Tuesday, October 17, 2017

3 New Literary Agents Actively Looking for Clients

These three new literary agents are seeking clients. New agents are a boon to writers because they are actively building their client lists. Adrienne Rosado of Stonesong is seeking adult and children’s fiction, as well as select non-fiction in the areas of pop-science, business, and the occasional quirky history. Riddhi Parekh of Laura Dail Agency is interested in young adult and middle-grade fiction, picture books, kids non-fiction; open to considering adult commercial fiction. Kimberly Jago of Jago Ciro Entertainment prefers books with strong voices, rich landscapes, and an air of the mysterious and fantastic geared towards young adults.

Important: Always read the agent bio and submission requirements on the agency website before querying. Submission requirements often change.

If these agents don't suit your needs, you can find a comprehensive list of new and established agents looking for clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Adrienne Rosado of Stonesong

Adrienne has spent the entirety of her career on the agency side of publishing and joined Stonesong in September 2017. She has an extensive background in subsidiary rights and takes on projects with an eye for both domestic and international rights. Prior to joining Stonesong, she was the Literary Director for Leibo Management, an LA based production company, and the Director of Subsidiary Rights for Nancy Yost Literary.

What she is seeking: adult and children’s fiction, as well as select non-fiction in the areas of pop-science, business, and the occasional quirky history.

In both adult and children’s fiction, she is looking for contemporary, mystery, historical, thriller, fantasy, and anything with a wickedly dark sense of humor. She’s also been known to have a soft spot for Southern Gothics.

She’s especially drawn to multicultural fiction as well as lgbtq+ works. She is keen to work on projects that focus on marginalized people and people from atypical walks of life. She loves a story that makes her think differently.

How to Submit
: Send your query to submissions@stonesong.com. Include the word “query” in the subject line of your email. Also include the first chapter or first 10 pages of your work, pasted into the body of your email. Please do not send attachments.


Kimberly Jago of Jago Ciro Entertainment

Kimberly Jago, owner/partner of Jago Ciro Entertainment, has been a talent manager for more years than she cares to admit. For many of those years, Kimberly served on the Board of Directors of the Talent Managers Association (TMA), and was the first elected East Coast based Vice President in the 50+ year history of the TMA. Although no longer with the TMA, Kimberly now shares her experience and perspective as a member Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA). Always having been a avid reader, Kimberly was thrilled when approached to represent a UK based published author, and quickly established a literary division with her company.

What she is seeking: Kimberly prefers books with strong voices, rich landscapes, and an air of the mysterious and fantastic geared towards young adults.

How to submit: Email to literary@jagociro.com. Query letter, synopsis and the first 50 pages, all within the body of an email. No attachments will be opened.


Riddhi Parekh of Laura Dail Literary Agency

Riddhi was formerly a Children's Book Scout with Franklin & Siegal Associates. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing (Writing for Children) at The New School in 2012, before which she was a journalist with the broadsheet newspaper Daily News & Analysis and Head of Content at the children's magazine Young Adults (YA!) in Mumbai, India.

What she is looking for: Riddhi enjoys universal, coming-of-age stories that tackle issues of identity as well as high-stakes fiction with unexpected twists. She is always on the lookout for a good pun and is particularly drawn to whimsical middle-grade fiction, picture books, and chapter books.

How to submit: Send a concise email query letter to: queries [at] ldlainc [dot] com

Along with your book's title, please include the name of the agent you are querying in the subject field. This helps guarantee that your submission ends up in the right person's queue. (Example subject line: QUERY: TITLE for AGENT) Your query letter should include a short pitch, a short plot summary, and a short bio. Please also include publisher submission history and previous publishing credits, if applicable. If you are a debut author, do not worry. After your query letter, paste the FIRST 5-10 PAGES of your novel into the body of the email. Your writing sample MUST be pasted into the email, as they do not open unrequested attachments of any kind. You may also include a synopsis, but it's not required.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Becoming a Better Writer: Getting Critiqued

Like any other art form, writing is essentially a solitary pursuit. However, the end product can be greatly enhanced by feedback. For a writer, getting critiques is an essential part of the writing process.

Critiquing can be considered an art form unto itself. In order to write a good critique, you have to understand the elements of fiction: characterization, character development, plot, story structure, pacing, conflict, descriptive writing, scene structure.

There are also larger editorial considerations, such as whether the characters' motivations make sense, if plot points seem natural or contrived, and if the internal logic is consistent.

There are no hard and fast rules for any of these things (and it would be a mistake to utilize a checklist of "writing rules," because the best writing ignores them), but simply keep these points in mind when something makes your "eyes stop." If you are tempted to stop reading, it's usually because the author has hit a snag. It's up to the person writing the critique to figure out exactly what that snag is.

The object of the critique is not simply to point out flaws, but to suggest how those flaws can be addressed. The whole purpose of a critique is to make a work better, and to bring out the best in the writing, not drag it down.

