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The new year brings a host of fresh writing contests. 

Quite a few of the essay contests are geared toward high school and college students, but there are many for writers of any age. 

Genres cover the gamut from poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction, to short stories and books (published and in-progress), as well as translations.

Some of these contests have geographic restrictions. Make sure to read their full contest rules.

Good luck!
____________________

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Restrictions: The contest is open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools; US students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program; and US citizens attending schools overseas. Genre: Essay on an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1956. Prize: The first-place winner receives $10,000 comprised of a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 from John Hancock. The second-place winner receives $1,000. Up to five finalists receive $500 each. Deadline: January 6, 2016.

Thirdspace Short Fiction ContestGenre: Short fiction stories that center on experience(s) of medical education. Prize: First prize: $350 and publication in Thirdspace. Deadline: January 6, 2016.

Japan Center-Canon Essay Competition. The aim of the Japan Center Essay Competition is to promote awareness and understanding of Japan in the United States and to help young Americans broaden their international horizons. Genre: Essay. Contestants should write, in English, one or more aspects of Japan including art, culture, tradition, values, philosophy, history, society, politics, business, and technology in relation to their personal views, experiences, and/or future goals.  (Contestants do not need to have any experience in visiting Japan or studying Japanese. Prize: Best Essay Award in the High School Division: 1st Place: $3,000 and a Canon camera, 2nd Place: $1,500 and a Canon camera, 3rd Place: $750 and a Canon camera; Best Essay Award in the College Division: $3,000 and a Canon camera; Uchida Memorial Award: $1,000 and a Canon camera; Merit Award: $200 (each) for up to five awards. Deadline: January 8, 2016.

Texas Institute of Letters Literary AwardsRestrictions: Entrants must have resided in Texas for at least 2 consecutive years, or have been born in Texas. Genre: Book (published). 11 different categories. Prize: $6,000. Deadline: January 8, 2016.

Moving Words Poetry ContestRestrictions: People who live within the DC Metro transit area (the Northern Virginia counties Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun and the cities Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church; the District of Columbia; and the Maryland counties Montgomery and Prince George's) and who are over 18. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $250 honorarium. Deadline: January 11, 2016.

VCU Cabell First Novelist AwardGenre: First novel published July–December 2015. No self-published books. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: January 14, 2016.

Andres Montoya Poetry PrizeRestrictions: US residents and citizens. Genre: Poetry. first book by a Latino/a poet. Prize: $1000 and publication at the University of Notre Dame Press. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

The Roswell Award. The Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival is initiating a new short story writing contest for adult writers over the age of 18 called THE ROSWELL AWARD. All submissions must be short stories (not plays) and must be an original work of science fiction (not fan fiction) and be no longer than 1500 words. The contest is open to U.S. writers and writers outside the U.S. Five finalists will be chosen and their stories will be read aloud by professional actors associated with iconic Sci-Fi TV shows in a special awards ceremony to be held at the festival on May 23, 2015 at 7:00 PM (Memorial Day Weekend). Prize: The winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000.00. Submissions can be made at www.sci-fest.com. Terms and conditions can be read on the website. Deadline: January 15th, 2016. Finalists will be notified by March 15th, Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award introduces emerging writers to the New York City literary community. The prestigious award aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement. Since Poets & Writers began the Writers Exchange in 1984, 85 writers from 33 states and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate. Restrictions: Open to Hawaii residents. Genre: Poetry and Fiction. Prize: A $500 honorarium; A trip to New York City to meet with editors, agents, publishers, and other writers. All related travel/lodgings expenses and a per diem stipend are covered by Poets & Writers. Winners will also give a public reading of their work; and One-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. Deadline: January 15, 2016. For guidelines click HERE

MASH Competition. Every three months, three random objects are selected from a randomly gathered list. Writers are invited to incorporate them into a short, sensible and convincing story. Prize: $100 for the winning story! All shortlisted stories are published on their website, and Mash Club stories are narrated by professional voice actors and broadcast in MASH podcast.  Deadline: January 15, 2016. For guidelines click HERE.

The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers was established in 2005 to honor the memory of Ellen Meloy. The Fund provides support to writers whose work reflects the spirit and passions embodied in Ellen’s writing and her commitment to a “deep map of place.” Ellen’s own map-in-progress was of the desert country she called home. Genre: Only literary or creative nonfiction proposals will be considered. No fiction or poetry proposals will be reviewed. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: January 15, 2016. For more details click HERE.

Transitions Abroad Narrative Travel Writing Contest. Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring travel writers are invited to write an article which describes how traveling in a slower manner and attempting to adapt to the space and time of locals, their culture, and their land has deepened your experience of both the people and the destination. One of the results of a slower form of immersion travel is the experience of epiphanies that change one's perceptions of the world, of others, and of oneself. We urge you to translate one or more of those moments into a narrative which will convey this view to many who still tend to see travel as a way to "do" as many countries, cities, and continents in the world as possible—as if travel was some form of competition or consumption. Prize: $500 first-place. Deadline: January 15, 2016. For more details click HERE.

