving and/or hilarious. She is not interested in genre science fiction or high fantasy.

How to contact: Please email a query to marie.jdlit@gmail.com. Put “Query” in the subject line of your email, and please send the first twenty pages in the body of your email, along with a one-paragraph bio and a one-paragraph synopsis.

Carly Watters of P.S. Literary

Carly Watters is a VP and Senior Literary Agent with the P.S. Literary Agency. She is a hands-on agent who develops proposals and manuscripts with attention to relevant markets.

How to contact: E-query query@psliterary.com with “Query for Carly” in the subject line. “Do not send attachments. Always let us know if your manuscript/proposal is currently under consideration by other agents/publishers. If you don’t receive a response to your query within 4-6 weeks it means a no from the agency. In my women’s fiction, I look for an external hook other than the love story (career, family, personal history etc.)”
Patricia Nelson of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Patricia is a new agent. She is looking for compelling, well-written stories featuring complex characters that jump off the page.

How to contact: Please send a query letter by email, with the word QUERY in the email’s subject line to Patricia@MarsalLyonLiteraryAgency.com.

Courtney Miller-Callihan of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Greenburger Associates is a large established agency located in New York. Courtney began her career in publishing at Random House, where she spent a number of years in subsidiary rights sales and in contracts before joining Sanford J. Greenburger Associates in 2005. She works closely with authors to help them reach their full creative and commercial potential.

How to contact: E-query cmiller@sjga.com.
Here are two agents actively seeking children's book writers. They are particularly interested in picture books, but will accept queries for MG, YA, and early readers as well.

Make sure you visit the agency's website and read their submission requirements before submitting.
Jodell Sadler of Sadler Children's Literary

About Jodell: Jodell earned her MFA in Children's Writing from Hamline University. She is working on the writing craft book on picture book pacing and has produced five Writer's Digest University Tutorials on Children's Writing on this same topic. Her published articles include "Picture Book Pacing: Verbal and Visual Tools for Writers," and "Picture Book Pacing: The ultimate 20 editing tools for your work," in the Children's Writer's & Illustrator's Market, 2011 and 2013, respectively.

What she is looking for: Author-Illustrators, Picture Books, Chapter Books, MG, and YA (especially funny), fiction and creative nonfiction, and freeverse: authors, illustrators, and, in particular, author/illustrators. She loves a well-paced story that moves the story to move the reader between joy and tears.

How to contact: Please send submissions to submissions.sadlerliterary@gmail.com
  • Picture books—email query and full ms as a Word.doc
  • Chapter Books—email query and first 10 pages in a Word.doc
  • Middle Grade—email query and first 10 pages in a Word.doc
  • Young Adult Novels—email query and first 10 pages in a Word.doc
  • Non-fiction—query, proposal, and sample chapter
  • Illustrations—query with link to online portfolio, or send PDF with pictures of children and animals -- be sure to send a submission in a Word.doc if you are an author-illustrator
Michelle Witte of Mansion Street Management

About Michelle: Michelle began her career as a journalist, first reporting and then later copy editing for the Deseret Morning News in Salt Lake City, Utah. From there, she transitioned to a position as associate editor with nonfiction publisher Gibbs Smith, where she edited titles on a variety of topics, including children’s activity, humor, gift, cookbooks, and green living. Her combined experience in the publishing industry is a boon for the authors she represents, as she is able to guide them through each of the stages of publication

What she is looking for: Young Adult, Middle Grade, Children’s Non-fiction, Picture books, Early readers.

How to contact: querymichelle@mansionstreet.com. Send your query letter and the first 10 pages of the manuscript in the body of the email. Include QUERY, the age group/genre and the book title in the subject line. No attachments, please.

October is jam-packed with conferences for writers. You will find everything from author readings, craft workshops, private consultations and critiques from professionals, and pitch sessions with agents and editors. Several state and national writing organizations are also holding conferences this month, offering excellent opportunities for writers to meet the leaders in their genres. 

Related posts

Valuable Tips for Pitching to an Agent or Editor

Getting an agent: Schmooze or you lose (How to find conferences in your area)

American Medical Writers Association Annual Conference, Sept 30 - Oct 3, San Antonio, TX. Workshops in medical writing, designing materials for patients, analysis, clinical reports, and more.

St. Augustine Writers Conference, October 1 - 6, St. Augustine, Florida. Focus on fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry with special sessions on publishing. Faculty includes Sascha Feinstein, Connie May Fowler, Parneshia Jones, and Laura van den Berg. Panel discussions, readings, and workshops.

State Writing Conference & Convention, sponsored by The Kansas Authors Club, October 2 - 4, Topeka, Kansas. Writing workshops, panels, and presentations by Thomas Fox Averill, Mark Bouton, Elle Lothlorien, Max McCoy, Kevin Rabas, T. Dawn Richard, Dennis Smirl.

Write Your Memoir Retreat 2015, October 2 - 4, Westbrook, Connecticut. A memoir writing intensive weekend geared to both experienced and emerging writers. Addressing how to shape your memoir, issues of truth, time sequencing and emotional balance, and more. Faculty: Kaylie Jones, Judy L. Mandel.

Write on the Sound Writers Conference, October 2 - 4, Edmonds, Washington. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as manuscript consultations, discussions, readings, and a book signing. The faculty includes poets Laura Read and Maya Jewell Zeller; fiction writers Q Lindsey Barrett, Scott Driscoll, Robert Dugoni, Elena Hartwell, Nick O’Connell, Michael Schein, Roger Weston, and Eric Witchey; and creative nonfiction writers Christine Dubois, Claire Gebben, Jennifer D. Munro, and Sylvia Taylor. Guest speakers include fiction writer Stella Cameron and creative nonfiction writer Rick Steves. SOLD OUT

Pacific Coast Children's Writers Novel Workshop & Retreat, October 2 - 4, Santa Cruz, California. Seminar for writers of MG/YA fiction. Includes whole-novel manuscript critiques by editor or agent; partial manuscripts critiqued by editor and agent. (All written as well as in person.) Plus critiques from target-age readers; advanced craft sessions. Faculty includes Harpercollins executive editor Kristen Pettit, Writers House senior "editorial" editor Stephen Barr. Teens' faculty: Helen Pyne, former Doubleday Children's Book Editor. 

