Vella Chapbook Contest: Entries accepted here.

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– Manuscripts may be between 16 – 24 pages of body text (i.e., without counting the title page and table of contents and other front matter), or less than ~9000 words for prose. This relatively flexible, and you don’t need to ask if it’s alright to send us 26 pages of poems or 9300 words. Just use your best judgement and don’t go wild, ok? We trust you.

– Please include a title page with ONLY the title, as well as a table of contents. Please be careful that you don’t have your name in the manuscript.

– Open to poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and mixed- or hybrid-genre works (prose poems, flash fiction, a lyric essay bookended by two poems, a short story sandwiched between several poems, one long-ish short story or memoir, 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– Collection as a whole must be unpublished, but individual publications are fine.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 perfect-bound copies of your winning chapbook with an ISBN, 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 additional copies through our website or at literary events (for which you’ll receive 10% royalties on any sold), but we really want the money your book earns to go to you, not us, which is what happens when you sell your copies directly. We will never require you to buy copies of your book, nor meet a pre-sale goal. 

– Entry fee: $11, payable through Submittable. If this fee is an economic hardship, please contact us, and we will do everything possible to work with you. We also have a $14 option that comes with a random chapbook from our catalog (so at least you get something tangible for your entry fee).

– Entry period: January 20 – April 20

– Expected announcement of winner: approximately August 2020, but has been as late as October in years past.

– Expected date of publication: approximately April 2021, but has been as late as August in years past.

– Contest entries will be judged by Lisa Mangini, Paper Nautilus Editor in Chief.

21 Responses to “Vella Chapbook Contest”

  1. Gleah Powers said

    My manuscript is one page over the limit. Would it be alright to submit it?
    Gleah Powers

  2. […] I also have fallen behind on sending out submissions to magazines but I don’t have many new poems so I don’t have much to send out. Although, I am working on getting a chapbook together for the Paper Nautilus Vella Chapbook Contest. […]

  3. I would like to snail mail my submission. Is that no longer an option?

    • We’re sorry – we only accept the submissions via our web submissions manager. It helps us keep our writers’ work properly organized – as well as allowing us to read blind, which might be hard to accomplish with a mailed submission, unfortunately.

  4. Is it okay to submit two different chapbooks, each with a different theme and content?

  5. Arlene Grubbs said

    I am including several previously published poems in my collection. Should I identify those poems or just include them with the other unpublished ones?

    • You can include the poems without identifying them, or you can add an acknowledgements page at the beginning of the collection, as part of the front matter (and it won’t be considered part of your page count, either).

      We receive manuscripts both ways – with or without an acknowledgements page – and either one is fine!

  6. Teddy Norris said

    I just realized I sent my MS before I paginated it or the TOC. Is there a way I can do that w/o paying the fee again?
    So sorry!

    Teddy Norris

    • Hi Teddy,
      You don’t need to worry about minor formatting things, like TOC or page numbers, since any manuscript selected will likely need to be re-formatted anyway. So don’t stress; it’s fine as-is! 🙂

  7. […] She could also be the writer of A Crooked Door Lower into the Sky, winner of the 2017 Vella Chapbook Award (Paper Nautilus Press, 2018). Melissa and her husband are living with their canine and […]

  8. scottlowerywriting said

    Hi, I’m curious about your Vella Chapbook series. What is the print run, and do you ever do a second print run if you sell out? My first (only) chapbook has effectively gone out of print, which is frustrating. I’m hoping next time out for a publisher that will keep it available.

    • Hello! For the Vella Chapbooks, our first print run is 125 copies; 100 go to the author, and we keep 25 to sell on our website or events (this allows the author to sell most copies directly, and therefore earn more money from the sale of the book than through royalties). If Paper Nautilus runs out, we order more, and of the author runs out, we will order more and sell them to the author for a minimum of 50% off the retail price (usually $4 each, or $3.50 each if they order a high quantity). Reprints require a minimum of 25 copies.

      So, the short answer is that, barring some extreme unforeseen circumstances, Vella Chapbooks can expect to remain in print for a long time!

  9. Kevin Brown said

    Just to make sure: is it okay for a prose submission of nearly 9,000 words be more than 24 pages? thanks

  10. Isa Abdul Haim said

    In what form so I submit my manuscript? PDF file?

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