March Submission Deadlines: 20 under $20

By Lisbeth Coiman

As part of our ongoing effort to encourage women to submit to top tier literary journals, Women Who Submit has put together a monthly submission call round up, hoping women writers find it useful and come back to it again and again. For our first list, we have included 19 publications with under $20 submission fees, and one publication with a slightly higher fee.


  1. The Indiana Review

Reading Period: Opening date not listed – March 10

Submission guidelines

What They Like:  They’ve received a ton of stories about cancer, so he could do without seeing any of those for a while and would prefer to see stuff that’s “different.”

  1. James Franco Review

Deadline: March 31

Submission guidelines

Genre: Poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction

Rotating Editors

Blind reading

  1. The Masters Review

Reading Period: January 15 – March 31

Submission guidelines

What They Like: Emerging fiction from new writers. They run year-round New Voices online editions and additional contests judged by the magazine editors and other writers.

  1. The Cincinnati Review

Reading Period: August 15 – April 16

Submission guidelines

What They Like: Realistic fiction, some humorous pieces
Responses: One submission, one form rejection

  1. Room Magazine

Deadline: for issue 39.4 : April 30

Submission guidelines.

Cost: $0

Featured: Sookfong Lee and Betsy Warland

Editor: Chelene Knight

Canadian publication. Recommended to read a couple of issues to get the feel of what they publish @ They are interested in poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction by women. They pay from CA$ 50 up to CA$120 depending on the number of pages. They accept one submission per genre per quarter and publish 80 to 100 pieces from a 2000 submissions slush pile.

  1. The Sun Magazine

Deadline: Open Call

Submission guidelines

Cost: $5

Hardcopy submissions only sent to

Editorial Department
The Sun
107 N. Roberson St.
Chapel Hill, NC 27516

They publish personal essays although they also accept interviews, fiction and poetry. Your immaculate personal essay competes against thousands of other great essays in the slush pile every month. They take up to six months to reply. The nicely printed rejection letters make for a good keepsake too. They pay from $100-200 for poetry up to $2000 for interviews. SASE required.

It is highly recommended to read at least a couple of issues to get a feel for the magazine content and what the editors expect.

  1. Arcadia Magazine 

Deadline: Open Call

Submission guidelines

Cost: $3

Genre: Fiction, Poetry, Non-fiction, drama, and blog

Query before submitting. Online submission only.

  1. Red Light Lit

Deadline: Open Call

Submission guidelines

Genre: Poetry, prose, and art for events and for the magazine.

Editor: Jennifer Lewis

Submit to: also

Oakland based reading series and quarterly journal since 2013 publishes emerging writers and artists who delve in the senses with sophistication, humor, and wit.

                  Short Fiction Only

  1. The Paris Review

Reading Period: All year, but do not accept more than four submissions per year

Submission guidelines
What They Like: They seem a fair bit eclectic

10. The Atlantic

Reading Period: All year

Submission guidelines
What They Like: I’ve seen a little bit of everything, but they seem to prefer realism

11. The New Yorker

Reading Period: All year

Submission Guidelines:
What They Like: I’ve seen a little bit of everything, from realism to magical realism to a few other types of fiction, but not too much “genre”
Responses; If you haven’t heard from them within three months, you’re just supposed to assume you’re rejected

  1. Glimmer Train

Reading Period: Open year-round, but with general submissions in January, May, and September

Submission guidelines

What They Like: Rural stories, coming-of-age stories

  1. The Mid-American Review

Reading Period: Open year-round

Submission guidelines

What They Like: I’ve read everything from the fantastical to the dystopic to the realistic to the WTF-how-did-this-get-published, so they seem rather eclectic

  1. The Missouri Review

Reading Period: Open year-round, as far as I can tell, but don’t quote me on that 

Submission guidelines

What They Like: I haven’t been overly impressed with what I’ve read, but they seem to like realistic, rural, small-scale stories 


  1. Tayen Lane Publishing

First Annual Articulated Press Short Story Anthology

Deadline: March 31

Cost: $0

Submission guidelines

Editors: Nora Boxer and Kelly Luce

Submit to

Chosen contributors receive $100, publication, and two hardcovers, two softcovers, and an eBook edition.