Here are some critique groups that have been of benefit to both aspiring and professional authors. Several have been in existence for over twenty years, which means they have earned the trust of writers.



Critters is a member of the Critique.org family of on-line workshops/critique groups, and is for serious writers of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror. You get your work critiqued in exchange for critiquing the work of others, both of which are invaluable ways to improve your writing. It's run by Andrew Burt, former vice-president of SFWA and his "army of software minions." Critters is free and is funded solely by donations.

In addition to chapter-by-chapter critiques, Critters also offers whole novel critiques. (Read about novel critiques HERE.) Novelists should make a "Request for Dedicated Readers." An RDR is like an ordinary entry in the queue (it's often added to a chapter group), but when that entry comes up for reading, it becomes a request for Critters to devote themselves to reading your entire novel. Your RDR generally consists of a description of the novel and any special constraints unique to you (e.g., a publisher's deadline).

Critique Circle

Critique Circle operates on a format common to many critique groups: you earn credits by critiquing works in order to get your own work critiqued. Members submit their stories to the story queue, and "pay" credits to do so. Only a certain number of stories will be displayed each week, so you may have to wait a week or two for yours to come up, depending on how much queue activity there is. When a story comes up for critique, other members can read it and submit their critiques to the author, thus earning credits. Stories stay in the queue for a week, which runs Wednesday to Wednesday.

To help with queue wait times, there is a Newbie Queue. Your first story must be submitted here and, if you wish, you can submit up to three in total before moving to the other queues. When you join the site, you get two free credits, and you can use these towards the "cost" of posting your first story. Additional credits are earned by critiquing the work of other writers.

Stories in the Newbie Queue can receive up to five full critiques, while stories in the other queues can receive an unlimited number of critiques. Once your story in the newbie queue has received 5 critiques of more than 150 words each it will be put into older submissions.

When posting a story, authors have some choice in who can view their story. For example, some authors will specify that only people who have been members of this site for a month can read their story. That’s why you may not be able to view all the stories in the queue.

Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror

Charges a membership fee of $49 a year. The first month is free.

The Online Writing Workshop is open to all writers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror, both aspiring and professional. Writers improve here through the reviews and ratings given their works by other writers, and through reviewing the work of others.

After becoming a member, you may submit your work, review the work of others, and participate in workshop discussions. Other members will also be able to read, rate, and review the work you submit.

Since reviews and ratings are what improve people's writing, the workshop requires that you contribute reviews in order to be allowed to post your own work. And because all members should have a good chance of getting their work reviewed, there is a limit on how many pieces any member can submit at once.

You need four review points to post an active submission. You're given four review points when you join the workshop, so you can post your first submission before contributing any reviews. After that, you earn one review point for each substantive review you post, with a bonus point awarded if that submission has zero reviews.

[Note: Many speculative fiction writers swear by the Online Workshop.]

You can read their member agreement HERE.


Rom-Critters is a Yahoo critique group for writers who are "actively and seriously pursuing a career in romance writing." This is an age-restricted group, requiring that you be over 18 and have a Yahoo account in order to sign in.



Scribophile is one of the largest and most active writing groups online. Here you can:
  • Post your writing to get detailed, insightful feedback from other writers on how to improve it;
  • Chat and discuss with other writers from around the world in their writing forums;
  • Network with like-minded writers in special-purpose writing groups.

Scribophile also runs contests, maintains a blog, and offers writing advice.

The "currency" of Scribophile is karma. You earn karma points by writing critiques for the writing of others, and by having other members react positively to your critiques by marking them “constructive and enlightening." You earn more karma points for critiquing work in one of the spotlights versus critiquing work that’s not in one of the spotlights. The longer the critique, the more points you’ll earn.

You spend karma points on posting your writing for critique, giving virtual gifts to other members, and for a few other things around the site.

It costs 5 karma points to post a new work for critique. Each post should be no longer than about 3,000 words; longer work can be posted in parts and linked together during the posting process. Usually members post chapter by chapter, or a single short story or flash fiction per post.

You can read a guide that explains how to use Scribophile in detail HERE.

The Internet Writing Workshop

The Internet Writing Workshop is a set of mailing lists (groups) that communicate in English by email. The IWW is:
  • A community where writers can submit and critique written works.
  • A forum to discuss and get help on all aspects of writing.
  • A public service educational organization, staffed by volunteers and free of charge.

The Workshop is open to all styles and genres of writing: literary fiction, genre fiction, poetry, children's writing, essays, newspaper articles, scripts, you name it. Members do not need to be published writers, only to be serious about writing and about wanting to improve.

Because some of the posted material may be controversial or adult in nature, all members must be 18 years or older. The IWW has quite a few critiquing and discussion lists.

Writer's Infusion

This group takes critiquing to a whole new level. You can actually watch the group do their critique live, including a reading of the pages being critiqued. You also have the option of reading the original pages, as well as the edited pages.

