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General Submission Guidelines

General Guidelines for Submitting

Work to the Nebraska Writers Guild


The following are general guidelines for submitting to an NWG contest or publication. Guidelines may vary per event, so please read each event’s specific guidelines as they are made available.

Entry Fee:

There is a fee for submitting to the annual poetry contest. Fees may vary from year to year. Submitting to the annual publications is completely free.

Entry Requirements:

Entry requirements vary. Check the guidelines for the contest or publication you’re submitting to.

Entries Defined:

The number of entries allowed varies, but you can bank on the following:

•   Short stories, essays, memoirs, novel excerpts, etc. must be no longer than 5000 words.

•   Flash fiction must be no longer than 1000 words.

•   A single poem of any length constitutes a single entry.

Simultaneous Submissions:

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know if an entry has been simultaneously submitted elsewhere. If an entry is accepted by another publication, you must withdraw it from consideration by the NWG (publications only; this guideline does not apply to the poetry contest).


We do not accept previously published work for the poetry contest or the poetry and flash fiction collections; however, we do for the Voices anthology, as long as you have republication rights per your agreement with your previous publisher (obviously not an issue if that previous publisher was you).

If you are submitting an entry that has been previously published, please include the appropriate republication language at the end of your entry. Below are some suggestions:

Originally published in [name of publication], [issue number], [year], [page number].

Originally published online by [name of website/blog].

Reprinted with permission by [name of previous publisher].

NOTE: Republications must be submitted with a letter from the original publisher giving permission for reprint, or you should provide proof that you retain or have regained publishing rights.

Appropriate Content:

Regardless of whether you’re submitting to a contest or a publication, mature content and questionable language should be appropriate and not excessive or gratuitous in nature. We are not likely to accept explicit content. Content which supports or attempts to spread racism or other intolerance will not be accepted.


Do not include the author’s name anywhere in your files. Any entries including the author’s name will be disqualified.

We do not have any particular requirements regarding font, size, or line spacing. However, most publications require 12pt Times New Roman, 1.5 line spacing, so it’s not a bad idea to get into the habit of saving your files with these settings.

Also note the following:

•       Acceptable File Formats: .docx, .pdf, .pages, .rtf, Google Docs

•       Poetry:

-       Long lines of poetry may break mid-line to accommodate the size of the book. Check the guidelines for the book you’re submitting to, and adjust your line lengths accordingly.

-       Use only one blank line between stanzas (even if that causes a stanza to break across two pages).

•       Fiction/Nonfiction:

-       Do not add extra returns between paragraphs.

-       Do not use tabs or spaces to indent paragraphs (set a first-line indent instead).

-       If you need a visual break between sections, please add a line of asterisks (* * *) or some other symbol so the break is easy to distinguish and understand.

•       General Formatting:

-       Titles should use initial caps only, not all caps.

-       Do not add extra built-in space above or below paragraphs (“space above”/ “space below”).

-       Use only one space after periods and colons. (This is publishing industry standard and is a good habit to get into when writing for publication.)

•       No illustrations, images, or emoticons please.


Author Bio:

We request a bio for the Voices anthology. A few key things to note about writing a bio:

•       We have a 50-word limit.

•       Bios are generally written in third person.

•       A bio can list your professional accomplishments, describe your hobbies, mention your family and where you live, or simply make random, perhaps silly, comments about you.

•       Sample Bio (48 words):

John Doe is a lawyer with a heart (who knew?!) who loves to write poetry on the weekends. John has been published in several anthologies, including the Whatseewhosit Anthology and Anthology of Something or Other. John lives in Omaha, Nebraska, with his wife and three kids, er, dogs.


•       Entries for publication are not edited. They are, however, proofread for errors and to ensure that spelling, punctuation, capitalization, etc. follow our anthology formatting guidelines. Note that careful attention is given to ensure that changes are not made that would interfere with the author’s intent.

•       Authors are given a chance to review most of the changes before they are made.

•       Punctuation and other style considerations follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 17th edition. Spelling follows the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

•       The NWG accepts no responsible for any errors occurring in original entry files that happen to get printed, so authors are highly encouraged to proofread their entries carefully before submitting.


•       Entries can only be withdrawn in the case of simultaneous submissions (see above).

•       No revisions (except proofreading changes) will be allowed after an entry is received.

•       Evaluators may disqualify any work for violating any and all requirements listed above.


As always, we encourage you to ask any questions you have. Knowledge is power!

The NWG has multiple email accounts set up that you can reach out to; however, please note that not all accounts are monitored year-round. If you receive an auto-reply to your email, go to the NWG website and reach out via the Contact Us page. (re: poetry contests) (re: poetry published collections) (re: flash fiction published collections) (re: annual published anthology) (NWG Contact Us page)


Download these guidelines as a PDF