The Pacific Northwest Workshop Retreat, October 7 - 11, Whidbey Island, WA.  "The retreat is enhanced with new pre-event studies, extended personal consult time with business professionals (see bios on the right), and an emphasis on making each writer's work as competitive as possible in its chosen market. The workshop retreat accommodates a variety of genres including mystery/thriller or detective, women's fiction, suspense, adult and YA fantasy and SF, urban fantasy, historical, and paranormal and historical romance, as well as general and upmarket fiction more appropriate for literary presses and select major imprints."

San Diego Writing Workshop. October 9, San Diego, CA. “How to Get Published” is one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript. Faculty includes literary agent Paul S. Levine (Paul S. Levine Literary); Jill Marr (Sandra Dijkstra Literary); Courtney Miller-Callihan (Sanford J. Greenberger Associates); Taylor Martindale (Full Circle Literary);Patricia Nelson (Marsal Lyon Literary); literary agent Jennifer Azantian (Azantian Literary); Annie Bomke (Annie Bomke Literary Agency).

Haiku North America Conference, October 14 - 18, Schenectady, NY. Conference devoted to haiku as a literary art. Includes presentations, readings, panels, bookfair, exhibits, banquet, anthology. Faculty: William Higginson, Jane Hirshfield, Jim Hackett, George Swede, Haruo Shirane, Sonia Sanchez, John Brandi, Michael Dylan Welch, Jim Kacian, Lee Gurga, Emiko Miyashita, Fay Aoyagi, Ce Rosenow, Lucien Stryk, Gerald Vizenor, Charles Trumbull, Richard Gilbert. 

14th Annual Florida Writers Conference, October 15 - 18, Lake Mary, Florida. Four workshops and panels dedicated to help you learn how to pitch your story, and more than fifty acclaimed authors, poets, and publishing industry experts for three days of networking opportunities.

Nimrod Conference for Readers and Writers, October 16 - 17, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as readings, master classes, panel discussions, and individual manuscript consultations with faculty. Participants include poets Tina Chang and Benjamin Myers, fiction writers Molly Antopol and Karen Russell, creative nonfiction writer Héctor Tobar, and recent winners of the Nimrod Literary Awards

James River Writers Conference, October 16 - 18, Richmond, Virginia. Master classes, meetings with agents, panel discussions, and pitch sessions for poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Participants include fiction writers I. W. Gregorio, Becky Masterman, Ellen Oh, and Jewell Parker Rhodes; nonfiction writers Tim Cahill and Kristen Green; and literary agents Linda Camacho (Prospect Agency), Heather Flaherty (Bent Agency), Helen Heller (Helen Heller Agency), Beth Phelan (Bent Agency), and Rebecca Podos (Rees Literary).

Northern Woodlands Writers & Readers Conference, October 16 - 18, Fairlee, Vermont. Sponsored by The Trust for Public Land, the conference explores how writers, artists and educators express the rich forest heritage of the Northeast: both the natural history of our region, and the interactions of people and place. The event will include writing workshops, readings, a nature illustration class, special workshops for educators, woods walks, fun talks on forest topics, and plenty of time for informal conversations over meals and around the campfire. Plenary Speakers: Peter Forbes, Bernd Heinrich, Ben Kilham, David Macaulay, & Kent McFarland. Also including: Robert Kimber, Susan Morse, David Sobel, Adelaide Tyrol, Ted Levin, Michael Wojtech, Jim Collins, Terry Osborne & the staff of Northern Woodlands.

Writers Retreat in the Rockies Conference, October 16 - 18, Estes Park, Colorado. Conference features agents, authors, writers and publishers. Faculty: Todd Mitchell, Shane Kuhn, Michelle Theall, Kerrie Flanagan, Rachel Weaver, Buzzy Jackson, Shannon Hassain, Rachel Walker.

WriteAngles, October 17, South Hadley, Massachusetts. Panels and workshops, with two keynoters, a limited number of agent meetings. Continental breakfast, and buffet lunch included. Agents: Kaylee Davis (Dee Mura), Kimiko Nakamura (Dee Mura), Gina Panettieri (founder and president of Milford, Connecticut-based Talcott Notch Literary).

The Eighth Annual Rochester Writers’ Conference, October 17, Rochester Hills, Michigan. Lectures, Workshops and Panel Discussions in fiction, non-fiction and business of writing presentations. Open to new, working and published writers of all genres. Attendees select four presentations from a dozen to tailor fit their needs.

Cascade Writers Workshop, October 17 - 18. Seattle, Washington. Critique of a story or novel chapter, Q&A and intensive discussion with industry pros. Registration is open. Writers 18+ may attend. Seats in critique workshops are limited to 8 per group. Word count is 4k, standard manuscript formatting, due October 1, 2015 by email to info@cascadewriters.com. Faculty: Ellen Datlow, Kat Richardson, John (J.A.) Pitts, and Elliott Kay. 

Writing By Writers Workshop @ Tomales Bay. October 21 - 25, Tomales Bay, California. Manuscript and poetry workshops are limited to 12 participants and generative workshops are limited to 15 to ensure an intimate setting.

APH 20th Anniversary Conference, October 21 - 25, Sacramento, California. Sponsored by the Association of Personal Historians (APH). Speakers: Andy Anderson, Ph.D. - Wells Fargo Exec VP and Chief Historian, Satsuki Ina, Ph.D. - Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker, Chris Enss - New York Times Bestselling Author, Scriptwriter, and Comedienne.

Elk River Writer’s Workshop, October 22 - 25, Paradise Valley, Montana. Workshops, seminars, lectures, and readings for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. The faculty includes poets William Pitt Root and Pam Uschuk, fiction writers Kevin Canty and William Hjortsberg, fiction and nonfiction writers Rick Bass and William Kittredge, and nonfiction writers Tim Cahill, Doug Peacock, and Maryanne Vollers.

Quit Whining Start Writing 2015 Writers' Conference, Oct 23 - 24, Grand Rapids, Michigan. 15 workshops encompassing writing fiction, for children, non-fiction, memoir, poetry, for the screen, and more; using social media effectively; and creating and maintaining effective websites. 

