28 Themed Submission Calls for August 2020

***Please note, there has been an uptick in publishers that are not accepting unagented submissions. Too many presses and publishers are getting mass submissions that do not fit their catalogs. DO NOT submit your work if it doesn't fit the publisher's guidelines.

It seems to me that more presses are starting to ask for themed submission calls each month. And August 2020 is no different. Thanks to our friends at Author’s Publish, we have a list of 28 publishing opportunities from across the globe. There is a lot of information in here, so let’s get to it.

Themed Submission Calls for August 2020

Here are 18 publishers that are looking for a variety of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction submissions. Please remember to read through their submission guidelines thoroughly before you submit your work!

Vox et Liber: Graveyard Visits – Marginalized Voices in Horror

The marginalized voices in horror theme includes but is not limited to stories centered around LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, people with mental illness, neurodivergent, and people with disabilities. They are only looking for pieces from marginalized or under-represeted authors. Vox et Liber is only looking for horror stories that include a supernatural aspect to them. The creepier, the scarier, the better. Writers can send up to three stories. You can get the full details here.

  • Deadline: August 12, 2020
  • Length: 2,500-5,000 words
  • Pay: $0.02 per word

Lackington’s: Archives

This Canadian speculative fiction magazine is reading work on the ‘Archives’ theme. Their guidelines say:

“Archives are more than sacred hoards in various states of array. They are under our feet in the very rock and in the trunks of trees. Scars can also be archives, and so can storage lockers and our personal digital wakes. Fate finds creative ways to preserve our memories, and the relics of vanished cultures, and the shades of people themselves. Send us your tales of memory, museums, loss, or preservation, but make sure they’re speculative.”

They also pay for artwork. You can find their submission guidelines here.

  • Deadline: August 14, 2020
  • Length: 1,500-5,000 words
  • Pay: C$0.01 per word
Lackington's has a themed call for August 2020. This is one of their previous issues.

Honeyguide Magazine

Honeyguide Magazine publishes stories, art, and poetry that examine the connection between animals and humans, and how our lives are more similar than people assume. Here are some of the topics and themes the editors want you to consider:

  • the process of an animal bringing out a character trait in a person (ie: Seabiscut)
  • animals as living, interactive symbols or metaphors of human wants, fears, secrets, challenges, and change (ie: Life of Pi, Cujo)
  • stories told through an animal’s perspective (The Incredible Journey, Pax). ​

They also want stories can you tell, either from imagination or experience, about marginalized species or creatures people usually avoid (ie: possums, bats, termites). The magazine will also consider pieces with mythical creatures.

For fiction, they prefer flash, literary, historical, and young adult (YA) fiction, though they will consider other genres. It is unclear whether they pay all writers, but those featured on their website will get a monetary payment. You can find out more here.

  • Deadline: August 15, 2020
  • Length: Up to 1,000 words for Life Advice from an Animal, up to 4,000 words for fiction and creative nonfiction, and up to five poems
  • Pay: $25 for featured writers, $50 for art

FU Review: Interrupt

This Berlin-based literary journal publishes prose, poetry, nonfiction, and English-language translations. They are reading for their ninth issue, and the theme is ‘Interrupt’. The guidelines say:

“When the internet cuts off, when the light goes out as you sit down to read, when the heart doesn’t beat, when a heart doesn’t beat for you, when the visa is rejected, when the binary breaks, when you fall in love, when two worlds collide, when — we pause this program for an important announcement — a dog barks (the autoplay ad starts) when the lightning strikes the picnic the stranger asks for directions the rain starts the statue of the slave trader hits the water when the rain ends when a missile —”

If you want to learn more, you can check out their submission guidelines here.

  • Deadline: August 16, 2020
  • Length: Up to two prose pieces, up to five poems
  • Pay: €20

Faces: Fun for All; Clara Barton and Global Health

Cricket Media’s Faces magazine is for children between the age of nine to 14, where they can learn about important inventions and ideas from other cultures through articles, folk tales, recipes, illustrations, and hands-on projects.