French-American Foundation Translation PrizesGenre: Book - best English translation of French in both fiction and non-fiction. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet AwardRestrictions: Open to poets who have published no more than two books of children's poetry. Genre: Children's poetry (for children and young adults up to grade 12). A book-length single poem may be submitted. The award is for published works only. Poetry in any language may be submitted; non-English poetry must be accompanied by an English translation. Poetry copyrighted from 2013 to 2015 may be submitted. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

Orwell PrizeGenre: Political writing published between 1st January and 31st January 2015. All entries must have a clear British link. Fiction and non-fiction. Prize: £3,000.00. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

Student Stowe PrizeRestrictions: High school and college students in the US. Genre: Social justice writing. Prize: $2,500.00 Deadline: January 15, 2016. See more details HERE.

Women Artists DatebookRestrictions: Women. Genre: 4 poems. Peace and Justice. Prize: $70. Deadline: January 15, 2016. See more details HERE.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize is awarded annually to a new and developing writer of distinction for a short story published in a Canadian literary publication. This award is made possible by James A. Michener’s generous donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his novel Journey, published by McClelland & Stewart in 1988. Prize: A $10,000 prize will given to the winner and the journal that published the winning entry receives $2,000. Two finalists each receive $1,000. Deadline: January 18, 2016. Read full submission guidelines HERE.

Lex Allen Literary Festival PrizesRestrictions: Open to college undergraduates. Genres: Poetry, short fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: January 19, 2016.

Northwest Perspectives Essay ContestGenre: Nonfiction, personal essays of up to 1,500 words on any topic related to the Pacific Northwest. Prize: $750. Deadline: January 20, 2016.

Bethesda Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest. The Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine have partnered to honor local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival held April 15-17, 2016. Genres: Essays and short stories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First Place: $500 and published in Bethesda Magazine. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. Deadline: January 22, 2016. For more details click HERE.

Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out Essay Contest Grades 11-12. Stop the Hate® is designed to create an appreciation and understanding among people of differing religions, races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. Genre: Essay, 500 words. Restrictions: Northeast Ohio 11-12th Graders. Prize: $40,000. Deadline: January 22, 2016.

Nelson Algren Literary Awards is a short story contest sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. This contest is open to residents of the United States. All entries must be: fiction, less than 8,000 words, double spaced, written in English. Prize: One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500. Total value of all prizes: $10,000. Deadline: Closing date January 31, 2016. How to enterClick HERE for complete rules.

Imagine Little Tokyo. Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) seeks fictional short stories in Japanese or English for its second annual “Imagine Little Tokyo” writing contest. The setting of the story should be in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA– either past, present or future. Prize: $600. The winner of the youth division (18 or younger) will receive $400. Deadline: January 31, 2016. How to enterClick HERE for complete rules.

Caine Prize for African WritingRestrictions: Open to writers born in Africa, or nationals of an African country, or with a parent who is African by birth or nationality, Genre: Short fiction (published). Prize: £10,000. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Jack London Fiction Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to students, grades 9-12. Genre: Short fiction, essays. Prize: First place $2000.00; Second place $1000.00; Third place $500.00. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest. "The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America." Genre: previously unpublished work of short fiction. Prize: $100.00. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize. The annual Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year.  Genre: Published fiction or non-fiction, may include: novels, novellas, short stories, plays, poetry, biographies, essays and correspondence. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

College Undergraduate Poetry and Florence Kahn Memorial AwardRestrictions: Undergraduates working toward a degree in an accredited U.S. college or university. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Walter Rumsey Marvin GrantRestrictions: Open to authors under 30 years of age who have not had a book published. Applicant must have been born in Ohio or have lived in Ohio for a minimum of five years. Genre: Short fiction and creative non fiction.  Prize: $1,000. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

 
 
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Winter is in full swing above the 40th parallel, which is why it is not entirely surprising that half of January's conferences are in Florida.

While there isn't a lot going on the first month of the year, these conferences offer as much as they do in the summer: pitch sessions with agents, workshops, presentations, readings, and ample opportunity to hobnob with writers and industry professionals (hopefully, on a beach).

________________________________

Key West Literary Seminar, January 7 - 15, 2016, Key West, Florida. The seminar, January 7 - 10, offers readings, lectures, and conversations with poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. The 2016 theme is “Shorts: Stories, Essays & Other Briefs.” The writers' workshop offers workshops and craft discussions for poets, fiction writers, and nonfiction writers. The faculty includes poet Billy Collins; fiction writers Ann Beattie, Kristen-Paige Madonia, Daniel Menaker, and Antonya Nelson; and nonfiction writer Diana Abu-Jaber. The cost of the seminar is $575; the cost of the writers’ workshop is $550.

Winter Poetry & Prose Getaway, January 15 - 18, 2016, Galloway, New Jersey. Workshops in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, as well as craft talks, one-on-one tutorials, featured readings, and open mics. The faculty includes poets Stephen Dunn, Thomas Lux, Laura McCullough, and James Richardson; fiction writers Carol Plum-Ucci and Pamela Swallow; and creative nonfiction writers Barbara Hurd and Mimi Schwartz. Tuition, which includes some meals, ranges from $490 to $690, depending on the workshop; lodging is not included.

