Accessible Submissions For All!

4 minute read
Author: Jo

Hey there writers, submitters, lit mags, competition organisers, and associated literary folk.

We have An Announcement.

A mini revolution of sorts.

One we hope will benefit everyone and create a much fairer model for submissions and publication.

So. As you may or may not know, we host a comprehensive monthly list of writing competitions, submission calls and opportunities to support the lit community and help our students and members find places to send their work.

We’ve been doing this for a coupla years now but have become increasingly concerned at the increeeeeeeasingly expensive submission fees and broad lack of payment for both writers and administrative staff.

Last year we put a cap on any listings that had submission fees over £20, but this is still way more than a lot of writers are able to afford for a one-off punt at a comp. And yet, we still continued to receive enquiries from writing opportunities that charged astonishing amounts (£45 for a single short story entry?! No, we won’t name and shame, but you know who the fuck you are). And when we challenged them on these fees and their lack of provision for low income writers, their response was a digital shrug.

Look, our whole MO is to try to make our writing resources as accessible as possible and give away as much of our content as we can so that more people have the opportunity to develop their writing and get the support they need. To then endorse organisations that essentially equate the ability to pay high submission fees with quality of writing is antithetical to our values as a company and as humans who care about equality, equity, and accessibility.

So we are officially withdrawing this endorsement.

We believe EVERYONE should have the opportunity to submit their work and get published.

We do not believe this should be a privilege afforded only to those who can afford it.

Therefore, we will no longer be listing competitions or lit mags that are not making clear and significant efforts to provide accessible entry fees and/or fair payment for writers.

This means, in order to be featured on the Writers’ HQ Competitions and Opportunities Listings, we HIGHLY RECOMMEND that:  

  • Any competition or literary journal that charges for entry also offers free or low-cost options for low income writers
  • AND/OR keeps entry fees below £10 (preferably both)
  • Any competition or literary journal that charges for entry also provides payment or a cash/equivalent prize

Obviously we realise there are (many) grey areas and, as always, we will take each listing on a case by case basis. What is ‘affordable’ will vary from writer to writer. But if you’re charging £20+ with no alternative for those who aren’t able to afford entry fees then yeah, you’re probably not gonna get put on our listings. On the flipside, if you’re doing great work to promote submission accessibility then chances are we’ll give you a fanfare, shout about you on social media, and even invite you to take part in an interview about how awesome you are to be featured on our site. Because we really want to see MORE of this good shit.

On that note, we also strongly suggest that:

  • Competitions and literary journals should also actively encourage and support submissions from under-represented groups
  • And that writers should read, buy, and support literary journals as much as they can (and here’s why)

Of course we understand that there are significant costs in running a writing competition or literary journal and we believe editors and staff deserve to be paid for their hard work, and that’s why we’re putting together a guide on how to create a model that is fair and accessible, based on the experience and example of some brilliant organisations who are doing just that.

Because wouldn’t it be great if everyone got paid and no one was left out?

We think so.

And since we have a small foothold in the vast literary landscape, we want to try to make a small difference to make the lit world a fairer place for writers.

We hope you’ll join us.

Team WHQ

(If you have a literary opportunity, call for submission, or writing competition that fits our guidelines, please use this form or get in touch at and we will be glad to add it to our listings!)

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