21 Themed Submissions Calls for Writers

Written by S. Kalekar

There are 21 themed submission calls for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. Some of the themes are: new tales of fairy godmothers; horrific holidays; fear the future; winter’s vindication; spring; horror and class warfare; hell; preteens; teenagers; women destroy (retro) science fiction; levity; and for the love of animals. They all pay writers, and none charge a submission fee. At the end are a few themed contests for writers, which pay cash prizes.


THEMED SUBMISSION CALLS

3 Of Cups: Tell Me Who We Were Before Life Made Us
This is a poetry anthology about imagined histories. Their guidelines say, “We want to read your takes on fairy tales, folklore and urban legends. Send us your creation myths, founding myths, Greek/Haitian/Indian/Mancunian myths. We want to see your counterfactuals, your apocryphals, your ‘What If’s? We want to know, who do you think we are/were/could be?” Send up to three poems.
Deadline: 8 November 2020
Length: Any length; up to three poems
Pay: £60 + royalties
Details here.

World Weaver Press: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers
They want short fiction about fairy godmothers. Their guidelines say, “Use your magic to come up with tales that illuminate, investigate or turn the fairy godmother trope on its head. Origin stories are welcome, but so are stories about fairy godfathers, fairy godparents, mundane godparents who find themselves in magical situations, the beneficiaries (or victims) of fairy godmothering—you get the idea.

You can use existing fairy tales for inspiration or create a brand new story. What if Cinderella hates everything the fairy godmother does for her? Or, think about retelling “The Goose Girl” from the horse Falada’s point of view. Can the Giant’s wife in “Jack and the Beanstalk” be seen as a fairy godmother?” The editor is looking for subverted tales, or new tales about wonder and transformation; stories set outside of dominant, Western culture are very welcome, as are new fairy godmother tales about and by people who aren’t usually represented in “classic” fairy tales.
Deadline: 15 November 2020
Length: 4,000-7,500 words
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

Flame Tree Publishing: Beyond the Veil
This is a call for horror fiction. They’ll accept all sorts of horror content, and the anthology, titled ‘Beyond the Veil’, will be published worldwide in hardcover and paperback.
Deadline: 15 November 2020
Length: “Word count will most likely to be successful at 3000–5000 words”
Pay: $0.08/word
Details here.

Death Throes Webzine: Horrific Holiday Edition
They publish dark fiction. For this theme their guidelines say, “we’re stamping out holiday cheer this year and bringing the darkness. Got a story idea about Zombie-Clause? Been speculating about cranking out a yarn about vampire elves from outer space? Perhaps you’re considering mixing genres, or have an extremely dark take on a famous holiday story.”
Deadline: 15 November 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words
Pay: $20; $50 if story is selected as a featured story
Details here.

Corpus Press: In Darkness, Delight – Fear the Future
Their guidelines say, “We seek truly terrifying stories that deal with futuristic themes, set in the near future or far. Tales can be Earth-based or extraterrestrial, perhaps featuring technological or social upheavals that have frightful implications for individuals or society at large; as examples, the ongoing erosion of privacy and enduring nature of online activity, artificial human enhancement via DNA manipulation or implants, impact of emerging technologies on developing children, and so on. … Post-apocalyptic stories will not be accepted. Rather, we desire fiction that occurs during periods preceding any total collapse, be they stable or unstable times. The horrors that await us in utopian futures may be far more chilling and fascinating than those endemic to dystopias, and therein lies our primary interest.” They prefer stories of 2,500-4,500 for this theme, though will accept up to 7,500 words.
Deadline: 15 November 2020
Lengths: Up to 7,500 words (prefer 2,500-4,500 words)
Pay: $0.03/word up to $150
Details here.

Summer Storm Press: Winter’s Vindication
This is a short fiction call for a themed anthology – “fantasy, sci-fi, literature, and/or survival are acceptable genres”. Their guidelines say, “Nuclear winter. The frozen plains of the wild west. The ice-capped mountains of a dark wizard. Modern cities drowning in dunes of snow. Wherever or whenever the story takes place, winter is the worst enemy and is the deadliest monster chasing the hero. Survival is almost impossible as the sun hides behind billowing, gray clouds. The wind chaps their flesh. Whether the world has been covered in a 100-year winter or the snow has just started to fall, inciting an anticipated panic, Winter’s Vindication is at hand.”