They publish feature articles that directly and indirectly related to the theme, such as interviews, personal accounts, and supplemental nonfiction. They also publish theme-related fiction, activities, puzzles, and games.

The magazine is open to receiving queries for the following themes:

  • Fun for All: Their guidelines say, “Sports and games have been modified through time to ensure a fun, fair, and safe experience for all.” They want queries on this theme by August 17, 2020.
  • Clara Barton and Global Health: Their guidelines say, “More than 1,500 health organizations across the globe provide critical services, such as training health-care workers, doctors, and nurses; educating people about disease; feeding people; providing sanitary drinking water; vaccinating; developing new beneficial drugs; and providing medicines.” They want queries on this theme by September 14, 2020.

If you’d like to know more, please check out their submission guidelines here. You will also want to check out the guidelines, themes, and query deadlines for ASK, Cricket Media’s nonfiction magazine for seven to 10-year-olds.

  • Deadlines for queries: See above
  • Length: Varies
  • Pay: Unspecified

Speculative City: Governance

This speculative fiction magazine wants fiction, poetry, and essays on the Governance theme. They seek provocative works that are centered within a cityscape. You can get the full details here.

  • Deadline: August 24, 2020
  • Length: Up to 5,500 words
  • Pay: $20-55
Speculative Fiction has a themed call in August 2020
Speculative City Issue 7

Chicken Soup for the Soul

Links to details on all themes and where to submit are at the end of the section. 

  • Miracles and Divine Intervention: They want stories about: Divine intervention and timing, miracles, coincidences, unexplained happenings, answered prayers, miraculous healing, and signs from heaven. The deadline is August 31, 2020.
  • Making “Me Time”: Their guidelines say, “We are looking for your stories about how you neglected your self-care and then how you realized its importance and so you now engage in it.” The deadline is September 30, 2020.
  • Tough Times:  Their guidelines say, “We are looking for stories about how you [… and] your loved ones are handling the changes in your life.” The deadline is October 31, 2020.
  • Cats: They are back with this popular theme. The deadline is November 30, 2020.
  • Angels: Their guidelines say, “True personal stories about how an angel has touched your life – stories of true wonder and awe from people who have directly encountered or received help from angels.” The deadline is December 15, 2020.
  • Eldercare: They are only seeking stories from family members providing eldercare for this book, not professional carers. Some suggested themes are: accepting the new reality, convincing the person that they need help, taking care of yourself and other relationships, and the lighter side. The deadline is January 30, 2021.
  • Counting Your Blessings: Their guidelines say, “Please share your stories about handling challenges in your life, finding the silver linings, and counting your blessings, whether the challenges you are facing are COVID-19 related or other kinds.” The deadline is February 28, 2021.

You can find the theme details here, submission guidelines here, and the submission portal here.

  • Deadlines: See above
  • Length: Up to 1,200 words
  • Pay: $20

Strange Aeon: 2020 (Lovecraftian Tales)

The editor wants Lovecraftian stories. The guidelines say:

“I specifically say Lovecraftian rather than Cthulu because I’d like stories across the entire Mythos including additions by the original group of Mythos authors like Robert Howard and Clark Ashton Smith. Likewise, specific Mythos references are not as important as getting the right style and tone.”

Science fiction horror is strongly encouraged. There will also be one poem and one non-fiction piece in the anthology. You can learn more here.

  • Deadline: August 31, 2020, or until filled
  • Length: 2,000-10,000 words preferred
  • Pay: $20

Salvation Army: The War Cry – Character Counts; Suffering

This Christian publication requires themed articles to be submitted 60 days prior to the issue publication. For special issues, like Easter and Christmas, submissions should be six months in advance.