Memoir Writers Conference, Oct 23 - 25, Van Nuys, California. Panels, seminars, interactive workshops, pitch sessions and more, featuring educators, industry experts, best-selling authors, literary agents and publishers. Attendees can also take advantage of ProCritiques where part of your work is read and critiqued by advanced submission to professional editors, and Masters ProCritiques with literary agents and publishers. You can also meet with agents and publishers looking for new talent during free pitch sessions, by appointment. The event is open to all levels.

Indiana Writing Workshop. October 24, Indianapolis, IN. “How to Get Published” is one day full of classes and advice designed to give you the best instruction concerning how to get your writing & books published. We’ll discuss your publishing opportunities today, how to write queries & pitches, how to market yourself and your books, what makes an agent/editor stop reading your manuscript. Faculty includes literary agent Alice Speilburg (Speilburg Literary), literary agent Victoria Lea (Aponte Literary), literary agent Laura Crockett of TriadaUS, and literary agent Amanda Luedeke (MacGregor Literary).

American Literary Translators Association (ALTA) Conference, October 28 - 31, Tucson, Arizona. Panels, workshops, readings, a book fair, and opportunities to meet with editors for translators. The 2015 theme is “Translation and Traffic.” The keynote speakers are translators Jerome Rothenberg and Stephen Snyder.

2015 Western Fictioneers Convention, Oct 30 - Nov 1, St. Louis, Missouri. Western fiction writers/publishers gather for panels and workshops. Topics include Native Americans/U.S. Cavalry/Texas Rangers and more; Tips for Selling Your Story; Western Romance; Publisher Panels; Book Signings. Faculty: Robert Randisi, Frank Roderus, Robert Vaughan, Dusty Richards, James Reasoner, Jacquie Rogers, James J. Griffin, Kathleen Rice Adams, Troy D. Smith.

There are some interesting calls for submissions coming up in October. (Many have deadlines of October 1, so don't wait to check this list.) 

Of interest are: an anthology about rescued cats - told from the perspective of the cats, adventure cycling, the feminist take on pop culture, earth science, and, of course, science fiction, fantasy, and horror.

All of these are paying markets. Payments range from $25 to 50 cents a word. 


Myriad Lands: An Anthology of Non-Western Fantasy, Published by Guardbridge Books

"Beyond the familiar tropes of knights and dragons, there is a whole world of possibilities for fantasy literature. This collection seeks to explore the stories available in non-traditional fantasy. We are looking for secondary world fantasy, where the world building and story telling is based on sources other than medieval Europe."

Genre: Speculative fiction

Length: 1000-6000 words. Query first for longer works.

Payment: £0.03/word (approx. 5¢/word US). Contributor's copy. Payment will be made when story line-up is finalized.

Deadline: October 1, 2105

No simultaneous submissions

Untethered: A Magic iPhone Anthology, Published by Cantina Publishing

Looking for stories that cleverly incorporate the idea of a “magic iPhone” into any setting you like. All genres accepted except straight-up erotica or hard-core horror.

Genre: Speculative fiction

Length: 10,000 words max, 3,000-7,000 words recommended

Payment: $100, one year of exclusivity

Deadline: October 1, 2105

No reprints

Mythic Delirium

Mythic Delirium is an online and e-book venue for fiction and poetry that ranges through science fiction, fantasy, horror, interstitial and cross-genre territory.

Genre: Fiction, Poetry

Length: 4,000 words max

Payment: 2 cents/word on publication, poems - $5 flat fee on publication

Deadline: Oct 1, 2015

No reprints, no simultaneous submissions


New publication looking for original fiction. Orthogonal is a cross between an anthology and a magazine.

Genre: Fiction, Flash fiction

Word length: up to 5K words for stories; under 1K words for flash fiction.

Payment: $100 per story (plus royalties); $30 per flash fiction story (plus royalties).

Deadline: October 1, 2015

No reprints, no simultaneous submissions

Sycamore Review is a nonprofit journal for the arts published twice annually by graduate students at the Department of English, Purdue University.

Genre: Fiction, Poetry

Payment: $50 per short story or non-fiction piece, or $25 per poem

Deadline: October 1, 2015

Accepts simultaneous submissions

Bitch Magazine

"Bitch Magazine wants to hear your take on the places where feminism, pop culture, and money meet. The dollars and cents behind politics (Clinton 2016, anyone?); the cash that greases the wheels of pop-culture industries from film to sports to music; the gendered underpinnings of the "sharing economy;" and the everyday economics facing women daily from feminine labor, student-loan debt, and the second shift. We’ll look at insidious (and often ingenious) marketing plans, how our bodies are commodified, and the big business of gentrification and cultural appropriation. But as bleak as it might look out there, we also want to hear about the good things: Resourcefulness! Entrepreneurship! People who want to game the system and/or shift the tide of capitalism! You can take that to the bank."

Genre: Nonfiction

Length: 2,000 to 4,000 words for features; 1500-1800 words for columns on film, television, language, activism, advertising, publishing, and more, with pieces taking the form of reviews, critical essays, Q&As, and activist profiles; 100-word pieces highlighting the best of pop culture

Payment: $200 for features (one full page and one spot), $75 for back-of-book reviews features (half page), and $25 for individual, small spot illustrations.

Deadline: October 1, 2015

Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective

Genre: Fiction inspired by the themes of either season of the TV show True Detective

Length: 2,000 - 3,000 words

Payment: $25

Deadline: October 1, 2015

No reprints


Issues in Earth Science: A Resource for Writers and Teachers

"Fiction should be written for the feature, "Eww, there's some geology in my fiction!"  We are interested in MG and YA fiction that incorporates Earth Science concepts as key, rather than incidental, elements.  Stories with adult characters but written for MG or YA will also be considered. The science element should be more substantive than "cool facts" or jargon that is slipped into a story."

Genre: Nonfiction

Length: 1000 - 3000 words, with preference for stories around 2000 words

Payment: $0.06/word ($60 minimum).  We ask for first e-publication rights, exclusive for one year, indefinite non-exclusive archival rights, plus the non-exclusive option to include the story in a print edition at some point in the future (which, if selected, would pay an additional $0.06/word)

Deadline: October 15, 2015

Adventure Cyclist

"Adventure Cyclist is a bicycle travel magazine published nine times yearly by Adventure Cycling Association, a nonprofit service organization for bicyclists. Adventure Cyclist is dedicated to publishing stories about bicycle travel and other recreational cycling subjects."

