Written by S. Kalekar

28 Themed Submissions Calls for December 2020

There are 28 themed submission calls for writers of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry in the 20 markets listed here. Some of the themes are: (fictional) haunted buildings, resurrection, survival, lost contact, when worlds collide, holy war (military horror), resist with every inch and every breath, a quiet afternoon, myths and monsters, redemption, underground, twisted love, and partners in crime. There are also themed contests for writers at the end.


Dark Moon Books: Professor Charlatan Bardot’s Travel Anthology to the Most (Fictional) Haunted Buildings in the Weird, Wild World
They want dark fiction short stories about haunted buildings (excluding houses) around the globe. Their guidelines say, “these are “Haunted House” types of stories, except they are to be set in ANY type of structure that is not a house; i.e. the theme of this book is for haunted buildings or structures that are subject of a fantastic, terrifying, magical, weird, or otherwise thrilling or speculative tale, but that the subject building is not a traditional stick-built/frame residential house.” The stories have to be set in fictional buildings.
Deadline: 15 December 2020
Length: 1,500-4,500 words
Pay: $0.02/word
Details here.

Eye to the Telescope: Travel
This is a speculative poetry magazine and they are reading submissions on the ‘Travel’ theme. The editor particularly enjoys genre-bending and pushing of form/function – see guidelines page for further preferences/suggestions.
Deadline: 15 December 2020
Length: Up to three poems
Pay: $0.03/word up to $25
Details here.

Antimony and Elder Lace Press: To Live Again
They are reading fiction submissions on the theme, ‘To Live Again…’. Their guidelines say, “Who doesn’t want to live again? The idea of resurrection and conquering death is something that can be seen in many myths and legends of cultures around the world. This anthology will deal with the idea of resurrection, and of course, it’s aftermath.” They also accept translations.
Deadline: 25 December 2020
Length: 1,000-7,500 words
Pay: $0.01/word + Royalties
Details here.

Inked in Gray: Survival
They want morally ambiguous stories with the fantasy, horror, sci-fi, and contemporary fiction genres surrounding the theme of survival. Their guidelines say, “Many individuals have encountered moments of extreme moral compromise when faced with a choice that meant life or death, or the perception of such. From the outside, it may seem that some choices can be evaluated in the simple vein of right or wrong, ethical or not. Yet when placed in a situation that perpetuates a choice between survival and death, would we have the same opinion? … How far must a person go to survive?” Submit up to two stories.
Deadline: 30 December 2020
Length: Up to 12,000 words
Pay: $30
Details here.

Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing: Lost Contact
This is a horror fiction anthology. Their guidelines say, “To lose contact…does that bring to mind something physical, something intangible? Does it give you a sense of isolation? Does it bring to mind…aliens, maybe? Being stranded? Lost? I think, in the times we live in right now, the phrase “Lost Contact” might mean a whole heck of a lot to all of us”. Writers are free to interpret the theme as they like, though they’ll benefit if they include technology of some kind.
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: 1,000-7,000 words
Pay: $0.05/word
Details here.

Zombies Need Brains: Three themes
They are reading fiction submissions for three anthologies. They are looking for a range of tones, from humorous all the way up to dark.
— The Modern Deity’s Guide to Surviving Humanity is to feature urban fantasy stories set in the modern-day world with some type of god or deity as the central focus of the story.  Stories featuring more interesting gods and deities, especially those from less-used cultures, will receive more attention than those that use standard gods/deities. From the open call, they are unlikely to use stories featuring gods/deities the anchor authors intend to use (see guidelines).

– Derelict is to feature stories involving abandoned ships, whether it be ships at sea or starships in space. Half of the anthology with science fiction stories and half with fantasy stories.  They are somewhat flexible as to the definition of “ship” for this anthology, but it must still be somehow abandoned in some way.
— When Worlds Collide is to feature science fiction and fantasy stories, including alternate history stories, where two different cultures “collide” in some way.  They expect mostly first contact types of collisions, but the story doesn’t need to be a first contact story. The cultures can be human, alien, technological, fae, etc. They should clash in some significant, meaningful way.
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: Up to 7,500 words
Pay: At least 8c/word
Details here.

