Press 53 publishes five to six (5-6) short fiction collections, and eight to ten (8-10) poetry collections each year, plus (on average) one anthology and one or two out-of-print classics by a North Carolina author (under our Carolina Classics Editions).

 We no longer publish novels or book-length nonfiction

Aside from authors who win our contests, we look for widely published authors who are active in the literary community and have a manuscript that connects with our editors. We do not find our authors by way of a standard submission process.

Press 53 uses Submitable, an online submission manager for writers and publishers. 

We find authors a number of ways…

The Press 53 Award for Short Fiction (Sept 1–Dec 31): We find one short fiction collection each year by way of the Press 53 Award for Short Fiction. This is an award for an outstanding, unpublished collection of short stories by a U.S.-based author regardless of the author’s publishing history. We are looking for excellent stories. This contest runs from September-December each year with the winning entry earning publication, a $1000 advance and publication under a standard Press 53 publishing contract. Complete details can be found here.

The Press 53 Award for Poetry (Apr 1–Jul 31): Similar to the short fiction contest, this contest runs from April-July each year. The winner will be selected by Press 53 poetry series editor Tom Lombardo, and will be published as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection. The contest will offer the same cash prize and publication. Complete details can be found here.

The Prime Number Magazine Awards (formerly the Press 53 Open Awards): Each year, our award-winning, digital online quarterly journal, Prime Number Magazine (see link in menu at top of page), runs a writing contest from January 1 – April 15, and the winners in two categories (Poetry, Short Fiction) earn a cash prize plus publication in Prime Number Magazine. Over the eight-year period that this contest operated as the Press 53 Open Awards, we eventually published books by several winners and finalists. We will continue to watch the Prime Number Magazine Awards as well. Details on this contest are here.

Our remaining short fiction and poetry collections are found by our editors who actively seek out authors by reading journals and magazines, and through recommendations from writers we have published or have come to know and trust over the years, and from journal editors and publishers. We meet many writers at the AWP conference and various other conferences and literary events we attend each year. 

Our advice: Authors who do not enter our contests can gain our attention by publishing widely in journals and magazines, by winning or placing in other contests (we keep an eye on who is winning and placing in a number of contests), and by becoming involved in the literary community. We are always looking for voices that connect with us on a variety of levels.

Journals and Magazines: The best introduction is a publication credit (the more, the better), and there is no better place to gain recognition, build readership, and to make valuable connections and alliances than by publishing your work in journals and magazines. This is where you gain experience working with seasoned editors, meet fellow authors, and build readership for your book. To find journals and magazines that are the best fit for your writing, we recommend www.NewPages.com and Duotrope. Please support your favorite journals and magazines by purchasing a copy or a subscription.

We Publish Only U.S.-based Authors: While many of our authors are local / regional to the Carolinas, we publish just as many writers from outside our region, from Florida to New England to California to Washington state and many points between. We also publish a balance of men and women (OK, a few more women than men). Neither of these statistics were established by design.

Questions should be emailed to Press 53 Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Kevin Morgan Watson.