I found this approach to critiquing to be utterly fascinating. Listening to the reading and to the discussion, and then reading the edits was an immersive experience. Interestingly, I completely disagreed with several aspects of the critique. (The critique was Of Men and Mice, a children's book by James Kabler. James, if you are reading this, don't change your first line!)

This is how it works: If you have written a short story, novel, novella, memoir, screenplay or essay, send up to five consecutive pages (no more than 1,500 words) using the submission form on the site. They randomly choose submissions to review before each episode. Poetry and explicit scenes are not allowed. You must be older than 17 to submit!

If your submission is chosen, you'll be given the opportunity to appear on the show. But if you are camera shy, they will critique your writing without your physical presence. They will only use your name with your permission.

(I thought this was such a neat idea, I went ahead and submitted five pages of my novel!)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

13 Paying Markets for Flash Fiction

In this age of short attention spans, flash fiction is becoming increasingly popular. Literary magazines which previously only considered short stories of at least 3,000 words are now calling for fiction short enough to be considered "flash fiction." In some cases journals - even some that are not normally considered literary markets - are calling for "micro fiction" which can be brief enough to tweet.

Flash fiction, aka "short-shorts" (not referring to clothing), are self-contained pieces of fiction that are shorter than what literary magazines define as a short story. If that is not sufficiently vague for you, word counts for flash fiction are even vaguer. Some magazines define flash fiction as fewer than 2,000 words, others fewer than 1,000. Or 1,800. Or 700. In short (pun intended), flash fiction is any length that the editors say it is.

Flash fiction pays less than short stories, and often doesn't pay at all. That being said, you can get paid something, if not much, to submit short pieces. As always, make sure to follow submission requirements. (Click on the titles of the magazines for guidelines.)

For more paying markets see: Paying Markets


Bards and Sages Quarterly

Bards and Sages Quarterly is interested in all speculative genres (horror, fantasy, science fiction, slipstream, steampunk, magical realism, etc).

Submissions: Flash fiction should be up to 500 words. Send Submissions to: quarterly@bardsandsages.com

Payment: $10


concīs is about brevity: the succinct, pithy, condensed, laconic, crisp, compressed and compendious. Genre—if you believe in such labels—is unimportant: poems, prose poems, flash fictions, micro-essays, reviews in miniature, sudden fictions, haiku, tanka, American Sentences, insights, epigrams, the unclassifiable…they’re all good.

Submissions: Use their submission form on the website. (You can also email submissions.) Submit up to 5 pieces, 25 lines or 250 words or less. There is no minimum word count. Accepts reprints.

Payment: $20 per piece


"We ask our fiction writers to imagine their readers navigating a story with one finger poised over a mouse button. Can your story stay that finger to the end? We favor fiction that is contrary in any number of ways, but our fiction typically defies traditional story form. A story may bring us to closure, for example, without ever delivering an ending. And it may be as poetic as any poem."

Submissions: Contrary uses an online form. Stories should be no longer than 1,500 words.

Payment: $20 per author per issue, regardless of the number of works or nature of the submission.


Daily Science Fiction

Science Fiction (DSF) is a market accepting speculative fiction stories: science fiction, fantasy, slipstream, etc.

Submissions: Stories are submitted through an online form. (You need to register first.) Stories should be from 100 to 1,500 words in length. They will consider flash series - three or more flash tales built around a common theme. If you are submitting a flash series, please note that it is a series in your cover letter and at the top of the submitted text in the submission box. Each story does need to stand on its own.  DSF does not accept simultaneous submissions.

Payment: 8 cents per word for first worldwide rights and for nonexclusive reprint rights. Additionally, they pay more for reprinting in themed Daily Science Fiction anthologies.

Every Day Fiction is looking for very short (flash) fiction, of up to 1000 words. There’s no such thing as too short — if you can do the job in 50 words, have at it! All fiction genres are acceptable, and stories that don’t fit neatly into any genre are welcome too. While personal experiences and other non-fiction can be great sources of inspiration, please turn them into fiction.

Submissions: All stories must be submitted through Submittable. They do not accept simultaneous submissions.

Payment: Token payment of $3.

Flash Fiction Online strives to publish fiction that presents the full variety of humanity in its pages. As such, they encourage submissions from writers of every stripe. They particularly like to see stories from writers whose backgrounds not well-represented in the field of short fiction, whether it be due to race/ethnicity, religion, ability, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, or anything else. 

Submissions: Flash fiction online uses Submittable. Stories should be from 500 to 1,000 words in length.

Payment: Sixty dollars ($60) per story. For reprints, they pay $.02 (two cents) per word for nonexclusive rights.

Opossum Lit 

"Send us your stories, poems, and essays, your work pulsing with beats, haunted by melodies. You can submit multiple works in a single or in multiple genres, but please use your best judgment about sending us the best work you have that is appropriate to our music-driven mission."

