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Members who wish to submit a blog entry should send it to A review committee will consider each submission for membership interest and may suggest edits before publishing the submission to the blog. For more information, see Blog or Be Blogged.

  • 25 Dec 2023 9:53 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Raquel Damus

    Aspiring authors often embark on a journey filled with creativity, passion, and the dream of sharing their stories with the world. However, the path to publication is not without its challenges, and understanding the associated costs is crucial for a successful venture. In this guide, we'll break down the expenses involved in key aspects of the publishing process, helping authors make informed decisions.

    Here are stages to consider gathering prices for:

    • Getting (and paying) beta readers
    • Getting (and paying) for reviews
    • Developmental editing
    • Line editing
    • Copy editing
    • Cover design
    • Interior design
    • ISBNs
    • Publishing


    Beta Readers:

    Beta readers play a vital role in shaping the success of a manuscript. While some may offer their services for free, others, particularly professionals, might charge anywhere from $50 to $500 or more. Consider factors like the number of readers, their expertise, and potential travel expenses if in-person meetings are planned.

    • Volunteer Beta Readers: Often free.
    • Amateur Beta Readers: $0 to $50 per reader.
    • Professional Beta Readers: $50 to $500+ per reader.
    • Travel Expenses (if applicable): Varies.

    Book Reviews:

    Paying for book reviews is a common practice, with costs varying based on the source. Professional review services can charge between $50 and $500 or more per review, while bloggers and review websites may range from $25 to $500. It's essential to weigh the potential benefits against ethical considerations and your budget.

    • Professional Review Services: $50 to $500+ per review.
    • Bloggers and Review Websites: $25 to $500+ per review.
    • Review Copies: $5 to $20 per copy.
    • Marketing Packages: $500 to $2,000+.
    • Ethical Considerations: Important to consider.

    Developmental Editing:

    Developmental editing ensures your manuscript reaches its full potential. Rates typically range from $0.02 to $0.10 per word, with additional costs for rush services or specialized expertise. Editorial assessments might incur a separate fee, ranging from $500 to $2,000 or more.

    • Editor's Experience: $0.02 to $0.10 per word.
    • Manuscript Length: Longer manuscripts cost more.
    • Complexity: Complex edits may cost more.
    • Editorial Assessment: $500 to $2,000+.
    • Rush Services: 25% to 50% extra.
    • Hourly Rates: $50 to $150+ per hour.
    • Editing Packages: $2,000 to $10,000+.
    • Genre-Specific: May cost more.
    • Payment Structure: Deposit may be required.

    Line Editing:

    Line editing refines the language and structure of your work. Costs can vary from $0.01 to $0.05 per word, with hourly rates for more complex projects. Sample edits, ranging from $25 to $100, allow you to gauge compatibility with an editor.

    • Editor's Experience: $0.01 to $0.05 per word.
    • Manuscript Length: Longer manuscripts cost more.
    • Complexity: Challenging edits may require hourly rates ($25 to $75+ per hour).
    • Rush Services: 25% to 50% extra.
    • Hourly Rates: $25 to $75+ per hour.
    • Sample Edits: $25 to $100.
    • Editing Packages: $1,000 to $10,000+.
    • Genre-Specific: May cost more.
    • Payment Terms: Deposit may be required.

    Copy Editing:

    Copy editing focuses on grammar, style, and consistency. Expect to pay between $0.01 and $0.03 per word, with additional fees for rush services or hourly rates for challenging projects. Editing packages may range from $1,000 to $5,000 or more.

    • Editor's Experience: $0.01 to $0.03 per word.
    • Manuscript Length: Longer manuscripts cost more.
    • Complexity: Challenging projects may require hourly rates ($25 to $75+ per hour).
    • Rush Services: 25% to 50% extra.
    • Sample Edits: $25 to $100.
    • Editing Packages: $1,000 to $5,000+.
    • Genre-Specific: May cost more.
    • Payment Terms: Deposit may be required.

    Cover Design:

    A captivating book cover is essential for attracting readers. Cover design costs vary based on factors like experience, custom vs. premade designs, and the need for illustrations or photography. Prices can range from $50 to $1,500 or more.