Genre: Nonfiction

Length: 2000-3500 words/feature article; 1200-1500 words/essay; under 750 words/sidebar

Payment: 30-50 cents/word. First-time writers usually receive the lesser amount, while repeat writers can expect the higher rate. Interior photos for articles pay $50-$250/photo depending on size and quality.

Deadline for queries: October 31, 2015

Simultaneous submissions accepted


Zombies Need Brains LLC is accepting submissions to its two science fiction and fantasy anthologies ALIEN ARTIFACTS and WERE-. ALIEN ARTIFACTS is to feature stories where some type of left-behind alien tech has been found and how it may affect our society, our humanity, or the characters. It can be an artifact discovered on Earth in our past or during current times or an artifact that we run across while exploring space in the future.

WERE- is to feature stories where some type of were-creature OTHER than a werewolf is the main character. Werewolves can appear in the story, but they cannot be the main character or the central focus of the story. Stories featuring more interesting were-creatures, and twists on how they are integrated into the story, will receive more attention than those with more mundane creatures.

Length: 7,500 words max

Payment: 6 cents per word for short stories.

Deadline: October 31, 2015

Rescued: The Stories of 12 Cats, Through Their Eyes

"We are looking in particular for cat bloggers, cat writers, or aspiring writers whose cats have blogs, Facebook or Twitter profiles — writers who are social media savvy, who are part of the online cat community or cat writing community, and those who have relationships with local rescues. And of course, you must have a rescue cat in your life, who will be the protagonist of your story. Even though having a cat’s point of view gives the story a highly creative angle, we are looking for stories based on real-life events."

Genre: Creative nonfiction

Length: 3,000 - 5,000 words

Payment: $150 for each story, with a bonus if the book sells over a certain number.

Deadline: October 31, 2015

October welcomes writers with a bumper crop of writing contests. Two of the most prestigious awards for English language novels have deadlines this month: The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

In addition, there are contests for essays, poetry, short stories, emerging writers, established writers, young, and mature writers.

The most prestigious contests offer substantial prizes, but even a modest prize comes with the distinction of having won an award.

Good luck!

CSO One City, One Symphony Freedom Poetry Contest is sponsored by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Restrictions: Open to legal residents of the states of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana enrolled in grades 9-12 or adults age 18 or older at time of entry. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $2,500 Grand Prize in each of two categories (Grades 9-12 and Adults 18+). Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.

The Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry, sponsored by the African Poetry Book Fund and in partnership with the literary journal, Prairie Schooner, is the only one of its kind in the world and was established to promote African poetry written in English or in translation and to recognize a significant book published each year by an African poet. A standard edition is 48 pages or more in length. Genre: Open to any book of original poetry, in English, published during 2014 in a standard edition by a full-length collection of poetry. Restrictions: African nationals, African residents, or poet of African parentage with roots from any country, living anywhere in the world. Prize: USD $5,000. Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.

In Cahoots ContestGenre: Fiction. New collaborative work only. This means all submissions must be created by 2+ people. Prize: $50. Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.

EssayMama Essay Writing ContestGenre: Essay of 800 - 1300 words (topics on website). Prize: First prize $500, second prize $350, third prize $200. Winning essays will also be featured online on the EssayMama Blog. Deadline: October 1, 2015. Read details here.

The Man Booker International Prize for Fiction translated into English is awarded annually by the Booker Prize Foundation. Genres: Translated novel or collection of short stories published between January 1, 2015 and April 30, 2016. Prize: £50,000 divided equally between the author and the translator. There will be a prize of £2,000 for each of the shortlisted titles divided equally between the author and the translator. Deadline: October 2, 2015. Read details here.

Split This Rock: World & Me Youth Poetry ContestRestrictions: Open to all youth in elementary, middle, and high school. Genre: Poetry. Deadline: October 3, 2015. Read details here.'

Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers ProgramRestrictions: Authors making literary debut. Self-published works not allowed. Genres: Published or scheduled to be published fiction and literary nonfiction. Prize: $10,000 in each genre and in-store marketing/merchandising from Barnes & Noble. 2nd Place $5,000 in each genre, 3rd Place $2,500 in each genre. Deadline: October 8, 2015. Read details here.

American Antiquarian Society Fellowships for Creative Writers is calling for applications for visiting fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, film makers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences. The Society's goal in sponsoring this program is to multiply and improve the ways in which an understanding of history is communicated to the American people. Prize: A stipend of $1,150 to $1,350 and on-campus housing is provided; fellows residing off-campus receive $1,850. Deadline: October 5, 2015. Read details here.

Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist FellowshipsRestrictions: Poet must be resident of Massachusetts. Genre: Poetry.  Prize: Pending approval by the MCC Board in early September, the fellowship award amount will be increased this year to $12,000 (from $10,000). The finalist award will remain at $1,000. Deadline: October 5, 2015. Read details here.

The NC State Short Story ContestsRestrictions: Open to all North Carolina residents except 1) tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system or 2) writers with a published book, 3) previous winners. Genres: An unpublished SHORT STORY of no more than 20 double-spaced pages; limit 5000 words OR an unpublished SHORT-SHORT FICTION story of no more than 5 double-spaced typed pages; limit 1200 words. Prizes: James Hurst Fiction Prize for the winning story is $500. There will also be some Honorable Mention awards. Prize for short-short is $250. Deadline: October 12, 2015. Read details here.

RRofihe TrophyGenre: Unpublished short story. Minimum word count: 3,500; maximum to 5,000 words. Prize: $500, trophy, announcement & publication on anderbo.com. Deadline: October 15, 2015. Read details here.

Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling ScholarshipRestrictions: Poet must be born in the United States. Genre: Poetry. The sample must not exceed either (1) 40 typed pages or (2) one printed volume plus no more than 20 typed pages of your most recent work. There is no minimum page requirement. Prize: $54,000 for a year of travel and study abroad. Deadline: October 15, 2015. Read details here.

Kathy Fish FellowshipGenre: Flash fiction. Restrictions: All writers previously unpublished in SmokeLong Quarterly and who do not have a published chapbook or book length work (or are not under contract for such) are eligible to apply. Prize: $500 and participation as a virtual "writer in residence" at SmokeLong for one year. Deadline: October 15, 2015. Read details here.

