Poetry submissions are now OPEN for the 2021 Michigan Writers Cooperative Press Chapbook Contest!
This year we are only accepting chapbooks in the genre of poetry.
Please review our guidelines below before making your submission.
Each year, the Michigan Writers Cooperative Press (MWCP) publishes winners of its chapbook contest. The purpose of the press is to help writers publish their first book in a literary genre. Poetry, short-story collections, and works of creative nonfiction will be considered. Selections are based on literary merit, and not necessarily genre.
This means that some years we have a winner in each category, some years we have several winners within a single genre, and some years we only publish a winner in one or another genre. In past years, MWCP has published up to three winners. Readers specializing in each genre carefully consider and jury each eligible submission.
To enter the MWCP chapbook contest, you must be a current member of Michigan Writers, Inc. who has not been the sole or a primary author of a literary book published by any type of press, including the MWCP. This means, for example, if you have authored a culinary textbook and want to publish in a literary genre, you may submit a manuscript to MWCP. However, if you have a previously published book in a literary genre (e.g. a book of poetry with a commercial press), you are not eligible to enter the contest.
- You were one of a several contributors to an edited collection.
- You were the editor of an essay, story, or poetry collection published by a juried press.
- You have had one or more poems published in a regional or national literary journal.
- You have had one or more short stories published in a regional or national literary journal.
- You have a textbook published.
- You have never had anything published.
- You have self-published a book in a literary genre.
- You were one of two coauthors of an essay collection published by a juried press.
- You have a book of poems, short stories, or essays published by a juried, cooperative, commercial, or university press.
- You have won a chapbook contest sponsored by a cooperative or independent press or a publishing house.
- You had a novel or memoir published by a press.
- You are a director or the spouse or child of a MWCP or Michigan Writers, Inc. director.
- You are an adjudicator or volunteer for MWCP or the Michigan Writers, Inc.
- You have served on the Michigan Writers, Inc. board of directors within twelve months of the contest submission period closing.
Manuscripts will be accepted between December 1 – January 31, 2021.
All submissions must conform to the length available in a 40-page, 5.5 x 8.5-inch publication—roughly 10,000 words for prose or 16 – 30 pages of poetry. Manuscripts longer than specified will not be read. Participants may submit only one manuscript per contest cycle. All work should be in a final draft form, thoughtfully revised, and carefully proofread.
Please attend to the following guidelines:
- All submissions must be submitted using our submittable.com portal (see below). We no longer accept submissions via email or US Mail.
- Please note that you will need to have a submittable.com account to send work, even if you have previously submitted to Michigan Writers Cooperative Press Chapbook Contest using other methods. Creating an account is free, and you can easily keep track of your submissions from within your account.
- Because the manuscripts will be read “blind,” please omit any references to your name/identity in the manuscript itself.
Poetry Manuscript Formatting Guidelines
- Manuscript page length: between 16 – 30 pages of poetry. Please include the following, which does not count toward the limit.
- Title page (Manuscript title only; do not include your name or other identifying information.)
- Acknowledgements page (Poems included in your manuscript may be previously published, but please credit the original publisher.)
- A complete table of contents
- Only one poem per page.
- Margins should be a minimum of one inch.
- Use Time New Roman 12-point font.
- Submit files in PDF format to preserve your formatting.
Publication decisions will be made by March 2021. Authors selected for publication are expected to participate in editorial revision, sign a contract with Michigan Writers, Inc., and provide a final digital copy of the manuscript. If any portion of a submitted work has been published, authors must affirm that they hold clear copyrights to the material. (Michigan Writers, Inc. reserves the right not to publish chapbooks during the annual MWCP cycle if there are no manuscripts judged suitable for publication.)
Submit a Manuscript
The Fine Print
When using the submittable.com submissions program, please be sure to add MWCP Chapbook Contest email address ([email protected]) to your spam blocker method so that you can receive correspondence from us.
Once you have submitted, you can log in to your submittable.com account and check on the status of your submission at any time during our submission period. If you have not received a response from us regarding the status of your submission by March 2020, you may query the managing editor at [email protected] for an update.
Thank you in advance for sharing your work with us.
Cooperative Press Procedures
As participants in the Cooperative Press, authors are expected to participate in the initial editing, public readings, book signings, and other activities necessary to successfully promote their books. MWCP pays for the initial print run, up to 100 copies. Authors cover costs for additional print runs. Authors will also retain copyright and may include any portions of the work in future publications, provided that they acknowledge MWCP. MWCP will retain rights to publish, display and reproduce the Copyrighted material. Please send questions to: [email protected]
The chapbook contest has always followed strict guidelines for blind review and selection. All author names/identities are concealed from judges until winners are selected. Manuscripts undergo two rounds of judging: the first involves local readers—volunteers or Michigan Writers board members who have written, published, or taught in the pertinent literary genre. The second round includes outside judges who are renowned masters of the craft. Past outside judges have included Fleda Brown, Heather Shumaker, Hadley Moore, Casey Thayer, Diane Seuss, Melissa Grunow, Andy Mozina, Patricia Clark, Neal Rubin, Stephen Dunn, Judith Kitchen, Thomas Lynch, Patricia Ann McNair, Stephanie Mills, Gordon Henry, Amorak Huey and Keith Taylor.
Updated December 2020.