The Practicing Writer 2.0: April 2020

#NationalPoetryMonth—and #Covid19—edition

Supporting the Craft & Business of Excellent Writing

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  1. Editor’s Note: What’s New

  2. Article/Lessons Learned

  3. Featured Resource

  4. Upcoming/Ongoing Contests, Competitions, and Other Opportunities (NO ENTRY OR APPLICATION FEES; PAYING OPPORTUNITIES ONLY)


  6. Blog Notes

  7. Newsletter Matters


Greetings, practicing writers:

Typically, the April newsletter is dominated by National Poetry Month.

But this isn’t a typical time. And this issue’s featured resource, pointing you to a compilation of “Emergency Resources for Writers,” reflects that truth.

A number of poets (including me) had busy Aprils planned, replete with readings and other events. Things have changed; the article below, on “Promoting Your Book During a Pandemic,” addresses that.

I hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy and generally faring well. If you’re up for it, you’ll be able to find me presenting a reading on April 5 via the brand-new Hidden Timber Books Online Author Reading Series. (It’s free, but please do register if you’d like to attend.)

Take good care of yourselves, and, to the extent that you can, your writing practices. I hope that this newsletter helps.


A postscript about the contests/competitions/calls listed in this issue: Especially right now, people (and organizations) are scrambling. Plans change. It’s possible that opportunities that still seemed to be welcoming submissions/applications literally yesterday may be postponed or canceled in the hours/days/weeks to come. I’ll do my best to update, but, as always, I don’t claim omniscience/perfection. Verify, verify, verify.

And a more routine postscript: Please remember that I love to know about successes that come your way via this newsletter/the blogs. Please keep me posted!


In the two weeks that elapsed between the March 7 version of my “Be Your Own Book Publicist” seminar, which took place in a classroom at Grub Street’s Boston headquarters, and the March 22 iteration that I presented in webinar format Hidden Timber Books, a lot changed.

Including the work of book promotion.

Thus, I scrambled to update my course materials. For the webinar, I recommended several constructive commentaries on the work of book promotion during the current (or any) crisis: a brief excerpt from Courtney Maum’s Before and After the Book Deal; Tammy Tarng’s “Without Places to Gather, Debut Novelists Reimagine Book Promotion”; Amy Klein’s “What It’s Like to Promote a Book During a Pandemic”; and Allison Pottern Hoch’s “So Your Book Launch Has Been Cancelled. Now What?”.

Then, I shared samples from what I’d begun to notice online: a wave of generous invitations and projects devoted to helping authors cope with the unforeseen challenges to their book-promotion plans. Others have already compiled detailed lists of some of these efforts. Consult, for example, another offering from Allison Pottern Hoch (a list of virtual promotional opportunities) and Diana Urban’s post on “8 Ways Authors Are Helping Authors with Books Releasing During COVID-19” for BookBub.

I won’t intentionally repeat in this space the many wonderful projects that are already mentioned in these two pieces, so do be sure to check them. But I will share several more such manifestations, all of which, as of this writing, appear to be welcoming pitches/submissions. Please be sure to read all guidelines (and, in the case of social-media posts, full threads) and check for updates.

  • From Leesa Cross-Smith: “HEY Y'ALL! Joining the voices! Yr book came out last week or is coming out this week or in a bit? If yr book launch has or will be affected by this wildness, reply to this w yr name + a book link (and info/anything cute you want) and I will try my best to boost all I can! Xo.”

  • From J. David: “Howdy to all poets with collections out right now that are having readings and events cancelled— I’m the chief poetry critic over at @clereviewbooks and I’d like to review your books! Hopefully some exposure and critical engagement will help you sell some more copies.”

  • “Friends with new books: Here at The Drum, we’re hoping to help folks facing canceled launches, tours, and events by hosting a series of ‘mini-casts.’ We'll feature you reading one sentence about your book, one poem or paragraph from the book, and one recommendation for someone else's book/poem/movie/piece of music that you turn to in times like these. DM us for details!”

  • Yi Shun Lai has assembled a Google doc “for books that have a spring or summer 2020 release. The idea is that folks can drop their books into the list so that we can all see who’s releasing this season and buy your books!” (Yi Shun is also adding the titles to her list.)

  • Posted by the Library Journal Twitter account: “If your book debut has been impacted by COVID-19 (or will be) please reply with your title, author name if it's different from your Twitter handle, and release date or ISBN! @LibraryJournal is compiling a list to help collection development librarians. RTs appreciated.”