The Atlas Shrugged Essay Contest is open to 12th grade, undergraduate and graduate students. To be eligible for this contest, you must write an essay of no fewer than 800 and no more than 1,600 words in length, double-spaced, on one of three topics related to Ayn Rand's novel, Atlas Shrugged. Essays are judged on both style and content. The winning essay must demonstrate an outstanding knowledge of the book Atlas ShruggedPrizes: 1st - $10,000, 2nd - $2,000, 3rd - $1,000. Also prizes for finalists, and semi-finalists. Deadline: October 23, 2015. Entry form and details here.

Arrowhead Regional Arts Council: Career Development Grants. Regional artists looking for support to take advantage of an impending opportunity should consider applying to this program. This grant program is designed to encourage artists to pursue enriching opportunities that address their artistic and career needs. Restrictions: Writers who are U.S. citizens and have lived in Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake, or St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota for at least six months are eligible. Genres: Poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: October 30, 2015. Read details here.

The Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest is sponsored by Hollins University. Restrictions: Open to young women who are sophomores or juniors in high school or preparatory school. Genre: Poetry. Prize: Up to $5,000 renewable annual Creative Talent Scholarship in creative writing if winner enrolls at Hollins. Free tuition and housing for the university’s Hollins summer creative writing program. $200 cash prize. Publication in Cargoes, Hollins’ award-winning student literary magazine. Ten copies of CargoesDeadline: October 30, 2015. Read details here.

The Marfield Prize, also known as the National Award for Arts Writing, is given annually by the Arts Club of Washington to nonfiction books about the arts written for a broad audience. Genre: Non-fiction book. Self-published books not accepted. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is the most prestigious literary award in the US. Restrictions: Authors must be living American citizens. Self-published works not accepted. Genres: Novels, novellas, and collections of short stories. Prize: $15,000. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

The Benjamin Franklin House Literary PrizeRestrictions: Entrants must be aged 18-25 years and living in the UK. Genre: Fiction and nonfiction. Each year a question or quote exploring Franklin’s relevance in our time is open for interpretation in 1000-1500 words. Prize: First prize of £750, second prize of £500. Winning entries will be posted on the website and also published online by The TelegraphDeadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

Burt Award for Caribbean LiteratureRestrictions: Caribbean authors age 12 through 18. Genres: Published books, previously self-published books, and unpublished manuscripts are eligible for the Award. Prize: First Prize of $10,000 CAD, a Second Prize of $7,000 CAD and a Third Prize of $5,000 CAD.  Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

The Eric Gregory AwardsRestrictions: Applicants must be under 30 and a British subject by birth and must ordinarily be resident in the United Kingdom or Northern Ireland. Genre: Poetry collection. Previously published work accepted. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

McKitterick PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors over age 40 on December 31, 2015. Genre: First novel. The work must have been first published in the UK in the year in which the deadline falls (and not first published abroad), or be unpublished. Prize: £4,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

Tom-Gallon Trust AwardRestrictions: Open to citizens of the United Kingdom, Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland with at least one short story published or accepted for publication. Genre: Short story, maximum 5,000 words. May be unpublished. Prize: £1,000.00. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

Lee & Low Books New Visions AwardRestrictions: Open to writers of color who are residents of the United States and who have not previously had a middle grade or young adult novel published. Genre: Middle grade or young adult novel. Prize: $1,000 and their standard publication contract, including their basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash prize of $500. Deadline: October 31, 2015. Read details here.

Whenever the economy contracts -  and ours has definitely suffered a downturn - industries attempt to maintain their level of profit by any means necessary. That usually boils down to squeezing as much as possible out of their employees, while offering less in return. (After all, what CEO wants to give up their private jet?)

"Let them eat cake"

Squeezing employees - that is, requiring more output while reducing their pay (and benefits) -  has been the standard response to economic "corrections" since time immemorial. And, while writers may not feel that they fall in the category of "employee" they are certainly a resource that can be squeezed.

The Authors Guild, in their survey of 1,674 members, reports that since 2009 authors are feeling the crunch; 56% are now making below the poverty line. For a single person, the Federal Poverty Level is $11,770. For a household of two, it is $15,930, and for three it is $20,090. Most of the authors who answered the survey were older professionals (over the age of 50), so we may safely assume that many are married, and/or have children, which means nearly all of the respondents would fall below the poverty line.

According to Publishers Weekly:

"the median writing-related income among respondents dropped from $10,500 in 2009 to $8,000 2014 in 2014, a decline of 24%. The decline came for both full-time and part-time authors with full-time authors reporting a 30% drop in income to $17,500 and part-time authors seeing a 38% decrease, to $4,500."

Who is hit the hardest?

In keeping with the (unwritten) policy of squeezing employees, professional writers, even those with decades of experience, saw a substantial decline in income. While authors with 15 - 25 years of experience lost nearly half their income, those with 25 - 40 years of experience experienced a devastating 67% drop.

From the publishers' perspective, targeting experienced writers makes a certain amount of sense. Authors with track records are known quantities, and their income is something accounting departments can calculate against profits - just as the cost/benefit ratio of permanent employees can be calculated.

This increases the vulnerability of authors with established incomes, as those expenditures can be slashed according to market projections.

For full-time writers the dramatic loss of income may mean having to take on a second job, or even a third, precisely at a time in their lives when they are least likely to be hired.

Retraining for other professions is also difficult for an older population, which means authors may have to take on low-paying menial jobs to make ends meet.

Working as a Walmart greeter is not something a writer expects after 20 years in the industry.

Shifting costs onto the shoulders of writers

Not only are publishers paying their authors less. writers are being asked to foot the bill for their own marketing, which allows publishers to cut publicity costs (and lay off marketing personnel).

Publishing contracts increasingly include clauses that require authors to build and maintain online platforms to promote their work. Some even require potential first-time authors to have a substantial platform before publishing, a stance reflected in the wish-lists of agents. This is a near impossibility for writers who are just breaking into the field, and places an enormous time burden on them. Social media marketing is also, to a large extent, fruitless - unless you are famous.

In the past, publishers took on the responsibility of marketing and promotion, for which they maintained scores of publicists. The media connections large houses maintained served to offset some of the disadvantages of signing on with a traditional publisher - namely low royalty rates.

