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 enthusiastically accept hybrid submissions. 


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. If you are submitting a hybrid manuscript, please select the submission category that best fits your work.

During the month of February, Black Lawrence Press author Louella Bryant is on board to critique creative nonfiction manuscripts; and she is accepting everything from flash-length essays to full-length manuscripts. The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  •     Flash Essays, up to 2 pages in length, $25
  •     Essays, up to 20 pages in length, $50
  •     Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  •     Manuscripts, up to 180 pages in length, $450
  •     Long Manuscripts, up to 300 pages in length, $700

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

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is February 29. Louella will complete her work and respond to all participants by March 31.

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.

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Louella Bryant's Statement of Purpose

"Great writing is meant to crush us, entertain and move us,  return us to ourselves with some greater understanding of the world and  its workings,” says editor Betsy Lerner in her book The Forest for the Trees. Certainly that is the response all writers want from our readers.  But how do you accomplish it? First, you need commitment and  perseverance, even on beautiful summer days, to sit and write and read  and write more. It also helps to have a mentor, someone who sees promise  in your writing and nurtures that promise. That’s where I come in.


A mentor should help a writer find the heart of a story or essay.  That is, instead of criticizing and tearing down your work, I’ll help  you find precisely what you’re trying to say and how to coax that heart  to the forefront of the piece, and I’ll do that by showing you how to  listen to your own writing and trust what it’s trying to tell you.


Once you discover what enlightenment you’re trying to offer your  readers, I’ll help you find your own voice to make your  stories/essays/manuscript uniquely yours. Having said that, we don’t  write in a vacuum. Even though it seems like a contradiction, I’ll point  you toward writers who will serve as successful examples for what you  are trying to achieve in your own writing. The best writers are also  readers.


You’ll get some technical tools and advice, suggestions about broad  qualities such as structure and flow, and direction on more specific  elements such as sentence variety and word choice. And I’ll press you to  write your best.


With your submission, I’d like an informal cover letter that will  tell me something about you so that I can understand where your writing  is coming from. I’m eager to dig into your work, so let’s get to it!

During the month of February, Black Lawrence Press author Beth Mayer is on board to critique fiction manuscripts, and she is accepting everything from flash fiction to full-length novels.The fees and parameters for each of these categories are as follows:

  •    Flash Fiction, up to two pages,  $25.00
  •    Short Stories, up to 20 pages $50.00
  •    Chapbooks,  up to 40 pages, $195.00
  •    Novellas, up to 100 pages, $325.00
  •    Short Story Collections,  up to 180 pages, $450.00
  •    Novels, up to 300 pages $700.00

All manuscripts should be double-spaced and formatted in 12-point font.The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is February 29. Beth will complete her work and respond to all participants by March 31. 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.

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Beth Mayer's Statement of Purpose


As a fiction consultant, I see my role as that of a curious and well-intentioned reader. My first job is to listen to you. With your insights to guide me, I aim to be honest, helpful, and kind in my critique. So, how do we get there? Writers who decide to work with me will be coachable and committed to revision as a process, understanding that our exchange will likely bring further work ahead. In your submission notes or at the top of your manuscript, please include a short background paragraph describing your goals for the piece; how “far along” the submitted draft is in your estimation; strengths and problems that you recognize; and what you seek to do in this round of revisions. After your background paragraph, please ask two authentic and open-ended questions about your piece to help focus my critique. And what can you expect to get back from me? Specifically, you won’t see line-edits or detailed revision notes on passages. Instead, I will do my best to address your questions. I will tell you what I see happening on the page; ask you some clarifying questions aimed toward further discovery; offer approaches you might consider, when appropriate; and (perhaps) recommend further reading that you may find instructive or inspiring. 

During the month of February, Black Lawrence Press author Jenny Drai is on board to critique poetry manuscripts; and she is accepting everything from single poems to full-length collections. The fees and parameters for each of these categories is as follows:

  • Single poems up to 2 pages in length, $20
  • Folios of up to 5 pomes, up to 7 pages in length $50
  • Chapbooks, up to 40 pages in length, $195
  • Full-length manuscripts, up to 80 pages in length, $325

All manuscripts should be formatted in 12-point font.

