Through our annual contests and open reading periods, we seek innovative, electrifying, and thoroughly intoxicating manuscripts that ensnare themselves in our hearts and minds and won’t let go.

During our June and November open reading periods, we accept submissions in the following categories: novel, novella, short story collection (full-length and chapbook), poetry (full-length and chapbook), biography & cultural studies, translation (from the German), and creative nonfiction. 


We also hold several annual contests. Here is our reading schedule:

The Big Moose Prize: December 1 – January 31
(Open competition, novels)

The Hudson Prize: February 1 – March 31
(Open competition, poetry and short story collections)

The Spring Black River Chapbook Competition: April 1 – May 31
(Open competition, poetry and fiction chaps)

Open Reading Period 1: June 1 – June 30

The St. Lawrence Book Award: July 1- August 31
(First book competition, poetry and short story collections)

The Fall Black River Chapbook Competition: September 1 – October 31
(Open competition, poetry and fiction chaps)

Open Reading Period 2: November 1 – November 30

(Please note that we occasionally offer early bird specials on our contests. These specials allow authors to submit their manuscripts ahead of time at a discounted rate.) 

Please submit your work to the appropriate category below.
Ends on December 31, 2017$15.00 - 500.00
$15.00 - 500.00

During the month of December, Black Lawrence Press authors TJ Beitelman, Elizabeth J. Colen, and Jenny Drai are on board to critique mixed genre and hybrid manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from short 2-page pieces of work to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

• Short pieces, up to 2 pages in length, $15

• Medium piece, up to 10 pages in length, $30

• Long pieces, up to 20 pages in length, $45

• Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150

• Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $250

• Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $500

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font. 

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is December 31, 2017. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by January 31, 2018.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

Note: Please do not send manuscripts that promote hate speech, are intended to harass or bully a specific person or group of persons, or include glorified sexual violence.

---------------------

TJ Beitelman's Statement of Purpose

I believe art is form. I believe the forms the world can shape are myriad. I am thankful that the contemporary moment seems to be embracing this artful multiplicity as (almost) never before.

When I read a thing, a form—any form or thing—I ask a set of simple questions. Simplicity is, I think, the best way to meet multiplicity.

And so, the questions are these:

  •     What is this thing doing well?
  •     What is this thing about?
  •     What can this thing do better?
  •     Has this thing found its form?

Other things I believe:

I believe writing is not a subject matter; it’s (often) a means of approaching a subject matter.

I believe writing is an act of connection—connection to subject, to self, to reader, to something even more numinous than any of that.

I believe good writing is good thinking—but I also believe good thinking is not always rational, not always linear, and it doesn’t always solve the mysteries it carries within it.

I believe, lastly and maybe mostly, that a writer’s intentions are sometimes overrated. That’s why critique is such a valuable tool. It (often) disabuses us of our (sometimes) oppressive notions of “what we’re really trying to say.”

My response to your things, your work, will reflect these beliefs (through the lenses of those four specific questions above), and it will honor the fact that we are kinfolk in this strange vocation of making things from nothing.

Ends on December 31, 2017$15.00 - 500.00
$15.00 - 500.00

During the month of December, Black Lawrence Press authors TJ Beitelman, Elizabeth J. Colen, and Jenny Drai are on board to critique mixed genre and hybrid manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from short 2-page pieces of work to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

• Short pieces, up to 2 pages in length, $15

• Medium piece, up to 10 pages in length, $30

• Long pieces, up to 20 pages in length, $45

• Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150

• Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $250

• Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $500

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font. 

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is December 31, 2017. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by January 31, 2018.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

Note: Please do not send manuscripts that promote hate speech, are intended to harass or bully a specific person or group of persons, or include glorified sexual violence.

---------------------

Elizabeth J. Colen's Statement of Purpose

Genre is a story we tell ourselves in order to make the world understandable. Like the moon is to the east of the north star this day. Like north is north and east is east. The moon doesn’t believe in east, and the star doesn’t know what north is. It only knows its fission, which it doesn’t have a name for anyway.

This is to say, I don’t believe in genre. I believe a work stands or it falls regardless of what it’s called. The moon still there, nameless.

That is not to say there are no rules.

In the second century b.c., Terence said, “There’s nothing to say that hasn’t been said before.” The first rule is to make it beautiful, to push it up against some newness in presentation. Since, after all, you’re just repeating. The first rule is to bring focus into qualitative control. Where the reader looks, where the eye lingers, where the moon’s dark leaves a wet ring on the coffee table. The first rule is balance.

I read best from a surface place of enjoyment, loving the words for what they are, stung cold when they don’t perform, worse yet when a writer packs a page with loose and unnecessary sounds. Condense, condense. While I read to understand the deeper intentionality of a piece, it is the line-level urgency of communication I’m most interested in.