Eckerd College Writers’ Conference, January 16-23, 2016, St. Petersburg, FL. Workshops, roundtables, panel discussions, Q&As, readings book signings, and receptions. Faculty and guests include: Pulitzer Prize winner Gilbert King, MacArthur “Genius Grant” Poet Campbell McGrath, Andre Dubus III, Ann Hood, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Stewart O’Nan, Les Standiford, Scott Ward, Sterling Watson, and more.

Palm Beach Poetry Festival, January 18-23, 2016, Delray Beach, Florida. Eight poetry workshops taught by Laure-Anne Bosselaar, Carl Dennis, Denise Duhamel, Carol Frost, Thomas Lux, Tom Sleigh, Mary Szybist and Kevin Young. Participant tuition includes workshop participation, and admission to all festival events. Special Guest is Robert Hass, U.S. Poet Laureate (1995-1997), Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner. Other featured poets include Dominique Christina and Marc Kelly Smith, and conference faculty, Sally Bliumis-Dunn, and Ginger Murchison.  $795 includes all events, one gala seat; $395/auditor. Accepted participants may schedule a one-on-one conference at additional cost.

Write on the Red Cedar, Jan 22 - 23, 2016, East Lansing MI. Workshops, speakers, panels, manuscript reviews, networking, and pitch appointments with literary agents Carly Watters and Ann Byle. Regular Registration $120 ($140 after Dec. 20) Includes Friday night cocktail party and full slate of workshops on Saturday. Full Conference $195 ($225 after Dec. 20).

 
 
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Writer's Digest recently announced a free contest by best-selling author and writing consultant, Barbara Kyle.

Barbara is offering to evaluate a full manuscript for free - a service for which she normally charges $1,200. Second and third place winners can have portions of their manuscripts evaluated.

Your manuscript does not have to be complete to enter. If you win, you will have a full year to submit. The deadline is December 31, 2015.

Good luck!
___________________________________

CONTEST! Win a Manuscript Evaluation

Grand Prize: a *$1,200 manuscript evaluation

Want an expert critique of your manuscript? Then this contest is for you.

It’s open to anyone with a work of fiction or narrative non-fiction. All genres are welcome. There is no fee to enter the contest.

And here’s the great thing. If you win, you’ll have up to a year to send me your manuscript. If it’s ready now, that’s fine, send it as soon as you hear you’ve won. But if you need more time to complete it, that’s fine too. Contest winners will have up to a year to send me their manuscript.
I’ll choose three winners based on writing samples that suggest the writer’s work has a good chance of succeeding in the publishing marketplace. Agents and publishers want books that sell, and my goal is to help you move forward in your writing career. I want you to land that agent. I want you to sign that book deal.

* value based on a manuscript of 450 pages

PRIZES

Grand Prize: my evaluation of a full manuscript – a $1,200 value

Second Prize: my evaluation of a manuscript’s first 50 pages

Third Prize: my evaluation of a manuscript’s first 25 pages

The manuscript evaluation will be conducted in a discussion with me by Skype or by phone. 

The Grand Prize winner will get a 1.5-hour (one and a half hour) discussion with me. The 
Second Prize winner and Third Prize winner will each get a half-hour discussion with me.

The evaluation will consist of my in-depth analysis in which I’ll pinpoint the manuscript’s strengths and weaknesses with regard to premise, story structure, character development, voice, dialogue, setting, pacing, POV, and marketability. I’ll also offer suggestions on how any weaknesses might be improved.

CONTEST RULES

The deadline for entering is 12:00 midnight EST on 31 December 2015.

There is no fee to enter.

To enter, complete the contest entry form (click the “Register Here” button below) and attach your writing sample. Maximum length of the sample: 1,500 words.

Only one entry per person.

The 3 winners will be announced on 21 January 2016 and their names will be posted on my website and in my Newsletter for Writers.

The 3 winners can send me their manuscripts as soon as they have been notified that they have won, or they can take up to 12 months to do so. (So, if you win, there’s lots of time to finish your manuscript if you need it.)

For the Grand Prize winner, the maximum length of the full manuscript to be evaluated is 120,000 words. The manuscript must be double-spaced in 12-point font.

For the Second Prize winner, the maximum length of the manuscript to be evaluated is 50 pages, double-spaced in 12-point font.

For the Third Prize winner, the maximum length of the manuscript to be evaluated is 25 pages double-spaced in 12-point font.

Ready to enter? Great! Here’s how.

HOW TO ENTER THE CONTEST

Complete the entry form (click the “Register Here” button below) and attach to it your writing sample.

• Maximum length of the sample: 1,500 words. Format: double-spaced
• The sample can be from your work-in-progress or a previous work
• Attach your sample as a Word document or PDF

Deadline to enter is midnight on 31 December 2015.

Click here to enter the contest

 
 
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The new year brings a host of fresh writing contests.

Genres cover the gamut from poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction, to short stories and books (published and in-progress), as well as translations.

Some of these contests have geographic and age restrictions. Make sure to read the full contest rules.

Good luck!

_____________________

John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Essay Contest is sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Restrictions: The contest is open to United States high school students in grades nine through twelve attending public, private, parochial, or home schools; US students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program; and US citizens attending schools overseas. Genre: Essay on an act of political courage by a US elected official who served during or after 1956. Prize: The first-place winner receives $10,000 comprised of a $5,000 cash award and $5,000 from John Hancock. The second-place winner receives $1,000. Up to five finalists receive $500 each. Deadline: January 6, 2016.

