A: Having had a book published by a small press that is now out-of-print, if the run was under 500 copies, will not disqualify a writer from entering The St. Lawrence Book Award competition. Likewise, books published by North American small publishers with press runs of under 500 will not disqualify a potential entrant. However, the book that was previously published (or self-published) must not be entered in the contest. Furthermore, all participants in the St. Lawrence Book Award contest must be residents of the United States or Canada. The Ontario Prize and The Black River Chapbook Competition are open to residents of all countries. For further or more specific questions, please e-mail the editor.
A: While there is no reading fee for regular (general) submissions, it is very much appreciated when writers purchase a book or two from the press. This is not a requirement, but we certainly take notice of writers who demonstrate their support for the works we have already published.
Q: I have self-published book(s) of my poetry. May I still enter the contest(s)?
A: Yes. If you have self-published a book of poems, you may still enter the book and/or chapbook contests.
A: Chapbooks are not considered full-length books, so writers who have published or will have published chapbooks of poems or short stories are not disqualified.
Q: The St. Lawrence Book Award is for a first collection of either short stories or poems. Isn't this a bit unusual?
A: Yes, it is. Black Lawrence Press chooses to focus on the theme of first collection and first book rather than whether the manuscript is comprised of poems or short stories. We would also like to give writers of short stories the opportunity to enter a national first book competition since contests for full-length short story collections seem to be few and far between. This does not imply, however, that a bias will exist towards one genre or the other. Both will be given equal consideration. The best collection — whether it be short stories or poems — will win the award. Our book and chapbook contests are unique in that they are open to both poetry and fiction entries. We consider this a natural extension of the literary magazine, which traditionally publishes both fiction and poetry. Having a less limited focus than most other presses' literary contests affords Black Lawrence Press the opportunity to receive — and publish — the best writing today, period, regardless of genre.
Q: What is the timeline for the judging of the contests?
Our contests are currently averaging approximately six months to decide. Our contests are national in scope and therefore we get a multitude of quality submissions. However, we realize that authors would understandably like to know the results of the contests as soon as possible. Therefore we have committed to announcing all finalists and semi-finalists on the Black Lawrence Press website within two months of the close of each contest, with the winners being announced shortly thereafter.
A: All of our books are trade paperbacks: perfect-bound (flat-spined), 4-color cover (unless the author prefers otherwise), and printed on high-quality paper. Of course, the best way to see and feel the quality of Black Lawrence books is to order them.
Q: Can I order Black Lawrence Press titles via snail mail?
A: Yes. While we prefer PayPal, we do accept book orders through the mail. Click here for our order form.