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.
So you're getting ready to query agents with your complete fiction manuscript? Congratulations! That's a big step right there, and it can take a lot of polishing to get your materials in tip-top, query-ready shape. In the month of August, Black Lawrence Press Senior Editor Kit Frick is offering two consultation packages for querying authors. In addition to her editorial role at BLP, Kit is also the founding editor of Copper Lantern Studio, an independent editing studio offering a wide range of services to authors, writers, businesses, and organizations. Kit began her career as an intern at The Overlook Press, then as an intern and Editorial Assistant at Simon & Schuster. In 2009, she joined the editorial team at Black Lawrence Press, where she is currently a Senior Editor. She has studied with copyeditors, book editors, and literary agents through the Center for Publishing at New York University. Kit is also a writer—she studied writing and literature at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She has two poetry chapbooks published by Slope Editions and Rye House Press. Her fiction is represented by Erin Harris at Folio/Folio Jr. After surviving the query trenches and making it to the other side, Kit now loves working with querying fiction writers on getting their materials in the best possible shape.

Query Letter and Sample Pages Consultation

($80 for up to three reads of a completed query letter draft + feedback on the first 10 manuscript pages)

Writing a successful query letter is no easy feat! Whether you're just getting started and need some guidance on how to approach your query, or whether you've been querying for a while without much luck, I can help. You'll send in your completed query letter draft, and I'll do up to three rounds of edits. The first with lots of editorial comments, questions, and ideas; the second with targeted feedback on your revisions; and the third to polish up the writing to perfection.

Many agents will ask to see sample pages along with your query letter. Even if they don't, if they like your query, they'll be requesting your full or partial manuscript next—and your opening pages have to really shine for that agent to keep reading. The Query Letter and Sample Pages Consultation includes up to three reads of a completed query letter draft plus a one-page letter assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the first 10 pages of your manuscript and suggested line edits.

(Note: If you want a consultation on your query letter ONLY--no sample pages--please exit out of this category and select the correct category from the main page!)


Real talk:
So if I sign up for a query consultation, I'm guaranteed to sign with an agent / land a book deal / sell a million copies / have my book optioned for tv & film / earn a six-figure advance, right?

In the publishing business, there are no guarantees, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying to you, plain and simple. Here's what you can count on: if we work together, your writing will receive close, personal editorial attention. My focus will be on bringing your materials into the best possible light to help you meet your writing and publishing goals. Can I guarantee that this project will land you an agent or sell a million copies? I cannot, and nor could anyone else. What I can promise is to help you level up your writing, polish your materials, and give your manuscript the best possible chance to succeed.

$ 45.00
So you're getting ready to query agents with your complete fiction manuscript? Congratulations! That's a big step right there, and it can take a lot of polishing to get your materials in tip-top, query-ready shape. In the month of August, Black Lawrence Press Senior Editor Kit Frick is offering two consultation packages for querying authors. In addition to her editorial role at BLP, Kit is also the founding editor of Copper Lantern Studio, an independent editing studio offering a wide range of services to authors, writers, businesses, and organizations. Kit began her career as an intern at The Overlook Press, then as an intern and Editorial Assistant at Simon & Schuster. In 2009, she joined the editorial team at Black Lawrence Press, where she is currently a Senior Editor. She has studied with copyeditors, book editors, and literary agents through the Center for Publishing at New York University. Kit is also a writer—she studied writing and literature at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University. She has two poetry chapbooks published by Slope Editions and Rye House Press. Her fiction is represented by Erin Harris at Folio/Folio Jr. After surviving the query trenches and making it to the other side, Kit now loves working with querying fiction writers on getting their materials in the best possible shape.

Query Letter Consultation
($45 for up to three reads of a completed draft)

Writing a successful query letter is no easy feat! Whether you're just getting started and need some guidance on how to approach your query, or whether you've been querying for a while without much luck, I can help. You'll send in your completed query letter draft, and I'll do up to three rounds of edits. The first with lots of editorial comments, questions, and ideas; the second with targeted feedback on your revisions; and the third to polish up the writing to perfection.

(Note: If you want a consultation on both your query letter AND your sample pages, please exit out of this category and select the correct category from the main page!)


Real talk: 

So if I sign up for a query consultation, I'm guaranteed to sign with an agent / land a book deal / sell a million copies / have my book optioned for tv & film / earn a six-figure advance, right?

In the publishing business, there are no guarantees, and anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is lying to you, plain and simple. Here's what you can count on: if we work together, your writing will receive close, personal editorial attention. My focus will be on bringing your materials into the best possible light to help you meet your writing and publishing goals. Can I guarantee that this project will land you an agent or sell a million copies? I cannot, and nor could anyone else. What I can promise is to help you level up your writing, polish your materials, and give your manuscript the best possible chance to succeed.

Ends on 8/31/2016$ 25.00 - 37.00
$ 25.00 - 37.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award the St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. 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. 

Beginning with the 2014 St. Lawrence Book Award competition, all entries will be 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 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 for the prize is August 31. Please enter fiction submissions here.

Past winners:

2004: Marcel Jolley
2005: Stefi Weisburd
2006: Jason Tandon
2007: Fred McGavran
2008: Yelizaveta P. Renfro
2009: Brad Ricca
2010: Katie Umans
2011: Adrian Van Young
2012: Craig Bernier
2013: KMA Sullivan
2014: Thomas Cotsonas
2015: Alexandra Lytton Regalado

For an additional $12, you may choose to receive one of the books previously selected for the St. Lawrence Book Award. This fee covers the cost of the book (at a reduced price) and shipping. We will ship your book to the address listed in Submittable. The two current selections are:

  • Neither Here Nor There, stories by Marcel Jolley
  • The Wind-up Gods, poems by Stefi Weisburd
You will be able to choose the title of your choice on the following page. 
Ends on 8/31/2016$ 25.00 - 37.00
$ 25.00 - 37.00

Each year Black Lawrence Press will award the St. Lawrence Book Award for an unpublished collection of poems or short stories. The St. Lawrence Book Award is open to any writer who has not yet published a full-length collection of short stories or poems. 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. 

Beginning with the 2014 St. Lawrence Book Award competition, all entries will be 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 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 for the prize is August 31. Please enter poetry submissions here.

Past winners:

2004: Marcel Jolley
2005: Stefi Weisburd
2006: Jason Tandon
2007: Fred McGavran
2008: Yelizaveta P. Renfro
2009: Brad Ricca
2010: Katie Umans
2011: Adrian Van Young
2012: Craig Bernier
2013: KMA Sullivan
2014: Thomas Cotsonas
2015: Alexandra Lytton Regalado

For an additional $12, you may choose to receive one of the books previously selected for the St. Lawrence Book Award. This fee covers the cost of the book (at a reduced price) and shipping. We will ship your book to the address listed in Submittable. The two current selections are:

  • Neither Here Nor There, stories by Marcel Jolley
  • The Wind-up Gods, poems by Stefi Weisburd
You will be able to choose the title of your choice on the following page. 
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.