Thirdspace Short Fiction ContestGenre: Short fiction stories that center on experience(s) of medical education. Prize: First prize: $350 and publication in Thirdspace. Deadline: January 6, 2016.

Japan Center-Canon Essay Competition. The aim of the Japan Center Essay Competition is to promote awareness and understanding of Japan in the United States and to help young Americans broaden their international horizons. Genre: Essay. Contestants should write, in English, one or more aspects of Japan including art, culture, tradition, values, philosophy, history, society, politics, business, and technology in relation to their personal views, experiences, and/or future goals.  (Contestants do not need to have any experience in visiting Japan or studying Japanese. Prize: Best Essay Award in the High School Division: 1st Place: $3,000 and a Canon camera, 2nd Place: $1,500 and a Canon camera, 3rd Place: $750 and a Canon camera; Best Essay Award in the College Division: $3,000 and a Canon camera; Uchida Memorial Award: $1,000 and a Canon camera; Merit Award: $200 (each) for up to five awards. Deadline: January 8, 2016.

Texas Institute of Letters Literary AwardsRestrictions: Entrants must have resided in Texas for at least 2 consecutive years, or have been born in Texas. Genre: Book (published). 11 different categories. Prize: $6,000. Deadline: January 8, 2016.

Moving Words Poetry ContestRestrictions: People who live within the DC Metro transit area (the Northern Virginia counties Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun and the cities Alexandria, Fairfax, and Falls Church; the District of Columbia; and the Maryland counties Montgomery and Prince George's) and who are over 18. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $250 honorarium. Deadline: January 11, 2016.

VCU Cabell First Novelist AwardGenre: First novel published July–December 2015. No self-published books. Prize: $5,000. Deadline: January 14, 2016.

Andres Montoya Poetry PrizeRestrictions: US residents and citizens. Genre: Poetry. first book by a Latino/a poet. Prize: $1000 and publication at the University of Notre Dame Press. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

The Roswell Award. The Los Angeles Science Fiction One-Act Play Festival is initiating a new short story writing contest for adult writers over the age of 18 called THE ROSWELL AWARD. All submissions must be short stories (not plays) and must be an original work of science fiction (not fan fiction) and be no longer than 1500 words. The contest is open to U.S. writers and writers outside the U.S. Five finalists will be chosen and their stories will be read aloud by professional actors associated with iconic Sci-Fi TV shows in a special awards ceremony. Prize: The winner will receive a cash prize of $1,000.00. Submissions can be made at www.sci-fest.com. Terms and conditions can be read on the website. Deadline: January 15th, 2016. Finalists will be notified by March 15th. Read submission guidelines HERE.

The Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award introduces emerging writers to the New York City literary community. The prestigious award aims to provide promising writers a network for professional advancement. Since Poets & Writers began the Writers Exchange in 1984, 85 writers from 33 states and the District of Columbia have been selected to participate. Restrictions: Open to Hawaii residents. Genre: Poetry and Fiction. Prize: A $500 honorarium; A trip to New York City to meet with editors, agents, publishers, and other writers. All related travel/lodgings expenses and a per diem stipend are covered by Poets & Writers. Winners will also give a public reading of their work; and One-month residency at the Jentel Artist Residency Program in Wyoming. Deadline: January 15, 2016. For guidelines click HERE

MASH Competition. Every three months, three random objects are selected from a randomly gathered list. Writers are invited to incorporate them into a short, sensible and convincing story. Prize: $100 for the winning story! All shortlisted stories are published on their website, and Mash Club stories are narrated by professional voice actors and broadcast in MASH podcast.  Deadline: January 15, 2016. For guidelines click HERE.

The Ellen Meloy Fund for Desert Writers was established in 2005 to honor the memory of Ellen Meloy. The Fund provides support to writers whose work reflects the spirit and passions embodied in Ellen’s writing and her commitment to a “deep map of place.” Ellen’s own map-in-progress was of the desert country she called home. Genre: Only literary or creative nonfiction proposals will be considered. No fiction or poetry proposals will be reviewed. Prize: $3,000. Deadline: January 15, 2016. For more details click HERE.

Transitions Abroad Narrative Travel Writing Contest. Professionals, freelancers, and aspiring travel writers are invited to write an article which describes how traveling in a slower manner and attempting to adapt to the space and time of locals, their culture, and their land has deepened your experience of both the people and the destination. One of the results of a slower form of immersion travel is the experience of epiphanies that change one's perceptions of the world, of others, and of oneself. We urge you to translate one or more of those moments into a narrative which will convey this view to many who still tend to see travel as a way to "do" as many countries, cities, and continents in the world as possible—as if travel was some form of competition or consumption. Prize: $500 first-place. Deadline: January 15, 2016. For more details click HERE.

French-American Foundation Translation PrizesGenre: Book - best English translation of French in both fiction and non-fiction. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet AwardRestrictions: Open to poets who have published no more than two books of children's poetry. Genre: Children's poetry (for children and young adults up to grade 12). A book-length single poem may be submitted. The award is for published works only. Poetry in any language may be submitted; non-English poetry must be accompanied by an English translation. Poetry copyrighted from 2013 to 2015 may be submitted. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

Orwell PrizeGenre: Political writing published between 1st January and 31st January 2015. All entries must have a clear British link. Fiction and non-fiction. Prize: £3,000.00. Deadline: January 15, 2016.