    • Designer's Experience: $50 to $1,500+.
    • Custom vs. Premade Covers: Custom $300 to $1,500+; Premade $50 to $500.
    • Genre and Complexity: Can impact cost.
    • Illustrations and Photography: $100 to $1,000+.
    • Stock Images: $10 to $100+.
    • Typography and Layout: Can affect cost.
    • Ebook and Print Covers: $100 to $500+.
    • Revisions: Clarify included rounds.
    • Licensing Fees: If necessary, additional cost.
    • Payment Terms: Deposit (typically 50%) may be required.
    • Consultation Fees: If needed, may incur extra charges.

    Interior Design

    Embarking on the journey of publishing your book involves more than just storytelling—it's about presenting your work in a way that captivates readers. Interior book design is a critical component, ensuring your narrative is not only compelling but also visually appealing. 

    • Professional Designer Fees:

      • Range: $500 to $3,000+
      • Hourly rates: $50 to $150+
    • Software and Tools

      • Adobe InDesign: $20 to $50/month
    • Templates and DIY Options:

      • Pre-made templates: $30 to $100
      • DIY tools: Varying costs, potential learning curve
    • Formatting for Print and Ebooks:

      • Print books: Consider additional costs
      • Ebooks: Typically included in design fee
    • Revisions and Additional Services:

      • Revision fees: May apply for extra revisions
      • Additional services: Custom graphics, interactive elements may increase costs


    When an author opts for Amazon's free ISBN alternative, it serves as a specific identifier within the Amazon ecosystem. However, this exclusivity may prove limiting for authors with broader distribution aspirations. If your plan involves reaching readers beyond the Amazon marketplace — whether through brick-and-mortar bookstores, other online retailers, or libraries — a unique ISBN becomes an indispensable asset.

    If you plan to market and sell your book to more than Amazon shoppers, you will need an ISBN. For books published on Amazon, both ebooks and paperbacks, Amazon will provide a number to substitute for an ISBN at no cost, but that number will not be used by any other book distributor or publisher. Unless you plan never to sell a copy of your book, consider purchasing one or more ISBNs from Bowker Publishing Services.

    Bowker Publishing Services is a renowned provider of ISBNs, offering authors the opportunity to establish a distinct identity for their work across diverse platforms. Acquiring one or more ISBNs from Bowker comes with several advantages. ISBNs from Bowker are universally recognized, enabling your book to be cataloged and ordered by bookstores, libraries, and online retailers worldwide. Also authors with their own ISBNs have control over the metadata associated with their book, including pricing, format, and distribution details.

    Publishing Platforms

    Some platforms that indie published authors may choose to use, such as Ingram Spark, charge a fee for uploading the manuscript; Amazon does not charge for uploading manuscripts, but like all platforms, they charge a percentage of the cost of each book printed.

    IngramSpark is a publishing platform that facilitates both ebook and print book distribution. It is known for its extensive network, connecting authors with a wide range of retailers, libraries, and bookstores. IngramSpark offers Print On Demand (POD) services, eliminating the need for large upfront print runs. Books published through IngramSpark can be distributed to major retailers worldwide. 

    Amazon KDP is a dominant force in the world of digital self-publishing. It allows authors to publish and distribute ebooks globally, reaching millions of Kindle readers. Amazon has a vast international audience, offering authors a broad reach. KDP provides user-friendly tools for manuscript uploading, cover design, and pricing.

    D2D offers a straightforward interface for uploading and managing ebook files. Authors receive consolidated royalty payments from multiple retailers through D2D. D2D distributes to major ebook retailers, including Apple Books and Barnes & Noble.

    • Ingram Spark - $25 to $49
    • Amazon KDP - no cost for uploading to the platform. KDP relies on charging a percentage of the royalties.
    • Draft2Digital - no cost for uploading to the platform. D2D charges a percentage of the sales of the books.

    In conclusion, understanding the costs associated with beta readers, book reviews, editing services, and cover design is vital for authors navigating the publishing landscape. While these investments can enhance the quality and marketability of your work, it's crucial to find a balance that aligns with your budget and overall publishing goals.