  • Quail Bell Magazine is “looking to interview artists, writers, and small business owners affected by COVID-19. We’d love to hear from you!”

  • From Heidi Rabinowitz at The Book of Life podcast: “If you write or illustrate Jewish books, I invite you to take part in The Book of Life’s COVID-19 response, Books in the Time of Coronavirus. I know the coronavirus closures are affecting many book launches with cancelled tours, school visits, book birthdays, etc. If you are an author or illustrator in that situation, I invite you to virtually promote your book on The Book of Life Podcast. Here’s how: I will supply a few questions for you to answer. You record yourself and send me the audio file. If I get just a few entries I'll combine them into a single podcast episode. If I get a lot, maybe it will become a series.”

  • And from Liza Wiemer: “Authors who have had events canceled, I would love to promote you and your book on my blog, Instagram, Facebook, and here! Interested in a short, fun Q & A? DM me!”

Thank you to everyone mentioned here for all of their generosity. And good luck to everyone who’s promoting a book—at any time.

If you’re regretting having missed the sessions mentioned earlier in this article, I have some happy news for you: Hidden Timber Books is currently offering a recording of the webinar (plus a copy of the slides) on-demand. Find out more on their website.


There’s not all that much that I’m able to do at this time to help others directly. But I can research and compile.

So by the middle of March, that’s what I was doing. This new page on my website is the result:

4. UPCOMING/ONGOING CONTESTS, COMPETITIONS, AND OTHER OPPORTUNITIES OF INTEREST (now listed by deadline, with earliest deadline first)

    Deadline: April 9, 2020, 1AM Pacific. “To celebrate our upcoming half-year anniversary, we're running a short story contest! The winner will receive $100; second place $50; and third $25, and all three stories will be aired on The Short Story Show podcast.”

    Deadline: April 17, 2020. For submissions of flash fiction (1,000 words or less). “The winning writer will receive $125 plus our regular payment for accepted pieces. Cathy Ulrich, author of Ghosts of You, will guest judge.”

    Deadline: April 17, 2020. “Created by the Missouri Humanities Council, the Warrior Arts Alliance, and Southeast Missouri State University Press, this series of anthologies preserves and shares military service perspectives of our soldiers and veterans of all conflicts and of their families. It is not only an outlet for artistic expression but also a document of the unique aspects of wartime in our nation’s history. Writing must be by veterans, military-service personnel, or their families.” Contest confers $250 and publication for each of five categories: short fiction, poetry, interview with a warrior, essay, and photography.

    Deadline: April 27, 2020 (midnight, GMT). “We invite you to write a poem about a member or members of royal families from countries around the world….You can write about any aspect of royalty: their role, actions, dress sense, sense of duty, scandals, economic relevance, artistic or sporting interests, their dogs and other pets or even their handbag (what’s in it?). You can be a royalist or staunch republican, that’s all fine, as long as, we are moved, excited, amused, annoyed or inspired by your poem.” Prize: “The author of the winning poem will receive £200. The winning poem and runners-up will be published in our online magazine.”

    Deadline: April 30, 2020. From Lucas Aykroyd: “I’ve been very fortunate, and it’s time for me to give back. With the Irene Adler Prize, I’m awarding a $1,000 scholarship to a woman pursuing a degree in journalism, creative writing, or literature at a recognized post-secondary institution in the U.S. or Canada, based on an essay competition.”

    Deadline: April 30, 2020. “Five Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships in the amount of $25,800 each will be awarded to young poets in the U.S. through a national competition sponsored by the Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. Established in 1989 by the Indianapolis philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the fellowships are intended to encourage the further study and writing of poetry.” Eligibility limited to U.S. citizens or residents, 21-31 years old as of April 30, 2020.

    Deadline: May 1, 2020 (midnight GMT). “The outright winner will be given a publishing contract with erbacce press who will publish a perfect-bound collection of the winner’s book labelled ‘Winner of the erbacce-prize for poetry 2020.’ We will pay all costs including the legal registering of the book and supplying copies to the major libraries and of course to the author. The book will be sold through our sales/shop pages and the poet will be paid 20% royalties…. Two runners-up will also be considered and they will win either a perfect bound book or a high quality chap-book under similar terms as the winner. Four other poets will be chosen to be the ‘Featured Poet’ in each of the quarterly copies of our in-house journal ‘erbacce’ which means that one half of the journal will be devoted to interviewing them and displaying/publishing their work. ALL submissions may be used in future journals, previously published or not (we will of course acknowledge p/p and send poet a copy).”