PLEASE NOTE: They are looking for written work to evaluate on the page. They are not seeking recordings, songs, or readings with musical accompaniment. Work will be considered for publication as an audio recording after they have accepted it for print.

They ask you to include a brief artist’s statement illuminating your work’s relationship to specific musical forms and artifacts. You are welcome to include an author bio as part of your artist’s statement.

Submissions: Uses submittable. Submissions should be under 1,800 words in length. Please specify whether your submission is fiction or non-fiction along with an artist's statement explaining how your work engages the world of music.

Payment: Their pay scale for flash varies based on length. $75-150 is the typical range.

Page & Spine

Submissions: Flash Fiction to 1,000 words. Format: Single space. Indent paragraphs. Do not skip a line between paragraphs. Considered between October 1st and June 1st only.

: All prose up to 3,000 words = $0.01/word with a $20 minimum, except microflash (up to 150 words) = $5

Perpetual Motion Machine

PMMP publishes dark fiction that branches out into many genres, such as horror, science fiction, and crime. In addition to books, PMMP also publishes a quarterly horror magazine titled Dark Moon Digest, and hosts the Stephen King podcast, Castle Rock Radio. They are interested in dark fiction in the horror, science fiction, crime, and noir genres.

Submissions: Uses Submittable. All submissions must be no more than 1,000 words.

Payment: $25


Pinball accepts genre-inspired and literary fiction, as well as non-fiction essays and comics "allowing for permeability and mutation of prose into new territories." Work accepted will be published online and/or in print at the discretion of the editors.

Submissions: Uses Submittable. Word count for flash fiction not specified.

Payment: $15


Pseudopod is a genre magazine in audio form. "We’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy. We publish highly literary stories reminiscent of Poe or Lovecraft as well as vulgar shock-value pulp fiction. We don’t split hairs about genre definitions, and we do not observe any taboos about what kind of content can appear in our stories. Originality demands that you’re better off avoiding vampires, zombies, and other recognizable horror tropes unless you have put a very unique spin on them. What matters most is that the stories are dark and compelling."

Submissions: Uses Submittable.  Flash fiction stories should be under 1500 words.

Payment: $.06/word for original fiction, and $20 flat rate for flash fiction reprints


Splickety fills gaps in the modern reader’s day with concise, poignant fiction. They want stories that hit fast and strike hard––stories that, no matter the genre, can cut through the day’s troubles and grip readers with short attention spans. Splickety has three imprints, each one of which publishes on a quarterly schedule: Splickety, for general fiction; Spark, for romance; and Havok, for speculative fiction.

Submissions: Stories should be between 300 and 1,000 words long and it should fit one of their scheduled upcoming themes.

Payment: 2 cents per word

The Flash Reads

"Becoming a flash fiction writer for us gets you free access to publish your flash fiction stories on our site and interact with other writers and readers in our forum. This will help keep your flash fiction writings organized for future publications, improving your writing skills, gaining much-needed exposure. We will promote any official releases (flash fiction or not) with a direct link on our flash fiction site. The link will point to your official publication on Amazon. Even promoting your non-flash fiction pieces helps. We will put everything into supporting all of your work."

Submissions: Send your flash fiction sample to: theflashreads@gmail.com There is no minimum or maximum word count, but each writing piece should be less than a five-minute read. All levels of writers from novices to experts are accepted.

Payment: $50 if your piece is selected to be included in one of their books 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

4 New Literary Agencies Seeking Clients

New agencies are usually started by literary agents who want to leave their own unique mark on the industry. These agencies are eager to build their client lists, and they welcome queries.

As always, do not query these agencies without reading their websites first. Submission requirements may change.

If these agencies do not suit your needs, you can find a list of hundreds of new and established agents seeking clients here: Agents Seeking Clients.


Heather Jackson Literary Agency

About Heather Jackson Literary Agency: Heather Jackson decided to jump over the desk to the agent side in 2016 after a highly successful career as a trade editor.  In her 20+ years as an editor she acted as the creative midwife to multiple dozens of New York Times bestselling authors and titles, including: Tim Ferriss, Jillian Michaels, Suzanne Somers, Ron Fournier, Joy Bauer, Janine Driver, Rick Hanson, Dr. Robert C. Atkins, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Arthur Agatston, Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Dr. Susan Love, Dr. Alice D. Domar, Mallika Chopra, Barbara Sher, Martina Navratilova, Joe and Teresa Graedon, B. Smith and Dan Gasby, Howard Dully...among many others.

What she is seeking: Heather specializes in commercial non-fiction and fiction, adult, YA, and children's literature. Areas of particular interest include: politics, popular psychology and science, history, memoir. She loves a great and memorable character in women's fiction, thrillers, and romantic suspense. And she is always game for the quirky, unique, or deeply moving narrative that takes us in with brilliant writing and insights. She also represents top-tier authors in personal health and wellbeing, business, and self-help.

How to submit: Please send your query to QUERY@HJLIT.COM with a brief description of your book, its uniqueness in the marketplace, and why you and only you can write it. Do not send attachments.


