Happy fall, folks! If you are the author of one of the 228 manuscripts we received between February and May for our annual chapbook contests, you may have been patiently (or perhaps less-than-patiently) waiting for results to be announced, since we estimated results to be ready by the end of September. This post is, sadly, not that announcement. However, we are getting very close and approaching a finalists list for each of the two categories. So, while I hesitate to give a specific date, we should have decisions announced soon. I know that it can be nerve-wracking to not hear about the status of a submission for so long — especially a manuscript — and so I wanted to offer this brief note as reassurance that the news shouldn’t be much longer, and that we are only a few weeks behind and really looking forward to getting the winning works published.

In the meantime, enjoy some recent accomplishments from some of our past contributors:

  • Meg Cowen (PN 11), Co-Editor and Co-founder of Pith and Kin Press, recently released this anthology of selections from the first year of the journal’s online issues. Also includes work from Nancy Chen Long (PN 11) (and yours truly). You can find it here.
  • Stephanie McCarley Dugger — who was a 2014 Vella Co-Winner — has her first full-length poetry collection available for pre-order here.
  • Charles Rafferty — a 2015 Vella Co-Winner — has had two poems in The Writer’s Almanac recently. You can find them here and here.

Thanks for your patience, and keep an eye out for some big announcements here soon.

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We are overjoyed to release our final chapbook from our 2016 contest, a Debut Series Co-Winner: Jessica Kim’s “These, Our Bodies.” These poems are at once luminous, hard-wrought, and tender. Jessica is also a talented in visual work, and is the cover’s photographer and graphic designer, making this a truly gorgeous book, inside and out.

You can order a copy here directly, or also look around our Books section, to see if any of our other great titles catch your eye.

You can also see more at our fledgling Instagram, @paper.nautilus (which, for this 30-something millennial, is more intuitive than Twitter), where we share a few more insights to our bookmaking process, day-to-day tasks of being an editor, and shout-outs to former contributors and editors doing great things.

Now that all five of our new titles this year have been published and released, I’ve turned my attention more towards reading the 2017 chapbook entries. While I still have quite a ways to go on the 228 entries we received across categories, I can already tell there are going to be some very difficult decisions. Stay tuned, and hopefully we’ll have some exciting news to share about the results by sometime this September!

We are so pleased to announce the release of John Miller’s Heat Lightning, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Miller’s poems received the following praise:

“At the crux of John Miller’s poetry is a search for heat as a way “to know the origin of desire.” This yearning is rooted in the physical world and complicated by empathy for even the most unpleasant places (the site of a bridge demolition) and most unlikable fellow-travelers (late-night partiers singing karaoke). This is the voice of a poet searching for what he knows he won’t find, who “lean[s] into the stinging rain / straining to glimpse / what would teach us to die.” These are beautiful, beautiful poems.”

Lauren Goodwin Slaughter, author of a lesson in smallness, recipient of the 2012 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, Editor-in-Chief at PoemMemoirStory.

* * * *

“John Miller’s debut collection is deft, adroit–downright beautiful. The wise old cormorant Coleridge teaches that poetic genius unleashes via the balance or reconciliation of opposition. Around every corner in these elegantly crafted poems, Miller’s balance beam brain beckons, reconciles, gets shook, stays lit up. Tenacity; desire and hope in equipoise; deific baritone! From haunting to jaunty to moving, what’s clever rams into what’s wise again and again. These days so many poems dance us and demand that we are impressed with their sway. Miller’s debut steps a full fathom farther: these are the generous, subtle musics that linger in your ear.”

Abraham Smith, author of Ashagalomancy; Only Jesus Could Icefish in Summer; Hank; and Whim Man Mammon.

We have just one more chapbook to release this year: another beautiful collection of poems that I can’t want to hand-stitch and have ready to share with all of you. Every once in a while, I share some progress shots of the assembly (and other writing-related moments) on our new-ish instagram.

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, our annual contest ends May 31st, 2017 — that is just ONE WEEK. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

We are so pleased to announce the release of Anita Olivia Koester’s, Arrow Songs, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Koester’s poems received the following praise:

Arrow Songs is what becomes of Cupid’s arrow once the target has been hit and the flesh is open to receive — it is the body in the rapture and injury of love. There is music throughout — repetition, refrains, alliteration, that assonance that keens, the grief that seems to lullaby, the desire so insistent you listen, you follow, you let the beat shape you. In these heartbreakingly beautiful poems “no one is ever lost, only transformed.
Arisa White

We have two more chapbooks to release this year, one of which is currently part-assembled in my living room, and awaiting its hand-stitched binding.