Student Stowe PrizeRestrictions: High school and college students in the US. Genre: Social justice writing. Prize: $2,500.00 Deadline: January 15, 2016. See more details HERE.

Women Artists DatebookRestrictions: Women. Genre: 4 poems. Peace and Justice. Prize: $70. Deadline: January 15, 2016. See more details HERE.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize is awarded annually to a new and developing writer of distinction for a short story published in a Canadian literary publication. This award is made possible by James A. Michener’s generous donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his novel Journey, published by McClelland & Stewart in 1988. Prize: A $10,000 prize will given to the winner and the journal that published the winning entry receives $2,000. Two finalists each receive $1,000. Deadline: January 18, 2016. Read full submission guidelines HERE.

Lex Allen Literary Festival PrizesRestrictions: Open to college undergraduates. Genres: Poetry, short fiction. Prize: $100. Deadline: January 19, 2016.

Northwest Perspectives Essay ContestGenre: Nonfiction, personal essays of up to 1,500 words on any topic related to the Pacific Northwest. Prize: $750. Deadline: January 20, 2016.

Bethesda Literary Festival Essay and Short Story Contest. The Bethesda Urban Partnership & Bethesda Magazine have partnered to honor local writers at the Bethesda Literary Festival held April 15-17, 2016. Genres: Essays and short stories. Restrictions: Residents of Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia are eligible. Prizes: First Place: $500 and published in Bethesda Magazine. Second Place: $250. Third Place: $150. Honorable Mention: $75. Deadline: January 22, 2016. For more details click HERE.

Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out Essay Contest Grades 11-12. Stop the Hate® is designed to create an appreciation and understanding among people of differing religions, races, cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds. Genre: Essay, 500 words. Restrictions: Northeast Ohio 11-12th Graders. Prize: $40,000. Deadline: January 22, 2016.

Nelson Algren Literary Awards is a short story contest sponsored by the Chicago Tribune. This contest is open to residents of the United States. All entries must be: fiction, less than 8,000 words, double spaced, written in English. Prize: One grand prize winner will receive $3,500. Four finalists will each receive $1,000. Five runners-up will each receive $500. Total value of all prizes: $10,000. Deadline: Closing date January 31, 2016. How to enterClick HERE for complete rules.

Imagine Little Tokyo. Little Tokyo Historical Society (LTHS) seeks fictional short stories in Japanese or English for its second annual “Imagine Little Tokyo” writing contest. The setting of the story should be in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA– either past, present or future. Prize: $600. The winner of the youth division (18 or younger) will receive $400. Deadline: January 31, 2016. How to enterClick HERE for complete rules.

Caine Prize for African WritingRestrictions: Open to writers born in Africa, or nationals of an African country, or with a parent who is African by birth or nationality, Genre: Short fiction (published). Prize: £10,000. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Jack London Fiction Writing ContestRestrictions: Open to students, grades 9-12. Genre: Short fiction, essays. Prize: First place $2000.00; Second place $1000.00; Third place $500.00. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Jerry Jazz Musician Fiction Contest. "The Jerry Jazz Musician reader has interests in music, social history, literature, politics, art, film and theater, particularly that of the counter-culture of mid-twentieth century America." Genre: previously unpublished work of short fiction. Prize: $100.00. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize. The annual Helen and Kurt Wolff Translator's Prize is awarded each spring to honor an outstanding literary translation from German into English published in the USA the previous year.  Genre: Published fiction or non-fiction, may include: novels, novellas, short stories, plays, poetry, biographies, essays and correspondence. Prize: $10,000. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

College Undergraduate Poetry and Florence Kahn Memorial Award.  Restrictions: Undergraduates working toward a degree in an accredited U.S. college or university. Genre: Poetry. Prize: $500. Deadline: January 31, 2016.

Walter Rumsey Marvin GrantRestrictions: Open to authors under 30 years of age who have not had a book published. Applicant must have been born in Ohio or have lived in Ohio for a minimum of five years. Genre: Short fiction and creative non-fiction. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: January 31, 2016.


 
 
Here are two new agents actively building their client lists. Tara Carberry (Trident Media Group) is looking for women’s commercial fiction, romance, new adult, young adult, and select nonfiction. Jaida Temperly (New Leaf Literary & Media) is seeking middle grade and young adult titles as well as adult mystery and high fantasy.
Jaida Temperly of New Leaf Literary & Media

About Jaida: Jaida Temperly of New Leaf Literary & Media is very excited to be building her client list. Current clients include Kody Keplinger, Kirsten Hubbard, Eric Telchin, Amber McRee Turner, and Maggie Heinze. She also represents illustrators Betsy Bauer, James Lipnickas, and Genevieve Santos. After a brief stint in medical school at UW-Madison, Jaida moved from Wisconsin to NYC for an internship at Writer’s House. After five months, Jaida joined New Leaf Literary & Media, assisting Joanna Volpe for the past three years before starting to build her own list of clients.