They publish articles, reprints, news, non-fiction, (limited) fiction, Use New Living Translation, and photographs. Some of their upcoming themes are:

  • Character Counts (October 2020): Guideposts for character development. Values on which to build a life.
  • Suffering (November 2020): If God is good all the time then why does He let me suffer? The problem with pain, disease, and suffering in the modern world.

For more details, please check out their website.

  • Deadlines: For themed articles, submissions to be 60 days prior to issue publication
  • Length: 800-1,250 words for articles; 100-400 words for brief news and sidebar pieces; unspecified for others
  • Pay: $0.35/word for original work, $0.15/word for reprints

Parabola: Wellness; Secrets

Parabola is a quarterly journal that explores the quest for meaning as it is expressed in the world’s myths, symbols, and religious traditions, with particular emphasis on the relationship between this store of wisdom and our modern life. They accept original essays and translations, poetry, and extended reviews for a section called Tangents., and also publish retellings of traditional stories.

Their guidelines say:

“We look for lively, penetrating material unencumbered by jargon or academic argument. We prefer well-researched, objective, and unsentimental pieces that are grounded in one or more religious or cultural tradition; articles that focus on dreams, visions, or other very personal experiences are unlikely to be accepted.”

They are reading work on two themes: Wellness (the deadline is September 1, 2020) and Secrets (The deadline is December 1, 2020). You can get the full details here.

  • Deadlines: See above
  • Length: Articles: 1,000-3,000 words; Book Reviews: 500 words; Retellings of traditional stories: 500-1,500 words; Forum contributions: up to 500 words
  • Pay: Unspecified

Editing Mee: Fantasy Anthology

They want stories for a historical fantasy anthology, about characters who work in illegal or unsavory positions. You can read their submission guidelines here.

  • Deadline: September 10, 2020
  • Length: 2,000-5,000 words
  • Pay: $15

Blue Light Special

This is a fiction anthology of folktales set in the modern world. Traditional folk tales are to be re-imagined to feature LGBTQ people grappling with today’s problems. Each will include a blue light as a surreal or supernatural element.

The editor suggests that you check out their guidelines for how to use blue light as a narrative device. You can find the blue light guidelines and submission details here and here.

  • Deadline: September 15, 2020
  • Length: 1,000-5,000 words
  • Pay: $0.01 per word

Whortleberry Press: Strange Holiday Mysteries

This is an indie science fiction, fantasy, and horror publisher. They want mysteries that take place during a holiday of the writer’s choosing. Like the rest of their ‘Strange Mysteries’ series, this will have about 20 stories. You can find out more here.

  • Deadline: September 30, 2020
  • Length: Up to 3,000 words
  • Pay: $10
Strange Mysteries has a themed call for August 2020

Sliced Up Press: Slashertorte – An Anthology of Cake Horror

They want short stories involving cake for their debut horror anthology. In the words of the editors:

“Delicious as cake might be, we want you to bring out the darker side of baked goods and give us something scary, disturbing or just plain wrong.”

You can find the submission guidelines here.

  • Deadline: November 1, 2020, or until filled
  • Length: Up to 2,000 words
  • Pay: $0.01 per word

Lagrange Books: Worldbuilding fantasy anthology

Stories submitted to this themed fiction anthology must include, as a significant plot element, a political conflict that makes up a key piece of the worldbuilding. They want fantasy stories, including traditional high fantasy, urban fantasy, or any other flavor that includes a magical or fantastical element.  

You can find all of the details here.

  • Deadline: December 1, 2020
  • Length: 3,500-7,000 words for short stories; 9,000-15,000 words for novellas
  • Pay: $100 for short stories, $200 for novellas

Chiral Mad 5

This anthology will feature speculative short fiction, poetry, and artwork. All profits will go to the Black Lives Matter movement. The focus of this anthology is diversity. They only want stories from underrepresented demographics to submit.

More well-known writers will be asked to forego payment to keep cost down. Contributors of underrepresented demographics, however, will be offered professional payment, but may waive payment if they choose. You can get the full details here by scrolling down the page.

