We know it’s been a longer wait for these results, and we thank you for your patience. This decision gets more difficult every year — and, thankfully, the contest generates more interest every year as well, which has allowed us to steadily expand how many titles we can take on. This year, we have four Vella Chapbook Winners, in alphabetical order:

Chance Operations – Jill Khoury
Girls on Film – Kathryn Kulpa
Weird Science – Christina Olson
Diminution – Charles Rafferty

Each year, we also name 10% of the manuscripts we receive as finalists, which are below, in alphabetical order:

RoofBoy Come Down – Rick Alley
17 Seventeen XVII – E. Kristin Anderson
The Fourth Nest – Sara Backer
Visible Light – Zoe Etkin
What the Moon Sees – Kathryn Kulpa
After the Creek – Autumn McClintock
Miranda in the Tower – Khristian Mecom
The Girl on the Bridge – Susan Morehouse
Dick Cheney Shot Me in the Face: Three Tales of Men in Pain – Timothy O’Leary
Maroon Angela Penaredondo
What is Reflected Susan Rukeyser
Sustenance – Sheila Squillante
Killing a Bird – Ryan Taylor
Wonderful – David Welch
What I Would Say if We Were to Drown Tonight in the Ocean – Sharla Yates

We received over 150 manuscripts for this contest. We are so grateful to have the opportunity to consider so many manuscripts, and to have been trusted with your work. Please know that many manuscripts that were not selected for publication or named as finalists were still highly moving, powerful, memorable, and compelling, and demonstrated excellence in craft. This was a very difficult decision to come to among so much excellent work.

We are in the early stages of formatting PN15, which we hope to release sometime around Thanksgiving. Once we finish up with our annual issue, we’ll be shifting out focus to getting these four titles (and our three Debut Series Winners) put into production.

Thank you, as always, for your support of Paper Nautilus, and please join me in congratulating the winners and finalists!

Best,
Lisa Mangini

We hope that everyone is beginning to enjoy fall, and that folks who are connected to academic life are settling into a good routine for this semester or school year.

This note is just to give a quick update that were are currently finalizing the works that will be included in our 2015 annual issue, and moving towards layout shortly.

We are also still working through the many lovely manuscripts received for the Vella Chapbook contest, and hope to have the results very soon. My goal is to have the winners and finalists announced before Halloween – which is still a long time to wait for those who sent to that contest when it first opened in mid-February – and hopefully earlier, if possible.

We are additionally working towards layout and production of our three Debut Series winners – Bernard Grant, Emily Moore, and Emily Webber – so stay tuned for more updates on when those are available.

Finally, we have our “Excavating Honesty” anthology that we’ll be reading for until November 1st. If you have literary work that addresses identity – particularly related to race, class, sexuality, and the like – and the complexity and difficult experiences surrounding it that might help foster understanding, please send it along to be considered for this collection.

So, we may be a little quieter on social media and updating fewer blog posts here, but know that we are busy working to keep up with all of these projects, and to continue bringing your incredible, powerful writing into the world. Thank you so much for your trust and patience and we strive to catch up!

Best,
Lisa Mangini


We have selected three manuscripts for publication in the Debut Series, which are the following:

Puzzle Pieces – Bernard Grant
Shuffle – Emily Moore
Macerated – Emily Webber

We have also selected ten finalists, whose work we also very much admired:

Two Dreams of the Afterlife – Kelly Bancroft
Finally the Open Sea – Shebana Coelho
Like Wet Leaves in Floridian Heat – Nicholas Finch
Bowling in the Bumper Lane – Corey Ginsberg
Getting to the Point – Joanne Kerrigan
Animals & Enclosures – Joe Lucido
Girl Life – Leila Ortiz
Maroon – Angela Penaredondo
Hotels & Motels – Jennifer Porter
V – Chris Wiewiora

We received over 100 entries, and the quality of work was overwhelmingly high. Please know that this was a very tough decision, and there were many titles beyond these 13 that I found deft and memorable and moving — and very much deserving of publication. I was astonished that these manuscripts came from writers who have yet to publish a book or chapbook — which is to say, please, please keep sending your work out, even if I was unable to publish it this time. Send it everywhere. Your work belongs out in the world.

The Vella Chapbook submissions are still undergoing review. I am doing my best to work through these 150 manuscripts, but without rushing and still giving them the attention they deserve. I thank you for your patience.

We are still seeking work for our Digital Anthology focused on underrepresented groups and identities that explores both the uncomfortable realities and moments of healing and reconciliation. Works should be creative (poetry, short fiction, memoir/lyric essay/other CNF, or mixed genre), and should also be from a writer who identifies as a member of an underrepresented community. You can send submissions here: https://papernautilus.submittable.com/submit/41571

Additionally, PN15 should be just about full, and we’ll be beginning layout and production on that shortly. Release date is tough to estimate at the moment, since I’ve not yet settled down into my new position, but I’m hoping for late September or October.

Until then, I hope you all enjoy these last days of summer, and I’m looking forward to helping get all these works out into the world.

