Opportunities: March 2019

A curated roundup for March 2019 of submission opportunities for short stories, poetry, and non-fiction writing.

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Greetings wordsmiths, scribblers and creatives! Should you ever weigh the successes of writing against the process itself, you might find the scale slamming down at the latter (or perhaps that’s just me). But then, you may measure the rewards of writing differently. ‘Success’ is a rather adaptive word, and one that people define for themselves. For me, success is completing a piece of writing to a standard that means it is ready to submit for publication. For others, it may be one step further, and success means the prestige of being published. For more still, success is being paid for their writing. The point is, we all write for different reasons; we have our own goals and measures of what makes us successful as writers.

Thanet Writers is a community organisation focused on giving opportunity and platform to writers, which is the driving force behind this article. As you may or may not know, Thanet Writers offer to pay writers for UK print rights for accepted submissions; thus offering a payout, a platform and piece of a portfolio. Furthermore, in 2018 Thanet Writers released an anthology of short stories which is available from book retailers throughout the UK.

Now that’s all well and good, but why stop there (or should I say here)?

Sure, the Thanet-linked creators that have submitted their hard work to Thanet Writers have given the community some of the finest poems, short stories, book reviews and essays that one could hope to read, but there is a world of opportunity outside of this very publisher just waiting to be seized. In this roundup and others to come, I will list a selection of opportunities for writers that exist outside of our fold. These could be short story competitions that pay mega-bucks to the winner(s), or perhaps some magazines and websites that want to showcase your poetry, or all manner of other opportunities.

This will hopefully serve as a tool for inspiration as well. Do you have an idea for a short story that you never got round to writing? What if there was a competition with a substantial prize on offer? Have you bared your soul in a poem which you are yet to share with the world? What if the world could find it printed in a magazine?

Let’s roll up our sleeves and have a glimpse beyond the boundaries of Thanet. We may go past the horizon, or stay within Kent. It’s kind of exciting really, isn’t it?

Short Stories

These little gems are a great way for a writer to flex their writing muscles, and allow the option of trying out different genres, styles and perspectives. Short stories have a huge place in this world and are often sought out by magazines, anthologies and websites. They make for a sharp reading experience, and something of an advantage for commuters or someone that just wants a little taste of something different.

If you’re in the mood to write something short and sweet, Flash Fiction Magazine may be the place for you. They are looking for unpublished stories (including on your own website) of 300 to 1000 words, and writers can submit one story per month for free. There is a queue-jump option ($30) and, although web publication is unpaid, if your story is also selected for one of their anthologies they offer a payment of $40. Flash Fiction Magazine get a lot of traffic and have been publishing one short story every day of the year since 2004, so are well worth looking into.

New magazine Midnight & Indigo are looking for previously unpublished short stories of at least 1500 words by black female writers. $50 is paid for online publication and $75 for print publication for accepted submissions, and the closing date for the Summer 2019 issue is 31st March 2019.

The HG Wells Short Story Competition has just opened for entries of previously unpublished short stories between 1,500 and 5,000 words on the theme of ‘Time’. Over-21s must pay a £10 entry fee (or £5 with a Student ID) to be in with a chance of winning £250. Under-21s can enter for free, and the prize for under-21s is £1000. The winners are published on the HG Wells Short Story Competition website, and all shortlisted entries are published in a print anthology. The closing date is 8th July 2019

Poetry

Poetry is an excellent form of expressive prose, and offers a writer a captivating and meaningful way of putting across their feelings or opinions. Whilst the experience of writing poetry can be cathartic or therapeutic, it’s important to remember the benefits of reading poems for insight and enjoyment as well, so get them out there! There could be chances of big publications or prize money along the way.

Atrium Poetry is an online platform looking to publish and promote poetry. Whilst they do not pay, they also have no set theme and no submission fees, and—most importantly—no deadline for submissions. Simply send them up to three unpublished poems, each of no more than 50 lines in length.

The Rattle Poetry Competition is now open, and with no theme and no word limit will attract a wide and eclectic selection of entries. To enter, you need to subscribe to Rattle for a year, at a cost of $25, but the winner will receive a whopping $10,000. There will also be ten finalists, each taking home $200, and who will be published alongside the winner in the Winter 2019 issue of Rattle, and one of which will—after a vote—be awarded an additional Readers’ Choice Award of $2,000. That is big money for a poetry competition! The closing date for entries is the 15th July 2019.

Non-Fiction

Writing articles and essays can vary from niche subjects to opinions to instructional writing to investigative journalism, and many other forms besides. Breaking into non-fiction writing usually requires some kind of portfolio, but how to get one?

The HuffPost runs a blog which can offer a huge platform to fledgling writers. There is no payment—something the company has previously been criticised for—but the exposure can be dramatic and if you need a publication credit for a portfolio, there are worse places to appear. The system is fairly technical, so make sure you read the guidance first and then contact the Blog Team to pitch your article. If it’s good, it might get promoted on the front page of the HuffPost and shared through their hugely influential social media channels, which should help build your reputation.

Highlight

Some opportunities are so big they can change your writing career overnight, so each month I will be highlighting one. For March, I’d like to look at the Alpine Fellowship. This is a group of thinkers and creatives who award huge sums of money, along with support and connections—which could well be even more valuable—within various disciplines, and having their name on your writing CV would open a whole lot of doors.

The Alpine Fellowship Prizes include a writing prize on the theme of ‘Identity’. Previously unpublished writing of up to 2,500 words should be submitted, with one entry per entrant only. The winner will receive an incredible £10,000, second place gets £3,000, third place £2,000, and all three will be invited to attend the Fjällnäs Symposium. The closing date for applications is 1st April 2019.

Good luck, and let me know how you get on!

Sam is a full-time working father of three, a fitness bod, and a writer; often sighted drinking fine ales and riding motorbikes.

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