Welcome.

Always a free way to submit. Always paid for your work. The Masters Review offers a quality platform for emerging writers.

Founded by Kim Winternheimer in 2011, the Masters Review is an online and in print publication celebrating new and emerging writers. We are on the lookout for the best new talent with hopes of publishing stories from writers who will continue to produce great work. We offer critical essays, book reviews by debut authors, contest deadlines, submissions info, and interviews with established authors, all with the hopes of bridging the gap between new and established writers.

By submitting to TMR, submitters agree to receive correspondence about future publications and submission opportunities from TMR. You can unsubscribe at any time.

The Masters Review hosts and annual Novel Excerpt Contest each fall! We’re looking for excerpts that show off a sense of style, with a clear grasp on craft: narrative, character, and plot. Choose wisely! Your excerpt can come from any point in your completed or in-progress novels, but a synopsis should not be required for understanding the excerpt. Excerpts must be from previously unpublished novels; if your novel has been self-published, it is ineligible for this contest. Excerpts from novels that are under contract for 2022 or 2023 may not be submitted, but work from a novel scheduled for a 2024 publication date or beyond may. As always, we have no limitations on genre, though we are primarily interested in literary fiction. This year's judge is Charmaine Craig! She will select the finalists from a shortlist provided by The Masters Review’s editorial team. The winning excerpt will be awarded $3000 and online publication and an hour-long consultation with a literary agent. Second and third place excerpts will be awarded online publication and $300 and $200 respectively, in addition to feedback from a literary agent.

GUIDELINES:

  • Winner receives $3000, publication and consultation with an agent
  • Second and third place prizes ($300 / $200, publication and agent feedback)
  • Excerpts under 6000 words
  • Excerpts from unpublished novels only 
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed
  • Emerging writers only; writers with book-length work published or under contract with a major press are ineligible. (We are interested in offering a larger platform to new writers. Authors with short story collections are free to submit unpublished work, as are writers with books published by indie presses.)
  • International English submissions allowed. No translations.
  • Excerpts from novels under contract for 2022 or 2023 are ineligible, but novels under contract from 2024 and beyond are eligible.
  • Double-spaced, 12 pt easy-to-read font (i.e., Times New Roman, Garamond, etc.) please!
  • $20 entry fee
  • Deadline: December 1, 2022
  • Please, no identifying information on your excerpt
  • All excerpts are considered for publication
  • A significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA



FAQ:
Q: What’s the deal with my rights if I want to publish my book eventually?
While we’re not able to speak for every publisher, since we’re not publishing your work in its entirety, it should not be a problem going  forward. Rights also revert back to the author after 90 days. If an opportunity came up for you to publish your work before the 90 days, we are happy to revert rights back to you sooner.
Q: Does it have to have a beginning, middle and end?
We want an excerpt that stands well on its own, that makes us want to read the full book. We want a sense of conclusion from the excerpt, but we also know that we’re only reading part of a novel and don’t expect all threads to be resolved. You can read our 2021 winners through the links at the bottom of our contest page for an example of the kind of novel-excerpt we’re interested in.
Q: When should I expect to hear back?
We will try to respond to every submission by the end of March, and hope to have the finalists announced at the end of April or beginning of May. If this timeline changes significantly, we will notify all authors. We appreciate your patience!
Q: Can I submit two chapters if its under 6000 words?
You can submit as many chapters as you’d like, as long as the word count is under 6000 words.
Q: How firm are you on word count?
We allow for some wiggle room; don’t force your revisions into 6000 words. We’d rather read a couple hundred extra words than a cramped conclusion!
Q: Can I submit a synopsis/prologue with my excerpt?
We recommend that you don’t; your excerpt will be judged on its merit  alone, and the synopsis will not be published alongside your excerpt.
Q: Can I submit with a co-writer?
Sure; but you’ll need to split the prize money.
Q: What if a small portion of the book has already been published?
As long as the excerpt you’re submitting has not been published in any form, and the novel itself has not been published, we’re happy to  consider your work!
Q: I self-published my novel on my blog but later took it down; can I still submit an excerpt?
Unfortunately because it’s been published in some form or fashion, the excerpt would no longer be eligible for this contest.

About the Judge

Charmaine Craig is the author of the novels My Nemesis, forthcoming from Grove Press in February 2023; Miss Burma, longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award for Fiction and the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction; and The Good Men, a national bestseller. Her writing has been published in a dozen languages and appeared in venues including The New York Times Magazine, Narrative Magazine, AFAR Magazine, and Dissent. Formerly an actor in film and television, she studied literature at Harvard College, received her MFA from the University of California at Irvine, and serves as a faculty member in the Department of Creative Writing at UC Riverside. She lives in Los Angeles.

PREVIOUS WINNER UPDATES:
Joe Bond earned representation from Sarah Fuentes of Fletcher & Company, and Caitlin O’Neil earned representation from Victoria Marini and our 2016 Fall Fiction winner, Ruth Joffre, selected by Kelly Link sold her story collection to Grove Atlantic with our winning piece as the title story. Awesome.

"Thanks for providing a place for emerging talents to thrive!" -- Amy Williams, The Williams Agency

"If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking." -- Haruki Murakami   
Support new authors
Black Lives Matter

Each fall, The Masters Review holds an open call for chapbooks. We want to publish your collections of flash, your mini novellas, your 40 page short stories. We want to publish your braided essays, your eclectic brainchildren, your experiments. However you want to tell your story, we want to read it. (As long as it’s between 25-45 double-spaced pages.) The submission window will be open for the final four months of the year, and The Masters Review staff will select a small shortlist of our favorites to pass along to a Kim Fu, author of Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, who will select the winning manuscript.

The winning writer will be awarded $3000, manuscript publication, and 75 contributor copies. We’re seeking to celebrate bold, original voices within a single, cohesive manuscript of 25 to 45 pages. We’re interested in collections of short fiction, essays, flash fiction, novellas/novelettes, longform fiction or essays, and any combination thereof, provided the manuscripts  are complete (no excerpts, chapters, works-in-progress, or other incomplete work). We are NOT interested in poetry. (We’re sure your poetry is fantastic, but we’re not qualified to judge its merit!)

The Masters Review staff will select a shortlist of 5-10 chapbooks to pass along to our guest judge, who will select the winning manuscript. Our judge will provide a brief introduction for the manuscript upon publication. The published manuscript will be available for sale as a physical copy and distributed digitally through our newsletter. Last year’s winning book, Love at the End of the World by Lindy Biller, selected by Matt Bell, will be published next spring. Digital and print copies will be available.

Guidelines:

  • Winner receives $3000, manuscript publication, and 75 contributor copies
  • Second and third place finalists will be acknowledged on our website
  • Manuscripts should be between 25-45 pages (not including front/back matter) with each story beginning on a new page
  • Manuscripts should be double-spaced and paginated
  • Manuscripts should include a Table of Contents (if necessary) and an acknowledgements page listing any previously published material within the manuscript
  • Manuscripts may contain some previously published work, but the published work cannot have appeared in any other chapbook or full-length collections
  • Self-published chapbooks are previously published and therefore ineligible
  • No poetry chapbooks, please (we will consider chapbooks which contain some prose poetry)
  • Electronic submissions only
  • Single author manuscripts only
  • International English submissions allowed (No translations)
  • Simultaneous and multiple submissions allowed (Please withdraw submissions if they are accepted elsewhere.)
  • Emerging writers only;  writers with book-length work published or under contract with a major press are ineligible. (We are interested in offering a larger platform to new writers. Authors with short story collections are free to submit unpublished work, as are writers with books published by indie presses.)
  • Entry fee: $25
  • Deadline: December 31, 2022
  • Individual stories or essays within the manuscript may be considered for publication in our New Voices series
  • We are not requiring blind submissions for this contest
  • Editorial letters for up to 3 individual pieces within the manuscript may be requested
  • A  significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA
  • Friends, family and associates of the final judge are not eligible for this award
  • Please e-mail contact at mastersreview.com with questions

We don’t have any preferences  topically or in terms of style. We’re simply looking for the best. We don’t define, nor are we interested in, stories identified by their genre. We do, however, consider ourselves a publication that focuses on literary fiction. Dazzle us, take chances, and be bold.

About the judge

Kim Fu is the author of, most recently, the story collection Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, which received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Foreword, Booklist, Shelf Awareness, and Quill & Quire. Fu’s first novel, For Today I Am a Boy, won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award, as well as a New York Times Book Review Editors’  Choice. Her second novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards. Fu’s writing has appeared in Granta, the Atlantic, the New York Times, Hazlitt, and the TLS. She lives in Seattle.


Interested in chapbooks but don’t know where to start? Check out these handy resources!
What Are Chapbooks? and Why Should You Read Them? by Lyndsie Manusos at Book Riot
Creating a Fiction Chapbook by Bonnie ZoBell
Meg Tuite on the Flash Fiction Chapbook at The Chapbook Interview

Editorial Letter Payment Scale:

  • One complete story/essay, under 6,000 words: $59
  • Two complete stories/essays, or one complete story/essay between 6,000-12,000 words: $118
  • Three complete stories/essays, or work longer than 12,000 words: $177
  • For each individual work critiqued, you will receive one to two pages of feedback on what we enjoyed in your story, and what could be working better, as well as where it might be a good fit, and other comments about craft
  • A significant portion of these fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA
  • For questions about the editorial letter fees, please contact us at contact@mastersreview.com



Our New Voices category is open year round to any new or emerging author who has not published a novel-length work of fiction or narrative nonfiction. Authors with published short story collections are free to submit.  We accept simultaneous and multiple submissions but ask that you inform us immediately if your story is accepted elsewhere. 

The Masters Review pays a flat rate of $100 for flash-length stories (1,000 words or fewer) and $200 for longer stories (up to 7,000 words). We are thrilled to be paying for published pieces but will be highly selective in our choices for publication.

Guidelines
 

  • New Voices submissions are open to new and emerging writers only (no novel-length published work forthcoming at the time of submission).
  • We accept fiction and narrative non-fiction. We do accept a variety of genres and styles, our only requirement is that you show excellence in your craft. We want to be wowed. Bend genres, experiment with structure, and write your heart out. But please, send us polished work.  Our aim is to showcase writers who we believe will continue to produce great work. Send us only your best.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please notify us if your work is picked up elsewhere.
  • All submissions must be under 7,000 words.
  • If you're submitting flash, feel free to include up to 3 stories in a single document.
  • We do accept multiple submissions.
  • We cannot consider work that has been previously published in any form.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history and a short bio.
  • Please do not include identifying information on the submission itself. 
  • We aim to respond to all submissions within 12 weeks. Please do not e-mail before 12 weeks have passed. 
  • For submissions that request an editorial letter, a significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA

We don’t have any preferences topically or in terms of style. We’re simply looking for the best. We don’t define, nor are we interested in, stories identified by their genre. We do, however, consider ourselves a publication that focuses on literary fiction. Dazzle us, take chances, and be bold.   Thanks for supporting our publication, and thank you for your work.  

The Masters Review is committed to providing a platform to diverse, emerging voices. We are now offering an expedited reading category explicitly for marginalized or underrepresented writers. Submissions to this category will receive a response in four weeks or fewer. 

All submissions are considered for publication on our website under New Voices, and our regular New Voices guidelines apply (see below). The Masters Review pays a flat rate of $100 flash-length submissions (1,000 words or fewer) and $200 for longer works (up to 7,000 words).

Please see the guidelines below, or contact us at contact [at] mastersreview.com with any questions. This form is for marginalized or underrepresented writers only. If you'd like to submit work with an expedited response time and do not identify as BIPOC or as a writer from another demographic who has been historically mis- or underrepresented in publishing, you may do so here with a $9.99 fee

Black Lives Matter. Black Voices Matter. 

With love,

 Cole, Brandon, Jen and the entire Masters Review team.

Guidelines
 

  • This form is for BIPOC and historically marginalized writers only.
  • New Voices submissions are open to new and emerging writers only (no novel-length published work forthcoming at the time of submission).
  • We accept fiction and narrative non-fiction. We do accept a variety of genres and styles, our only requirement is that you show excellence in your craft. We want to be wowed. Bend genres, experiment with structure, and write your heart out. But please, send us polished work.  Our aim is to showcase writers who we believe will continue to produce great work. Send us only your best.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please notify us if your work is picked up elsewhere.
  • All submissions must be under 7,000 words.
  • If you're submitting flash, feel free to include up to 3 stories in a single document.
  • Please, only one active submission at a time. 
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your publication history and a short bio.
  • Do not submit work to this category if you do not identify as BIPOC or as a writer from another demographic who has been historically mis- or underrepresented in publishing.
  • For submissions that request an editorial letter, a significant portion of the editorial letter fees go to our feedback editor, according to the rates established by the EFA.

 

We don’t have any preferences topically or in terms of style. We’re simply looking for the best. We don’t define, nor are we interested in, stories identified by their genre. We do, however, consider ourselves a publication that focuses on literary fiction. Dazzle us, take chances, and be bold.   Thanks for supporting our publication, and thank you for your work.  

The Masters Review