–Lisa Mangini

Pardon our Delays

June 12, 2015

Hope folks are enjoying their summer! This is just a quick update to let everyone know that we may operate more slowly in the next 2-3 months. We have six fantastic genre editors at Paper Nautilus, and thankfully, they handle all of your poetry and prose submissions to our annual issue. Potential contributors for PN15 shouldn’t notice any real hiccups.

However, As Editor in Chief, I handle many other elements, including book order fulfillment, and reviewing the chapbook contest submissions. As a writer myself, I know how impatient I get when waiting to see a response to my own work – which is why I shifted the reading period for the 2015 contests to three months earlier in the year, so that it would be summer and I would have plenty of time to read the 250 manuscripts we received. I am unexpectedly moving out of state for work this summer, though, so now what was going to be time to read and re-read and enjoy everyone’s chapbook submissions is now time I’ll need to use for packing, moving, renting my home, and all the other tasks that accompany relocation.

These are all really exciting things, and I am by no means complaining! But, I do realize that it may be harder for me to have results to the contests by the timeframe we initially estimated, which was sometime in August. I am hoping results won’t be too far beyond that (and who knows, it may take me less time to get settled than I expect), but I think it’s important to be clear about how we operate, which includes aspects that can potentially impact our response times. And because I am splitting my time between two locations, only one of which has our inventory, depending on where I am, orders for issues or chapbooks may not be mailed until 7-10 days after they are placed.

In the meantime, my editors have given me great feedback on the work we’re receiving for PN15 and how excited they are about some of the pieces they’ve seen. And so, no matter where I’m living or how much longer it takes me to respond to everyone who submitted, I am always aware of how it is your work and your willingness to trust us with it that allows us to do what we do. Thanks for that.

–Lisa Mangini

The Final Stretch

May 7, 2015

Both the semester and our two chapbook contests are coming to an end shortly. I’ll be picking up my last stack of final essays next week, and I’m looking forward to reading all these wonderful manuscripts as soon as all my grades are submitted.

If you haven’t sent us something yet, and you’d still like to, you have until May 15th! You can find the full guidelines on both the Vella and Debut Series Chapbook Contests in the menu above – or, just go straight to our Submittable.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out – we are always happy to help writers feel more comfortable with our guidelines, process, and business model.

Did I mention yet just how excited I am to start reading all of these next week? Because, while it’s always a tough decision which collection(s) we select, I truly look forward to this every year, and am so grateful to be trusted with your work.

Thanks,
Lisa Mangini

It was such a great experience to get to meet so many fellow writers at the AWP bookfair – some former contributors, and I’m sure some future contributors as well – and be able to share our annual issues and publications with so many new people.

Thank you to all who stopped over. I know for next time to have flyers with submission information, instead of just cards with our website and contact info – I appreciate the feedback for future bookfairs! We got a lot of complements on our covers. Quite a few people seemed excited by our unique publishing model for the chapbooks, too, since paying the winners in copies allows the writer to keep the entire face value of any books they sell, rather than just a royalty percentage. We also sold out of both the 2013 and 2014 issues, as well as Jason McCall’s chapbook; We do have more issues of PN13 and PN14 available now that we’re home, but Jason’s book will now go into its second printing – a first for Paper Nautilus, and we are really excited about it.

Which leads me to another positive result from attending AWP: a new digital anthology. This two-part anthology will include literary works that address and examine the uncomfortable realities of race, class, gender, sexuality, faith, and other influential aspects of identity and experience in America, as well as works that move toward healing or reflect moments of reconciliation. This anthology is the result of some great collaboration with Talisha Shelley before and during the AWP conference, and because we believe that it will be a great resource and reading experience for classrooms, writing groups, and people of all backgrounds, this anthology will be available as a free download once released.

When I asked Talisha what she wanted to pursue for this anthology, she offered a handful of different ideas, but we were both most excited abut this one. When I think of examples of individuals who have truly had their views shaped on these issues of misunderstanding others, it has almost always been through the experience of empathy and growing close to one person – either in life, or through a character – that served to bridge that misunderstanding. An entire anthology collecting all of those specific moments from a multitude of different perspectives has tremendous potential for impact. Talisha Shelley and I will be co-editors, and you can send us your poetry, short fiction, and creative nonfiction here: https://papernautilus.submittable.com/submit/41571

And, of course, our two chapbook contests only have about a month left, so polish up those manuscripts and send them over!

Lisa Mangini

New releases and AWP15

March 29, 2015

Our three 2014 Vella Chapbook winners are now officially published and available. You can find copies under our “Books” menu.

Copies of all our chapbooks and annual issues will also be available at AWP. Paper Nautilus will be sharing table 430 at the bookfair, so please come by and say hi, pick up an octopus pin, and maybe enter some fun contests!

We are also sending out our once-a-year newsletter, announcing all this good stuff about the chapbook releases and the Vella and Debut Series Chapbook contests. Because of emailing limits, they are being sent in stages, and the addresses are pulled right from Submittable – so if you’ve submitted under multiple emails, you maybe end up receiving two (or more) messages from us. We are sorry for any unintended obnoxiousness from these mailings, and we truly never want to harass you with anything that remotely feels like spam – a major reason why we only send one newsletter each year!