  • 21 Nov 2023 10:50 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tactics for Getting Reviews Ahead of the Publication of Your Book

    Many of the ideas below require taking action well in advance of when you need reviewers to provide blurbs for your book. The ideas are ordered with those requiring earlier action first, although this is not a recommendation to follow them all in that order. 

    Not every tactic may fit your overall strategy for marketing your book without further research. Spend some time to describe the persona of your ideal reader first. Then look for tactics you feel resonates best with your ideal reader. Locating a smaller number of potential reviewers who address your ideal reader’s persona may yield stronger reviews than targeting a broader range of reviewers who are not in line with your ideal reader.

    Establish connections with potential reviewers ahead of time so your first contact isn’t a request that they provide something to you.

    Join Author and Reader Communities:

    Engage with online communities of authors and readers, such as writing forums, Facebook groups, or book clubs. This can help you connect with potential reviewers and build a support network.

    Build Relationships in Advance:

    If possible, establish relationships with potential reviewers before you need their help. Engage with them on social media, attend relevant events or conferences, and support their work in return. Building relationships can make it more likely that they'll agree to review your book.

    Author Website and Social Media:

    Maintain an author website and active social media profiles. Use these platforms to share updates about your book and request reviews from your followers.

    Write a Compelling Pitch:

    Craft a persuasive pitch or request for reviews, emphasizing why your book is unique and why the reviewer's audience would be interested. Personalize your pitches to each potential reviewer.

    Query Traditional Reviewers:

    Send queries to traditional book review outlets, such as newspapers, magazines, and online literary journals. These outlets often review books in advance of publication. Make sure to follow their submission guidelines.

    Identify Potential Reviewers:

    Create a list of potential reviewers who might be interested in your book. These can include book bloggers, influential figures in your genre, industry experts, or even friends and family.

    Leverage Advance Review Copies (ARCs):

    Create Advance Review Copies (ARCs) of your book and distribute them to potential reviewers. ARCs are pre-publication copies that allow reviewers to read your book before it's released. Include a cover letter explaining your expectations for the review.

    Utilize Online Review Platforms:

    Websites like NetGalley and Goodreads allow authors to share ARCs with a broader audience, including readers and professional reviewers. Many reviewers actively seek books on these platforms.

    Create a Press Kit:

    Develop a professional press kit for your book, including a synopsis, author bio, high-resolution cover image, and sample chapters. This makes it easier for potential reviewers to consider your work.

    Offer Incentives:

    Some authors offer small incentives for early reviewers, such as personalized thank-you notes, signed copies, or exclusive content related to the book.

    Timing Matters:

    Approach potential reviewers well in advance of your book's release date. Reviewers often have busy schedules, so give them ample time to read and write their reviews.

    Be Professional and Grateful:

  • 16 Nov 2023 11:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    From Sandra Yeaman, SDWEG Member and Director-At-Large

    Okay, I admit it. This post is right at the edge of promotion for another organization, Pages and Platforms. Because I’ve had some wonderful experiences with them, I asked Sue Campbell, one of the trio of leaders of that organization pictured in the above image, if I could share the offer she sent to me.

    Some of you may recall when the other two members of the trio, Anne Hawley and Rachelle Ramirez, the other two featured in the header image, presented at a membership meeting on Story Types. Unfortunately, that was one presentation we missed recording, so we don’t have it to share. However, the offer below includes free access to Pages and Platforms’ Happily Ever Author Club for one month. HEA includes access to in-depth descriptions of all the Story Types Anne and Sue presented that evening. I can also confirm that if you sign up for the free month, Pages and Platforms will let you know ahead of the expiration of that free month so you won't get caught being charged for more, unless you find HEA valuable for you.

    So here goes with Sue’s offer to me which she agreed I could share with members of San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. The I and me in the rest of this post is Sue Campbell. The we is the Pages and Platform's team. And the you and your could be you. 