Lonely Cryptid Media: Resist with every inch and every breath
They want fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on the theme. They have extensive submission guidelines about what they want, including: “Stories of resistance and rebellion, but also of the steps in between and the change that comes after. … Tell us about resistance big and small; real and imagined; rooted in reality or fantastical in nature; science fictional or science factual; historical, contemporary, or in the future.” They also accept reprints.
Deadlines: 31 December 2020
Length: Up to 15,000 words for prose; up to 300 lines for poetry
Pay: $25
Details here.

Grace&Victory: A Quiet Afternoon 2
They want comfy, cozy, low-fi (with low stakes and small rewards, little triumphs, happy chances) stories for this anthology. They have a strong preference for speculative fiction, however slight the spec-fic elements may be. Their influences include Studio Ghibli, Ursula LeGuin, slice of life manga, and other such comfort reads.
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: 500-5,000 words (sweet spot is under 3,000)
Pay: CAD0.01/word
Details here.

Workers Write!
For this issue, they want fiction and poetry submissions from workers heading for retirement or being laid off or RIF’ed. Also see their Overtime series – chapbooks for stories that are longer than 5,000 words. Deadline: 31 December 2020 (or until filled)
Length: 500-5,000 words for fiction
Pay: $5-50
Details here.

ed Room Press: Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Vol. 6
This is a horror fiction reprint anthology. The collection aims “to give recognition to the extreme, harder side of horror, stories that break boundaries and trash taboos.” The story should originally have been published, or scheduled for publication, in a 2020 anthology, single author collection, magazine, or online magazine. Self-published anthologies/collections are also accepted.
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: Up to 6,000 words (longer works accepted, but pay capped at $60)
Pay: $0.01/word
Details here.

Cohesion Press: SNAFU – Holy War
They want fantasy, horror, or science fiction on the holy war military horror theme; extreme action (military or paramilitary) stories.
Their guidelines say, “Military ACTION-BASED horror, themed around religion and/or religious-based conflict.
Think the Crusades, Europe’s Thirty Years War, The Troubles in Northern Ireland (but with unnatural monsters)… anything that can be considered a high-action monster story based around a conflict (overt or covert) of religion. … We want lots of monster goodness.”
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Length: 2,000-10,000 words
Pay: AUD0.05/word
Details here.

Constelación Magazine: Myths and Monsters
This is a bilingual speculative fiction magazine. They will soon open a short submission window for speculative fiction stories on the theme, ‘Myths and Monsters’. Their guidelines say, “Since the dawn of time, humans have stared into the abyss and wondered what hid in the darkness. Tell us about the myths and monsters that have shaped your perception of the unknown. Do your monsters hide in broad daylight or lurk in the shadows? … Sometimes monsters wear suits and ties, sometimes they can’t be seen, only felt.” Submissions can be in English or Spanish, and they also ask for translation rights. They plan to open later in 2021 for other themes, and they pay for artwork (see guidelines).
Reading period: 15 December 2020 to 1 January 2021
Length: Up to 6,400 words
Pay: $0.08/word for fiction
Details here.

Dark Dispatch: Redemption
This is a pop culture ezine devoted to all things dark: sci fi, fantasy, horror, and crime. The site will cover industry news related to these genres and publish reviews, interviews, commentary, and new fiction. They cover various forms of entertainment, including movies, television, books, and short fiction. Their intent is to begin publishing fiction in early 2021. They are reading on the ‘Redemption’ theme.
Deadline: 5 January 2020
Length: 1,000-2,750 words for fiction
Pay: $0.05/word for fiction
Details here.

Jazz House Publications: Twisted Love Anthology
This is a fiction anthology about twisted love. Their guidelines say, “True love can have dark depths. “Till death do you part” might be prophetic. And beware the unrequited, shunned, and spited romantics.” They want “twisted, dark, and despairing stories about romantic and gothic horror and the people who find love to have a bitter aftertaste.” This is a Valentine’s Day-themed anthology, so incorporate this holiday’s themes and aesthetics. They encourage every interpretation of this theme, including supernatural, magical, Victorian, and contemporary settings and characters.
Deadline: 8 January 2021
Length: 7.000-9,000 words
Pay: $75
Details here. (Also see details of their anthology for LGBTQ+ writers, titled The Fallen Gods; the deadline is 3 January 2020.)

