Press 53 publishes five to six (5-6) short fiction collections, and eight to ten (10-12) poetry collections each year, plus (on average) one anthology and one or two out-of-print classics by North Carolina authors (under our Carolina Classics Editions imprint).

 We no longer publish novels or 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 Submittable, 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 This is an award for an outstanding, unpublished collection of short stories by a U.S.-based author regardless of the author’s publishing history.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 competition is open for entries from September-December each year with the winning author earning a $1,000 advance, publication under a standard Press 53 publishing contract, plus fifty copies. 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. This competition is open for entries from April-June each year with the winning author earning a $1,000 advance, publication under a standard Press 53 publishing contract, plus fifty copies. Complete details can be found here.

The Prime Number Magazine Awards for Poetry and Short Fiction (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 competition for poetry and short fiction from January 1 – March 31, with a winner in each category earning a $1,000 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. 

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 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, including our own quarterly journal Prime Number Magazine (found in the menu bar), and by winning or placing in other contests (we keep an eye on who is winning and placing in a number of contests). We are always looking for voices that connect with us on a variety of levels. We do not publish works that are overtly political or religious, but a sprinkling of either within a manuscript is fine.

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 more 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.