Root Literary

About Root Literary: Holly Root is the founder of Root Literary, which opened in 2017. Prior to opening her agency, she worked at Waxman Leavell Literary, Trident Media Group, and William Morris. Based in Los Angeles, her clients include #1 New York Times bestsellers, international bestsellers, RITA winners and nominees, and numerous titles named to Best Books of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, The Washington Post, NPR, the American Library Association, RT Book Reviews, Kirkus, and Amazon. She represents authors of commercial fiction for adults and kids, as well as select nonfiction. Visit publishersmarketplace.com/members/hroot/ for more information about her list.

Taylor Haggerty is a literary agent at Root Literary representing commercial fiction for kids and adults. She focuses mostly on young adult and middle grade fiction, romance, and women’s fiction. Prior to joining Root Literary when it opened in 2017, she worked at Waxman Leavell Literary and Gersh in Los Angeles. Visit publishersmarketplace.com/members/taylorhaggerty/ for more information on her recent sales and releases.

Molly O’Neill is looking for children’s fiction— Picture book Illustrators & Author-Illustrators, middle grade, YA. She is also seeking nonfiction for adults, kids, or teens.

What they are seeking: Actively seeking commercial and upmarket fiction for adults, teens, and middle grade, along with select nonfiction. Does not represent screenplays, poetry, novellas, short stories, or picture books.

How to Submit: Send a query letter and the first 10 pages of your manuscript in the body of an email to submissions@rootliterary.com.

All material should be pasted in the body of the email. No attachments. Only electronic queries for completed, full-length works will be considered. Once you submit a query, you will receive an automated response confirming receipt and noting the current turnaround time.

Holly and Taylor work very closely, often passing projects back and forth and occasionally signing clients together, so they welcome queries addressed to the agency in general. If you are specifically querying one of them, include that agent’s name in the subject line of the email.


About Cullen Stanley International: Cullen Stanley International represents a wide range of authors in the US and abroad, and is the exclusive rights representative of Janklow & Nesbit Associates in the UK and translation markets. Cullen Stanley represents Richard Sennett's Building and Dwelling (FSG), Rao Pingru's Our Story (Pantheon), Kristin von Kreisler's A Healing Justice (Kensington), forthcoming in 2018, among others.

What they are seeking: Cullen enjoys compelling narrative nonfiction, historical memoir, biography, mind-body-spirit, and books on art and design. In fiction, she likes novels with strong plot lines, inspirational stories and memorable characters.

​​Stephanie Koven
is looking for narrative driven fiction and, in nonfiction, lifestyle & health, memoir, history, popular science, and outdoor / nature / adventure titles. She represents a select number of middle grade books, mainly in nonfiction. Stephanie's recent projects include David Coggins' New York Times best seller Men and Style (Abrams) and Joy Rhoades' debut novel The Woolgrower's Companion (Penguin Random House).

How to submit: Please send your query and 10 pages (as an attachment) via email to submissions@cullenstanleyinternational.com.


The Bindery

About The Bindery: Alex Field launched The Bindery in 2017 after 18 years working in book publishing and journalism. Prior to starting The Bindery, he served as Vice President and Publisher for two imprints of Penguin Random House. After college, he began his career at Los Angeles Times, assisting in the Calendar section, and writing dozens of freelance pieces and new reports. Since then, he’s worked in journalism and book publishing, writing, editing, acquiring books, and managing teams including editorial, marketing, publicity, design, production, subsidiary rights, and contract departments. He has published a number of New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers and many award-winning books, with beloved authors, celebrities, leaders, and media luminaries.

What he is seeking: Writers of high quality fiction and nonfiction, including Christian Spirituality, literary fiction, science fiction and fantasy, memoir, biography, business, diet and health, pop culture, theology, and more.

How to Submit: Email your query (for fiction) or book proposal (for nonfiction) to info@thebinderyagency.com along with a cover letter. Please include a summary of you book concept, table of contents, author biography, at least one sample chapter, relevant contact information, and your publishing history.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How to Game the Amazon Rating System

The person who posted this ad was sued by Amazon. Fake reviews are no joke.
Amazon recently filed five arbitration demands against authors, publishers, and marketers, who it says have abused the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) system to inflate their profits and sales rankings. It's not the first time Amazon has sued authors and services for manipulating Amazon's ratings system. In 2015, Amazon sued several websites that offered bogus reviews for a fee. By 2016, the number of fake reviewers sued by Amazon had risen to over a thousand.

The truth is that gaming Amazon's system is the norm. I've even experienced the work of Amazon gamers. One "reviewer" left a negative review on one of my books, only to recommend another book they said was better. (I became suspicious because the recommended book was on an entirely different subject.) After some research I discovered that these reviews had appeared verbatim on other books in the same category as mine. It was obvious that the "reviewer" was paid. (I reported the incident to Amazon. Nothing happened.) There are also fake reviews generated for political purposes, such as the thousands of "reviews" of Hillary Clinton's new book which Amazon was recently forced to delete.