What she is seeking: Jaida is open to all middle grade and young adult titles, although she has a particular love for quirky, dark stories (The Mysterious Benedict Society, Coraline, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library). For Adult Fiction, she loves those with strong mystery, high fantasy, or religious undertones (The Westing Game, A Discovery of Witches, A Game of Thrones, The Da Vinci Code). She’s also open to picture books by author-illustrators with completed dummies.

How to submitSubmission guidelines here.

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Tara Carberry of Trident Media Group

About Tara: Tara Carberry has nurtured a lifelong passion for books of all kinds. In her career as a literary agent, she is thrilled to be spending her days seeking out exceptional authors and helping them to achieve the highest degree of creative and financial success in today’s dynamic publishing marketplace. Tara completed her undergraduate degree at Bucknell University and went on to earn a Masters degree in English and Comparative Literature from Columbia University. She subsequently held editorial positions at both Weinstein Books and W.W. Norton before coming to Trident to work for Kimberly Whalen and Erica Spellman Silverman.

What she is seeking: Tara is primarily seeking women’s commercial fiction, romance, new adult, young adult, and select nonfiction.

How to submit: Use Trident’s online submissions form here.
 
 
Here are six literary agents actively seeking thrillers. All of them work with reputable agencies. 

To find out more about these agents and their agencies check the Absolute Write forums. (Just type the name of the agency or agent into a google search with "absolute write." The Absolute Write "watercooler" is where writers talk candidly about their experiences with agents and publishers.)
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Ann Collette of Rees Literary Agency

Ann Collette was a freelance writer and editor before joining the Rees Literary Agency in 2000.  Her list includes books by Barbara Shapiro, Ashley Weaver, Steven Sidor, Vicki Lane, Carol Carr, Clay and Susan Griffith, and Chrystle Fiedler.

How to contact: E-query Agent10702@aol.com and include your first chapter within the body of the email. Attachments and links will not be opened.
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Stacey Donaghy of Donaghy Literary

Stacey began her career with the Corvisiero Literary Agency in New York, where she wore many hats from team manager and trainer, to intern, to agent. Stacey represents NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon Bestselling Authors, as well as Authors who have been nominated or have won awards for various works.

How to contact: E-query query@donaghyliterary.com. Place the following information in the email’s subject line: “Query” followed by story title, genre and the name of the agent that you are querying. Paste a 1- or 2-page synopsis below the query letter. Paste the first 10 pages of your double-spaced manuscript below the synopsis. No attachments.
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Julie Stevenson of Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

Julie holds a B.A. in English from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College. Before joining Waxman Leavell, she worked at Sobel Weber Associates and in the editorial departments of Tin House and Publishers Weekly.

How to contact: Equery  juliesubmit@waxmanleavell.com. You may include 5-10 pages of your manuscript in the body of your email.
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Alec Shane of Writers House

Writers House is a large agency which has represented hundreds of authors as well as licensing, and selling film/TV, foreign, audio, dramatic and serial rights. Alec is an Assistant Agent to Jodi Reamer. He is now in the process of actively building his own list.

How to contact: Send the first 10 pages of your manuscript, along with your query letter, to ashane@writershouse.com with “Query for Alec Shane: [TITLE]” as your subject heading – no attachments.

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Jennifer Johnson-Blalock of Liza Dawson Associates

Jennifer Johnson-Blalock joined Liza Dawson Associates as an associate agent in 2015, having previously interned at LDA in 2013 before working as an agent's assistant at Trident Media Group. Jennifer graduated with honors from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in English and earned a J.D. from Harvard Law School. She is looking for thrillers with a literary bent à la Tana French, with an outsider protagonist who stumbles into a conspiracy like THE PELICAN BRIEF, or with a psychological focus and an unreliable protagonist.

How to contact: E-mail queryjennifer@lizadawsonassociates.com.
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Mallory C. Brown of TriadaUS

“I love a good sociopath and have yet to find one that is believable and not completely horrifying. I want my sociopath to be like Sherlock Holmes from BBC Sherlock, sociopathic but not inhuman, or Dexter, one with a code despite it not being societally correct.”

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

 
 
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I love reading about how self-published authors achieve success. Every story is different, and each one contains valuable insights as to how the process of achieving that hard-won success works. 

After reading quite a few of these stories, I have noticed a pattern. 

First, the author writes something that stands out, either because it unique, different, or appeals to something in readers in a way that touches them. 

Second, the author finds a platform. 

Authors, especially self-published authors, need someone to champion them. Back in the day, that job fell to publishers. But increasingly, publishers are doing very little to promote their authors' work. Promotion now falls on the shoulders of the authors, leaving them with a task that is Herculean. 

In all of the cases in which authors have been successful, their success has ultimately been due to someone else taking up the mantle of promotion. 

In this case, it was a book store owner. In other cases, readers on Reddit and reading communities, have promoted books. Bloggers, ebook promoters, Amazon, and even Twitter have all been instrumental in helping authors achieve success. 

The trick is to find a platform that can help you get noticed.