Procyon Science Fiction Anthology

Deadline: March 31

Cost: $0

Editor: Jeanne Thornton

Chosen contributors receive $100, publication, and two hardcovers, two softcovers, and an eBook edition.

Submit to

  1. Ideate Publishing

Where is My Tiara? Anthology

Deadline: March 31

Genre: Short fiction

Theme: Stories that feature multilayered female protagonist that illuminate and celebrate the many facets and complexities of being a woman

Submit to

Selected stories will receive a copy of the anthology and a stipend of $100.00

  1. Masters Review

Anthology Volume V

Deadline: March 31

Submission guidelines

Cost: $20

Genre: Fiction, literary non-fiction (7000 words)

Prize: $500

This yearly anthology is composed of 10 stories by emergent writers. Last year, the Masters Review won the Silver Medal for Best Short Story Collection through the INDIEFAB Awards. (Among the past judges: Lauren Groff and Lev Grossman; current judge is Amy Hempel.)


  1. James Jones Fellowship Contest

Deadline: March 15, 2016
Submission guidelines

Cost: $33

Genre: Fiction (novels) only.


  1. $10,000
  2. $1,000 x 2

Submit to: James Jones First Novel Fellowship

c/o M.A./M.F.A. in Creative Writing

Wilkes University

84 West South St.

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Our most expensive publication on the list. This contest is seeking emergent fiction writers who have yet to publish a novel. The award honors the cultural and social values exemplified by late James Jones, author of From Here to Eternity. Contestants can’t have previously published novels, but are eligible with published short fiction and non-fiction work.

  1. Writers Community of Simcoe County

Word by Word – WCSC Short Fiction Contest

Deadline: March 31

Submission guidelines

Cost:       CAN$15


Judge: Literary Agent, Hilary McMahon of Westwood Creative Artists

Award:  Publication on WCSC website and

  1. $500 and commentary by Ms. McMahon
  2. $250
  3. $100
  1. Solstice, A Magazine of Diverse Voices

Solstice is a tri-quarterly magazine, with a response time of two to four months. It publishes fiction, non-fiction (essays and memoirs), poetry, and photography. It publishes both emergent and established writers of diverse backgrounds.

Solstice Annual Literary Contest

Deadline: April 20, 2016

Submission guidelines

Cost: $18

$500 Stephen Dunn Prize in Poetry

Judge: Richard Blanco

$1000 Fiction Prize

Judge: Celeste Ng. 

$500 Non-Fiction Prize

Judge: Michael Steinberg

Winners will be published in the Summer Award Issue in early August.

This is all for now. Hope to see you back next month, when we will try to compile another list of journals with plenty of details to help you plan and budget your submissions.

Headshot 2Lisbeth Coiman is a bilingual writer standing (unbalanced) on a blurred line between fiction and memoir. She has wandered the immigration path from Venezuela to Canada, to the US, and now lives in Oakland. Her upcoming memoir The Shattered Mirror celebrates friendship among women and draws attention on child abuse and mental illness. She also writes short fiction and poetry, and blogs “irregularly” at

The Art of Submitting to Writing Contests

by Tammy Delatorre

It was the first writing contest I had placed in. I was in the seventh grade. Our English teacher had forced us to write haikus and entered them—with a brief mention of this in class—into a statewide contest. On a field trip, we would find out the winners.

Cut to: We’re crowding into an auditorium, the good meal of a tuna sandwich and milk swimming in my belly. I was looking forward to a fun bus ride home, when a woman on stage announced I had won honorable mention for my haiku. Having heard my name, I looked around. People were waving me onstage. In a daze, I went up and accepted my ribbon.

For the most part, every writing contest I’ve placed in thereafter goes pretty much the same way. Bleary-eyed incredibility. I won. Are you sure?

Over the years, I have learned many lessons about entering writing contests, and chief among them is 1) you don’t have to believe you have the best submission out there to win. I know this from entering more than 100 contests and having placed more than 10 times, which brings me to another lesson: 1b) people who win contests typically submit a lot.

