Opportunities: March 2020

A curated roundup for March 2020 of submission opportunities for short stories, poetry, and non-fiction writing.

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Spring is supposedly on the way, the days are getting longer, and the memory of warm sun is once again becoming a reality, thank goodness. Thanet is coming to life with the fields full of fledgling crops and the familiar sound of lawnmowers filling the weekends. Now is the perfect time to attempt something new, stretch your repertoire, and try out a different genre or style. After all, if it doesn’t work then no-one but you needs to know. If you surprise yourself and create a new and unusual piece of work that you want to show off, or if you have writing ready to send out into the world, then there are plenty of places to submit to.

First of all, Thanet Writers pays to publish and is open for submissions of pretty much everything: short stories, poetry, essays, and book reviews. There is no charge for submissions, previously published items are accepted, and to make it even more tempting you will be paid £10 for any piece that is accepted. Click here for more information and for details of how to submit your writing.

In a similar vein, the BBC is looking for people to showcase their talent in whatever form takes your fancy. They are looking people to upload text, as well as audio, video, and images. They will “watch, read, or listen to everything you upload and what catches our attention will go on air or on our digital platforms.” It can be anything from a full novel to a single joke. Vlogs, dramas, film reviews, they want it all. Some Thanet-linked writers have already had their writing or recordings featured, so get uploading.

If you would like to get some critique on your work prior to submitting it into the unknown, or just want to meet up with some friendly writers, and you are in the Thanet area, then Thanet Writers hosts a writers’ group that meets on Thursday evenings in Broadstairs. You can bring work along to get some feedback, or if you would rather just attend for a few weeks, until you feel more confident with the group, that is fine too. It is very relaxed, and no-one is made to feel as though they should not be there. If you’d prefer to just meet writers for mutual support, then the monthly Writers’ Gremlins may well be for you. If it’s writing exercises you’re after then get yourself along to Dead Hoarse Writers each month. If you need some prompts and creative inspiration then Julie’s Journaling is the weekly group for you. If you write, or just want to write, then you are welcome at any and all of these.

Short Stories

The first short story opportunity this month comes courtesy of the award-winning online speculative fiction magazine and podcast Drabblecast, who want “strange stories for strange readers.” You can set your imagination free on this one because they are open to all genres, but be aware that they largely centre round sci-fi, horror, and fantasy. Due to the nature of the podcast, all pieces should work well when read aloud. Stories must be off the beaten path and they would prefer “humorous, bizarre, gross, disturbing, badass, interesting and original” stories that are between 500 and 4000-words in length. Submission is via email and, as ever, check the requirements. Your name and story title should be in the subject line of the email. They do not accept multiple submissions but do accept simultaneous ones providing you let them know if another publication picks your piece up before them. Drabblecast pay $0.06 per word for previously unpublished works and $0.03 per word for reprint submissions, which is the market rate as set out by the World Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, and payment is capped at $300. They accept submissions year-round.

The next short story opportunity is a little different. Zooscape is an e-zine of “fantastic furry fiction” where “animals can talk, magic flows, and the stars are in reach.” They are currently open for submissions for their quarterly publications and looking for stories up to 10,000 words. They say that all stories should significantly feature an anthropomorphic animal figure. They will consider “any type of furry fiction from secret life of animals to fox in Starbucks” and they say they “love science-fiction with animal-like aliens and fantasy with talking dragons, unicorns, or witch familiars.” They do not accept simultaneous submissions and multiple submissions should be queried first. Payment is $0.08 per words up to 1,000 words, and a flat rate of $80 for longer stories. They also pay $20 for reprints. You should send work via an email with Submission: Title and word count in the subject line.


If you are an up-and-coming poet then this might be for you: Frontier Poetry is open year-round for work by new and emerging poets. They classify this as someone who has had no more than one full-length published work forthcoming at the time of submission. They want to “showcase writers who we believe will continue to produce great work.” They would like you to send no more than ten pages or five poems in one document. They do not accept multiple submissions. They do, however, accept simultaneous submissions providing you inform them if your work is published elsewhere first. They do not mind which font or spacing you use, that is up to the poet. You should include a brief cover letter and include your publication history. Work should be sent via Submittable. They pay $50 per poem, up to $150, and say that due to the amount of work they receive there will be an eight to twelve week wait for a response.

The annual literary journal Passages North is also open for submissions until April 15th. They require experimental or non-traditional poetry that is “honest, conscious of craft and form, knows rules and breaks them, owns its transgressions, and challenges conventions.” There are no submission fees and you can send up to five poems via Submittable.


If you are interested in submitting non-fiction, then take a look at Barren Magazine. This is a literary publication that looks at hard truths and they “revel in the shadow-spaces that make up the human condition, and aim to find antitheses to that which defines us: light in darkness; beauty in ugliness; peace in disarray.” They are currently looking for submissions of non-fiction of up to 3,000 words for their next issue. They have prompts for each issue and, at the time of writing, the prompts are: commitment, adaptation, disappointment, immigration, and penance. However, I would advise you to check to ensure that these key words are still current before sending any work. As they are open all year round for submissions, the prompts change when they have received enough work to fill the issue. Work should be sent via email and the specifications are quite stringent so be sure to read them first. They do accept simultaneous submissions but, as with most places, they request that you let them know if your work is accepted elsewhere. They prefer previously unpublished work, however, providing you hold the copyright for a piece, they may consider work that has already been published. There is no payment at this time, but they will publish work online and promote your piece on social media. Please allow three months for a response.


Ending roughly where I began, my featured opportunity for March is the long-awaited BBC National Short Story Award 2020, but you will need to be quick because it closes for entries on Monday 9th March.

This is one of the most prestigious short story awards and has a grand prize of £15,000 with four additional shortlisted writers receiving £600. The winning stories will then be published in anthology form and broadcast on BBC Radio 4.

Work should be original and unpublished, and no longer than 8,000 words.

They have a very long list of rules and regulations that I would advise that you read before entering. One rule that is worth highlighting is that in order to enter you must have a prior record of publication in creative writing in the UK. By that they mean that you must have been featured in a book with an ISBN number which is sold for pounds sterling and published by an established UK publisher, or been published in print or online by an established printed newspaper, magazine journal, or periodical in the UK.

Entry is online and you only have a couple of days left on this, but it is well worth sending in your best unpublished short story. You never know what will happen!

Whether you are preparing yourselves for the chaos of the approaching Easter holidays or just enjoying the longer evenings, make sure that you leave enough time to hit those deadlines. Good luck with any opportunities that you submit to and don’t forget to let us know how you get on.

Having always been an avid reader, Zoe now writes fiction and poetry to relax and escape into her own reality for a while.

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