Is self-publishing a way out?

The appeal of self-publishing for established authors is obvious. Writers with upwards of 15 years under their belts have experience, not just as writers, but with the industry. They know how the system works. They also have fans. There is no substitute for a loyal following, and any author with a fan base has a distinct advantage over a newcomer - even if both are launching websites, twitter accounts, and social marketing campaigns at the same time.

Fully one-third of the professional writers who took the Guild survey had self-published a book. The attraction of self-publishing has increased exponentially, not only because incomes have dropped, but because alongside the economic contraction, publishers are becoming less supportive of authors. In concrete terms, this means that publishers are imposing restrictions on authors' creativity in order to align their work more closely with what the publisher believes will sell. Publishers base those beliefs not on new, interesting ideas, but on what has sold in the past. No one with an ounce of creativity wishes to be restricted to following the well-worn tracks of previous authors.

What does this mean for new writers?

One of the most attractive things about being a writer is that for the majority of those who take pen in hand (metaphorically, at this point), income is not the motivating factor. People write because: 1) they have a romantic ideal in their head about the thrill of being an author, 2) they really must get a message out to the rest of the world, 3) they like to write. Few anticipate having a meteoric rise to fame and fortune. (Nor should they wish it. Nothing kills a young writer's career faster than early fame.)

Taking into account the dismal findings of the Authors Guild survey, writers must be realistic about their prospects. If publishers continue to cut back on what they offer writers, self-publishing may be the only viable option. Even if new writers don't make a lot of money from their self-published work, at least they don't have a publisher insisting that they cut whole chapters, remove any word longer than two syllables, or rewrite their characters to make them more appealing to 12-year-olds (all of which has happened to me).

There are other options, of course. Forming coops is one of them. Writers who band together have greater chance of success than when each one attempts to make it on his or her own. The cooperative model is one that has existed for decades in other areas of business, why not publishing?

What is abundantly clear from the Authors Guild survey is that something has to be done. Writers are indeed a resource, not just for the industry that profits from them, but for everyone. By reducing authors to penury, we are all the poorer.

Copyright is one of the few legal protections offered to writers, yet surprisingly few writers take advantage of this safety net. Many writers assume that once they have written something it is automatically copyrighted.

Technically, that assumption is correct. Anything you create is copyrighted, but unless you register your work with the U.S. Copyright Office you will never be able to defend your claim. If someone steals your work, you are free to take legal action, but judges like to see formal proof of intellectual property rights.

As far as the courts are concerned, simply claiming ownership does not confer it. Sending yourself a manuscript in the mail, and leaving it unopened, does not qualify as proof that you wrote it. It only proves that someone wrote it.

What is copyright?

Copyright is legal protection for any expressive work, published or unpublished,  that appears in tangible form: books, articles, screenplays, dramatic works, poetry, images, songs, software, and architecture all fall under the umbrella of copyright. Work that appears online - your blog, let's say - can also be copyrighted. Having a copyright gives you legal grounds to sue someone who plagiarizes your work.

Your rights as the owner of any expressive work include reproduction, distribution, display, performance, and adaptation. As owner, you may assign or sell some (or all) of those rights either temporarily or permanently. While it is best to copyright your work as soon as it is finished, you can copyright any intellectual work within five years of its creation.

What can't be copyrighted?

Titles cannot be copyrighted, nor can names (including domain names), slogans, or taglines (although these can be covered under a Trademark). News items and historical facts are not covered. Likewise, ideas cannot be copyrighted.

After the publication of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, two authors, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, sued Random House claiming "non-textual infringement in a literary work." The basis for the suit was a nonfiction book they, along with a third author, had published in 1982, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, in which they proposed that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married and had produced a child, and that a secret society protects their descendants from the Catholic church. While this is remarkably close to Brown's book, and, may in fact have been the source of his central premise, the lawsuit failed because copyright only extends to the expression of an idea, not the idea itself.

Author Lewis Perdue also sued Random House on similar grounds, claiming that Dan Brown had plagiarized characters from two of his novels. He lost as well. Characters, like premises, are ideas.


The fee for registering a copyright is $85 (which is more than quadruple what it was when I registered my first copyright). Authors who are used to doing things on the cheap may balk at the expense, but it is well worth it. Even if you spend nothing else on your work, spring for registering your copyright.

What to do when a publisher wants to copyright your work

Unless a publisher specifies that the book will be copyrighted in your name (and offers to send you proof), do not give your copyright to a publisher.

My first book was published by a small publishing house, the owner of which sent me what she called a "boilerplate" contract. (There is no such thing. All contracts are negotiable.) One of the clauses stated that the publisher would hold the copyright of my book. I balked, although I wasn't sure what the details of copyright were, and refused to sign the contract. Reluctantly ("Oh, all right.") the publisher agreed. Years later, when the book had gone out of print, I hired a lawyer to restore my rights. (Had the out-of-print clause been better worded I would not have needed a lawyer, but that's a topic for another post.)

Subsequently, I self-published a second edition, which sold significantly more copies than the first edition. Had I given up my copyright, a second edition probably would not have been published, and the book would simply have died.

How publishers undermine your copyright

While most publishers are happy to give copyright to their authors, securing rights for the duration of the copyright in effect gives publishers a de facto copyright. Authors Guild has objected to this practice, stating in its Fair Contract Initiative:

"There’s no good reason why a book should be held hostage by a publisher for the lifetime of the copyright, the life of the author plus seventy years—essentially forever. Yet that’s precisely what happens today. A publisher may go bankrupt or be bought by a conglomerate, the editors who championed the author may go on to other companies, the sales force may fail to establish the title in the marketplace and ignore it thereafter, but no matter how badly the publisher mishandles the book, the author’s agreement with the original publisher is likely to remain in effect for many decades."

The Authors Guild has proposed three changes: (1) time-limited contracts, (2) a clause that provides for reversion of unexploited rights, and (3) a specific new unchallengeable definition to replace historic “out of print” clauses that are not remotely relevant in the electronic age. While publishers may be reluctant to issue time-limited contracts, the second and third suggestions are not only possible, they were part of my contract with Random House, which means they can be included any contract.