    Deadline: May 1, 2020. For a novel, published in 2019 and set within one of the Southern states listed at the website, “chosen for the quality of its prose, its originality, its sense of place and period, and the authenticity and appeal of its characters.” Prize: $10,000 and an expense-paid trip to Oxford, MS. “The author must come to Oxford to receive the award, attend a luncheon with the contest judges and a reception in his/her honor. At the reception copies of the book are given to those attending, and the author is available to sign them.” 

    Deadline: May 1, 2020. “A prize of $2,500 will be awarded for an original, unpublished poem that evokes the American South. Poets may enter only one poem in any style no longer than three pages (12 point font, one inch margins). A cover letter with your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and the title of your submission must be included. Poems must be submitted to the address below by regular mail….Susan Kinsolving will judge. The winner will be notified by August 2020 and invited to attend the Willie Morris Award ceremonies in October 2020 with travel expenses paid for the occasion.” 

    Deadline: May 1, 2020. This Oregon-based project is now receiving applications for two residency programs. The Shotpouch Collaborative Retreat “is a two-week retreat at the Cabin at Shotpouch Creek for two participants. There are two summer 2020 sessions available: August 1 to 14 and August 22 to September 4.” The Andrews Forest Writing Residency at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest “is part of the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program. The fall 2020 residency window begins on October 1 and ends on November 30.” Both programs offer housing and stipends of $250.

    Deadline: May 4, 2020. Grants of $40,000 “will be awarded to as many as eight writers in the process of completing a book-length work of deeply researched and imaginatively composed nonfiction for a general readership. It is intended for multiyear book projects requiring large amounts of deep and focused research, thinking, and writing at a crucial point mid-process, after significant work has been accomplished but when an extra infusion of support can make a difference in the ultimate shape and quality of the work. Whiting welcomes applications for works of history, cultural or political reportage, biography, memoir, the sciences, philosophy, criticism, food or travel writing, graphic nonfiction, and personal essays, among other categories. Again, the work should be intended for a general, not academic, adult reader. Self-help titles and textbooks are not eligible.” NB: “Projects must be under contract with a US publisher to be eligible. Contracts with self-publishing companies are not eligible. Applicants must be US citizens or residents.” 

    Deadline: May 11, 2020. For New Zealand citizens/residents only. “The North & South Short, Short Story competition is back – a bit later than usual, but as cool and competitive as ever….Stories must be 300 words or fewer. There are no boundaries as to themes, structure or narrative styles; we’ll be looking for small but perfectly formed yarns.” Prize: publication, plus cash prizes ($400 for the winner; $150 for two runners-up). (HT @Duotrope)


  • Slated to open April 1: the next round of submissions for MUD SEASON REVIEW, which seeks “deeply human work that will teach us something about life, but also about the craft of writing or visual art; work that is original in its approach and that in some way moves us.” Pays: “We pay authors and featured artists $50 for their work. Artists whose images we select to pair with writing receive $15.” NB: The deadline listed is May 1, but “we may close the reading period early by genre if volume demands.” 

  • THE RUSH, a literary magazine edited by the graduate students at Mount Saint Mary’s University in Los Angeles, seeks “high-energy pieces that reflect the rush of life. We're delighted to be able to pay writers.” Deadline: April 15, 2020.

  • Also closing April 15: submissions for HEADWAY QUARTERLY’s “Food” issue. “We are seeking submissions of previously unpublished fiction, poetry, essays and other written work on the theme of food—whatever that means to you. As always, we will publish ‘Process Materials’ from our writers alongside their original submissions.” Payment: $25.

  • “From April 15 to July 15, BELLEVUE LITERARY PRESS will accept fiction and nonfiction submissions….No memoir, self-improvement, popular reference, handbooks, cookbooks, poetry, etc.”

  • As CATAPULT has announced, its magazine is open for submissions in three nonfiction categories: “Queer Life,” “On Writing,” and “15 Minutes.” Deadline: April 17. Payment: “Writers will receive compensation for accepted online magazine pieces.”

  • If you want to send work to the Canadian literary journal THE FIDDLEHEAD during this submissions window, do so by April 30. They welcome “good writing in English or translations into English from all over the world and in a variety of styles, including experimental genres. Our editors are always happy to see new unsolicited works in fiction, including excerpts from novels, creative nonfiction, and poetry. We also publish reviews, and occasionally other selected creative work such as excerpts from plays. Payment: “$60 CAD per published page, plus two complimentary copies of the issue with your work. Contributors may purchase additional copies of an issue at a discount.”