The deadline to submit work for this consultation program is February 29. Jenny will complete her work and respond to all participants by March 31.

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.

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Jenny Drai's Statement of Purpose

 

As an editor, I begin by trusting the writing. In my view, writers build worlds within each poem or manuscript. When consulting on your manuscript, I’ll step into the world you’ve created, working within the given parameters to strengthen the building blocks, from the ground level up. When necessary, I’ll encourage you to broaden the horizons of the world you’ve built and will offer concrete advice on how to accomplish this. 

Some questions I’ll ask while consulting on your manuscript:

· Does the writing grab and hold my attention? (I’ll draw on my experience working as an editor for a literary journal here, as well as my time as a member of a judging panel for a chapbook contest.)

· In the case of chapbook and book-length manuscripts, is there an overall arc to the collection? Do the poems talk to each other and create compelling connections as they are ordered in the manuscript?

· How well are line breaks working in individual poems, or in the case of prose poetry, is there enough tension in the language to create energy as one sentence flows into the next?

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

· Can I identify the why of the poem? In other words, does the poem, as written, have a compelling reason to exist, or is more urgency needed?

· How does form help to create meaning in both individual poems and within the manuscript as a whole? Are there instances when slight alterations in form might serve to clarify what the poem is trying to say?

In general, my taste in poetry is truly eclectic, but I especially enjoy work that engages with and/or interrogates myth, fairy tales, history, and other works of literature. I’m also interested in how/if poetry can intersect with genre writing (i.e., sci fi, fantasy, mystery, etc.). I read voraciously, and in addition to poetry, I consume novels, short stories, nonfiction, memoirs, and graphic novels. To give you a further sense of my aesthetics, some of my favorite literary journals include Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Fairy Tale Review, Foundry Journal, Jellyfish Magazine, and Pleiades. 

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries read blind by our panel of editors. 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 45-95 pages in length (poetry) or 120-280 pages in length (fiction), 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. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

A note regarding previously published work: Manuscripts containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your manuscript has been previously published as a collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible.

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

Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.

Collaborative collections are welcome.

Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.

Please enter fiction submissions here. The annual deadline for the prize is March 31.

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, Beth Mayer, Alan Chazaro, and Gwendolyn Paradice. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles for a discounted fee, which includes the cost of shipping.

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award The Hudson Prize for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The winner of this contest will receive book publication, a $1,000 cash award, and ten copies of the book. Prizes awarded on publication. 

All entries read blind by our panel of editors. 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 45-95 pages in length (poetry) or 120-280 pages in length (fiction), 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. You are welcome to include a brief bio or something about yourself in your cover note, which will only be made accessible to the editorial panel after the group of Semi-Finalist and Finalist manuscripts has been chosen.

A note regarding previously published work: Manuscripts containing individual stories or poems that have been previously published online or in print are absolutely eligible–please simply note previously published work on an acknowledgments page. On the other hand, if your manuscript has been previously published as a collection (including publication with a press, self-publication, online/digital publication, and publication in a small, limited-edition print run), then the manuscript is not eligible.

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

Multiple submissions (the submission of more than one manuscript to the contest) are permitted.

Collaborative collections are welcome.

Hybrid/multi-genre submissions are also welcome; please enter under the submission category that best fits your work.

Please enter poetry submissions here. The annual deadline for the prize is March 31.

The past winners of The Hudson Prize are Jo Neace Krause, Daniel Chacón, Abayomi Animashaun, Patrick Michael Finn, Sarah Suzor, B. C. Edwards, Jacob M. Appel, Bettina Judd, Matthew Cheney, Gillian Cummings, Caroline Cabrera, Beth Mayer, Alan Chazaro, and Gwendolyn Paradice. Below, you will have the option to purchase a selection of their titles 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 chapbooks or full-length 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.

Black Lawrence Press