We publish poetry, short stories, and essays from new, emerging, and established writers.

Arresting language and strong story will always keep us reading.

We accept unsolicited work and publish 3 issues a year in February, June, and October.          

We seek only unpublished work and accept simultaneous submissions. (Publication includes print or digital form, including personal webpages.) Please contact us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. Original works in English only; no translations, please. 

We accept submissions in multiple categories during a submission cycle (poetry, fiction or essays).

We are a non-paying market. 

If your work is accepted for publication, we will solicit a formal biography.  In the meantime, tell us about yourself.  We're curious people.

If you have any questions or experience difficulties, please contact us at info@birdsthumb.org.


Ends on May 1, 2017$15.00
$15.00
  • We are accepting manuscripts for the 2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest through May 1, 2017. Simultaneous submissions are welcomed but we ask that you inform us immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
  • This contest is only open to those who have not had a previous book or chapbook of original poetry published. Individual poems may have been previously published but you must retain all rights to those poems, and a list of those poems with their publishers will be included in an acknowledgment section.
  • All submissions will be reviewed blind. The editors will select the top 5 manuscripts and a guest judge (TBD) will select the winner. 
  • To preserve anonymity, please follow these directions carefully: 
    • Do not include your name or address anywhere on your manuscript or in the filename.
    • When you upload your manuscript, use only the following for your filename: "Chapbook2017." Your manuscript will be assigned a number.
    • Your working title should appear ONLY on the manuscript itself. It should not appear in the filename or cover letter. 
    • Include page numbers.
  • The selected manuscript will be published by Bird's Thumb, and the author will receive a $300.00 honorarium and 5% of the total number of chapbooks published in the first printing at no charge. (For example, if 100 are printed, the author will receive 5 chapbooks.) Additional copies may be purchased at a reduced rate.
  • Manuscripts should be between 20-23 pages comprising at least 15 poems. 
  • The 5 finalists will be notified no later than July 1, 2017.
  • Publication is anticipated by fall 2017.
  • A $15.00 reading fee is required and will be collected when you submit your manuscript. 
The editors strongly suggest reading past issues of Bird's Thumb to become familiar with what we publish.
Submit 3-5 poems per submission cycle. Single-spaced (except between stanzas). We are open to all styles and especially appreciate voice, image, figure, and craft. 

Include all poems in a single attachment (.doc or .docx)

Note: Do not use this category if you are submitting a manuscript to the 2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest. Manuscripts submitted in the Poetry category will not be entered into the contest. Please use the 2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest category instead.
Submit no more than 2 stories per submission cyle. Length is 1000-5000 words, double-spaced, 12 point font.  We are open to all styles, themes, and subjects with the following exception: no genre fiction, please.  We love stories—familiar and new—with compelling characters, strong movement, and perhaps an unlikely point of view.

Send each story as an attachment. (.doc or .docx)


Submit no more than 2 essays per submission cycle. Length is 2000-5000 words, double spaced, 12 point font. We are open to all styles, themes, and subjects with the following exception: no religious or spiritual awakenings, please. We seek essays that entertain while constructing new vistas for our readers.

Send each essay as an attachment. (.doc or .docx)