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  Issue #71

Free Writers' Newsletter

   Jan 31, 2009  


Poetry contest winners and new magazine

This month, has announced the winner, runners-up, and special commendations of its Seventh International Poetry Competition, as well as releasing Issue 14 of firstwriter.magazine, The Silken Tongue

Anne-Simone Hutton of Najac, France, was announced as the winner of the competition for her poem "Edge", and wins £500 (around $750). Mark Ellis, of London, wins £100 for submitting the best entry from the United Kingdom with his poem "Another Mother", and Michael Pollick of Decatur, Alabama, wins $150 for entering the best runner-up poem from the United States, "Oven". The winning poems can be read online at Writing Contests - Click Here

All the winners will also be published in a future issue of firstwriter.magazine, and receive vouchers worth £20 / $30 – as will the ten Special Commendations:

  • Donny Kingsley Okoh, United Kingdom, "Marriage"; 
  • Kayalyn Kibbe, United States, "Your heart is a command economy"; 
  • Elowyn Corby, United States, "On Coming From a Hammock"; 
  • Celeste Goschen, United Kingdom, "6.30am Flight Over The Andes"; 
  • Clare Ferguson-Walker, United Kingdom, "Parallel Paths "; 
  • Daphne Power, United Kingdom, "Fly Higher"; 
  • Maria Ilieva, Bulgaria, "The grey city"; 
  • Ailish Henchion, United Kingdom, "Infidelity"; 
  • Jackie Goodman, United Kingdom, "Pint Size"; 
  • Aodhan O'Reilly, Ireland, "Christmas cards";

The Eighth International Poetry Competition is currently underway. To submit your work for the chance of winning £500 (that's roughly $750) click here

Have you protected your Copyright? Copyright piracy is estimated to cost millions annually. Before sending your work to agents, publishers, or contests, make sure you take out copyright protection. Click here for more information.

firstwriter.magazine Issue 14: The Silken Tongue
The latest issue of firstwriter.magazine has also just been released, featuring quality fiction and poetry submitted from around the world, plus your first chance to see not just the winning story from our Fourth International Short Story Contest, but also all ten Special Commendations. To view the magazine click here. To enter your work in our Fifth International Short Story Contest click here.

All those whose work has been included in issue 14 have now been notified, so if you submitted work for issue 14 and have not received notification of inclusion then, regretfully, on this occasion your submission was not successful. Please do feel free to try again, however, through

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A long look back
By Marcella Simmons

After months of submitting manuscripts to magazines such as Redbook and Glamour, receiving rejection slip after rejection slip, I started researching the small press publications in hopes of finding a home for some of my material. The result was that I finally started receiving acceptance slips instead of rejection slips – the only difference – there was little or no pay for my hard work.

Looking back to my very first piece is almost embarrassing – why would any editor take the time to read that piece of garbage? It was not one of my better pieces of work, I can assure you.

But that first piece, as bad as it was, has served as my inspiration more than once, giving me the confidence and boost that I needed to continue writing. When I read it now, full of room for change and improvement (it was worthy of being trashed!), I am thankful that someone took the time to publish my first piece and give me a chance as a published writer and help me on my journey to succeed as a professional writer. We all have to start somewhere.

Small press editors (some of them) take the time to read your material – some give you tips and edit your story and help you with rewrites. Others tell you where your story went wrong and why it doesn’t work for that particular publication. Some small press editors welcome new writers
like a nursery welcomes new babies.

Without having learned to write for small press publications years ago, I would not have succeeded as a writer, and I am thankful for getting my foot in the door where and when I did. I would have given up long ago, and my dreams of being a successful writer would be gone forever. 

Writing is hard work – there are endless hours spent writing and rewriting, the pay is lousy so much of the time, and getting accepted almost seems hopeless. The competition is great – there seems to be no end to it.

If you’re having trouble breaking into print with the larger paying markets, try the small press publications. is updated continually and includes small presses in its publishers section, and small press magazines in its magazines section. Go to and to make trial searches for free. If you find markets matching your needs you can get the full details for a low monthly subscription fee by going to You can also ask to receive daily email alerts about new and updated listings matching your interests.

Get familiar with some of the smaller markets – SASE for writer’s guidelines and request a sample copy or two before submitting your manuscript. Get a feel for the market – know and understand what is needed and write accordingly. 

Keep writing and keep sending out manuscripts. Someone will read your manuscript – keep trying until they do!

Click here for great value writing classes!

About the author
Marcella Simmons has been writing professionally since 1988 – she has over 650 published credits in over 350 small press publications nationwide. In 2005, Simmons had her first book of poetry published, and is working on several book projects at this time. She continues to write a regular weekly column for a local newspaper in her hometown, as well as many other writing projects. "Writing is a way of life for me," she says. Simmons is the mother of eight children (all are grown now) and she has seven grandchildren with another on the way. "My family is also a way of life for me, and my inspiration."

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Resources for writers at

Visit for the following invaluable resources for writers:

To advertise on this newsletter for as little as $30 / £20 click here

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In this issue:

Spelling conventions

fwn uses English spelling conventions. Spellings such as "realise" "colour", "theatre", "cancelled", etc. differ from other spelling conventions but are nonetheless correct. 


Poetry anthology seeks submissions
Submissions are being sought for the first volume of the new, biannual Fearless Poetry Series, The Light in Ordinary Things

Poets may submit up to three poems and/or prose poems about any ordinary thing, place, event, or living being looked at in a new light, up to May 30, 2009.

For full submission guidelines, click here 

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Inscribed magazine goes monthly
Inscribed ~ A Magazine for Writers has now become a monthly publication. The latest issue can be downloaded at

For over 1,000 other magazines, click here

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Bridport Prize opens for entries
The 2009 Bridport Prize (the richest competition in the English language) is now open to submissions of short stories up to 5,000 words and poems up to 42 lines. 

Prizes include two awards of £5,000 (approx. $7,500) for the best story and the best poem.

For more information, or to enter, click here

For over 100 other contests, click here

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“Gettaway” to Gettysburg
Popular RWA writing workshop guru, Alicia Rasley, is leading an intimate group of writers in The Historic Gettysburg Hotel, March 20-22, 2009. The price is $295, and includes workshop fees and two nights in a double hotel room.

For a registration form, click here.

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© 2009
While every effort is made to ensure that all information contained within this newsletter is accurate, readers are reminded that this information is provided only as a collection of potential leads that the reader should follow up with his or her own investigations. Unless otherwise stated, is not associated with and does not endorse, recommend, or guarantee any of the organisations, events, persons or promotions contained within this newsletter, and cannot be held responsible for any loss incurred as a result of actions taken in relation to information provided. Inclusion does not constitute recommendation.