With shorter works, such as short stories, no literary magazine should ask for rights for the length of the copyright. Literary magazines typically ask for first North American serial rights, which gives them permission to publish your story first in North America only. Rights to short stories usually revert "upon publication." If the literary magazine also publishes a yearly anthology they may require an extension of those rights for up to a year. Any longer than that is not reasonable. Because short stories published in literary journals have a short shelf-life, rights that last for the length of the copyright effectively prevent authors from keeping their stories alive through reprints and collections.

Copyright for news pieces is often owned by news media under "work for hire" stipulations. But this is not the case for literary magazines, unless you are expressly hired to produce work for the publication. Being paid for an original short story or nonfiction piece that you have submitted, or receiving an advance, does not constitute work for hire.

Can someone else quote what you have copyrighted in their own work?

The simple answer to that question is yes. Anyone can quote what you have copyrighted, provided that it is in a different context. This is called "fair use." (Fair use stipulations are located in Section 107 of the Copyright Act.)

A good example of fair use is when a reviewer or journalist excerpts portions of your novel. Because the context has changed, your work has now been "transformed." For non-fiction, any scholar or researcher can quote your work in the context of a book or article discussing similar material. Teachers can also make copies of your work to use in a classroom.

Contrary to popular belief, there is no set amount - 10%, 20%, 30% - that constitutes fair use. What is important is not the quantity, but how it is used. As long as the context has been changed your work can be quoted. Because fair use falls under the First Amendment right to free speech, permission from the copyright holder is not required.

Do this now

Don't wait until you have finished your book to find out about copyright protection. Go to copyright.gov and read their FAQs. In spite of their plethora of circulars - which rival the IRS in sheer quantity of excess verbiage - registering a copyright is fairly straightforward: You pay the fee, and you send them your work. They then send you a certificate of copyright, which you will keep in a safe place.

Always copyright your books! If you don't, you will have no protection against intellectual property theft - a practice which, sadly, is rife in the publishing industry. If you send material to beta readers or to reviewers before publication make sure you have added a copyright notice.

Among the many awards for self-published books, there are few that are worth winning. The majority of self-published book awards don't confer any benefit to the author, other than a seal that winners often must pay for. And many of these contests are run by media groups that use them as a way to drum up business.

That being said, there are a few contests that are not only prestigious, but offer considerable prizes to the winners, either in terms of cash or publicity. I have listed 10 of the most worthwhile below.

With two exceptions all of these contests charge a fee, although in most cases the fees are reasonable (under $100).

While cash awards are always appreciated, as is the publicity generated by awards ceremonies, these benefits are fleeting. Before you enter any contest, make sure you have a long-term plan in place - just in case you win. How will you make good use of your award? Will you order gold seals to affix to your book cover (if it is in print)? Do you have a press release in place to announce your prize to local media? How about researching opportunities for talks given by an "award-winning author"? Even if you don't think you stand a chance of getting an award, when it comes to marketing and promotion, it is always a good idea to plan ahead.


Axiom Awards. Authors and publishers throughout North America and overseas publishers who publish English-language business books with a 2014-2016 copyright or that were released between June 2014 and December 2015, and that are intended for the American market may enter. Print-On-Demand and other independent authors are welcome to enter their books themselves. Genre: Business books. Entry fee: $85 per title, per category, until October 24. $95 from October 25-December 12. Deadline: December 12, 2015.

The Benjamin Franklin Awards are administered by the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) with help from over 150 book publishing professionals including librarians, bookstore owners, reviewers, designers, publicity managers, and editors. The Benjamin Franklin Awards are unique in that all entrants receive direct feedback on their entries. The actual judging forms are returned to all participating publishers. Indie publishers and self-published authors are invited to enter the next competition for books with a copyright date of 2015. Genre: Any. Prize: Announcement to major trade journals (including Publishers Weekly and Book Business), to select public libraries, through all IBPA social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, the IBPA Blog. Entry fee: IBPA member – $95 per title, per category. Non-IBPA member – $225 for first title, which includes one year’s membership in IBPA; $95 per title, per category for second and subsequent entries. Deadlines: FIRST CALL—SEPTEMBER 30, 2015 - Primarily for titles published January 1 – August 31, 2015: SECOND CALL— DECEMBER 15, 2015 - Primarily for titles published September 1 – December 31, 2015.

The Book Designer: Monthly e-Book Cover Design Awards. Aside from the fact that there is no fee for entering this contest, Joel Friedlander's site gets a substantial amount of traffic. Genre: Any Indie book cover. Entry fee: None. Deadline: Revolving.

Eric Hoffer Award. The Eric Hoffer Book Award is one of the largest international book awards for small, academic, and independent presses. Anyone (including the author) can submit one or more books for the Eric Hoffer Award. Printed, e-books, and chapbooks are accepted. Genre: Any. Prize: $2,000 grand prize and various category honors and press type distinctions, as well as the winners of the Montaigne Medal, da Vinci Eye, and First Horizon Award. The book awards are covered independently by the US Review of Books. Entry fee: $55 (chapbooks $40). Deadline: January 21st of the award year.

IACP Cookbook Awards Details to be announced on September 14, 2015.

Independent Publisher Book Awards. All independent publishers are eligible, ranging from self-published authors to major university presses. About 2,400 publishers participate in the Awards each year, from every U.S. state, Canada, and English-speaking countries overseas around the world. The 2015 IPPY Awards attracted 5,700 total entries; winners came from 45 U.S. states plus the District of Columbia, six Canadian provinces, and ten countries overseas. Genre: Any. Prize: IPPY Award entrants have four ways to win: the National, Regional, E-Book and Outstanding Books of the Year (which all entrants are considered for with no extra fee). Award winners are headlined on Independent Publisher, and are featured prominently in articles in their monthly newsletter, which goes out to over 15,000 subscribers worldwide, many of whom are agents, buyers, and librarians. Entry fee: $75.00 per category. Deadline: February 27, 2016.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Not-for-Profit book awards program for indie authors and independent publishers. In its ninth year of operation, the Next Generation Indie Book Awards was established to recognize and honor the most exceptional independently published books in over 70 different categories, for the year, and is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group (www.IBPPG.com) in cooperation with Marilyn Allen of Allen O'Shea Literary Agency. Open to all indie publishers including independent publishers (small, medium or otherwise), university presses, self-published authors, e-book authors, seasoned authors and even first time authors based in the U.S., Canada or internationally who have a book written in English and released in 2014, 2015 or 2016 or with a 2014, 2015 or 2016 copyright date. Genre: Any. Prize:
  • $1,500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the best Fiction Book
  • $1,500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the best Non-Fiction Book
  • $750 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the second best Fiction Book
  • $750 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the second best Non-Fiction Book
  • $500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the third best Fiction Book
  • $500 Cash Prize and trophy awarded to the third best Non-Fiction Book
  • $100 Cash Prize and a Gold Medal awarded to the winner of each of the 70 categories
  • Finalist Medals will be awarded to up to five finalists in each of the 70 categories
Entry fee:  Early Bird Special Entry Fee is $75 and includes the entry of one title in two categories. On October 1, 2015 the price to enter two categories increases by $50. Deadline: February 12, 2016.

