Paper Nautilus Open Chapbook Contest

May 14, 2012

I’m very excited to announce the Paper Nautilus Open Chapbook Contest! Because there are often lots of questions about guidelines, I’m going to try sticking to bullet points to make all the basic information a little easier to find.

Call for submissions: previously unpublished chapbook manuscripts of poetry, prose, or mixed genre.

Submission period: May 15th, 2012 through August 1st, 2012. Submit your chapbook to our contest here.

Entry Fee: $11 per submission. Multiple entries are allowed, but each must be accompanied by another $11 entry fee.

• Manuscripts should be between 10 and 20 pages of poetry, or 3500 to 7000 words of prose.

• For the purposes of this contest, 1 page is equal to roughly 350 words of prose, or 30-32 lines of poetry.

• Prior publication of individual pieces is OK, just as long as the collection as a whole is unpublished. Please include any acknowledgement of prior publication in the cover letter field when uploading to the submissions manager.

• Simultaneous submission is OK, just as long as you withdraw the manuscript immediately should it become unavailable.

Prize: Publication, and the full print run of 100 copies of the chapbook. Chapbook will be 5.5″ x 8.5″ and perfect bound with glossy, full color cover. The winner may also purchase additional bulk copies from Paper Nautilus, if s/he would like.

Judge: A retired professor of legal studies, Christine Beck‘s poems have been published in journals and anthologies. Her poem “Sometimes He Comes Home Bloody” won the Leo Connellan prize and was published in Connecticut Review in 2011. Her most recent chapbook of the same name is forthcoming from Pudding House Press. She is the programming director and Editor of the Newsletter of the Connecticut Poetry Society.

Why aren’t we just doing a separate contest for poetry and for fiction? This is a question that I anticipate getting a lot, and there are two answers – one practical, and one idealistic – for those who are curious: the practical answer is that from an administrative, financial, and time standpoint, I’m not sure it’s wise for Paper Nautilus to jump into chapbook publishing by sponsoring two contests at once. This is new territory, and I think “baby steps” are appropriate here, especially when entrusted with looking at whole manuscripts. The idealistic answer is because, quite simply, I’m not sure why manuscripts need to be divided into genres. As a writer working on a mixed genre collection myself, I’d like to see more contests and publications embrace the idea that a variety of styles can work well within the same text. And so this is my small contribution to possibly make this notion a little more common. Granted, not every writer wants to write in both genres, and rest assured that mixed genre manuscripts will not get priority treatment – send your flash fictions, a standalone 7500-word story, 20 pages straight of pantoums, or whatever you’re skilled at writing – but if you want to mix it up a little by working in both genres, Paper Nautilus supports and welcomes your work!

Questions about guidelines? Leave a comment, post it on our Facebook, or send an email to

So who will be our first entry at midnight tonight?

Paper Nautilus


5 Responses to “Paper Nautilus Open Chapbook Contest”

  1. Mari said

    Would you consider a 7200 word fiction submission?
    (Have to add I have never seen such beautiful graphics on a journal website!)

    • Thanks, Mari! Let me put it this way: I have no intention of actually running a word count to auto-reject any submission that’s 7001 words. My thought is that this is a literary journal – not the IRS – so submissions that are so close to the word/page limit that I wouldn’t even notice it if I wasn’t specifically checking are totally acceptable.

  2. […] Nautilus is an awesome literary magazine my friend Lisa runs. The are obviously in the midst of this contest, so if you want to submit, you should go ahead and do that. The rules are on the link but here, […]

  3. […] So, they’re looking for 10-20 page manuscripts of poetry, fiction, a combination of both…. the deadline is August 1st, you can get the details at the PN main site here.  […]

  4. […] write about the art show he and his friend are planning, and I’ve already told you about the Paper Nautilus Chapbook Contest. Still, worth […]

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