  • Deadline: December 31, 2020
  • Length: Up to 5,000 words for fiction, up to 50 lines for poetry
  • Pay: $0.06 per word for fiction, $1 per line for poetry

Air and Nothingness Press: The Wild Hunt; Upon a Once Time

Art work from NeverwasEarth

They are reading submissions for two themed speculative fiction anthologies:

  • The Wild Hunt: They want stories in any genre about the Wild Hunt. The Wild Hunt occurs in European folklore and typically involves a ghostly or supernatural group of hunters passing in wild pursuit, and seeing the Wild Hunt was thought to presage some catastrophe such as war or plague, or at best the death of the one who witnessed it. The accepted genres are grimdark, new weird, science fiction, fantasy, and genre bending/breaking.
  • Upon a Once Time: is an anthology of new fairy tales for a modern audience. For this call, writers should mash up two fairy tales and a genre of their choice. The accepted genres are grimdark, new weird, science fiction, fantasy, dying earth, and genre bending/breaking.

They tweeted the detail for the themed calls, which you can view here and here. You can visit their website here.

Deadlines: February 28, 2021 for both anthologies
Length: 1,000-3,000 words
Pay: $0.08 per word

Aftermath Magazine

They publish stories and nonfiction on the end of human civilization as a result of our destruction of the environment theme. They also publish work that:

“celebrates the beauty and importance of our environment, the natural world, the splendor of the wild, the abundance of wonderful creatures, big and small, and our kinship with them, the simple joys and profound enrichments experienced by people who are able to commune with nature.”

Submissions can be in English or Dutch. You can check out their full submission guidelines here.

  • Deadline: Unspecified
  • Length: 1,500-5,000 words
  • Pay: $0.02 per word for fiction, $0.01 per word for non-fiction

Themed Contests for August 2020

There are also several contests available to poets and prose writers in August 2020:

TU Dublin Short Story Competition: Creation, Cosmos, & Caboodle

This is a short story competition that wants fiction submissions of 1,500 to 2,000 words. Their guidelines say:

“There is no restriction on theme or style, however the planned 2020 anthology will be called Creation, Cosmos, & Caboodle‘ and we are looking for strong stories that (even loosely) reflect this title.”

You can find all the details here and here.

  • Value: €500, €250, €150
  • Deadline: August 19, 2020
  • Open to all writers

Endless Ink Publishing: Earth’s Final Chapter Short Story Competition 2020

Endless Ink wants fiction between 5,000 and 8,000 words, in any genre, on the shared universe of the Earth’s Final Chapter. Authors should contact the organizers on social media, let them know the genres they prefer to write, and the publisher will send them up to two stories to get them acquainted with the universe.

For more information, check out the submission guidelines here.

  • Value: $500; $100 for three runners-up
  • Deadline: August 21, 2020
  • Open to all writers

The Val Wood Prize 2020: The Next Chapter

This is a short fiction contest, of up to 2,000 words. Their guidelines say:

“The overall theme of this year’s competition has been chosen as feel-good and we want you to pack your entries with optimism, originality, and creativity.”

Yorkshire countryside

Apart from the global prizes, there are also prizes for Yorkshire residents. Entries from commercially published writers will not be considered. For more information, click here to download the entry conditions.

  • Value: £100, £50, £25
  • Deadline: August 31, 2020
  • Open to all writers who haven’t been commercially published

Preservation Foundation Contest: Travel nonfiction

This is a contest for unpublished writers. For the upcoming deadline, they are reading travel nonfiction. Here’s what the editors have to say:

“Stories should be factual and true accounts of a trip taken by the author or a person or persons known by the author.”

Entries should be 1,000 to 10,000 words. Read the terms carefully. All entries, regardless of whether or not they win, will be on their website as long as the Foundation exists. You can get all of the details here.