At the moment, Amazon is suing over the ways their current payment system for KDP is being gamed. The new system is based on number of pages read, rather than downloads, because paid services were downloading books in order to boost a book's ranking. But the new system hasn't made a dent in the abuse. Thu-Huong Ha, writing for Quartz, has described in vivid detail some of the tricks being employed.

1) Inflating pages read. How can Amazon determine the number of pages a person has read of an ebook? Simple. Reading devices do not record the pages you read sequentially. Therefore, if someone is on the first page, and then jumps to the last page, the device will record the whole book as read. Who would want to read only two pages? Well, nobody. But if on the first page there is a "free offer" of something on the last page - voila! These books can even be composed of complete nonsense, and there will still be a payout.

2) Authors can create fake accounts, or hire a service that owns numerous accounts, to download massive numbers of books on free days. The author earns nothing, but the book will appear on Amazon's bestseller list for free books, which will enhance its attractiveness to future buyers.

3) Fake reviews. This has been a problem from the start. An author or company can buy fake reviews on Fiverr for a few bucks. Authors and companies can also purchase negative reviews of similar products (that's what happened to me) in order to drive down the ratings of the competition. Amazon has become so paranoid about fake reviews that it will remove a review from anyone even vaguely connected to the author - a Facebook friend, for example, whom the author may never have met.

The bottom line on Amazon rankings is that the system will always be gamed. It doesn't matter how many people Amazon sues, or how many new contortions it introduces into KDP, there will always be some way to work around it.

It makes you long for the old days, when all you had to do to get bestseller status was either sleep with a reviewer for the New York Times, or give birth to one. Ah, things were so much simpler then.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

28 Calls for Submissions in October 2017 - Paying Markets

There are more than two dozen calls for submissions in October.

Every genre and every form is welcome! All are paying markets. There are no submission fees.

Many of these journals have recurring calls for submissions, so if you miss this window, you can always submit during the next reading period.

For more literary journals seeking submissions see: Paying Markets. And to get a jump on next month's open calls see Calls for Submissions


The (Dis)ability Short Story AnthologyRestrictions: Open to writers with disabilities. Genre: Short story. The story’s protagonist must have a disability. Length: 500 and 7500 words. Payment: $30. Deadline: October 1, 2017. Reprints accepted.

The Blue RouteRestrictions: Only the work of current undergraduate writers will be considered. Genres: Fiction, or creative nonfiction totaling no more than 3000 words. Payment: $25. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

The Food of My PeopleRestrictions: All writers must be Canadian citizens (living in Canada and/or paying taxes in Canada) and permanent residents of Canada. Genre: Speculative fiction about food. Payment: 5 cents/word (CAD) for original fiction, and a contributor’s copy. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Skirt! Theme: The Flavor Issue. Genre: Essay - Stories about foodie love, food memories, taste, girls’ nights. Payment: $200 per piece. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

The Last LineGenre: Short story. All stories must end with the line: "Benjamin was a man of his word." Payment: $20 -$40. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

AmbitGenre: Poetry and fiction. Payment: £30 for fiction, £10 for poetry. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Recommended ReadingGenre: Short Story. Length: 2,000 to 10,000 words. Payment: $300.  Deadline: October 4, 2017.

Alien DimensionsGenreSpeculative fiction. "Alien Time Travel.” Payment: $10. Deadline: October 10, 2017.

RattleGenre: Poetry on theme of Immigrant Poets. "The poems may be written on any subject, in any style or length, but must be written by those who no longer reside in the country of their birth. As always, the poem need not be about the topic; the goal is to explore and celebrate the range of work immigrant poets are producing. Please explain how this applies to you and how this work affects your poetry in your contributor not." Payment: $50. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

HeliosGenre: Fiction, poetry, nonfiction. See site for theme. Payment: Varies according to type of submission. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Hold the Line. Genre: Personal essays or well-researched articles on the topics of racial justice and cultural as related to parenting. Also accepts submissions of poetry that are related to these topics or gives special insight to one’s culture. Payment: $20 for poetry; $30 for shorter pieces, listicles, or book reviews up to 800 words; and $80 for longer pieces, 1300-1800 words. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Gordon Square Review. Genre: Poetry, short stories, personal essays, and hybrid prose works. Payment: $25 for prose, $10 for poetry. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Alien DimensionsGenreSpeculative fiction. "Alien Christmas.” Payment: $10. Deadline: October 20, 2017.

MorelRestrictions: You must live in Southwestern Ontario or write about the region. Genre: Fiction, poetry and essays. Payment: $25. Deadline: October 22, 2017.

Icepick. Genre: All genres. Theme is heroes. These will be performed as audio recordings. Payment: £8 for short features and £10 for long features. Deadline: October 22, 2017. Previously published work accepted.

