Announcing the new-and-improved chapbook contest

April 30, 2013

The Rules of Night Migration, by Pamela Gross, will be available for purchase in less than two weeks at $8 a copy, including shipping. We sent a few advance copies out, and we’re already getting some wonderful feedback on it. Even better: if you preorder between now and May 15th, you’ll pay only $6, including shipping, so go place an order here!

While it was a lot work, we couldn’t be happier with the end result. Also, we’re deeply thankful for Pamela’s patience as we worked with her on her manuscript, to Christine Beck for judging the entries, and to all of our submitters who sent us their collections last summer and made this contest possible.

We’re also excited to announce that, starting tomorrow (May 1st), we’ll be open to submissions for our second chapbook contest. This year, we’ve renamed the contest, along with a few other changes, but the full guidelines are below.

2013 Vella Chapbook Contest:

– Manuscripts may be between 16 – 24 pages

– Please include a title page with ONLY the title, a table of contents, and an acknowledgements page (not included in page count).

– Please do NOT include any identifying information in the manuscript.

– Open to poetry, fiction, and mixed- or hybrid-genre works (prose poems, flash fiction, lyrical short-shorts, a short story sandwiched between a dozen poems, one long-ish short story, 24 pages of poems, and any other combination that might be missing in this list).

– Thematically-linked works are encouraged, but not required. Quality is the only criteria.

– Collection as a whole must be unpublished, but individual publications are fine.

– Simultaneous submissions are fine, but please withdraw it immediately if someone else snatches up your amazing work before we do.

– Prize: 100 copies of your winning chapbook, ISBN included, to use however you’d like (sell them, give them away, make a modern art installation in your living room, etc.) Paper Nautilus will be selling an additional limited number of copies through our website or at literary events, but the rest are yours.

– Entry fee: $11, payable through Submittable

– Entry period: May 1st – August 15th.

– Expected announcement of winner: (approximately) November 1st, 2013.

– Expected date of publication: (approximately) May 2014.

Contest will be judged by Lisa Mangini – or, me. In previous years, we’ve had contests judged by writers outside of Paper Nautilus; this year, we’ll be changing the chapbook contest to more resemble an editor’s prize. The reasoning behind this is, with the expanded staff we have now, I should be able to spend the time necessary to judge the chapbook entries while the remaining staff can review the submissions for the annual magazine. I think it will also be more useful to contest submitters, since by reading previous issues of Paper Nautilus, submitters can get a clearer idea of our aesthetic and what we value in writing, rather than trying to decide if their work matches up to what our judge might value – or for Paper Nautilus to find a judge that might view writing similarly to the way we do. (Note: obviously, write what you love, and write what is true for YOU, and don’t worry about trying to match my preference, or any judge’s. I just know some people like to research this aspect prior to submission.)

In the interest of running a fair and ethical contest, please refrain from submitting if you are a close friend, colleague, or former student. If I stopped by your booth at AWP and had a quick chat with you, we know each other only through social media, you’re a friend-of-a-friend and we had a great conversation about books at a party once, or I haven’t read any of your writing within the last five years, I’d say that’s still fair game to submit your work. In addition, folks interested in submitting who have a close relationship with our staff are more than welcome to submit, since I’ll be the only one reading the entries.

Please feel free to email us at, tweet us at @APaperNautilus, or post something to our Facebook if you have any questions. I look forward to reading your collections over this summer!


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