  • Value: $200, $100
  • Deadline: August 31, 2020
  • Open to unpublished writers

Speculative Literature Foundation: Diverse Writers and Diverse World Grants

These are for writers of speculative fiction, with all levels of experience and publishing. The Diverse Writers grant is intended to support new and emerging writers from underrepresented and underprivileged groups, such as writers of color, women, queer writers, disabled writers, working-class writers, etc.

The Diverse Worlds grant is intended for work that best presents a diverse world, regardless of the writer’s background. Writers may apply for either or both grants.

Their guidelines also say:

“Your project does not need to center on identity issues. We also do not expect or want work that simply attempts to check off all the boxes in a tokenistic way, but rather are looking for writing that offers deep characterization, complex cultural landscapes, and strong literary quality overall.”

For more information, click here.

  • Value: $500 each for Diverse Writers and Diverse Worlds
  • Deadline: August 31, 2020
  • Open to all writers

Nottingham Writers Studio: The George Floyd Short Story Competition

There's a George Floyd themed call for submission in August 2020

This new annual writing competition is in memory of George Floyd. The editors will accept all genres and styles in both fiction and nonfiction from writers worldwide. Their guidelines say:

“With this anthology, we seek to capture not only stories of social justice that capture the mood, tone, and energy of the vital Black Lives Matter movement, but the entire gamut of BAME life experience, from social justice to comedies by black authors to romances with a predominantly Asian cast.

This competition is open to all as we welcome the experiences of advocates and allies as well as voices from the black community. Above all, we want to ensure in publishing the anthology we amplify, center, and celebrate the voices and writings of people of color.”

Find out more about the competition here.

  • Value: £250, £125, £75; £30 for runners-up
  • Deadline: August 31, 2020
  • Open to all writers

The Helen Schaible International Sonnet Contest

This contest has two categories: traditional and modern. Poets can enter work in one or both categories. Click here for more details.

Value: $50, $35, $15
Deadline: September 1, 2020
Open to all poets

The Academy for Teachers: Stories Out of School

They want honest, unsentimental, and unpublished stories of six to 749 words about teachers and schools. The story’s protagonist or narrator must be a K-12 teacher. Sentimentality is discouraged and education jargon is forbidden. The stories will be published in the print edition of A Public Space. Get all of the details here and here.

  • Value: $1,000
  • Deadline: 1 September 2020
  • Open to all writers

American-Scandinavian Foundation Translation Awards

The American-Scandinavian Foundation awards annual translation prizes for outstanding translations of poetry, fiction, drama, or literary prose written by a Scandinavian author born after 1900. The Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award is for those whose translations from a Nordic language have not been previously published.

There is also the Nadia Christensen Prize, and the Wigeland Prize (this is for the best translation by a Norwegian). The application includes 50 pages of prose or 25 pages of poetry. You can find out more here.

  • Value: $2,500 (Nadia Christensen Prize); $2,000 (Leif and Inger Sjöberg Award); $2,000 (Wigeland Prize)
  • Deadline: September 1, 2020 (extended)
  • Open for: Unspecified

On the Premises: Ooh, that smell

Their guidelines say:

“There are few things as evocative as scent. For this contest, write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which either a specific scent, or the sense of smell in general, is important to the story.”

They do not want children’s fiction, exploitative sex, over-the-top gross horror, or stories that are obvious parodies of existing fictional worlds and characters created by other authors. Get the full details here and here.

  • Value: $220, $160, $120, $60
  • Deadline: September 4, 2020
  • Open to all writers

Good luck to all of you who submit! I’m keeping my fingers crossed for you.

And if you do get accepted, please let me know. I’d love to read your work and pass it along to a friend.

Stay safe, everyone.

Until next time.



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Danielle Adams

Danielle Adams

Danielle Adams is a writer and editor for a local marketing agency. She has formerly worked as a writer for the Investing News Network and as an editor for Whetstone, a bi-annually published literary magazine. Aside from writing, Danielle has an unabiding love for all marine life and the outdoors. She loves taking long hikes with her husband and cooking delicious meals in the kitchen.


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