Havok: Deep Space Designs. "Build your own ships, solar systems, crews, and plot twists! In this issue, we’re looking for well-developed sci-fi worlds. We still want compelling stories, of course, but we want to feel the texture of your world. " Genre: Sci-fi. Payment: 2 cents/word. DeadlineOctober 27, 2017.

Mothers of Angels, an anthology of reflections about living through the grief of losing a child. Genre: Personal essays and poetry. PaymentEssays: $75, plus two printed copies; Poetry: $25, plus two printed copies Deadline: October 30, 2017.

Sirens Call: If It Bleeds, It Leads! Genre: Horror. Length: 2,500 - 5,000 words. Payment: $15 per piece. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Chicken Soup for the SoulGenre: True stories and poetry. "People love reading about the winter holidays – from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s Day. We want to hear about your traditions and how they came to be. We want to hear about your holiday memories and the rituals that create the foundation of your life. We love to hear about the funny things too: the ugly holiday sweaters, the gingerbread house that kept falling down, the re-gifting embarrassments and the fruit cake disasters." Payment: $200. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Room MagazineGenreFeminist fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art, interviews, and book reviews. Payment: $50 CAD for one page, $60 for two pages, $90 for three pages, $120 for four pages, $150 for five or more pages. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Adventure CyclistGenre: Nonfiction stories about cycling. Payment: 30-50 cents/word. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

World Unknown ReviewGenre: Poetry, fiction. Payment: $15 per piece. Deadline: October 31, 2017. Accepts reprints.

Horror AddictsGenre: Horror. Your story must involve music in some way. Payment: $10. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Maple Tree Literary SupplementGenre: The Maple Tree Literary Supplement provides a platform for dialogue or interviews on any topic between and amongst Canadian writers, while featuring their work and reporting on literary events, landmarks or festivals in Canada and around the world–with an emphasis on their Canadian composition. Payment: $30 CAN. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

PseudopodGenre: Dark speculative fiction in audio form. "We’re looking for horror: dark, weird fiction. We run the spectrum from grim realism or crime drama, to magic-realism, to blatantly supernatural dark fantasy." Payment: $.06/word for original fiction, $100 flat rate for short story reprints, and $20 flat rate for flash fiction reprints (stories below 1500 words). Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Baobob Press: This Side of the Divide AnthologyGenre: Short fiction by emerging and established authors exploring the United States West. Payment: $100. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Double Take. Genre: Speculative fiction on theme of the many “faces” of masquerade: disguise, deception, false pretenses, pretending to be someone else or situations that are not at all what they seem. Payment: One cent per word up to $50. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Nonbinary Review. Genre: All genres: Theme of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. Payment: 1 cent per word for fiction and nonfiction, and a flat fee of $10 per poem. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

36 Writing Contests in October 2017 - No entry fees

Jonathan Wolstenholme
There are three dozen free writing contests in October. They cover the full range of topics, styles and genres, from short stories, to essays, to poetry, to full-length works.

In addition to the prestige of winning a contest, some of the monetary prizes this month are substantial.

Be sure to check the submission requirements carefully, as some have age and geographical restrictions.

Many contests are held annually, so if you miss a contest you may be able to catch it next year. For a full month-by-month listing of contests see: Free Contests.

NOTE: On the last Thursday of every month, I post upcoming writing contests for the following month. Stay tuned!


Student Travel Writing ContestRestrictions: Currently enrolled high school, undergraduate, graduate students, student interns, and volunteers (including Peace Corps). Genre: Essay. Prize: $500. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Small But Mighty. Restrictions: Children ages 7-11 and 12-15. Genre: Fiction and poetry. Prize: Writing supplies, certificate, and publication on website. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Pigeon PagesGenre: Prose. "We seek previously unpublished prose pieces of up to 4,000 words. We will accept submissions from any genre or hybrid-genre, with lyric or experimental prose welcome. We love writing with a strong sense of narrative and invite you to tell us a true story, be in based in the real or fictional world." Prize: Winner, $250; Two runners-up, $50. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

Red Dragonfly New Writing CompetitionRestrictions: Open to UK residents from British East Asian, South Asian and South East Asian communities. Genre: 30-minute play. Prize: £1000. Deadline: October 1, 2017.

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 2015 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, 2017.

RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-FictionRestrictions: The writer must be a resident of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, or have been a resident in the UK or ROI for the past three years. Genre: Nonfiction book. Prize: Two awards – one of £10,000, one of £5,000 – are offered to support writers to complete their first commissioned works of non-fiction. Deadline: October 2, 2017.

Royal Institute of Philosophy Essay PrizeTopic: Philosophy and Education. Prize: £2,500 top prize. Deadline: October 2, 2017.

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, 2017.

RBC Taylor Prize for Literary NonfictionRestrictions: Open to published Canadian authors. Genre: Nonfiction book. Prize: CAN$25,000.00. Deadline: October 6, 2017 for books published between August 1 and September 30, 2017.

