Newsletter #6: Return of the Thing

Dear writers, 

Don’t worry, you didn’t sign up incorrectly and your junk mail isn’t stealing your newsletters – it is I who is the junk femail. Not only did I just use the phrase “junk femail”, which in and of itself should probably be punishable by law, but I have also not written a newsletter since early July. I don’t really have an excuse, but I am sorry. The good news is that you’ve probably been doing a ton of writing and so can apply to almost all of these postings. At least, that’s how I’ll be side-stepping my shame. 

If you’re cool with it, this is going to be a monthly newsletter from now on – coming out of lockdown, my dreamy weekly plans seem pretty darn foolish. Personally, and I’m definitely just saying this because I’m good at framing things to suit my own narrative (as you should all be as writers), I think it’ll make for a much more thoughtful and useful selection of writing opportunities. 

A lot has happened since early July: Eat Out To Help Out helped justify my food addiction, I started an Instagram account to qualify my food addiction and called it @have_you_tasted_this (like my book review account, @have_you_read_this), I had an existential crisis on realising I’m a couple of weeks away from being closer to 30 than 20, David Attenborough got Instagram, M&S started stocking Christmas-themed Percy Pigs even though it’s not even Halloween yet, and a lot of other slightly more important things probably happened on the news too. 

A last note: I’m running a giveaway on Instagram to win a frame from Huns ‘n Roses and the information of how to win is on Instagram. Alternatively, you can just buy one with my discount code HAVEYOUREADTHIS15 to get 15% off. I’m basically a famous influencer now who is one bag of skinny tea away from ultimate fame and glory, so I’d be very happy if you entered so that other people actually want to give me stuff in future (currently, only people who I’ve directly asked to enter have entered and it’s really killing my street cred). 

Tip #6: Don’t let the length of a dry spell stop you from ending it. There were so many moments where I nearly started this newsletter, and then couldn’t really think of a book title with the word “late” in it and was generally embarrassed that I’d let it slip for so long. It happens – sometimes you don’t write anything for ages, and you begin to feel like a fraud and wonder whether you can actually call yourself a writer if you never write. Just pick up a pen (well, keyboard, realistically, for me) and do it.

I: Palm Sized Press

This is a wonderful little publication for little stories. I was featured in its second volume and they are beautifully designed, include artwork and photography, and feature both microfictions and essays on the writing craft. You can submit a story, a craft essay, or art/photographs too. The back of the book also features an index of writing opportunities, which is extremely helpful. 

Submission fee: $2

Submission deadline: 1 October 

Payment: I think it might be different from issue to issue, but I got paid $4 for mine. Given that it was around 200 words, I reckon that’s a decent sentence to dollar ratio (if you forget about the fact that half of it was what it cost to submit it).  

Submit here

II: London Magazine Poetry Prize

I guess it’s questionable whether prize money is the same as being paid, given that the chances of selection are slimmer, but I feel like it still counts as part of my no-freebie rule. Especially because the London Magazine is a really wonderful publication and very prestigious in the UK. You can submit unpublished poetry of up to 40 lines and anyone can enter. There’s no theme, but it’s always advisable to give their previous issues a read to see the sort of stuff they usually publish before submitting a poem about a mouse who takes humans to court to ban mousetraps (to use a personal example). 

Submission fee: £10 (subsequent entries are £5 per poem, and there’s a student and low-income concession of £5)

Submission deadline: 12 October 

Payment: First Prize: £500

Second Prize: £300

Third Prize: £200

Submit here

III: 404 Ink

404 Ink is a fabulous little publishing house, and a couple of books I’ve read that they’ve published include Animals Eat Each Other and The Goldblum Variations (a series of microfictions about Jeff Goldblum, it’s hilarious). They’re currently open for submissions and are accepting both full books (and, based on the previously mentioned book in which Jeff Goldblum is reimagined as a sweater in a cupboard, I think they’re pretty open minded about submissions), as well as what they’re calling “Inklings” (which is such a sweet name I could weep). Inklings is a new pocket book series for which they are accepting pitches for non-fiction. It’s an open-ended window and in theory looking to commission monthly. I’m so excited about the Inklings project that I nearly didn’t tell you guys about it, but then I remembered that that’s very naughty.

Submission fee: Free

Submission deadline: 31 October 

Payment: Unspecified but existing, and probably including royalties

Submit here

IV: LitMag

LitMag accepts work that “moves and amazes” – not too much to ask for, right? I think I might start a publication and just write, “strictly no shit or boring stuff” under “what we’re looking for”. That oughta really sift through the trash. They pay well and accept all sorts (short stories, novellas, essays, art… the list is long and included in the link below). Your work must be entirely unpublished (including on personal blogs and the likes). Don’t send them more than one piece at a time – once you’ve heard back from them, you can send the next one. There’s no charge to enter, so I think it’s important that this be respected as they’re probably predominantly volunteers sifting through submissions. For print, they accept up to 15,000 words and online, 4,000 words.

Submission fee: Free

Submission deadline: Fiction: 30 November

Poetry:  31 December

Nonfiction: 30 November

LitMag Online: 30 November

Payment: LitMag Print: Upon acceptance, $500 for fiction or nonfiction, $125 for a poem, a group of short poems, or (the rare) short short.

LitMag Online: Upon acceptance, $125.

They’ve updated their payments because of Covid, but I can’t tell whether that’s already been done to these amounts or if you’ve got to halve them yourself. They explain it here but I’m still unsure.

Submit here

V: Willow Springs Magazine

I’ve mentioned these guys before, but it was before they were officially open for submissions so you may well have made a mental note to come back to it which you promptly forgot to retrieve as soon as it was filed the thought away. Willow Springs accepts fiction and poetry between September and May. No theme – do your thing. 

Submission fee: $3

Submission deadline: 1 September – 31 May yearly

Payment: $100/long-form prose, $40/short prose, $20/poem

Submit here

Here’s one very relevant to me today: dig out an unfinished project/story that you’ve been avoiding. Work on it. This isn’t to say you should dig up old work you’ve discarded for a reason – I’m talking about the unfinished stuff that you have left for so long that you feel you can’t go back to it. It’s only the first few sentences that’ll be hard, trust me. 

Of course, I want as many writers to read this as possible. We’re all on the same team, and don’t let the competitive nature of the industry make you feel otherwise. So please: share this with all your writer-friends out there. If you are reading this email because it has been forwarded on to you, please subscribe here to receive future Have You Read This newsletters.

Please don’t reach out to me about further details – everything you could possibly need will be available on the links provided. They’re better equipped to answer your questions, anyway! 

Want to unsubscribe? Please do so by responding to this email, and if you have the time, let me know why. I hope it wasn’t something I said. 

Love and best wishes, 


If I was able to help you get published, or inspire your writing, please consider “buying me a coffee“. I don’t drink coffee, but you need a fancy membership on Ko-Fi to change the wording to “a bag of Percy Pigs”. Keep writing, everyone. You got dis.

Read Newsletter #5: Ham(net)ilton