Archive for August, 2014

Every month I send out an e-newsletter, and the past two years the January issue of that newsletter has been the “Reader Issue.” In the “Reader Issue,” I publish a poem, short story, creative nonfiction piece, or article from five different people. The past two years my friends, Claire Kaemmerling and Kaitlin Marshburn, have been co-judges to help pick the winning submissions.

The third annual “Reader Issue” writing contest is here, and I am currently accepting submissions. There will be five winners again this year, and each of those five winners will receive a $15 gift card as well as having his/her winning submission published in my January 2015 e-newsletter.

There are a lot of writing contests around, and many of them require you to pay an entry fee. THERE IS NO ENTRY FEE FOR MY WRITING CONTEST, so you have absolutely nothing to lose if you submit a piece.

If you already subscribe to my e-newsletter, then you received the rules for this contest in my July 2014 newsletter (sent out a couple of weeks ago). If you are not a subscriber and would like to be, please visit the homepage of my website,, to submit your email address and sign up. Regardless of whether you subscribe or not, check out the rules for the writing contest below! 🙂

1. I will accept submissions beginning August 15, 2014, through October 15, 2014. If you submit something AFTER October 15, it is not a valid submission and will not be considered for this contest.

2. Whether you are five years old or 105, you are welcome to submit a piece for this contest. There are no age limits.

3. If you were one of the five winners who appeared in the January 2014 newsletter, you must take a year off. However, if you were one of the five winners the first year of the contest (meaning your winning submission appeared in the January 2013 newsletter), you are eligible to enter the contest again this year.

4. I will accept poems, short stories, creative nonfiction pieces, and articles for this contest. Whichever category you choose, your submission must be no longer than 4,000 words.

5. When you submit your piece, please send it to In the subject of your email, put “Reader Issue.” In the body of your email, list your name; home (or mailing) address; email address; phone number; and the title and category of your work (article, poem, short story, or creative nonfiction) and then provide the work as an attachment.

6. Each person may submit up to two pieces.

7. Before you email me your piece, consider the following:

A. How is the grammar and overall sentence structure of your submission?
B. Did you follow directions regarding how to submit your piece–including your name, address, etc. in the body of the email?
C. Is your submission 4,000 words or fewer? If you’re submitting two pieces, each piece can be up to 4,000 words.
D. Is your submission appropriate? If you would rate it worse than PG, there is a strong possibility that much of my e-newsletter audience (which covers a wide range of ages and belief systems) will be offended, and I most likely will not print it.
E. Is it well-written? Did you spend a significant amount of time on it, or did you just throw it together in a few minutes?
F. Entertainment value–I am looking for something that holds my interest and will make me want to keep reading after the first page (or in the case of a shorter piece, it will make me want to keep reading after the first few lines).

Have any questions? Ask me in the comments below, and I will gladly answer them. The five winners will be notified by email on or before January 1, 2015. I can’t wait to read your submissions, so start working on them and send them in soon! 🙂