Gypsum Sound Tales: CLOP — Underground
They want stories in any genre – including horror, adventure, romance, sci-fi or historical fiction piece – on the Underground theme. Their guidelines say, “Beneath the earth, beneath all the hustle and bustle of the big city, there are endless possibilities. Stories waiting to be told about mysterious creatures or forgotten cultures. Tunnels that shouldn’t be followed and doors that should probably remain shut.
For this collection, we would like stories in which a large proportion of the narrative takes place under the ground.”
Deadline: 17 January 2020
Length: 1,000-5,500 words
Pay: AUD5-10
Details here.

The First Line: Four themes
They want stories that begin with a pre-set first line; they are open to all genres. They also sometimes publish poetry, and these too have to begin with the first lines provided. For nonfiction, they want critical essays about your favorite first line from a literary work. Fiction writers can also write a four-part story that uses the spring, summer, fall, and winter sentences (or a five-part story, if using the pre-set last line in The Last Line Journal – “Welcome to the family.”) and all parts must be submitted at once, in a single e-mail or snail mail, before the February 1st deadline.
Spring: “Darryl slid three quarters into the vending machine and weighed his options.” Deadline: 1 February 2021
Summer: “Lena was raised on violin lessons and minimal parental supervision.” Deadline: 1 May 2021
Fall: “What should we do with the body?” Deadline: 1 August 2021
Winter: “Later that evening, they sat alone in their apartment, wondering if they had made the right decision.” Deadline: 1 November 2021
Deadlines: See above
Length: 300-5,000 words for fiction; 500-800 words for non-fiction
Pay: $25-50 for fiction, $25 for non-fiction, $5-10 for poetry
Details here (first lines) and here (guidelines).

The Best of New True Crime Stories: Two themes
They’re looking for submissions for two non-fiction, true crime anthologies. Query first. The editor selects material on an on-going basis; writers who submit work in advance often have a better chance of acceptance.
— Partners in Crime: Their guidelines say, “Nonfiction, true crime accounts featuring lawbreaking couples who have joined forces to commit crime. These couples can be married, domestic partners, or lovers. Stories can take place anywhere in the world and be from any time period. I’m interested in material covering a wide range of criminal activity. First-person accounts are especially welcome from writers with a connection to their cases. Add something new to the story, a different viewpoint or angle.”
— Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge: Their guidelines say, “Nonfiction, true crime accounts of individuals who have resorted to criminal means because of love, passion, obsession, jealousy, betrayal, etc. Stories can take place anywhere in the world and be from any time period. Material can cover a wide range of crimes. First-person accounts are welcome from writers with a connection to their cases. Tell us something new, offer a different viewpoint or angle to the story.”
Deadlines: 15 February 2021 for Partners in Crime; 1 October 2021 for Crimes of Passion
Length: 4,000-7,000 words (query first)
Pay: $130 for both anthologies
Details here.

Timeless Tales Magazine: Tales of the Arabian Nights
The tagline for this magazine is ‘Breathing new life into classic fairy tales & myths’. They want poetry and fiction submissions – of retelling of tales of the Arabian Nights. They’ll also accept original stories/poems featuring the creatures of Arabian/Islamic folklore, Djinn/jinn (not Genie!), Ifrits/efreets, the type of ghoul found in Arabic folklore, or another creature the editor is not familiar with (please send an explanation in your cover letter). Also see the special notes on the guidelines page, for the things the editor does/does not want. While the editor isn’t looking for work intended for children, stories should be PG-13.

Deadline: 30 April 2021
Length: Up to 2,000 words for fiction; up to 1,500 words total for poetry/series of poems
Pay: $30
Details here.

D L Russell Books: The Noise of a Quiet House Anthology
They want horror, dark fantasy, and its subgenres for a themed anthology on your worst childhood fears, real and imagined. “Not the monster under the bed or in the closet, but unique things and situations that can terrorize a child”, according to their guidelines. There is no deadline specified for this anthology.
Deadline: Open now
Length: 2,500-5,000 words
Pay: $50
Details here (scroll down).

