22 Places to Submit Your Fiction & Poetry

Now, some of these places have rejected me more than I can count, but that’s part of the game, chickadees. Am I really getting on this horse again? You betcha. I’m taking it bigger than it ever was before: it’s gonna get BROUGHT, bitch!

If you have red-hot poetry or short stories that need homes, here’s the list you need.

Did I leave anyone out? Let me know in the comments.

The list (not in any particular order)


Dancing Girl Press

The Diagram

Corium Magazine

Green Mountains Review

Booth: A Journal

Split Lip Magazine

Jellyfish Highway

Lockjaw Magazine

Alternating Current Press

Gigantic Sequins

The Pinch

Cartridge Lit


The Boiler

No Tokens

Spry Literary Journal

Nano Fiction



kill author

Smokelong Quarterly

Bridge Eight Literary Magazine


How to Write When You Don’t Know What To Write About

So you want to write, but don’t know where to begin

Your mind is scrambled. You don’t have an overarching idea to plan out. What are you meant to do? Should you write whatever comes into your head? Should you try to make your work a cohesive whole somehow? Should you really be trying to shoehorn your short pieces into a novel?

Don’t be scared. You’re not alone. This blog post deals with these questions.

500 words for 31 days

I signed up to write 500 words a day every day for 31 days.

No, I’m not setting myself a NaNoWriMo style task where I have to write a novel.

What is the purpose of this exercise, then? I’m just trying to get into a daily writing habit.

Are you wrapped up in your non-writing life? Come and join me for 500 words a day. Send me a tweet to let me know you’re in. 

How does someone become a writer?

With writing. A writer is someone who writes.

If you’re doing this along with me, that means you can write anything for this 31 dat stint. I mean, honestly, I just want to be a writer, and if a writer is someone who writes, then goddamn it sign me up to the writing-every-day bandwagon.

Emails don’t count. Blog posts  count. Poetry counts, fiction counts, magic realistic shopping lists count. So long as you have the spark of an idea, however small, you can work with it.

And the thing with small sparks is that sometimes they can ignite a mighty fire. 

Maybe we’ll find ourselves writing shopping lists in a dieselpunk world and suddenly BAM there we go with a novel idea: and we have our daily writing habit to thank for this.

Google is your friend

Of course I Googled ‘what to write about if you don’t know what to write about’ when I was researching this blog post. There’s a load of hits for this topic (unsuprisingly!), but one or two links stood out.

There’s Things To Write About over at Udemy, Stuck for Ideas? 20 Quotes Telling You What To Write About at the fantastic Write To Done, and a little gem that also came up: 5 Ways To Find Time to Write When Busy (I am busy! You are busy! Everyone’s busy! We all need this!).

Making the time suck work for you

Social media can help you out if you’re stuck. This probably sounds counter-intuitive, being that social media is the biggest time suck ever, but be constructive with it. Let everything feed your writing; stories that other people share on social media, for example, can be a fertile feeding ground for writing ideas.

Some social media sites help more than others, of course. Pinterest is especially good for writing ideas as everything there is visual. Instagram, too! So if you’re on Pinterest (follow me! we can be friends!), there’s a board simply called Writing Prompts which you’ll find very helpful. I’ll be writing about the image below later.

What inspiration can you find today?



10 Reasons I Hate Earnest Hemingway

As much as I hate Hemingway, this is a great picture.

At least he was sometimes photogenic I guess
At least he was sometimes photogenic I guess

Reasons I hate Hemingway:

  1. He didn’t use adjectives
  2. For Whom The Bell Tolls is excessively boring
  3. Loads of white American male writers think it’s okay to not use adjectives now because of him
  4. He was a macho man’s man and sounded unbearable to be around
  5. His arrogance
  6. I think it’s hard for male American writers to get out from under his shadow (this is based on all those book reviews I wrote for decomP magazine a few years back)
  7. He said a stupid thing about all there is to writing is to sit at your typewriter and bleeding and it’s the most over-used quote of all time
  8. He liked bullfighting
  9. He was a dick to F Scott Fitzgerald (who in fairness probably had it coming because he was being a wuss about some stuff but that’s a whole other story. Hemingway was still a dick)
  10. I can only imagine how little he’d care about this post

Before You Submit Your Book

I’ve started sending my book out to publishing companies, so we’ll wait a few months (hooray…) and see how that goes. I’d like to shout out to the Irish writer Amy Gaffney who read, proofed and critiqued it for me. She’s so fast and her comments were very insightful. You can read her blog for some writing-y goodness.

Sending your book to someone to read before you send it out to publishers is so important. You might think it’s just perfect the way it is, but having someone else read it is invaluable. They spot all the plot holes, timeline bloopers and small things like character descriptions (or lack thereof, in my case) that you never noticed.

Reading the submissions guidelines is always crucial, whether it’s for an agent, a publisher or a literary magazine. It’s surprising how many people just don’t bother doing it and hit the send button without formatting anything properly. I get exasperated with it myself with ESC.

My final bit of advice to anyone out there reading this is that you just have to submit always. Not only does it give you more chance to get your work out there, it might also get you feedback from publishers and editors (you never know), but more importantly it thickens your skin.

