General Guidelines

Below are our sitewide general guidelines in little bites. To view our samplers of poetry and prose, click here.

The Aesthetic 

  • We are open to many literary themes and poetic forms & styles. Never really pigeonholed ourselves to one market. We enjoy the succinct, the startling, and the sublime. Some humor will keep us turning pages. We will root for intimate characters & their relationships with whomever/whatever. Make sure we won't forget your name. 
  • Our preferences do not include straightforward genre fiction, erotica, and anything too niche or far-fetched. We are not a market for plays, screenwriting, academic articles, and art books. If you are unsure, please query before submitting.
  • A 3rd-person bio containing geographical and publication info is appreciated in the cover letter. Doesn't have to be extensive. Some of the best bios can be done in under 3 lines.
  • There may be times when we request a specific theme, genre, or manuscript. Please check the appropriate category for details.

The Pragmatic

  • All manuscripts must be original and unpublished. Previously published pieces within are alright (good job!) but must contain literary acknowledgment. If the journal/publisher is out of circulation or defunct (bummer...), please note accordingly. 
  • Reprints of previously published books (including self-published ones) are not accepted. Additionally, manuscripts that have been extraneously typeset or have mock cover spreads will be rejected. We just want the words.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Come on, who isn't? If a partial withdrawal is required, though, please message us. If it is a full withdrawal (congrats!), please use the 'Withdraw' function in Submittable
  • Regarding page layout, we request that the first page includes the manuscript title, name, and page count (chapbooks, poetry, short stories) or word count (full-length books). Simple. We will entrust you with the rest.

The Ethic

  • We absolutely will not accept any graphic violence, slurs, or other actions or symbols targeted toward peoples' race, religion, sexual orientation, or other personal identities, unless you empathize with such. We are not about that life.
  • Conversely, we highly encourage folks from historically marginalized demographics to submit. This can include but is not limited to BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ writers.
  • While it is your work, it is our name stamped on top. We reserve the right to reject singular pieces or entire manuscripts at any time. This will hypothetically occur if the work conflicts with our values or if you are outed/convicted of some form of abuse.
  • It's tough out there, we understand. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, we implore you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is toll-free and avaialble 24/7.

          988 or 1-800-273-8255 


Thirty West's Wavelengths Chapbook Contest is back for its 7th consecutive year. 

For 2023, we're honored to have the author of the castration of a minor god & trainride elsewhere, John Compton, on board as our guest judge. 

This is an open call to an international audience. 

The contest runs from January 30th (1/30) to April 2nd (4/2) and submissions will be read on a rolling basis in ascending order.

The reading fee is $12 USD. 

There will be a longlist, shortlist, and a sole winner selected this summer with publication soon to follow. Manuscripts that make the shortlist may be considered for a 2024 publication.

Are you on our wavelength?

John's ideal manuscript:
My only preference is the best. I'm not into themes or ideas. Just damn good poems!


  • Please take a look at our previously published chaps and books. Most TW chaps range from 28-40 pages in total. Exceptions on page count may be made based on the context or design of the manuscript.
  • We will consider poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. See the Genre section to choose a label for your manuscript.
  • Themes are open for most types of work. However, we will not consider erotica/smut, fan fiction, academic essays, or manuscripts depicting hateful and/or racist themes.
  • Manuscripts, in their submitted form, must be currently unpublished.
  • Please provide an acknowledgments page for previously published work, if applicable.
  • Forthcoming and past Thirty West authors are ineligible for this contest.


  • The winning author will receive a $750 USD honorarium, 10 author copies, and an official Thirty West Publishing book contract with royalties that lasts a minimum of two years.
  • An online book launch with guest readers. If the winner is local to Philadelphia, PA, an in-person event will be considered.
  • The finished chapbook and subsequent print runs will be archived and sold through, indie bookstores, and fairs that we frequent, including AWP, Brooklyn Book Fest, Baltimore Book Fest, Collingswood Book Fair, CLMP-sponsored events/ listings, and be eligible for any applicable awards at the time.
Thirty West Publishing House