Opportunities: June 2019
There’s something special about June; the sun shines brighter and the days are feeling much longer and warmer. Did you know that June brings the Northern Hemisphere the longest daylight hours, but the Southern Hemisphere get the shortest daylight hours? It makes perfect sense, but until I went looking for it, I had no idea! And that’s the premise of this article—I’ve gone looking for things and turned up some nice results, in the form of opportunities for you writers.
Before we get started, I wanted to remind you that this site, run by Thanet Writers, is looking for submissions, and pays a flat rate of £10 for UK print rights for each short story, poem, essay, or book review that is accepted for publication. You can find out more by clicking here.
The Royal Society of Literature is holding their annual V.S Pritchett Short Story Prize which is definitely worth your time. The RSL is a writing society that gives writers a platform, hosting world-class events that cultivate and celebrate literary excellence. The RSL even have a school outreach programme to secure young people’s access to literature. It’s a community that both seeks out and spotlights talent, as well as helping others get there. Be a part of it. They are looking for previously unpublished short stories between 2,000 and 4,000 words. Should you win, you’ll be published online in The Prospect Magazine and in The Royal Society of Literature Review, be invited to the prize giving ceremony and scoop £1,000 in prize money. Deadline for submissions is 28th June at midnight, at £7.50 fee.
Okay, this one is very short notice but if you have some finished work ready by the 4th of June, Literary Taxidermy is holding their yearly short story competition. That’s right, literary taxidermy; I included this in the list because that’s a brilliant name for a website. But also, because I think they are fascinating—dedicated to publishing “difficult, disturbing and occasionally defenestratable fiction and poetry.” Anything looking for writing worthy of throwing out a window must be good. Equally interesting is that this year’s competition requires you to open and close with the first and last lines from Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451. Looking for previously unpublished work and less than 2,500 words, with a $500 cash prize and inclusion into their yearly anthology. Runners up will get a $50 prize and will also make publication, including honourable mentions. I like this, a lot.
Get your work out there on the shelves with Writers Forum, the monthly magazine that wants to help writers achieve their dreams. They have monthly contests for poetry which are themed (check out the site to see what the latest is) and are looking for previously unpublished work up to 40 lines in length. If you win, you’ll be published and get £100 for your efforts. Also, you can pay to have in-depth critique of your poetry from the editor, Sue Butler. All in all, a nice opportunity with nice service to boot.
If you’re into writing humorous poetry and aren’t worried about trying to make money or win competitions, then consider Spilling Cocoa Over Martin Amis. I’ve included this in the list because its niche, and is about getting a small publication out there into the digital world to make people laugh. Poetry doesn’t always have to be serious, does it? They are completely relaxed on rules—your work can be previously published providing you still retain the copyright, there’s no limit on size or even how many you send (but only three at once). The only thing your poem must achieve is to make the editor laugh at least once!
Keeping it local, if you want to break into writing articles and would love to see your name on a byline, you could do a lot worse than appearing in the Margate Mercury. Popular and free, the Margate Mercury has been running for a few years now and has recently launched a sister publication, the Ramsgate Recorder. Rumour has it that a Broadstairs version is in the works too. The magazines print non-fiction articles with local interest, and the Margate Mercury also includes two flash fiction short stories every issue. All writers are paid by the word. If you want to write something, your best bet is to pitch an idea or two. As with any pitch, you need to get a copy of a recent issue to understand the style first. Be sure to include your own writing experience and a link to something you’ve written, if you can. Pitches are invited by email to the relevant Editor of either the Margate Mercury or the Ramsgate Recorder.
Every now and then, I stumble across a life-changing chance in writing, and this is right up there with the best of them.
The Daily Mail have just teamed up with Penguin and are offering a serious chance: they are looking for a finished novel to publish. And when I say published, I mean “the services of top literary agent Luigi Bonomi and guaranteed publication by Penguin Random House UK” with a £20,000 advance. And if you don’t win, you might be signed up to a publisher anyway!
Submissions should be the first 3,000 words of the novel, plus a 600-word synopsis which should “concisely describe the plot and characters so that the judges can see where the story goes and whether the lead players will engage their interest.” Entries can be anything other than sagas, science fiction, or fantasy, and must not be previously published in any form. According to the website, entries “can be a contemporary story about families or relationships, a thriller or an historical adventure, as long as it is aimed at adults (not children).” Entrants must be 16 or over but there’s no upper age limit. The closing date is Friday 14th June 2019 and entries must be submitted by post, so get down the Post Office as soon as you can!
This is a game changer, a once in a lifetime chance. So, if you have that completed novel sitting there waiting for a chance to shine, or even a very strong opening and the will to finish it, this is it.
© 2019 Sam Kaye
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Sam is a full-time working father of three, a fitness bod, and a writer; often sighted drinking fine ales and riding motorbikes.