So you’ve been rejected once, you lock yourself in your room and listen to radiohead, cry, and think you’re crap forever. You’re not. Just keep submitting, keep reading the guidelines, and keep getting better at what you’re doing by paying attention to your technique.


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Writing & Chapbook Contests for June

This is by no means an exhaustive list. For more writing opportunities this June, Google any variation of the words ‘writing competition’.

Without further ado:

Cape Open Submissions

From 1–30 June, 2014, Jonathan Cape will be open for fiction submissions from new writers of high calibre and imagination. Submissions should be an initial 50 pages of prose fiction. These can be part of a novel or novella, or short stories. The pages can be finished work or a work in progress. For graphic-novel submissions, please contact the editors through http://www.capegraphicnovels.co.uk. Submissions should be emailed as attachments to capesubmissions@randomhouse.co.uk. Please include contact details, and a covering paragraph of any information you think might prove helpful in considering your submission. Regrettably, due to the number of submissions we receive, we cannot respond in every instance, but all entries will be read. Submissions received after 30 June will not be considered.

Salamander 2014 Fiction Prize – Final Judge: Jennifer Haigh

Submit: May 15 through June 15, 2014. The Salamander Fiction Prize invites writers to submit one fiction story per entry. Each story must not exceed 30 double-spaced pages in 12 point font. Multiple entries are acceptable, provided that a separate reading fee is included with each entry. Contest reading fee includes a one-year subscription. Prizes: First-place winner receives $1,500 and publication in Salamander magazine. Final Judge: Jennifer Haigh is the prize-winning author of the short story collection News From Heaven and four critically acclaimed novels: Faith, The Condition, Baker Towers, and Mrs. Kimble. All entries will be considered for publication. All entries will be considered anonymously. www.salamandermag.org

Drunken Boat Poetry Book Contest

Drunken Boat is accepting submissions of poetry, hybrid poetry, and poetry in translation for our inaugural book contest, judged by Forrest Gander. Deadline: June 25. Prize: $500, publication, 20 copies, and a launch at AWP. Manuscripts should be between 30 and 120 pages. Details: drunkenboat.submittable.com/submit.

Literary Juice Flash Fiction Contest

Literary Juice is hosting its second flash fiction contest, for stories 500 words or fewer. First prize winner will receive $200 (USD), plus publication of winning story on our website; runner-up will receive $50 (USD), plus publication online. Submission deadline: June 30, 2014. Visit the website for submission guidelines: www.literaryjuice.com

The Moth International Short Story Prize.

There is a 6,000 word limit. The entry fee is €9 per story and you can enter as many stories as you like. This year’s competition will be judged by Mike McCormack, a recipient of the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature whose debut short story collection was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. His novel Notes from a Coma was shortlisted for the Irish Book of the Year Award and was described in the Irish Times as ‘the greatest Irish novel of the decade just ended’. Closing date: June 30th.

Dzanc Non-Fiction Prize

The winning manuscript will be selected by AUG 30, 2014 and the title will be published in the Fall of 2015. It will go through our full editing process and the author will receive a $1500 advance.. Ends on 6/30/2014. Read more here.

The Uppercut Chapbook Awards.

For poetry, flash fiction and hybrid forms. Read more here.

2nd Annual Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, 2014.

Please submit no more than three unpublished poems, no more than five pages in length. All entries must be submitted or postmarked April 1st- June 15th, 2014. The selected winner will receive $250.00 and publication on our website along with honorable mentions. This year’s final judge will be Nikki Giovanni. Find out more here.

Little Nell’s Death Scene – Homage vs Plagarism


noun: plagiarism; plural noun: plagiarisms

  1. the practice of taking someone else’s work or ideas and passing them off as one’s own.

Dickens and The Old Curiosity Shop (1841)

Little Nell's Death Scene
Little Nell’s Death Scene

She was dead. No sleep so beautiful and calm, so free from trace of pain, so fair to look upon. She seemed a creature fresh from the hand of God, and waiting for the breath of life; not one who had lived and suffered death. Her couch was dressed with here and there some winter berries and green leaves, gathered in a spot she had been used to favour. “When I die, put near me something that has loved the light, and had the sky above it always.” Those were her words.

She was dead. Dear, gentle, patient, noble Nell was dead. Her little bird — a poor slight thing the pressure of a finger would have crushed — was stirring nimbly in its cage; and the strong heart of its child-mistress was mute and motionless for ever. Where were the traces of her early cares, her sufferings, and fatigues? All gone. Sorrow was dead indeed in her, but peace and perfect happiness were born; imaged in her tranquil beauty and profound repose.1 (Chapter LXXI, p.524)

Homage vs Plagarism

At what point does a work you’re tipping your hat to become plagiarism in your writing? Little Nell’s death scene (above) from The Old Curiosity Shop is one of the most famous passages in English literature and evokes a sensitive, wilting sensibility that a female character of mine needs.

As this piece is old-school, as I explained before, I’ve been re-reading a load of 19th and 18th century novels for exact descriptions of clothes, linguistic patterns and sickness (there will be more about that. Oh yes. Consumption, here we come).

What do you think? If a writer wants to siphon the flavour from another but not copy, how far do you go? When do you stop? I have my own ideas, and hope that my work wouldn’t be seen as derivative, but I’d like your thoughts.