    Before I lay out the four stages of writing your novel, I want to let you know that we have a big, juicy sale going on. Our masterclasses are 50% off, our courses are 30% off and private coaching calls with me are 20% off. Check out the details here.​ 

    -OR- You can join the Happily Ever Author Club and get all the masterclasses and courses* as long as you have your membership. Redeem your one-month free trial!​

    Okay, so, what’s it going to take to get to the finish line on your current WIP?

    Let’s break it down into some manageable chunks.

    Stage 1: Zero draft. Editor Anne Hawley likens this to pulling the flatbed truck up to the building site and unloading all the materials. Whether you're pantsing or plotting, this is still the roughest of the rough drafts. You’re dumping out all your ideas of what you think your story is and hopefully a big dose of inspiration is carrying you through. Some of you may doing in this phase if you're doing NaNoWriMo this month.

    Stage 2: First draft. Not gonna lie: This is the hardest draft. It’s where you get clear on what your story really is and make sure the foundation is sound. You’ve got to come up with answers to some crucial story questions, the most important being your Story Type (see our Story Path course for lots more on this). Once you know what kind of story you’re telling, it can guide you to what needs to come out and go into the story you have so far.

    By the time you’re done, you’ll be a much wiser writer and know the premise of your story, the wants and needs of your characters, what’s at stake and how you want the audience to feel on that last page. This draft really benefits from working with a developmental editor or applying the concepts you learn in our Story Path course, which is currently 30% off. (use code: BFCOURSES)

    Stage 3: Refining drafts. How many additional drafts you write is up to you. It’s very likely you’ll want to do three or four refining drafts where you’re tightening up your structure and making sure you’re satisfying all the particulars for your Story Type. And—hopefully—doing some innovating for your Story Type, too. We recommend doing several refining drafts, working on one story aspect for each draft. You’ll do a draft where you work on your narrative device and POV, another for character development and dialogue, another where you make sure all your expository details are supporting your premise, another to check the stakes, etc.

    Stage 4: Final touches. This is the actual home stretch where you can go back and do any final line editing to make sure your prose is as good as your story structure, and then it’s time to copy edit and proofread. These final touches are best done with the help of professional line editors, copy editors and proofreaders, whether you’re traditionally published or not.

    That “first” draft, after your zero draft, can be a real slog. And if you don’t get that one right, all the drafts after that will be slogs too. That’s why we’re so excited to be offering 30% off our Story Path as part of our Black Friday Sale (use code: BFCOURSES).

    There are seven essential Story Types and the Story Path course helps you figure out which one you’re telling, then shows you how to use it to carve a path to a completed, professional draft that you can then refine and proudly publish.

    We are so excited to teach an enthusiastic group of writers exactly what kind of story they’re telling and how to use the special elements of their Story Type to forge a path to a finished book. It’s twenty modules that will deepen your understanding of story structure and help you write better books for the rest of your life. We even throw in some platform building teaching for good measure.

    Sue (and Anne & Rachelle)

    *If you join the HEA club, some course material is dripped out over several months. You keep access as long as you are a member. If you buy a course as a stand-alone, you get immediate access to all content and retain it for one year.

    Want to work with me and my team? The best way to get started on improving your author career is to join the Happily Ever Author Club. Don't forget to redeem your one-month free trial!​

    Note: This is a personal recommendation from Sandra, not from San Diego Writers and Editors Guild. Pages and Platforms has not provided any incentives or inducements to Sandra for including this message. 

  • 9 Nov 2023 2:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by Tamara Merrill

    Amazon KDP Compared to Draft2Digital

    For the first time, The Guided Pen 2023 Anthology will be distributed by Draft2Digital. This decision was made for several reasons. Primary among those reasons is the opportunity for wider distribution. But there are other important reasons. This move will allow all future Managing Editors to publish using one account; an account that is assigned to SDWEG. The formatting of the title, author, illustrator, cover designer, etc. will become standardized. The anthology will be published each year using the SDWEG logo as the imprint.

    The board intends to move older editions of the anthology to Draft2Digital, thus putting all of our books in one basket. This is not a quick move but will take several months.

    There will be no change for the purchasing public. Paperbacks and eBooks will continue to be sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., but our distribution will be much wider.

    As this year’s Managing Editor, I thought you might like to know more about Draft2Digital and how it compares to Amazon.

