Brighthorse Books

There are presently no open calls for submissions.


The Brighthorse Book Prize is an annual awards series honoring unpublished novels, collections of short fiction, and poetry collections. Authors writing in English—regardless of nationality, residence, or publication history—may submit to the competition. Winning manuscripts will be published by Brighthorse Books. In addition to the $1,000 prize and publication in each category, the winning writers will split net profits on book sales 50/50 (most commercial publishers give the writer only 10% of net). Though only one winner and two finalists will be chosen for each category, we may offer to publish manuscripts submitted to the competition in addition to the prize winners.


The deadline for submissions is October 1, 2020. 

Results will be announced on or before December 1, 2020. 

Winning manuscripts will be published in the first quarter of 2021.

Eligibility Requirements

Authors writing in English, regardless of nationality, residence, or publication history may submit to the competition.

Only previously unpublished novels, collections of short fiction, and poetry collections are eligible. Poetry manuscripts may be a collection or a single long poem. Fiction manuscripts may be collections of novellas. Individual works within the full manuscript may have been published.

All submissions must be submitted online through Submittable. Manuscripts must be formatted 12-point type, double-spaced, and with a decent margin all around (1" is nice).

If your manuscript is accepted by another publisher while under consideration for the Brighthorse Prize, please withdraw it from the competition through Submittable. Entry fees cannot be refunded.

No Brighthorse staff member, board member, or volunteer may enter the competition.

Failure to comply with these guidelines may disqualify the entry.

Statement of Integrity

Brighthorse Books maintains the highest standard of integrity. Manuscripts are judged anonymously, and judges are required to avoid all actual and perceived conflicts of interest. Manuscripts whose authors are recognized by a judge will be reassigned to maintain anonymity. Brighthorse Books has adopted and abides by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest  Code of Ethics: CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers  believe that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers  and readers by publishing exceptional writing. Intent to act ethically,  clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation  of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree (1) to conduct our contests  as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the  part of our readers, judges, or editors; (2) to provide clear and  specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all  parties involved; and (3) to make the mechanics of our selection process  available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest  models produce different results, but that each model can be run  ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and  dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests  contribute to a vibrant literary heritage. 

Privacy Statement

Brighthorse Books will use your contact information to stay in touch with you on matters regarding the competition and its publishing activities. Your information will not be sold or passed on to any other individual, business, entity, or agency.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Brighthorse Books does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’ve never heard of Brighthorse Books. Why should I submit to your contests?

A: Brighthorse Books is located in the wilds of Nebraska and is the brainchild of writers Jonis Agee and Brent Spencer, who between them have a history in the literary community of nearly a hundred years. The mission of our press is to publish deserving books of poetry, short fiction, novels, and, eventually, other genres.

Q: Can I submit more than one manuscript?

A: Yes, but each submission must be accompanied by a separate submission fee.

Q: What format should I submit?

A: The easiest formats for us to work with are doc and docx, but we can accept pdf, txt, rtf, wpf, odt, and wpd. Manuscripts should be double-spaced in a 12-pt font and have healthy margins (1" is nice).

Q: The $25 fee is just a money-making scam, right?

A: Wrong. Fees are used as prize money for the winners, to pay for publication of the winning manuscripts and any other manuscripts chosen for publication, and to pay for promotion. No one establishes a literary press to make money. It's a labor of love. In fact, we invest a good deal of our own money in the press each year.

Q: If you’re going to charge a fee, will you at least give me feedback on my manuscript?

A: Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to, the number of submissions makes that impossible. If it's any consolation, we get a surprising number of excellent submissions, which is exciting but also depressing, since we can't publish all the manuscripts that deserve publication.

Q: I self-published my manuscript in a small run of 200 copies. Can I still submit it to your contest?

A: Only if you plan to use the self-published copies as gifts and giveaways and do not sell them commercially in any way. Otherwise, the two editions of the book would confuse buyers and compete with each other in the marketplace.

Q: What if I want to make changes to my manuscript after submitting it?

A: Once a manuscript is submitted, no changes are allowed, unless it is chosen for publication. Then we work with the winner to make sure the finished book represents the writer's vision.

Q: Is my collection of novellas eligible?

A: Yes, it would be considered a collection of short fiction. A mixture of short stories and novellas would also be eligible.

Q: What about my collection of stories and poems?

A: We have to say no to this. It may be a wonderful book, but it would be hard for us to judge and to know how to sell.

Q: How long should my manuscript be?

A: We've removed our word-length requirement, afraid that we were missing good books that fall outside the specified range. Now we leave the definition of "book-length" to the writers. For guidance, though, we follow AWP, which sets poetry collections as about 48 pages, short story collections as about 150-300 pages, and novels as 60,000 words or more (about 190 pages and up). These figures, however, are only meant as a rough guide. Email us at if your manuscript falls far outside the figure listed here.

Q: How are Brighthorse books produced and distributed?

A: Our books are produced as print-on-demand trade paperbacks and distributed to the trade by Ingram Book Group and its distribution partners at the standard discount. For more information, go to They are made available to bookstores, libraries, and online retailers everywhere.

Q: What if I have more questions?

A: Email us at 

Brighthorse Books