Deadline: 15 November 2020
Length: 5,000 to 9,000 words
Pay: $10
Details here.

Red Cape Publishing: A-Z of Horror – H is for Hell
They are (and will be) reading for horror fiction anthologies. Until mid-November, they’re reading on the H is for Hell theme – “experiences of Hell, whether that be a literal interpretation of fire and brimstone or a hellish situation.” They have other themes listed which will start accepting submissions later (do not submit now), including Internet; Jack-o’-Lantern; Kidnap; Lycanthropes; and Medical.
D
eadline: 15 November 2020 for the Hell theme
Length: 4,000-8,000 words
Pay: £10
Details here.

The Pinch: GLISH – Variety English Poetry Project
They want poetry written in or regarding variety Englishes.  Poems in Singlish, Konglish, Spanglish, AAVE, and other English-associated linguistic forms will be considered for publication. Poets may be asked to contribute supplementary linguistic information to facilitate publication. 
Deadline: 15 November 2020
Length: Up to three poems
Pay: $150
Details here.

Songs of Eretz Poetry Review: Spring
They publish themed poetry and visual art (cover art, but not inside art, must contain a seagull or seagulls). Poetry can be of any length and genre congruent with their themes, including traditional poems, form poems, prose poems, and narrative poems.
Deadline: 15 November 2020
Length: Up to three poems
Pay: $5 for poetry and inside art, $10 for cover art
Details here.

Claw & Blossom Winter Solstice issue: Other
This is a quarterly online journal of short prose and poems that touch upon the natural world. They’re reading work for the Winter Solstice issue, and the theme is ‘Other’. The work must contain elements of the natural world – this needn’t be the main focus, but it should have a distinct and relevant narrative presence. For poetry, they are partial to free verse, and aren’t keen on traditional forms.
Deadline: 28 November 2020
Length: Up to 1,000 words for prose, one poem
Pay: $25
Details here.

Injustice Watch Poem of the Week
Injustice Watch is a non-partisan, not-for-profit journalism organization that conducts in-depth research exposing institutional failures that obstruct justice and equality. They are seeking poetry from 20 artists to be published on their site and in their newsletter. They will choose one poem to be featured, each week, for 20 weeks. They are looking for poetry inspired by their reporting – the poem must relate to an Injustice Watch article. Poets must identify the article that inspired their work.
Deadline: 30 November 2020
Length: Unspecified
Pay: $200
Details here (Google form).

The Were-Traveler: Women Destroy (Retro) Science Fiction
This is a call for women authors only, including Trans women authors. “Retro Science Fiction. What is retro sci-fi? It’s also known as retro-futurism, and described as “the future that never was.” Something like the science fiction stories of the 40s and 50s. … I want you to imagine me a future of women characters that shine and live in a world (that they created or helped to create) filled with impossible wonders.” They’ll accept reprints for this call. They have other themed calls too, and will begin accepting submissions for these later.
Deadline: 30 November 2020
Length: Up to 2,500 words
Pay: $10 for flash fiction; $15 for short stories
Details here.

ProleSCARYet: Tales of Horror and Class Warfare 
They want short fiction for an e-book anthology about the horrors of capitalism. Their guidelines say, “We want monstrous bosses, jobs from literal Hell, working class folks fighting back against great cosmic evils, and any other wild idea you can come up with. As long as it’s anti-capitalist and horror, it’s good. We also welcome dark weird fiction and horror-adjacent sci-fi.” The anthology is open to all writers, but they would especially like submissions from anti-capitalist writers of marginalized groups. Half the proceeds from this anthology will go to Labor Rights, an organization advocating for the rights of workers around the world. The other half of proceeds will go toward funding a future anthology project.
Deadline: 30 November 2020
Length: 1,000-4,500 words
Pay: $75
Details here.

