Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity Newsletter: July 2022

Erica Verrillo
6 min readJun 30, 2022


Ray Bradbury’s Words of Wisdom — Write Like Hell!

We’ve heard it before — practice makes perfect — but nowhere is this message delivered with greater honesty, more clarity, and deeper conviction than when it comes out of Ray Bradbury’s mouth. Because this is a man who waited until he was 30 before he wrote his first novel, Fahrenheit 451, and who spent the previous 18 years writing “millions of words” until he got it right. Read more here>>

41 Writing Contests in July 2022 — No entry fees

This July there over three dozen free writing contests for short fiction, novels, poetry, CNF, nonfiction, and plays. Prizes range from $100,000 to a free writing class. None charge entry fees. Read more here>>

105 Calls for Submissions in July 2022 — Paying markets

This July there are more than eight dozen calls for submissions. All of these are paying markets, and none charge submission fees. As always, every genre, style, and form is wanted, from short stories to poetry to essays. Read more here>>

32 Great Writing Conferences in July 2022

Summer is in full swing, and so are writing conferences. This July there are more than two dozen writing conferences. Many conferences and workshops will be held online, but some will be held in person or use a hybrid format. Read more here>>


2 New Agents Seeking LGBTQ+ stories, memoir and essay collections, speculative fiction, New Age practices and more

Andrew Dugan is open to queries with particular interest in LGBTQ+ stories, gothic fiction, stories with a rich sense of humor, and literary fiction with a compelling hook. On the nonfiction end, he has a love for language-driven memoir and essay collections. He’s also seeking narrative nonfiction that has strong elements of social justice and is interested in popular science. Andrew is also looking for practical and narrative projects in the spirituality space, with a focus on tarot, witchcraft, and New Age practices. Andrew wants to see more novels in vignettes.

Zoe Aline Howard is looking for for voice-driven stories that subvert reader expectations of their subject matter. She is especially interested in off-putting and unashamed characters, women breaking social expectations, LBGTQ+ characters, grounded magical realism and speculative elements, and insular settings (small towns, amusement parks, summer camps). In adult nonfiction, Zoe looks for narrative nonfiction, memoir, and essay collections that blend personal narratives with research.

Read more here>>

4 Agents Seeking Screenplays, Memoir, Kidlit, YA, Literary Fiction, Nonfiction, Speculative Fiction and more

Tessa Shaffer is looking for multi-POV stories, YA, middle grade, inspirational memoirs, non-fiction, narrative non-fiction, family sagas with lots of secrets, time travel, and anything universally cosmic/spiritual that is also strongly grounded in reality. Screenplays in the following genres: Comedy, Dramedy, Family, Romantic Comedy, TV — half hour, TV — one hour.

Millie Hoskins wants fiction — commercial and literary- and narrative non-fiction of most genres, excluding SFF. Cait Hoyt is interested in memoir, collections of essays, inspirational non-fiction, middle grade and children’s picture books.

Maria Bell is drawn to adult literary fiction and YA that break conventions in form, voice and character. In both fiction and nonfiction, she’s partial to stories involving the natural world, queer identities, baseball, and all those that grapple with conflicts and truths from which most of us instinctively distance ourselves.

Read more here>>


3 Publishers That Accept Manuscripts Directly from Authors

Small publishers are more apt to accept manuscripts directly from writers than large publishing houses. Generally, this is because they have very few books on their lists, and are eager for more. And in some cases, the publisher may have a narrow focus that warrants a more open submissions policy. Read more here>>

3 Publishers Looking for Authors — No Agent Required

If you write for a niche market, it is not difficult to find a publisher. Unlike large publishers, these houses are always looking for writers — no agent required. Here are three specialty publishers that accept manuscripts directly from authors. Read more here>>


Marketing Terms for Those Who Would Rather Use a Hammer

As I was browsing the net, I came upon an article explaining marketing terms. I am not a marketer, and don’t plan to become one, mostly because I haven’t the faintest idea what these people are talking about. As it turns out, it’s a good idea to know what marketing terms mean, if only because, like the plumber’s wrench, it’s nice to recognize a tool when someone else charges you for using one. Even if you don’t ever have to pay a marketer, you may want to know what marketing is about. Chances are you’ll be doing some of this work yourself. Read more here>>

Brain function is boosted for days after reading a novel

In this fascinating study, researchers found that brain connectivity was increased during and after reading a gripping novel. The interaction between parts of the brain, known as connectivity, is what allows your brain to function. Without connectivity, you would be in a vegetative state. In addition to heightened connectivity, the subjects showed grounded cognition, which is the neural mimicry of physical sensation in the brain, simply by imagining it. The authors of the study remarked that “reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist.” Read more here>>

SCBWI Opens Yearly Award to Self-Publishers

Every year, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators bestows an annual award to “non-traditionally” published children books (picture, middle grade, YA) that meet SCBWI’s standards for excellence. If you have written a children’s or YA book, and self-published it, this is a prize well worth pursuing. The SCBWI is a highly respected organization, one all children’s book authors should join. Read more here>>

Fear, Guilt, Shame, Self-Loathing, and Doubt — Anybody Up for Writing a Novel?

If you have doubts, does this mean your beloved novel is a piece of crap, and that you should quit right now? No, keep writing. And keep revising. And make sure that you’ve given your finished manuscript to the most critical readers on earth, and that they have drawn blood. Writing is not about self-doubt, or guilt, or shame — it’s about discipline. And discipline involves pain. Read more here>>

Like this newsletter? Want to get a jump on next month’s calls for submissions, agents seeking clients, free writing contests, and publishing news? Sign up for the Publishing … and Other Forms of Insanity newsletter. It’s free, and I work my little tuches off every month getting it out to you, lovely writers, because I LOVE YOU! (I also have a TON of free writing resources on my blog.)