A Handy List of Where to Submit Your Work for Awards

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One of the challenges of self-publishing is that you need to be your own marketing department. You have to share the fact that your book is out in the world, and that includes letting awards committees know about it too!

It can be daunting to submit your own work for an award. I’ll admit, when I first got into self-publishing, I thought submitting my own work wasn’t sacrosanct. I thought that juries combed through books, selected their favorites, and made a ballot. Self-promotion for an award was rude and uncouth. I have since learned otherwise, and I’m glad I did.

Now, some awards juries don’t accept unsolicited submissions — but many others do! And further, they say specifically that you can submit as the author of the piece! So go on — submit that work! What’ve you got to lose?

But Sonora, where do I start? That’s where the list below comes in. I’m starting a living blog post — one I’ll keep updated beyond the initial posting — with links to awards that allow you to submit your own work. Please let me know if you know of any awards that aren’t listed, and I’ll add them as well.

Happy submitting, and good luck!


Literary Awards You Can Submit Your Own Work To (last updated: January 26, 2021)

October Reads: Something Written This Way Comes

Happy October! Let’s get spooky!

With October comes all the autumn and Halloween feels. I want to look at changing leaves, sip cinnamon-spiced tea, burn sweet-smelling candles (it’s not quite cold enough for our fireplace yet), eat winter squash, and curl up with some good reading.

October is the coziest month for me, which is probably why I like to read special books for this time of year — horror books, of course, but also folklore and stories set in autumn. It’s a time of year I’m more deliberate about what I want to read, more than any other month.

Here are some of the books I plan to read this month:

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell — I actually read this already, on Monday evening. It was a delight. I loved the setting of the pumpkin patch. Rowell’s attention to cheerful details, like the snacks and the scents, made me feel so warm and at home in a state I’ve never even been to. I can easily see this becoming an annual autumn read.

Washington Irving: An American Original by Brian Jay Jones — I engage with The Legend of Sleepy Hollow every October (usually with the Disney cartoon, but also with the original story), and decided to finally read this biography about the legend’s author. I’m reading it now as part of a buddy read and enjoying the history lesson.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving — see above. Also, can we talk about how great the cartoon is? The scene where Ichabod rides home alone before the Horseman appears is a mastery in mental horror made visible.

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury — I adore Ray Bradbury, but have never read this one! My mom gave me a paperback copy and I look forward to reading it.

Video Nasties by Duncan Ralston — I’ve had this short story collection of extreme horror on my shelf for awhile now. I love old, gruesome, and crazy horror films; and this literary tribute to them seems like the perfect read for October.

Devil’s Hill by E. Reyes — a collection of Halloween-themed stories I can’t wait to dive into.

Bunnicula by James Howe — I read this in either 4th or 5th grade, and think of it whenever I see a white carrot in the heirloom varieties at the farmers market. I recently purchased an anniversary edition with an adorable red velvet cover.

Witches by Donna Lynch — fellow author Erin Sweet al-Mehairi recommended this book of poetry to me, and I can’t wait to read it.

What are you reading this month?

October Reads: Time for (More) Darkness

It’s October, the time of year when most people dust off their horror novels and horror movies. I, for one, like engaging with dark fiction all year long. But I do feel an extra pull to the darker corners of literature in October. There’s a chill in the air and an excited energy to immerse oneself in the macabre, the shocking, and the unexplained.

While my month is filled with writing projects — including two new releases, some short stories in progress, and making revisions to Without Condition — I’m still reading every day. I have a few dark novels on my “To Read” list, including Destroyer by Victor LaValle and Give Me Your Hand by Megan Abbott. If you have any recommendations for me, please leave them in the comments!

I also have a few recommendations for you, if you are looking for something new to read this October.

I recently finished Breathe, Breathe by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi. It is a short collection of dark poetry and short stories. The short stories were good overall — my favorite was “The Madness of the Woodpecker” — but I was most impressed by the poetry. I have a hard time engaging with collections of poetry because I read too quickly to really absorb the meaning of the verse (my fault, not the fault of any poem or poet). Al-Mehairi’s poems stuck with me and chilled me as I read them. Some tell stories, others describe chaotic emotions, but all are terrifying.

I also recommend Sacrificial Lambs and Others by Sheri White. The collection contains several flash pieces as well as longer short stories. Flash fiction, like poetry, also has a hard time sticking with me because of how fast I read. White’s stories still find themselves in my head, though, even though I read the collection months ago. My personal favorites were “Ashes to Ashes” and “First Day of School.”

You may remember that last month, I interviewed author Loren Rhoads. I was excited to read her memoir, Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel. I’ve now read it, and I highly recommend it if you’d like to read some macabre nonfiction — namely, if you’re interested in travel essays (I want to note that Rhoads did not ask me to review the book as part of our interview — I purchased the book, read it, and am now reviewing it all on my own accord). Her writing gives the reader a wonderful sense of place in cemeteries around the globe. I’ve now added several new destinations to my list, including Bela Lugosi’s grave and the skeleton-filled catacombs of Paris.

I hope you find some excellent eerie reads for October — and, I hope you’ll consider adding both Wither and Other Stories and Quoth the Raven to your reading list!

Back from Dublin

Last week, I visited Dublin for the first time. I’ve never been to Ireland, period, so I was glad to start in one big city that had so much to do, that we still had things we didn’t see or do even after staying there for a week. We ate a lot of brown bread and drank a lot of whiskey. We heard a lot of seagulls and walked along a lot of cobblestone streets. It was a wonderful trip.

dublin writers museum

One thing I found appropriate was the proximity of our hotel to the Dublin Writers Museum. The museum is a bit small — two floors — but a must-see for any literary travelers. The museum has letters, first editions, audio recordings, photos, and more from some of Ireland’s most famous writers, including James Joyce and Samuel Beckett.

My favorite display was the case devoted to Bram Stoker. The case housed a first edition of Dracula, along with other old copies. The museum came with an audio guide, and the entry for Stoker included a reading of the “Children of the Night” passage. I grinned from ear to ear as the narrator spoke. I’m due to give Dracula a reread.

bram stoker's dracula

My only critique is that the museum was focused almost entirely on men. Some women were featured, but not many. I understand the earlier years will have more men than women, but I also believe more women could’ve been found to be showcased. The museum certainly has room.

The museum is taking a step to rectify this by putting together a special exhibit on women writers. A nice step, though I do hope they’ll reconsider the current name of the exhibit: “Ireland’s Other Writers.” Come on.

the women's room dublin writers museum
Really?

There was plenty of non-literary fun to be had as well. My husband and I visited many pubs. My favorite was The Ha’Penny Bridge Inn near the River Liffey. The patrons were friendly, the drinks were great, and the walls were filled with poetry.

the mouse on the barroom floor
One of my favorite poems.

We also took a day trip to Northern Ireland. The tour was focused on Game of Thrones filming locations, including the Dark Hedges and Ballintoy Harbor. We also visited Giant’s Causeway, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s a wonder to behold. It’s filled with rock walls, stepping stones, marshy shores, and hills to climb. Give it a visit if you find yourself in Ireland or Northern Ireland for sure.

The Dark Hedges

the dark hedges

giant's causeway
Giant’s Causeway

giant's causewaygiant's causewaygiant's causewaygiant's causeway

ballintoy harbor
Ballintoy Harbor

ballintoy harbor

cushenden caves
Cushenden Caves, where Melisandre gave birth to the smoke monster in “Game of Thrones.”

cushenden caves

cushenden caves

I’ve been back for almost a week, and I still miss waking up to the sound of seagulls. I hope to return sooner rather than later.

rainbow in dublin