Slice: Levity
This literary magazine is reading fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on the ‘Levity’ theme. They look for work that plays off the theme, especially in unexpected ways.
Deadline: 1 December 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words for prose, up to five poems
Pay: $400 for fiction and nonfiction, $150 for flash fiction, $100 for poetry
Details here.

Lagrange Books: Worldbuilding Fantasy Anthology
This is a call for a themed fiction anthology; on politics as story conflict. Stories must include, as a significant plot element, a political conflict that makes up a key piece of the worldbuilding. They want fantasy stories, broadly defined. This includes traditional high fantasy, urban fantasy, or any other flavor that includes a magical or fantastical element.  
Deadline: 1 December 2020
Length: 3,500-7,000 words for short stories; 9,000-15,000 words for novellas
Pay: $100 for short stories, $200 for novellas
Details here.

FableCroft: The Art of Being Human
They want fiction work and poetry with speculative elements – science fiction, fantasy, and horror (they don’t want erotica or splatterpunk). Their website says, “The world in 2020 has been tipped upside down and shaken in ways we could barely have imagined, except perhaps in the post-apocalyptic and dystopic worlds of story. Amidst pandemic illness and death, political machinations and despair, one of the casualties has been, at least in a financial sense, the Arts. Governments across the world have slashed funding, galleries, theatres and entertainment venues have closed amid lockdown restrictions, money is being carefully metered with jobs more uncertain than ever, meaning our creatives across all industries are suffering. And yet, more than ever, we are turning to art to stay sane in lockdown, to keep our spirits up in isolation, and to remind us that despite the hardship, there is beauty in this world.”
Deadline: 1 December 2020
Length: 2,000-20,000 words
Pay: $100 (Australian) for stories up to 10,000 works; pay negotiated for longer stories and poems
Details here.


Prairie Fire: For the Love of Animals
This Canadian magazine is accepting fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry on the ‘For the Love of Animals’ theme for their Spring issue. Their guidelines say, “Maybe more than ever, especially since the pandemic uprooted our normal lives, people have been turning to animals for comfort and joy as a way to reduce the anxiety many of us are feeling from isolation and disconnection. In North America, fostering and adoptions have risen dramatically over the past eight months, as people discover or re-discover the unconditional love gained from our relationships with animals.

At the same time, we’re taking greater refuge and solace in nature, where we might observe the flight of birds, or notice animals we’ve never seen before, in places we’ve never seen them before. Social media outlets saw a surge in photos and videos of animals re-wilding urban spaces. In times of crisis, we’re finding these images grounding, visions of hope. Whether domestic, or wild, animals have often been our saving grace, and we’d like to recognize their tremendous value and contribution.”

Deadline: 4 December 2020
Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction and creative nonfiction; up to three poems
Pay: $0.10/word, up to $250 for prose, $40 for poetry (Canadian)
Details here (theme details) and here (pay rates).

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul; Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul; and other themes
These are two new callouts for writers under 35, for true stories and poems. They are looking for submissions for the 20th anniversary editions of Chicken Soup for the Preteen Soul, as well as for Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul. Some suggested themes are: Dealing with the pandemic – how COVID changed your life; Zoom schooling or home schooling; Dealing with tough stuff – being teased or bullied or confronting the bully; Acts of kindness; Embarrassing moments and funny stories; Sibling relationships; Learning to be comfortable in your own skin; Divorce and remarriage – blended families and fitting in; Being an immigrant; Having a disability or being different.
They also have other themes listed, with later deadlines, namely – Angels; Cats; Christmas Stories; Counting Your Blessings; Eldercare; and Tough Times.
Deadlines: 15 December 2020 for both Preteen and Teenage anthologies; later for others
Length: Up to 1,200 words
Pay: $200
Details here (theme details/book topics – scroll down), here (guidelines), and here (submission portal).