Helpful articles

15 Reading and Writing Communities That Can Boost Your Platform

Twitter: How to Build a Following - for Writers

Reddit for Writers

The 4-Hour Bestseller
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Three-Book Deal in Sheep's Clothing

By Sue Corbett, BookLife, November 16, 2015

John Churchman was sure he had violated it when, in early October, he dropped in unannounced at his local bookstore, the Flying Pig in Shelburne, Vt., with copies of the picture book he had recently published with his wife, Jennifer.

“I’m sure they were thinking, ‘How fast can we get this guy to leave?’ ” Churchman admits. But as he showed the book to store co-owner Elizabeth Bluemle, an eavesdropping customer said she’d buy a copy. Bluemle pulled over another store browser to take a look. That customer bought a copy, too. Bluemle was sold: she told Churchman she’d take another eight for her shelves.

Little did Churchman, a photographer who runs a “picture farm” (more on that later), know just how serendipitous a sale he’d made. Bluemle was so impressed with The SheepOver that she told the Churchmans she’d like to write a blog post about it. “We thought, ‘That is so nice. Of course,’ ” said Jennifer Churchman. “We thought she meant she was going to write about it in the newsletter she writes for the store.”

Instead, Bluemle, a contributor to PW’s ShelfTalker blog, wrote a post about what set the Churchmans’ book apart from many other self-published titles: the beautifully crafted photo-illustrations, the textured backgrounds, the extremely expressive animals, the heartwarming story of one animal coming to the rescue of another. 

Bluemle’s blog post, published on October 2, almost instantly made the Churchmans a highly sought-after creative team. Multiple agents contacted them, wondering if they had considered shopping their book to a mainstream publisher. The first to reach them, however, was Brenda Bowen of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates. 

Read the rest of this illuminating article HERE.

 
 
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The Washington Post, like many other highly influential book platforms, has always adopted a hands-off policy regarding self-published books. That has now changed with Serving Pleasure, an erotic romance which won a place on The Post's "best of" list for romance.

Does this mean self-published books have finally earned respectability? Probably not. The Washington Post is owned by Amazon, which - it won't shock you to know - published Serving Pleasure.

It would not be at all unreasonable to assume that perhaps a little suggestion was whispered in the reviewer's ear.

(The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Read on.)
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Romance finally breaks The Post’s ‘No Self-Published Books’ rule

By Ron Charles, Washington Post, November 24

It was bound to happen sooner or later: For the first time ever, a self-published book appears on one of The Washington Post’s best-of-the-year lists.

The distinction — bestowed on Alisha Rai’s erotic novel “Serving Pleasure” — marks a small but telling milestone. Long scorned as the “vanity press,” self-publishing now draws hundreds-of-thousands of hopeful authors. The vast majority of the books sell very few copies, but each year produces another rockstar — a EL James or a Hugh Howey — whose stratospheric success fuels more dreams and brings more legitimacy to the platform.

“Serving Pleasure” appears on The Post’s list of the year’s best romance fiction, one of several genre lists in Book World’s Best Books of 2015 package. Rai, who works as a lawyer by day, released “Serving Pleasure” through CreateSpace, Amazon’s independent publishing platform. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)

Our romance reviewer, Sarah MacLean, didn’t think she was doing anything particularly radical by including a self-published book.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

 
 
Here are two literary agents actively building their client lists. Sergei Tsimberov (Ayesha Pande Literary) is seeking literary fiction and nonfiction with historical, political and international themes. Elise Capron (Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency) is looking for adult literary fiction, multicultural fiction, debut novels, story collections, and, on the non-fiction side, trade-friendly cultural and/or environmental history.
Sergei Tsimberov of Ayesha Pande Literary

About Sergei: Sergei Tsimberov holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law. He has been a literary agent since 2013 and joined Ayesha Pande Literary in summer 2014.

What he is seeking: As an agent, he represents both literary fiction and nonfiction. He is looking for imaginative and polished voice-driven writing, and is particularly interested in narratives with historical, political and international themes.

How to submit: Use the agency’s online submissions form here.
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Elise Capron of Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency

About Elise: A graduate of Emerson College, Elise holds a BFA in Writing, Literature and Publishing. She has been with the Dijkstra Agency since late 2003.

What she is seeking: Adult literary fiction, multicultural fiction, debut novels, story collections, and, on the non-fiction side, trade-friendly cultural and/or environmental history.

How to submitFiction: Please send a query letter, a 1-page synopsis, a brief bio (including a description of your publishing history), and the first 10-15 pages of your manuscript. Non-fiction: Please send a query letter, an overview of your project including a chapter outline, a brief bio (including a description of your publishing history), a description of competing books, and the first 10-15 pages of your first chapter. If we are interested, we will ask you to send your complete proposal. Please send all items in the body of the email, not as an attachment. Read the agency's full guidelines here
 
 
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Here are 15 literary magazines willing to pay for your fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Some are professional markets, which are great for boosting your morale - and for adding to your resume. 

In December, there are calls for speculative fiction, experimental fiction, general fiction and poetry, and personal experiences, so there is something for everyone.

If you don't particularly care whether you get paid for your writing, but simply want to get your work out there, go to New Pages for a list of calls for submissions (both paid and unpaid), or Poets & Writers. 
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Uncanny Magazine

"Uncanny Magazine is seeking passionate, diverse SF/F fiction and poetry from writers from every conceivable background.  We want  intricate, experimental stories and poems with gorgeous prose, verve, and imagination that elicit strong emotions and challenge beliefs. Uncanny believes there’s still plenty of room in the genre for tales that make you feel."