Shelf UnboundShelf Unbound book review magazine reaches more than 125,000 readers in the U.S. and in 65 other countries around the globe. Genre: Any. Prize: The author of the book named as the Best Independently Published book will receive $500, a year's worth of full-page ads in Shelf Unbound, and editorial coverage in the December/January 2016 issue of Shelf Unbound. Five finalists will receive editorial coverage in the December/January 2016 issue of Shelf Unbound. More than 100 books deemed by the editors as "notable" entries in the competition will also be featured in the December/January 2016 issue. Entry fee: $40 per title. Deadline: October 1, 2015.

Spark Award. Sponsored by the Society for Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. Genre: Children's book. Prize: The winner and honor recipients will receive: a Spark seal to display on their book;  commemorative plaque; the opportunity to have their book featured and autographed at an SCBWI conference of their choosing during the year the award is won, featured in the SCBWI online bookstore and publicized through SCBWI social networking sites. The winners will also get the opportunity to attend any conference of their choice tuition free (other than for extras such as critiques and intensives). Entry fee: No fee. Deadline: December 1, 2015 for books published in the 2015 calendar year. Do not enter before September 15, 2015.

Writer’s Digest is holding its 3rd Annual Self-Published e-Book Awards–a competition that spotlights today’s self-published works and honors self-published authors. Prizes:

One Grand Prize winner will receive:
  • $5,000 in cash
  • A feature article about you and your book for the May/June 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest
  • Winner’s name on the cover of Writer’s Digest magazine (subscriber issues)
  • A paid trip to the ever-popular Writer’s Digest Conference!
  • 30-minute platform & marketing consultation with Chuck Sambuchino, author of Create Your Writer Platform
  • $200 worth of Writer’s Digest books
  • One year Subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine
One First Prize winner in each category will receive:
  • $1,000 in cash
  • Promotion in the May/June 2016 issue of Writer’s Digest
  • $100 worth of Writer’s Digest books
  • One year Subscription (new or renewal) to Writer’s Digest magazine
Entry fee: First entry—$110. Each additional entry—$85. Deadline: September 21, 2015

Here are three agents actively seeking new clients. John Cusick (Folio) is looking for MG and YA. He is seeking author/illustrators and artists as well. Matthew DiGangi (Bresnick Weil Literary Agency) is seeking American history, sports, politics, weird science, food, pop/alternative culture, and video games. Sue Miller (Donaghy Literary Group) is looking for Young Adult (all genres), Literary, Upmarket and Commercial Fiction, and character-driven Romance (all subgenres).
John Cusick of Folio Literary Management

About John: John is an established agent who formerly worked for Greenhouse Literary. He has just become part of Folio Literary Management/Folio Jr. and is actively seeking new clients. John M. Cusick is the author of GIRL PARTS and CHERRY MONEY BABY (2010 and 2013, Candlewick Press), as well as a regular speaker at writers conferences. His clients include New York Times bestselling author Tommy Wallach (WE ALL LOOKED UP, March 2015, Simon & Schuster), Courtney Alameda (SHUTTER, February 2015, Feiwel & Friends) and Hannah Moskowitz (A HISTORY OF GLITTER AND BLOOD, August 2015, Chronicle Books) You can find him online and on Twitter, @johnmcusick.

What he is seeking: Middle-grade and teen audiences. He loves contemporary realism, fantasy, realistic stories with a fantastical twist, and really anything with imagination and heart. He works with first-time authors as well as veteran writers, and am always on the prowl for fresh voices. He is seeking author/illustrators and artists as well.

How to submit: Full submission guidelines can be found at http://www.foliojr.com/john-cusick/
Matthew DiGangi of Bresnick Weil Literary Agency

About Matthew: Matthew is the newest member of the Bresnick Weil Literary Agency. He is one of only a handful of literary agents in Boston. With ten-plus years of publishing experience under his belt, he’s edited, anthologized, and published many books across many platforms. Matt has a BFA in English & Textual Studies from Syracuse University and an MA in Publishing & Writing from Emerson College. Find him on Goodreads for a sense of his taste in books, or Twitter for a taste of his sense of humor.

What he is seeking: Matt is looking unforgettable characters, unpredictable plots, and prose that really hums. For nonfiction, he wants original research and journalistic instinct. Subjects include but are not limited to music, American history, sports, politics, weird science, food, pop/alternative culture, and video games. Matt does not represent YA, middle grade, or books for children.

How to submit: E-query matt [at] bresnickagency.com. For fiction, include first two chapters. For nonfiction, include a complete proposal. Full submission guidelines here.
Sue Miller of Donaghy Literary Group

About Sue: Sue Miller is an Associate Agent at Donaghy Literary Group, with a special love for young adult books, fantasy and literary fiction. Her publishing career began in Toronto working with Fidalgo Books in PR and in sales at Scholastic Canada. This quickly progressed into literary consultations with published and unpublished authors who sought her penchant for preparing a body of work to be submission and publication ready. She has also prepared numerous social media marketing strategies centered on specific author branding. She holds a BA in English from York University along with a Publishing Certificate from Ryerson University. She is delighted to be a part of the Donaghy Literary Group, which mirrors her belief in the importance of results driven, quality and sincere author representation.

What she is seeking: Young Adult (all genres), Literary, Upmarket and Commercial Fiction, character-driven Romance (all subgenres).

How to submit: Sue is currently accepting queries through the Donaghy Literary Group submissions page. Please follow the submission guidelines on the DLG website.