    Draft2Digital and Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) are two different platforms for self-publishing eBooks, and each has its own set of features and advantages. Here are some key differences between the two:


    Amazon KDP:

    Amazon KDP primarily focuses on publishing and distributing eBooks through the Amazon Kindle Store. Amazon does have a wide distribution opportunity, but it is less complete, and many retailers and libraries will not purchase Amazon-distributed books.


    Draft2Digital offers a broader distribution network. It allows you to publish your eBooks to multiple online retailers and libraries, including Amazon, Apple Books, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and others.


    Amazon KDP:

    Amazon offers different royalty rates depending on the pricing and distribution options you choose. For example, you can earn either a 35% or 70% royalty on Kindle eBooks, depending on factors such as pricing and exclusivity. Royalty rates for Amazon purchases are lower per book.


    Draft2Digital offers competitive royalty rates and provides a single dashboard to manage your royalties, making it convenient for authors who publish on multiple platforms. They also provide a 60-70% royalty rate when distributing through various retailers, depending on the list price and the retailer's policies. Royalty rates for D2D purchases on Amazon are lower per book than the royalties from other “stores.”


    Amazon KDP:

    Amazon KDP offers the Kindle Create tool and guidelines to help you format your eBook for Kindle devices and apps. You can also upload your own professionally formatted eBook.


    Draft2Digital provides an easy-to-use formatting tool and offers automated conversion to multiple eBook formats (ePub, MOBI, PDF) for various retailers. This can save you time and effort in preparing your eBook for different platforms.

    Marketing and Promotion:

    Amazon KDP:

    Amazon provides various promotional tools and opportunities, such as Kindle Countdown Deals, Kindle Free Book Promotions, and advertising options like Kindle Ads and Amazon Advertising, to help you promote your book to a wide Amazon audience. Their advertising platform is limited to Amazon promotion.


    While Draft2Digital doesn't have the same direct marketing tools as Amazon, it offers some promotional features, such as universal book links that make it easy to share your book across platforms. Additionally, you can use Draft2Digital's "Books2Read" service to create a reader-friendly landing page for your book, with links to various retailers. They have recently added multiple new, easy-to-use, marketing tools. The universal book link is easy to use in social media, newsletters, emails, etc.

    Pricing and Fees:

    In both cases, the author(SDWEG) sets the price for paperback and eBooks.

    Amazon KDP:

    Amazon KDP is free to use. There are no upfront fees, but Amazon takes a commission from your book sales.


    Draft2Digital is also free to use, and they also earn their revenue by taking a small percentage of your book sales when your books are distributed through their platform.

    In Summary

    Draft2Digital is a much smaller company than either Amazon or Ingram Spark. Their publishing, reporting, and formatting functions are straightforward and easy to use. Customer service support is readily available.

    Both Amazon KDP and Draft2Digital have their advantages, and the choice between them depends on your publishing goals and preferences. If you want the widest distribution, Draft2Digital might be the better choice. However, if you're primarily targeting Amazon customers or prefer Amazon's promotional tools, Amazon KDP may be the right option for you. Many authors also choose to use both platforms to maximize their book's reach.

  • 1 Nov 2023 11:17 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Every November, novelists, both published and hoping-to-be-published, take on the challenge of writing a novel in one month. That makes November National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo.

    The goal is to complete writing at least 50,000 words in one month. And even though writing is usually a solitary activity, NaNoWriMo encourages writers to join group writing sessions, to select writing accountability buddies, and to share results along the way.

    So, even if you haven't already joined NaNoWriMo, don't think it's too late. Check out the link to the organization's site and start writing now.

    For more information, check the NaNoWriMo home page:


    Young writers and educators, explore our Young Writers Program

  • 23 Oct 2023 5:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Anne Hoiberg's latest book, Tears of War—Stories of Refugee Women, packs an education and a call to action. To further that call, she has teamed with a local theatre group to bring the message to others at the same time as another worldwide effort to promote understanding of refugee and asylee issues will take place in San Diego.