Length: 750-6000 words

Payment: $.08 per word (including audio rights)

Deadline: December 1, 2015
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The Hollins Critic

Genre: Poetry

Payment: $25 per poem

Deadline: December 1, 2015
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Lockjaw Magazine

"We don’t want you to show your work. We want you to show your bones." Leans toward the experimental and post-modern.

Genres: Poetry and fiction

Payment: $.01 per word

Deadline: December 1, 2015

Accepts reprints
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Myslexia: Issue 69: Monster

A subject to conjure pity and/or horror, that invites experimentation in both genre (fantasy, literary, crime, romance?) and point of view (from inside or outside the creature). 

Genres: Poems of up to 40 lines or stories of up to 2,200 words

Payment: £25 per poem, and £15 per thousand words of prose

Deadline: December 7, 2015
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Martian Migraine Press Anthology, "Cthulhusattva: Lovecraftian Tales of the Black Gnosis"

"We want to see tales of Mythos mystics, spiritual sorcerers, monstrous monks, and preternatural philosophers, and we want to see them in a diverse range of settings, not just Arkham. The world is vast and strange: show us the bizarre and mind-expanding traditions of far-flung locales."

Length: From 1,500 to 7,000 words. FLASH FICTION: under 1500 words. No poetry.

Payment: .03CAD per word, via Paypal, as well as a contributor copy (paperback) of the anthology, and copies in all electronic formats (mobi, EPUB, and PDF). Authors are also entitled to copies of three additional Martian Migraine Press titles of their choosing.

Deadline: December 15, 2015
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Kenyon Review 

Genres: Short fiction (up to 7500 words); essays (up to 7500 words); poetry (up to 6 poems)

Payment: $40 a page

Deadline: December 15, 2015 
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Don't Open Till Doomsday and Melee

Genre: Medieval Fantasy, Science Fiction

Payment: One contributor copy and a one-time payment of $15

Deadline: December 15, 2015
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Among Animals Anthology

"We’re looking for stories of how the lives of animals and humans intersect, particularly in regards to the conservation and protection of animals."

Length: 2,500 to 7,500 words

Payment: No payment information. Please inquire. 

Deadline: December 15, 2015

Accepts reprints.
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Far Orbit anthology series: Last Outpost

"World Weaver Press is expanding the Far Orbit anthology series with a new a new military science fiction anthology, Last Outpost. Last Outpost will be published in 2016. As the name implies, we’re looking for military adventure stories, page-turners that keep us on the edge of our seats. We’re not looking for mindless mayhem; we want compelling science fiction stories with a military theme."

Genre: Science Fiction

Length: Under 10,000 words

Payment: $0.01/word

Deadline: December 15, 2015

Accepts reprints
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The Puritan

Genres: Fiction, essays, poetry, interviews, reviews

Payment: $100 per interview, $100 per essay, $100 per review, $50 per work of fiction, and $15 per poem (or page, capped at $60 for poems running four pages or more)

Deadline: December 25, 2015
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Polychrome Ink

Genres: Poetry collections, short stories, short narratives, and essays off all genres that celebrate diversity. They are looking for LGBTQIA+, Neuroatypical, and Disabilities as well.

Length: Each poem cannot exceed four pages, single spaced, Times font, 12pt. Flash Fiction and Short Essays under 1k words. Long Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Essays over 1k but not surpassing 5k words. You may submit up to 5 poems or flash fiction pieces at a time.

Payment: $15 per short prose; $25 per poem; and $40 per long prose.

Deadline: December 27, 2015
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Book Smugglers Publishing

"We’re looking for original short stories from all around the world as long as they are written in English. Our goal is to publish at least three short stories, unified by a central theme. Each short story will be accompanied by one original piece of artwork from an artist commissioned by us separately. The theme is Superheroes."

Genre: Speculative fiction

Length: 1,500 and 17,500 words

Payment: $0.06 per word up to $500

Deadline: December 31, 2015
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Workers Write!

"Issue twelve of Workers Write! will be Tales from the Construction Site and will contain stories and poems from a tradesperson's point of view. We're looking for fiction about laborers, carpenters, plumbers, welders, foremen, safety inspectors, individual contractors - anyone who builds or works in construction for a living. Your stories can take place on sites as large as skyscrapers and as small as second bathrooms."

Length: 500 to 5,000 words

Payment: Between $5 and $50 (depending on length and rights requested)

Deadline: December 31, 2015

Reprints accepted
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Allegory

Genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Length: 500-5000 words

Payment: $15

Deadline: December 31, 2015
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Alternate Hilarities 5: One Star Reviews of the Afterlife

Genres: Humorous speculative fiction

Length: Flash Fiction between 500 and 1500 words. Short Fiction between 1501 and 6000 words

Payment: Flash Fiction - a half cent a word paid on publication as well as one E-book and 1 share of royalties. Short Fiction - one cent a word paid on publication as well as one E-book and 2 shares of royalties

Deadline: December 31, 2015

 

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