  • Another Canadian journal, BRICK, which focuses on literary non-fiction, will also close to submissions on April 30. Payment begins at $55, “plus two copies of the issue the work appears in and a one-year subscription to the magazine.”

  • Also through April, COCOA YELLOW DIARY, “a literary platform featuring narrative essays on colorism written by black female writers,” is accepting essays for its first book. Payment: $50.

  • RED MOUNTAIN PRESS, which publishes “poetry and poets’ memoirs and literary fiction,” will end its current no-fee open submissions period on April 30.

  • SUTRA PRESS, “an independent micro-press that publishes chapbooks that serve to change our lives and wake us up,” is open for submissions until April 30. Pays: “$200 per manuscript chosen to be published.”

  • ARC PAIR PRESS publishes “perfect-bound prose mini-books…short collections of fiction or nonfiction, or single pieces of writing such as novellas or long essays.” Their next deadline is May 1. Pays: “25 Copies + 30% of Profits + 50% Discount on Additional Copies.”

  • CLAW & BLOSSOM, “an online journal of short prose and poems that touch upon the natural world,” is currently open for submissions for its June 2020 “Solstice” issue. (I have not located a deadline.) Pays: “$25 USD per acceptance upon publication via PayPal only. (Linked micros are considered one acceptance.)”

  • Reopened for submissions: MATTER PRESS’s JOURNAL OF COMPRESSED CREATIVE ARTS, which is “looking for, as you might guess, ‘compressed creative arts.’ We accept fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, visual arts, and even kitchen sinks, if they are compressed in some way.” Pays: “$50 per accepted piece and signed contract.” Will close again June 15.

  • MOJO, “the online literary journal of Wichita State University,” which publishes fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction, has also re-opened. “All selected work is considered for the annual edition of Mikrokosmos—our print journal that has published for over fifty years, featuring work from William S. Burroughs, Charles Plymell, and William Stafford, among others.” Pays: “mojo pays a $15 USD flat rate per poem, nonfiction piece, fiction piece, or comic. Please note that submissions to our blog, Latest Content, is not a paying market (we’re sorry!) If a piece is selected for publication in Mikrokosmos, an additional $15 USD will be paid. We know this isn’t much, but as writers ourselves, we like to pay our contributors.” Will remain open through July (HT @Duotrope).

  • Via Trish Hopkinson: “COFFEE & ORANGES (formerly Kahini Magazine) is the literary monthly print magazine for Kahini members: submissions, however, are open to all and accepted year-round. Contributors receive a subscription to the magazine and $5,000 payment! (No, that is not a misprint and it is very real.)”

  • Reminder from FRONTIER POETRY: “Submissions for our New Voices poetry category are open year round to any new and emerging poet who has not published more than one full-length collection of poetry. New Voices are published online only and will feature a number of poems from new authors each month.” Pays: $50/poem, up to $150.

  • Another reminder: THE PURITAN seeks submissions “all year round, from anywhere in the world.” NB: “Please note that we can only issue payments using PayPal or a cheque in the mail. We also pay in CAD.” 

  • And still another reminder: Make it a habit to check the CHICKEN SOUP FOR THE SOUL website, where titles in development are posted. “So whether you are a regular contributor or new to our family, please share your [true] story or poem with us. If this is your first time, please visit our Story Guidelines page, which will answer many of your questions about subject matter, length, and style.” Pays: $200 plus 10 free copies.


The newsletter is published just once each month, but there’s always something new on the Practicing Writing blog:

  • (Monday) Markets and Jobs for Writers (including state/province/city-specific opportunities that are typically omitted from the monthly newsletter)

  • Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

  • (Friday) Finds for Writers

  • Sunday Sentence

Please visit, and comment! 

Interested in matters of specifically Jewish literary and cultural interest? Please also visit the My Machberet blog (“machberet” is the Hebrew word for “notebook”).


Information contained in The Practicing Writer is collected from many sources, with the purpose of providing general references. It is researched to the best of our ability but readers should verify information when necessary and appropriate. The Practicing Writer and its editor disclaim any liability for the use of information contained within. Thank you for subscribing/reading.

For updates and additional opportunity listings between newsletters, please check in with our “Practicing Writing” blog and follow Erika Dreifus on Twitter (@ErikaDreifus) and on Facebook.

About the editor: Erika Dreifus is a writer, teacher, and literary consultant whose books include Birthright: Poems and Quiet Americans: Stories. A Fellow in the Sami Rohr Jewish Literary Institute, she lives in New York. Please visit to learn more about her work and follow her on Twitter @ErikaDreifus, where she tweets “on matters bookish and/or Jewish.”

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