When constructing a whole book, the manuscript should move forward by way of narrative, concept, sound, or the building of image, accruing meaning through both intention (content) and intuition (sound).

My aesthetics are informed by ravenous reading habit, 2-4 books a week, with a focus on work that doesn’t rely on conventional means. It is my hope that by reading everything, all the secrets of language and story will unlock themselves, matrix-like before me. Writers I currently cannot live without include Maggie Nelson, Roland Barthes, John Keene, Rachel McKibbens, Carmen Machado, Gertrude Stein, Selah Saterstrom & Craig Santos Perez.

Ends on December 31, 2017$15.00 - 500.00
$15.00 - 500.00

During the month of December, Black Lawrence Press authors TJ Beitelman, Elizabeth J. Colen, and Jenny Drai are on board to critique mixed genre and hybrid manuscripts; and they are accepting everything from short 2-page pieces of work to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

• Short pieces, up to 2 pages in length, $15

• Medium piece, up to 10 pages in length, $30

• Long pieces, up to 20 pages in length, $45

• Extended pieces/chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $150

• Short manuscripts, up to 90 pages in length, $250

• Long manuscripts, up to 200 pages in length, $500

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font. 

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is December 31, 2017. The consultants will complete their work and respond to all participants by January 31, 2018.

Space in this program is limited, so please be sure to submit your work soon!

Note: Please do not send manuscripts that promote hate speech, are intended to harass or bully a specific person or group of persons, or include glorified sexual violence.

---------------------

Jenny Drai's Statement of Purpose

As an editor, I begin by trusting the writing. I view each poem or mixed-genre piece as a world-building exercise in and of itself. When consulting on your manuscript, I’ll step into the world you’ve created and work within the given parameters to strengthen the building blocks of that world, from the ground level up. When necessary, I’ll gently encourage you to broaden the horizons of this world and I’ll offer concrete advice on how to accomplish this.

(Please note: I am especially interested in reading poetry, prose poetry, and mixed-genre pieces that lean towards poetry. If your manuscript leans more heavily towards prose, you might wish to work with another consultant.)

Some questions I’ll ask as I consult on your manuscript:

Does the writing grab and hold my attention? (I’ll draw on my experience as a reader for a chapbook contest and as an editor for a literary journal here.) In cases where the writing doesn’t grab my attention, where can the writer push gently to get more out of the language?

Is there an overall arc to the collection? Do the poems or mixed-genre pieces talk to each other and create compelling connections as they are ordered in the manuscript? (Ordering a manuscript is one of my specialties.)

How well are line breaks working in individual poems, or in the case of prose poetry and mixed-genre pieces, is there enough tension in the language to create energy as one sentence flows into another?

Is the imagery specific and evocative, or are there instances where the writing may be too abstract?

How does form help to create meaning in the individual poems or mixed-genre pieces and within the overall scope of the manuscript? Are there instances when slight alterations in form might serve to clarify what the poem or mixed-genre piece is trying to say?

And more…

As I consult on your manuscript, I’ll offer line edits as well as overall feedback, all the while holding your vision for your writing close to hand. Please feel free to address any specific concerns or questions in your cover letter.

Ends on January 31, 2018$25.00
$25.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Big Moose Prize for an unpublished novel. The prize is open to new, emerging, and established writers. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes will be awarded on publication. 

All entries are read blind by our panel of editors. All manuscripts should include a title page (listing only the title of the work), table of contents, and when appropriate, an acknowledgments page. Manuscripts should be paginated and formatted in an easy-to-read font such as Garamond or Times New Roman. Manuscripts should be 90-1,000 pages in length, not including front and back matter (table of contents, title page, etc.). Identifying information for the author should not be included anywhere on the manuscript itself, including in the name of your file or in the "title" field in Submittable. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note on Submittable, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

Simultaneous submissions are acceptable and encouraged, but please notify us by withdrawing your manuscript on Submittable immediately if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.

The annual deadline is January 31.

The previous winners of The Big Moose Prize are Tracy DeBrincat, Jen Michalski, Betsy Robinson, Genanne Walsh, Megan McNamer, Robley Wilson, and Shena McAuliffe. Below, you will have the option to purchase their novels for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Please note: this category is open only to our current BLP authors (those with forthcoming or previously published titles). Submissions entered via this category from writers who are not currently published by BLP will not be considered. If you are not a current BLP author, please exit out of this category and submit through the relevant open category or contest. Our full reading schedule appears on our Submittable page. Thank you!

Current BLP authors: We're so happy that you'd like us to consider another manuscript from you. Please submit it here.