    From November 3rd through the 5th, Little Amal, an 11-foot giant puppet, visits San Diego to showcase her role as a refugee successfully surviving the harrowing journey from war to peace. Vantage Theatre serves as a local partner of Little Amal’s visit. The refugee puppet was created by the British production companies, The Walk Productions and Good Chance, in collaboration with the South African Handspring Puppet Company.

    To honor Little Amal, Vantage Theatre's Executive Director Dori Salois and Anne Hoiberg are presenting a unique performance highlighting the stories of six refugee and asylum-seeking women from Anne’s book, Tears of War—Stories of Refugee Women. The women will present their stories of fleeing their war-impacted country, surviving the horrific journey to refuge, adjusting to a refugee camp or a neighboring country, and resettling in San Diego.

    Please join Vantage Theatre’s presentation on Saturday, November 4th, at 3 p.m., at the La Jolla Library, 7555 Draper Avenue, La Jolla. To reserve a seat, please get in touch with or 858-461-8552. A suggested donation of $20 can be processed at or with cash at the door. Proceeds will be contributed to Casa Cornelia Law Center (a pro bono law firm for asylum-seeking migrants) and to the six refugee women. After the program and during the reception. Anne will sign her book, Tears of War ($20.).

    Anne Hoiberg received a grant from California Humanities to create a play, documentary films, and the book, Tears of War—Stories of Refugee Women, which Montezuma Publishing published in December 2022. Tears of War highlights the strength, courage, and resilience of thirty-seven refugee and asylee women originally from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. These refugee or asylum-seeking women from fifteen different countries responded to Anne's interview questions about the terrifying journey from war to resettlement in San Diego. The book also includes a brief history of the country from which they fled. The histories of the fifteen countries provide a backdrop for the emotional stories of these women and the impact of colonialism and civil war on their lives.

    The powerful stories include many successes of refugee and asylee women overcoming the challenges and establishing new lives and careers, many devoted to assisting others. Some stories do not yet have similar happy endings. All are stories of determination and will to survive and thrive.

  • 23 Oct 2023 2:17 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Horror literature has always been a source of fascination for me. It offers a unique blend of thrills, chills, and thought-provoking narratives. Among the multitude of authors who have left their mark on this genre, there are five whose work holds a special place in my heart: Stephen King, Mary Shelley, Toni Morrison, Octavia E. Butler, and Victor LaValle. In this blog post, I'd like to share my deep admiration for these authors and explore the profound impact their stories have had on my love for horror fiction.

    For as long as I can remember, Stephen King has been a literary companion who's kept me up late into the night, eagerly turning the pages of his spine-tingling tales. From the moment I picked up The Shining, I was hooked. King's knack for crafting relatable characters in chilling scenarios is nothing short of genius. I've felt the terror of the Overlook Hotel, the ancient evil lurking in Derry, and the psychic abilities of Carrie White. King's stories are not just horror; they're journeys into the deepest recesses of human fear and imagination.

    Mary Shelley's Frankenstein is a timeless masterpiece that has haunted my thoughts since I first encountered it. Her exploration of the consequences of tampering with the unknown, the loneliness of the creature, and the moral dilemmas of creation are themes that continue to resonate deeply with me. Shelley's work transcends mere horror, delving into the very essence of what it means to be human and the ethical dilemmas we may one day face in our relentless pursuit of knowledge.

    Toni Morrison's Beloved is a novel that defies easy classification. It's a ghost story, a historical novel, and a meditation on the profound traumas of slavery. Morrison's storytelling is as poetic as it is haunting, and her characters are etched into my memory. Beloved has a way of lingering, much like the ghostly presence at its core, forcing readers to grapple with the painful legacy of racial injustice and the haunting effects of the past on the present.

    Octavia E. Butler's Fledgling introduced me to a new kind of horror—one that blends supernatural elements with thought-provoking social commentary. Her reinterpretation of the vampire mythos challenges conventional notions of power, consent, and identity. Butler's ability to make me ponder real-world issues within the context of a vampire society while maintaining an eerie atmosphere is a testament to her storytelling prowess.

    Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom is a recent discovery that left an indelible mark on my reading journey. LaValle's talent for mixing cosmic horror with social critique is both brilliant and deeply unsettling. As a fan of Lovecraft's work, I was captivated by how LaValle reimagines and critiques Lovecraft's themes while delivering a haunting narrative that forces us to confront the horrors of racism and prejudice.

    These five authors—Stephen King, Mary Shelley, Toni Morrison, Octavia E. Butler, and Victor LaValle—have not only fueled my love for horror literature but have also enriched my understanding of the world and its complexities. Their stories have resonated with me on a deeply personal level, leaving me in awe of their ability to craft tales that continue to haunt my thoughts. As I continue to explore the realms of horror fiction, I am grateful for the enduring influence of these literary masters, whose work has forever left its mark on my heart and soul.

  • 20 Oct 2023 3:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For those who write shorter pieces, this opportunity may be right for you.

    “I have always loved chapbooks. The first two books I published were chapbooks. What excites me is when a chapbook takes itself seriously as a literary form–up to something unique and different from other 'packaging,' other narrative or lyrical delivery devices—the novel, the short story collection, the novella, etc. It is not a 'minor' form for me. I love when a chapbook presents itself on an equal footing as those other forms. Not lesser or better but different, special. Its content is unable to be expressed in any other manner but this compact, shaped-charge of a book.” –Michael Martone, Guest Judge

    OPEN: Submissions Open Through December 17

    Guest Judge: Michael Martone

    For the fourth year, The Masters Review is open for submissions of literary prose chapbooks! They're interested in collections of flash fiction, creative nonfiction essays, short stories, and anything in-between. They encourage you to be bold, to experiment with style and form, as long as you stay under 45 pages. One chapbook will be selected as the winner by their guest judge, Michael Martone! The winner receives a $3,000 cash prize, along with manuscript publication and 75 contributor copies. Their chapbooks are distributed internationally and are available through, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. A digital version of the chapbook will be made available to their newsletter subscribers six months to a year after the print publication.

    Submissions will be accepted between September 1 and December 17, 2023. The Masters Review staff will select a shortlist of five to ten chapbooks to pass along to Michael Martone, who will pick the winner and write an introduction for the manuscript. The winning chapbook will be published in Spring 2025. Last year’s winner, Coats by Naomi Telushkin, selected by Kim Fu, will be published next spring. Masterplans by Nick Almeida, our inaugural winner, was chosen by Steve Almond, and Matt Bell selected Love at the End of the World by Lindy Biller as the winner of our second contest.

    All submissions must be single-author prose manuscripts of 25 to 45 pages. They are not interested in poetry. All manuscripts must be complete: no excerpts, no chapters of a novel, no works-in-progress, or any other incomplete work. Individual pieces may be previously published, but submitted manuscripts should contain some unpublished material. If you have questions or concerns about whether your manuscript would qualify, please email them at



  • 20 Oct 2023 2:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    "I love getting to know new work and new writers through a contest, and I love getting to see novels before they go out into the world, so judging The Masters Review Novel Excerpt Contest provides both of those things at once. I have waited years for a book based on an excerpt I read, and it is the best kind of waiting, and I am someone impatient in life. As a judge, I'm looking for an excerpt that will give me that kind of anticipation, a book that I will want to wait for. I want an excerpt that gives me a sense of the novel as a whole, rather than an excerpt that can stand alone/separate. I like novels that are difficult to excerpt, novels that contain elements of the whole in any part." –Matthew Salesses, Guest Judge

    The Masters Review Novel Excerpt Contest is open through November 12, 2023. Prizes include $3,000 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Maximum words for submission is 6,000. The Masters Review requires a $20 fee for submissions.



    Need a reminder to submit? Add us to your calendar to be notified on the opening day of this contest!


    About the Judge:

    MATTHEW SALESSES is the author of eight books, most recently The Sense of Wonder (Little, Brown, 2023), the national bestseller Craft in the Real World (a Best Book of 2021 at NPR, Esquire, Library Journal, Independent Book Review, Chicago Tribune, Electric Literature, and others), and the PEN/Faulkner Finalist and Dublin Literary Award longlisted novel Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear. He also wrote The Hundred-Year Flood; I’m Not Saying, I’m Just Saying; Different Racisms: On Stereotypes, the Individual, and Asian American Masculinity; The Last Repatriate; and Our Island of Epidemics (out of print). Forthcoming is a memoir, To Grieve Is to Carry Another Time (Little, Brown).