Dead Fish Books: Universe of Attractions
They want fantasy/science fiction/speculative stories featuring a cross-species romance. Their guidelines say, “Elves may be the champions of interspecies romance, but what about the others? What are some mythological races that usually are passed by? How do Venusians show their love? Do Alpha Centaurians get starstruck? Romance must be an essential part of the story, not just sprinkled on top, and the romance must contribute to character development.” The pairings can be of any orientation. 
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: 2,000-7,500 words
Pay: $5 + Royalties
Details here.

Planet Scumm: Snake Eyes
For this submission call, they want stories only by cisgender women,transgender women, transgender men, non-binarypeople, and genderqueerpeople. The anthology theme is ‘Snake Eyes’.  They want hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, speculative fiction, weird fiction, and slipstream.
Deadline: 10 January 2020
Length: 2,000-6,000 words (one story or a collection of flash stories)
Pay: $0.02/word
Details here.

CONTESTS

The Society of Classical Poets Ekphrastic Contest
They want poetry based on a photograph they’ve posted on their website, of Chateau Boswell, a winery, vineyard, and tasting room located in California. Each entrant may submit up to two poems of any length. Entries are expected to be classical in style, meaning that they must have a regular meter. Rhyming and other traditional techniques are good as well. Read the guidelines carefully – poets are to paste their poems in the ‘comments’ section of the guidelines page.
Value: $100
Deadline: 8 November 2020
Open for: All poets
Details here.

One Teen Story Contest
This short story contest is for writers aged 13-19 about the teenage experience; issues of identity, friendship, family, and coming of age. Stories should be 2,000-4,500 words and can be in any genre. They also accept translations (see FAQ).
Value: $500 each for 3 writers
Deadline: 20 November 2020
Open for: Writers ages 13 to 19
Details here.

Dappled Things: The J. F. Powers Prize for Short Fiction
Dappled Things is a space for emerging writers to engage the literary world from a Catholic perspective. For this contest, they want stories of up to 8,000 words “with vivid characters who encounter grace in everyday settings—we want to see who, in the age we live in, might have one foot in this world and one in the next.” 
Value: $500, $250
Deadline: 30 November 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Better than Starbucks Sonnet Contest
This contest accepts metrical sonnets. Their guidelines say, “Your sonnet can be shakespearean, petrarchan, spenserian, rhymed, or slant-rhymed. Blank verse is fine, as long as the sonnet form is clearly identifiable. We’ll consider tetrameter, hexameter, etc. as well as pentameter. Some metrical variation is fine, but don’t forget the volta!” They do accept previously published work, as long as the poet holds the rights (see guidelines). Submit up to two sonnets. The first prize is higher this year because of a donation. 
Value: $350, $100, $50
Deadline: 30 November 2020
Open for: All poets
Details here.

Black Hare Press: Dialogue Only Contest
This is an Australian press and their tagline is ‘Dark tales for dark hearts’. They want a short story, of up to 5,000 words, written entirely in dialogue form. Their guidelines say, “A story told in dialogue only. At least one character must be from a speculative fiction world (alien, superhero, werewolf, zombie, vampire, faerie, etc)

A good example of this is The Sunset Limited by Cormac McCarthy”. They plan to publish these stories as single-author publications. They also have other themed calls for Dark Moments, their online publication – see this page.
Value: $100, $50, $10 (AUD)
Deadline: 30 November 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

Washington College: Patrick Henry Writing Fellowship
This is a full-time residential writing fellowship, for writing on American history and culture. Applicants should have a book currently in progress. Their guidelines say, “The project should address the history and/or legacy – broadly defined – of the American Revolution and the nation’s founding ideas. It might focus on the founding era itself, or on the myriad ways the questions that preoccupied the nation’s founders have shaped America’s later history. Work that contributes to ongoing national conversations about America’s past and present, with the potential to reach a wide public, is particularly sought.”
Value: $45,000, other allowances, residency
Deadline: 1 December 2020
Open for: Published writers
Details here.


Author Bio: S. Kalekar is the pseudonym of a regular contributor to this magazine. She is the author of 182 Short Fiction Publishers. She can be reached here.

 

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