Opportunities: November 2019
As the year is drawing to a close, November seems to be the most depressing month. Dreamland has closed its doors, beaches are filled with frozen dog walkers, and the shops are packed with frustrated shoppers trying to find early Christmas bargains.
There is something about going to—and coming home from—work when it is dark outside that makes it hard to focus on writing. Motivation can be at an all-time low, so this is when I start to stalk the local book shops in the guise of making a list of potential gifts, when I am actually secretly imagining my own name staring out at me from amongst the shelves. This gives me the incentive to focus when I get back to my trusty laptop and start to write. If you are looking for inspiration, and your third spiced chai latte in a row isn’t providing it, I have compiled a few opportunities that may help to give you a boost.
As always, my first suggestion is Thanet Writers. There is a regular writers’ group meeting on a Thursday night where you will find supportive and well-versed constructive critique in a cosy room surrounded by books in a pub. What more could any writer want on a chilly November evening than a chance to talk about their craft whilst having a drink amongst likeminded friends? There are other groups too: Julie’s Journaling to help mine the subconscious, Writers’ Gremlins for support tackling writer-facing issues, and Dead Hoarse Writers for prompts and inspiration.
If that isn’t enough to invigorate you to get creative, then this might be: Thanet Writers are open for submissions of 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 to find out more.
As if you needed any more, today is the day of the Thanet Writers Conference 2019! If you need some inspiration, or you would like to hear from some great guest speakers, then get yourself down to the Tom Thumb Theatre in Margate this afternoon. Tickets are only £4 and can be purchased online.
Of course, there are other places to submit to outside of Thanet Writers. Even if you don’t feel inspired to write during the darkness of November, if you have a few pieces written and without a home, why not put them to good use and send them out into the world? Here are some opportunities that are open this month.
The Vestal Review is “the world’s oldest magazine dedicated to flash fiction” and has featured both emerging and well-known writers. They are currently accepting flash fiction of 500 words or under and ask that it is original work only. You can get inventive on this one because there is no set topic, however they are not interested in fiction for children, syrupy romance, or hard sci-fi, and they do not accept anything X-rated or containing racial slurs, excessive gore, or obscenity. All submissions must have a plot and a strong title which does not give away too much of the story. They do not favour one-word titles. They also request a short two-to-three line third-person bio and a cover letter. Accepted authors will be paid $25 and get a print copy of the magazine. The current reading period is open until 30th November and all submissions should be made through Submittable.
Black Beacon Books are open for submissions for their next anthology. It’s titled The Black Beacon Book of Mystery, so it should come as no surprise that this opportunity does have a central theme. They are looking for short stories between 2,500–7,000 words and novellas up to 25,000 words that provide the reader with a mystery that they can attempt to solve. They want twists and turns, red herrings, and clues thrown in along the way to really get the reader thinking. In their words, “the mystery could be a crime, but it could also be a historical or archaeological investigation, a treasure hunt, getting to the bottom of a local legend” and they want the reader to try and be one step ahead of the protagonist. They pay 1 pence per word for short stories and £100 flat-rate for novellas. The reading period is open until 30th November, and submissions are via email. Please ensure that you carefully read the guidelines before submitting because they are strict on the standards that they require.
Under the Radar is the flagship magazine of Nine Arches Press and one of their best sellers. It features both new and established poets and writers on a wide range of topics, so you can let your imagination wander. You can submit up to six poems at a time, accompanied by a cover letter with your full name, address, and a third person bio of no more than 50 words. Poems must be original works and previously unpublished elsewhere. They do not accept pieces that have been sent to multiple places and request that once you have sent in work that you do not withdraw it, because it may mean that someone else misses out on the opportunity to get published. Although Under the Radar do not currently pay, this is a good way to get your name in print. Poetry submissions are open until the 30th November, and all submissions must be made through Submittable.
The next opportunity is in the shape of a new online literary magazine which comes out twice a year. Middle House Review is looking for poems to feature in their second issue. They do not have a theme to their requirements and feature different genres. Referring to the nuclear weapons test that left the middle house standing, after which they are named, they only want you to submit poetry “that you think will still be standing after the dust from the bomb of submissions has settled.” You can submit 3-5 poems and simultaneous submissions are allowed, but they request that you let them know if your work is published elsewhere first. This is an ongoing call for submissions and entries can be made through Submittable. All accepted work will also appear in their yearly print anthology. They pay $25 for published pieces and acquire First North American Serial Rights for the work. All rights revert back to the author upon publication.
Café Writers claim to have some of the best writers from around the world and are now open for submissions to their annual poetry competition. This competition has a nice prize fund, with the winner getting £1000, second place £300, third place £200, and then five commended poems winning £50 each. Your poems must be no longer than 40 lines excluding stanza breaks and title. Each poem entered must be on a separate page and saved as either PDF or a single Word document. As it is a competition, all marking is blind so you must not have your name or any identifying elements on the attachment containing your poem. There are some technical aspects to submitting to this, so please read the instructions carefully! There is no theme for the competition, but all work must be entirely original and never published in any format including self-published or on personal websites. Entry is £4 per poem or three for £10, which is payable via PayPal.
The Michigan Quarterly Review is a world-renowned literary journal that has featured many well-known names in both poetry and prose. They claim that the magazine likes to challenge conventions and address long-overdue conversations. They are currently accepting non-fiction articles for a special issue on the theme of water that will “explore the paradoxes of water, how at once it gives life and takes it; how it divides us along cruel lines of inequality even as it binds us.” They are looking for articles that encompass this theme in some way, whether it is mythological, historic, religious, or anything in between. Essays should not be longer than 3000 words, and if you have photographs to accompany your submission you should inform them of this in your cover letter. They do pay for articles, although the exact amount is not specified. Articles must be original and not previously published elsewhere including on personal blogs. Submissions are made via Submittable, and the reading window is open until 30th November. Expect a turnaround time of between 4-6 months.
The Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2020 has just opened for entries. This is the highest-paying single short story prize in the English language, with the winner receiving £30,000. If you have built up a little experience as a writer already, then this is a way of jumping several steps and getting noticed in the process.
Entries need to be no more than 6,000 words and be a single short story. To qualify for entry, you must have been published in the UK or Ireland. If you are shortlisted, you will join the ranks of Emma Donoghue, Mark Haddon, Hilary Mantel, Ali Smith, CK Stead, and Elizabeth Strout, as well as Pulitzer Prize-winners Junot Díaz, Anthony Doerr, and Adam Johnson.
As an extra perk, an Audible audiobook anthology will be created, with those selected receiving a £1,000 fee as well as a £1,000 prize for being included.
The competition closes on Friday 13th December. Pick your best story, or find some inspiration, and get entering.
© 2019 Zoe Davies
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
Having always been an avid reader, Zoe now writes fiction and poetry to relax and escape into her own reality for a while.