The next contest of note: I was a sophomore in college. There was a call to write an essay or poem about friendship. I was a poor student and needed the money. I had a best friend at the time (although I eventually lost her). She was my inspiration to write an embarrassingly bad poem that won $500. This brings me to another very important lesson: 2) the subject material should be extraordinarily important to the writer. I loved that best friend. I might have even been in love with her, the emotions so stirring it brought others to see the value in my piece.

One contest was local, sponsored by the Ventura County Writers Club. My short story placed third, won $120, and ran in the Ventura County Star. A writer I admired (Thaddeus Rutkowski) saw my story and asked to run it in the literary magazine, Many Mountains Moving, for which he served as editor. The lesson here: 3) size doesn’t matter; all types of contests can help in the advancement of a writing career. It was the first time I was called to read as a recognized author, not just part of a workshop or requirement for my MFA.

In another competition, River Styx Schlafly Beer Micro-Brew Micro-Fiction Contest, my piece, “Gifts from My Mother,” won a case of beer along with $1500. The story was less than 300 words. I’d been writing a lot of flash fiction and thinking, why am I wasting my time writing these short pieces? This brought me to another lesson, a variation on the size-doesn’t-matter theme: 4) short pieces have immense value. My roommate at the time loved beer; he drank the alcoholic portion of my winnings. I was happy to share.

I found out River Styx was hosting a reading in St. Louis, Missouri. I excitedly offered the editor to fly out from LA to participate. He said, but you’ll spend half your winnings to just come out here. I let him talk me out of it. In truth, I really wanted to go and had always regretted not doing it, so…  6) if you’re fortunate enough to win a contest, always find a way to perform a reading of your winning work—to honor the work, to celebrate your success, to tell the universe, Thank you! Thank you so much!

At that point in my writing, a friend of mine mentioned she’d met a great teacher who taught personal essay. I had no desire to write personal essay, but a couple other lessons that have helped in my overall development as a writer and eventually led to other contest successes were…  7) always be on the lookout for a good writing mentor, and 8) try not to limit the kind of writing you say you’re going to do, are willing to do, or are good or not good at… Try all kinds of writing. One type informs the other.

So I took the class. That personal essay mentor, Taffy Brodesser-Akner, told me a lot of things. Chief among them: 9) professional writers get paid to write, and in a side comment when reviewing one of my essays: 10) I think you’ve had an interesting life. For me, that was probably the most earth-shattering lesson of all. I didn’t know that people might find my life interesting. At the time, my life—full of family secrets—was something to hide, not publish.

I went home and searched my journals and notebooks. I’d been writing about my life all my life, so why not try to write something remarkably personal? I wrote “Out of the Swollen Sea,” which went on to be selected by author Cheryl Strayed as the winner of the 2015 Payton Prize and published on

But when I first finished that essay, Taffy’s important words rang in my ears (see #9). If my mentor had inspired me to write a piece so personal, how could I let her down and submit it to venues that would pay me nil, nada, zilch? So I thought, how could I get paid for this piece? What did I think this piece was worth?

Those questions led me to a submission strategy and an experiment of sorts. If you’d like to learn about it, come to the February Submission Party hosted by Women Who Submit, Saturday, February 13 at the Libros Schmibros: Lending Library & Bookshop (1711 Mariachi Plaza de los Angele, Los Angeles, California 90033). I will be leading a discussion on successful strategies for submitting to writing contests and share my “Anatomy of a Submission.”

bb5bc3b5-4e1f-41a2-8c80-d8277c6407baTammy Delatorre is a writer living in Los Angeles. In previous lives, she’s worked for a Nobel-prize-winning biochemist; helped to build and race a solar car that won the World Solar Challenge in Australia; and danced the hula despite being teased of stiff hips. Her essay, “Out of the Swollen Sea,” was selected by Cheryl Strayed as the winner of the 2015 Payton Prize, and her most recent essay, “Diving Lessons,” won the 2015 Slippery Elm Prose Contest. More of her stories and essays can be found on her website: