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$25.00 USD

The Masters Review is proud to announce our first chapbook contest! The winning writer will be awarded $3000, manuscript publication, a subscription to Journal of the Month, and 50 contributor copies.  The incredible Steve Almond is judging the inaugural contest! We’re seeking to celebrate bold, original voices within a single, cohesive manuscript of 25 to 40 pages. We’re interested in collections of short fiction, essays, flash fiction, novellas/novelettes, and any  combination thereof, provided the manuscripts are complete (no excerpts, chapters, works-in-progress, or other incomplete work), and function cohesively. 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. The guest judge will provide a brief foreword/introduction for the manuscript upon publication. The published manuscript will be available for sale as a physical copy and distributed digitally through our newsletter.


  • Winner receives $3000, manuscript publication, a subscription to Journal of the Month, and 50 contributor copies
  • Second and third place finalists will be acknowledged on our website
  • Manuscripts should be between 25-40 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 collections are previously published and therefore ineligible
  • As we are a prose-focused journal, we are not interested in poetry chapbooks, but will consider chapbooks which contain 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 (We are interested in offering a larger  platform to new writers. Self-published writers and writers with story  collections and novels with a small circulation are welcome to submit.  Writers with novels published with a circulation of fewer than 5000  copies can also submit.)
  • Entry fee: $25
  • Deadline: November 29, 2020
  • 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, as well as full manuscript consultations
  • Manuscript Consultations will be offered by Tommy Dean (bio below), who will provide an in-depth and extensive editorial service on the manuscript as a whole (10-15 pages of feedback + phone or e-mail consultation)

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.

Steve Almond is the author of eleven books of fiction and non-fiction, including the New York Times bestsellers Candyfreak and Against Football. His stories and essays have appeared in the Best American Short Stories, the New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. He lives outside Boston with his wife, his children, and his anxiety. 

Tommy Dean lives in Indiana with his wife and two children. He is the author of a flash fiction chapbook entitled Special Like the People on TV from Redbird Chapbooks and is the Editor at Fractured Lit. He has been previously published in BULL Magazine, The MacGuffin, The Lascaux Review, New World Writing, Pithead Chapel, and New Flash Fiction Review. His stories have been included in Best Microfiction 2019 and 2020 and the Best Small Fiction 2019. @tommydeanwriter.

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

Nathan Elias on the Process of Building a Chapbook of Poems and a Chapbook Novelette at The Chapbook Interview*

*Although we are not considering poetry for the chapbook contest, Nathan’s thoughts on the novelette are valuable!

Editorial Letter Payment Scale:

  • One complete story/essay, between 1,000-6,000 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
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.