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, our annual contest ends May 31st, 2017. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

One final thought: if you are in Salem, Massachusetts or the surrounding area next week, please consider checking out the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, May 5th – 7th, which will have some wonderful workshops, readings, a small press fair, and a lot of wonderful people. Hope to see some of you there!

We are so pleased to announce the release of Eloisa Amezcua’s, Symptoms of Teething, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Amezcua’s poems received the following praise:

Here is a book of poems that is, at every turn, deeply invested in the kinds of love we share—with each other, with ourselves, with our pasts, and with our futures. In one moment, “we fall asleep / and there is no more falling.” In the next, the morning where “we fabricate each / other into being.” I am so grateful to Eloisa Amezcua for all her fabrications, for building us this little museum of love.
Kaveh Akbar, Calling a Wolf a Wolf

We have three more chapbooks to release this year, with two titles very close to release

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, our annual contest ends May 31st, 2017. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

We are excited to announce the release of Michael Cuglietta’s chapbook, Clams in White Wine, now available for order! You can purchase a copy here, or over under the books menu, where you may find a few other titles you’d like to pick up.

Cugiletta’s collection of short fiction received the following praise from Jaimy Gordon, National Book Award winner for Lord of Misrule:

“An air of fly-by-night, strip mall, paycheck to paycheck impermanence laces the crafty short tales of this Florida writer, in which the one thing you can count on is good fast food — Szechuan dumplings, Cuban sandwiches with sweet fried plaintain, cream-piled cupcakes white brown and red. Michael Cuglietta’s characters at least know how to eat well in this anxious world. What to do with the anger, grief and loss lurking just under their place mats is another — no, the very same — story.”

Clams in White Wine is the first of our five 2016 chapbook contest winners to be released, with Eloisa Amezcua’s collection of poems, Symptoms of Teething, to follow soon.

If you think you have a manuscript we might love, we are one month into our annual contest, which ends May 31st, 2017. You can find all the details you need at our Submittable. We hope to see your book release announcement here next year!

2016 and Looking Forward

February 13, 2016

We have just released two of our 2015 Vella Chapbook Winners – Charles Rafferty’s Diminution and Christina Olson’s Weird Science – and have several more late in the proofing stage and very close to the end of production. Which means I’m shocked to realize that it’s already time for all of you to start thinking about what manuscripts you may want to send to our 2016 contests! Both the 2016 Vella Chapbook Contest and the 2016 Debut Series Contest open February 15, and run through May 15th. We cannot wait to see what incredible work we receive this year; the decisions get more difficult each time, and the number of entries keeps growing. We are overjoyed to be a place where so many writers trust us with their work, and are amazed at the rate that we seem to be growing.

Which brings me to another point: Paper Nautilus has gotten so big that we really need to consider how to make our production more manageable. This means making some changes, which always seem to make people a bit nervous. But I think we can make these transitions in a way that everyone can benefit from and be all the happier with.

It’s worth noting that nothing with the chapbook contests will change. Vella winners will get 100 perfect-bound copies + ISBN, Debut Series will get 50 hand-bound copies, and we will NEVER pressure our authors to make additional purchases or reach pre-sale goals. We believe that artists should be able to earn money from their work, but not that they must reduce their art into something that should be profitable. That’s why we give our authors the books and let them decide. And while we’re a bit behind on our production schedule from last year’s amazing winners, the small press end of Paper Nautilus is strong and successful as-is.

The annual issue, however, is more challenging. It requires an enormous amount of time from both my staff and myself, and we think that our production schedule makes it difficult to obtain the best work we can. By accepting submissions all year, we get backlogged quickly, which means lots of wonderful work gets withdrawn before we can even read it – and also makes for some frustration for writers who have to wait so long to hear back. To address this, we’re closing our reading period on June 15, 2016. Moving forward, our reading period will run February 15 – June 15. 

We are also considering potential format changes four our 2017 issue. We love print for a number of reasons, but it can sometimes really limit who can see our authors’ work, which we think is potentially a disservice to them. No decisions have been made on this yet, and we’re surveying other editors and writers to get a full sense of what makes the most sense and keeps as many people happy as possible. More to come on this in the future — and we’d love to hear your thoughts as well!

And we’re still making progress on the Digital Anthology, another thing we’re beyond excited about, but also behind on, which is all the more reason to keep thinking about how we can shift our process to run more effectively. Stay tuned for more on Excavating Honesty‘s release, which we’re hoping will be late spring!

Thanks as always for being a part of this; having so much interest and excellent writing is a great problem for us to have, and it’s because of your support of us.

xoxo
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

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

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.