JayHenge Publishing: Three themes
They are reading for three speculative fiction anthologies.
Joining Forces: “Collaboration and cooperation often get us further in life than solely working on our own with no input. Two heads are better than one in this anthology where we would like you to either have characters who have joined up to work on a project, or there is more than one author in the story’s byline. (A combination of both would be doubly awesome!)”
— The Chorochronos Archives: “Humans are always asking What if? What’s the future going to be? What if we changed the past? From time travel to alternate history, we want your stories! “
–Titanic Terastructures: “Ringworlds, Dyson spheres, arcologies, planet cities, space elevators, skyscrapers with populations of entire countries; we’re looking for your speculative stories set in or about megastructures, gigastructures, TERASTRUCTURES!”  
Deadlines: Until filled
Length: Flash length to 15,000 words
Pay: $5 per 1,000 words
Details here.
(The page also has details of their Non-Binary Stars Anthology Contest; deadline 1 October 2021).


J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Awards
Two awards are given for non-fiction works in progress which deal with a topic of American political or social concern, to aid their completion. Writers must already have a contract with a US-based publisher.
Value: $25,000
Deadline: 9 December 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here and here.

Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize
They want an essay which is set in Brooklyn, is about Brooklyn, and/or Brooklyn people/characters. They want work from writers of all backgrounds and ages, “who can render Brooklyn’s rich soul and intangible qualities through the writer’s actual experiences in Brooklyn.” 
Value: $500
Deadline: 10 December 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here (click on Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize).

New York Encounter 2021 Poetry Contest: When Reality Hits
New York Encounter, an annual three-day public cultural event in the heart of New York City, is sponsoring its fifth annual poetry contest to celebrate its 2020 theme: ‘When Reality Hits’ (see guidelines for details). They invite all poets writing in English to submit up to 3 poems (maximum 40 lines each), related to the theme. The winners will be invited to read their poems in an online forum in January.
Value: $300, $200, $100
Deadline: 19 December 2020
Open for: All poets
Details here.

International Young Theatre Playwriting Contest
This prize is for bold and powerful plays for young audiences (no plays for children or adult audiences, or musicals), written in any official European language. Performance time for Category A is 60-120 minutes and for Category B, 30-60 minutes. They accept plays co-authored by more than one writer. Send up to three entries.    
Value: €2,400 for Category A, €1,000 for Category B + other prizes
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Open for: All playwrights
Details here.

Poetry Society of America: The Four Quartets Prize
This is for a unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook, or book in 2020. Poems in the sequence may have been published in different journals provided that they were published in 2020 and that brought together, they form a complete sequence. The minimum requirement is 14 pages of published poems unified by subject, form, and style. Entire books composed of a unified sequence are also welcome. Submissions must be mailed. They have other upcoming awards also, with entry fees.
Value: $1,000 for three finalists, additional $20,000 for the winner
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.
(Also see the Academy of American Poets’ Inaugural Poem Project and Contest for Students for US-based students.)

Lilith Magazine Fiction Contest
This magazine publishes work of interest to Jewish women. They like work with both feminist and Jewish content. Submit up to 3,000 words. 
Value: $250
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Open for: All writers
Details here.

The Society of Classical Poets: 2021 Poetry Translation Competition This is for poetry translations, which should not exceed 108 lines. Translated poetry should be from the Romantic period or earlier. Translations should be metered. Include the poem in its original language. Rhyme and other traditional techniques are encouraged as well, but not required. They have other classical poetry contests, which have entry fees.
Value: $100
Deadline: 31 December 2020
Open for: Unspecified
Details here.

St. Martin’s Minotaur/ Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition 
This is an international contest for crime novel manuscripts, for writers who have never been the author of any published novel in any genre. The writing should be no less than 220 pages, or approximately 60,000 words. Minotaur is an imprint of St Martin’s Press, which is part of Macmillan.  
Value: $10,000 advance against royalties
Deadline: 1 January 2021
Open for: Unpublished writers (see guidelines)
Details here.
(Also see The Tony Hillerman Prize for Best First Mystery Set in the Southwest,for US and Canadian writers.)

The Leon Levy Centre for Biography: Biography Fellowships
These are four resident fellowships at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City, to nonfiction writers working on biographies. Preference is given to those who have not published a biography or received fellowships for the writing of a biography. They also welcome applications from published and accomplished writers who are undertaking their first biography. (Also see the Sloan Fellowship, given annually to a writer working on a biography of a figure in the field of science or technology.)
Value: $72,000, residency
Deadline: 4 January 2021
Open for: Writers working on biographies
Details here.

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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