    Matthew was adopted from Korea. In 2015 Buzzfeed named him one of 32 Essential Asian American Writers. His essays can be found in Best American Essays 2020, NPR Code Switch, The New York Times Motherlode, The Guardian, Time,, and other venues. His short fiction has appeared in Glimmer Train, American Short Fiction, PEN/Guernica, Witness, and elsewhere. He has received awards and fellowships from, among others, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Dublin Literary Award, Bread Loaf, Glimmer Train, Mid-American Review, and [PANK] Books.

    Matthew is an Assistant Professor of Writing at Columbia University. He earned a Ph.D. in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Houston and an MFA in Fiction from Emerson College. He serves on the editorial boards of Green Mountains Review and Machete (an imprint of The Ohio State University Press), and has held editorial positions at Pleiades, The Good Men Project, Gulf Coast, and Redivider. He has read and lectured widely at conferences and universities and on TV and radio, including PBS, NPR, Al Jazeera America, various MFA programs, and the Tin House, Kundiman, and One Story writing conferences.

  • 19 Oct 2023 12:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Introducing VAMP and So Say We All

    From the So Say We All website: A highly-produced multimedia reading series, The VAMP Storytelling Showcase presents an evening of several writers performing works with audio /visual accompaniment revolving around a changing theme. All participants are chosen by blind online submission, given writing and performance workshops to further improve the material and its delivery, and the final product is curated in a featured capacity, monthly since 2009.

    So Say We All is therefore another opportunity for you to write a short story, probably tightly related to your personal life experiences, and get a new experience performing your piece. So Say We All and VAMP Long Story Short performances happen each month. This post announces the November presentation and the deadline for submitting a piece to be considered.

    Family, tourists, termites, "little green men," even Aunt Flo: Visitors come in many forms. We have all sorts of feelings and reactions towards them. We are them. For better or worse, sometimes they're here to stay.

    Send So Say We All your true story!

    * Submission deadline: October 23, 2023, 11:59pm *

    Submit here 

    (Showcase date is Thursday, Nov. 30th. Make sure you're available on that date!)

    RSVP & Follow this event on Facebook here.

    The following information is also from the So Say We All website about VAMP. (Sorry, I couldn't find an explanation for the acronym, but I've attended one of the sessions and it was GREAT.)

    Writers are encouraged to submit a 5-10 minute long (4-6 page, 12 pt. font, double-spaced) story related to a show’s theme through the “submit” link on our website. We highly encourage the use of images in power-point style presentation during the writer’s final performance, but these do not need to be submitted up front.How the VAMP process works:

    • Writers submit a first draft of their true stories to our submittable account, indicating which VAMP theme they are submitting for.

    • A panel of blind readers are assembled from volunteers who have previously performed at VAMP. Each reader, along with the show’s producer and SSWA’s Program Director, upvotes, downvotes, or stays neutral on each piece submitted.

    • Scores are tallied and top-scoring stories are identified. Final selection begins with the show’s producer and Program Director, taking into account factors that will make the show as a whole the best it can be. These can include if there are two or more stories too similar in theme, if there is a range of performers that represent the community, if there is a balance of humor and poignancy, etc. Submitters who have never performed at VAMP before are given extra attention.

    • The selected cohort begins a literary boot camp that involves participating in group read and critiques to give and receive feedback, work with assigned writing coaches 1-1, and receiving performance coaching to ensure they’re comfortable with public speaking.

    • Finally, the cohort members select visual images to accompany their stories, send in their final drafts, and then perform together in front of an adoring audience!

    • Videos of performances are uploaded to our Youtube Channel, and selected pieces will appear on The VAMP Podcast.

    • We encourage writers to seek opportunities to publish their work, and to treat the VAMP Storytelling Showcase as a powerful growth experience, but not the end of the line for the stories they workshop with us. Authors retain the rights to their work.

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