Additionally, if you are a member of a writing community – a literary journal, a college campus, a local writing group – please help us get the word out by sharing our call for manuscripts with the writers in your life. The more manuscripts of fiction, poetry, mixed/anti/hybrid-genre work we receive, the more collections we can support and help bring out into the world.

We are quite busy here this spring, but we thought we’d take a minute to share with you just how many things we’ve got going on.

First, we are in a race against the calendar to finished up the layout, proofs, and printing of our three Vella Chapbook contests winners from 2014. These collections From Allie Marini Batts, Stephanie McCarley Dugger, and Johnathan Harper are superb, and the goal is to have an unofficial release party for them at table 430 in the AWP bookfair.

The conference and bookfair take place from April 8th – 11th, in Minneapolis – which will be my first time visiting the area – and we hope you’ll stop by and pick up one of our issues or chapbook titles, find out more about our two contests currently open, or pick up some fun surprises we have in store. Also, huge thanks to the folks who run the AWP bookfair Facebook, who ran this spotlight for us today. If you’ve ever wondered more about us, here’s your chance:unnamed

Except, way back when we sent this staff image over to the Bookfair folks, we hadn’t yet selected our newest fiction editor. For a volunteer job that pays mostly in frenzied emails and enthusiastic thank-yous, I was surprised and flattered at the response we received. Deciding on these potential editors in many regards was even more difficult than deciding on what writing to publish, since many of these letters of interest were so candid and honest about their desire to be a part of a team of editors.

After some tough decisions, we are happy to be welcoming Keith Lesmeister to our fiction team. Keith, who lives in Northeast Iowa, completed his MFA from the Benngington Writing Seminars. He has been a reader for drafthorse, taught college-level creative writing, and had his work featured in Tin House blog, American Short Fiction online, Meridian, Redivider, River Teeth, Harpur Palate, and others. We are also really bummed his photo is not included in the above promo image.

We do have some other ideas in the works, but despite that we clearly don’t believe in “one thing at a time,” we have to draw the line somewhere. More on these new developments when they’re a little less new and a bit more developed.

Also, we are already nearly one month into our 2015 and – so don’t forget to take another look at your manuscripts and send us your best!

In just two days, Paper Nautilus celebrates its fourth anniversary, after being founded on a snowy sick day in my apartment.

Today, we are opening for our fourth round of the Vella Chapbook Contest, named after my grandparents – Nancy and Charles – whose generosity allowed me to found Paper Nautilus and pay for the first issue’s production. The prize for this contest is 100 perfect-bound copies, with ISBN. $11 entry fee.

Today we are also opening for our very first Debut Series Chapbook Contest, which is only open to writers who have yet to publish a chapbook or book-length work in any genre, with just a $5 entry fee. (In order to keep costs lower for writers, we have an additional option for this contest that, for $8, pays the entry fee and comes with a back issue). We have a strong commitment to emerging writers, and this is our new venture to truly showcase how serious we are about getting their voices out into the world. The prize for this contest is 50 hand-stitched copies, without ISBN.

Both contests are open to poetry, short fiction, mixed-genre or hybrid work. You can find both contests at our Submittable page.

Paper Nautilus produces an additional 15-25 copies of each title, for us to sell at conferences and book fairs, or directly on our website; for any sales generated in this way, authors will receive 10% royalties. If a title is popular, and the author wishes for more copies, we will happily pursue additional printing and sell them to you at-cost.

You can find more details about our process, business model, or other aspects of how we operate, by checking the links for each contest in the menu bar above. We welcome any and all questions, as transparency in our approach matters a lot to us.

Thank you and we look forward to reading your work between now and May 15th!

Due to the volume of submissions we receive, we are interested in adding another fiction editor to our staff at Paper Nautilus.

Our wishlist: We are looking for someone who can donate roughly 2-3 hours a week to reading and commenting on our fiction submissions. This responsibility will be completed remotely, and can be located anywhere with a reliable internet connection. Someone responsible and self-directed, and who has familiarity with Submittable from an editor’s end is ideal. We are laid-back and virtually drama-free, so being open to compromise and respectful of the other editors’ tastes is a must. Previous experience preferred, but not necessarily required.

Interested? Please send a paragraph or two about yourself, along with brief responses to the following questions, to: paper.nautilus (at) mail.com

1. Can you give us a list (5-10 examples) of your favorite fiction writers?*
2. Do you have any experience working on literary publications? If so, can you tell us a little about it?
3. Are you familiar with Submittable at all? As a writer, editor, or both?
4. What makes you interested in becoming a Fiction Editor?
5. Pretend for a minute that this opening is for your very favorite literary journal. What other journal would you most like to edit for?*

[* = These are not trick questions designed to rule anyone out, but rather just a way for us to get a better feel for your tastes.]

As with all of our positions (including my own), this is an unpaid, volunteer opportunity. I truly wish I could pay my staff for their time, which I deeply value. This year, I made it a point to send each of my editors a nominal check out of my own, private account, as a gesture of gratitude – but I cannot truthfully guarantee I will always be able to afford to do so.

Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!