Man Booker International Prize. The Man Booker International Prize for fiction translated into English is awarded annually by the Booker Prize Foundation to the author of the best (in the opinion of the judges) eligible novel or collection of short stories. Prize: £50,000 divided equally between the author and the translator. There will be a prize of £2,000 each of the shortlisted titles divided equally between the author and the translator. Deadline: October 6, 2017.

Celestial Bodies Poetry Book ContestRestrictions: Open to poets aged between 18-23 at the time of submitting. Genre: Book-length collection of poems, at least half unpublished. Prize: $100, book publication with royalties and 5 author copies.  Deadline: October 8, 2017.

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 10, 2017.

FutureScapes Writing ContestGenre: Short fiction up to 8,000 words, written in accordance with prompt: ‘Blue Sky Cities.’ Prize: $2,000 prize for first place, $1,000 prize for second place, and $500 prize to each of the four runners-up. Deadline: October 13, 2017.

Sweek Microfiction Contest. Genre: Microfiction, 200 words max, incorporating the word ‘light.’ Prize: $50 and publication. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Wax Poetry and Art Poetry ContestGenre: Poem. (Enter 1 poem for free. There is a charge for additional poems.)  Prize: 1st place, $70 CAD. 2nd place, $20 CAD. 3rd place, $10 CAD. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

A Public Space Emerging Writer FellowshipsRestrictions: Open to writers who have not yet published or been contracted to write a book-length work. Prize: $1,000, 6-month fellowship, and a mentorship from an established author. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

NUHA Blogging CompetitionGenre: Essay about education. "The competition has been established as an international platform to debate issues of education and to provide an opportunity for authors to be published and to develop their self-confidence." Prizes: Young Writers Prize of up to US$ 250 for those born between 2003 and 2007; Youth Prize of up to US$ 1000 for those born between 1999 and 2002; Adult Prize of up to US$ 2500 for those born before 1999. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

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, 2017.

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 15, 2017.

Nanjing Poetry ContestGenre: Poem. The theme is the human tragedy committed by Japanese troops at Nanjing (Nanking) from 1937 until the end of the World War II known as the "Rape of Nanking." Poems may be submitted in English or Chinese. Prize: $1,000. Deadline: October 15, 2017.

Writing Pittsburgh Book PrizeRestrictions: Open to writers with a meaningful Pittsburgh connection. Genre: Nonfiction book focusing on a subject of regional and national significance. Prize: $10,000; publication of their book by CNF's independent book imprint, In Fact Books (IFB); national distribution; and a marketing and publicity campaign. Deadline: October 23, 2017.

Arrowhead Regional Arts Council Career Development GrantsRestrictions: 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. Genre: Poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Prize: $3,000 grant. Deadline: October 27, 2017.

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 31, 2017.

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, 2017.

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, 2017.

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, 2017.

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, 2017.

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, 2017.

Jane Lumley Prize for Emerging WritersRestrictions: The Jane Lumley Prize will only be awarded to writers who have not already published a full length book. However, they may have published a chapbook, and/or found a home for their works in other literary journals. Genre: Poetry. Maximum of eight poems (totaling not more than ten pages). Prize: $300 and winning entries will be featured in the January issue of Hermeneutic ChaosDeadline: October 31, 2017.

Productivity Spot ScholarshipRestrictions: Undergraduate/postgraduate students. Genre: Essay on the topic “How Can Technology help Students be More Productive in 2017?” Word count for essays is 800-1000 words. Prize: $1000 scholarship. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

The Juicingbeasts Staying Healthy ScholarshipRestrictions: Entrants must be enrolled in higher education. Genre: Essay between 800-1000 words on the topic "How to stay healthy in 2017." Prize: $500. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

Dinesh Allirajah Prize for Short FictionRestrictions: Open to residents of UK. Genre: Short stories between 2000-6000 words on the theme "Café Stories." Prize: £500 and 10 shortlisted authors will be published in an ebook anthology. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

The Young Walter Scott PrizeRestrictions: Open to UK authors aged 11-19. Genre: Historical fiction between 800 and 2000 words. Prizes: £500 travel and research grant to further explore historical places in the UK, and an invitation to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland, in June 2018. Two runners-up in each category receive a £100 book token, and all four winning stories are published in a special YWSP anthology book. Deadline: October 31, 2017.

McKitterick PrizeRestrictions: Open to authors over age 40 on December 31, 2017. 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, 2017.

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, 2017.

Barry Hannah Prize in Fiction. Genre: Short stories that capture the strange, surreal, absurd, and magical. "We are looking for stories that align themselves with fairy tales, folk tales, and mythology. Stories may approach this theme broadly or narrowly, thematically, formally, or both. Stories may be based on magical realism, literary realism, and anything in between. We are most interested in stories that reconfigure the old into something new." Length: 5,000 words max. Prize: $500 and publication in the Winter issue of Yalobusha Review. All finalists will also be considered for publication. Deadline: October 31, 2017.
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