Chest-O-Drawers Press, El Cajon, California 

The Grossmont College Creative Writing Program and Chest-O-Drawers Press are pleased to announce the return of the First Book Contest. 

General Guidelines

Entries submitted via Submittable only, $5 reading fee per submission.

  • Submissions accepted beginning November 1, 2018 on a continuous basis. Prize award contingent on receipt of an adequate selection of suitable, qualifying manuscripts. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers or contests are permitted, but, if a manuscript is accepted elsewhere, please withdraw your manuscript from the First Book Contest and let us know about your happy circumstances so that we may remove your manuscript from judging.
  • One contest entrant per submission. Contest is open to all local/regional writers who are not employees of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District and who are bonafide residents of San Diego County during the contest’s submission, judging, and editing/publishing process.
  • Single-author manuscripts only, book-length (50+ pages) or chapbook-length (20-50 pages). Acceptable genres/categories: literary fiction; literary nonfiction (e.g., memoir); poetry; hybrid forms. Not accepted: graphic literature; children’s literature; manuscripts containing multiple genres (e.g., poems and short stories); art work and photography. Manuscripts should be primarily in English; translations into other languages are not eligible.
  • Previously unpublished manuscripts only. Manuscripts must not already have been published in book or chapbook form, nor be in production for book publication by another press or publisher. For the purposes of this contest, a "previously published" manuscript is a volume of prose or poetry already available through trade distribution (i.e. local and/or on-line, including Amazon or print-on-demand booksellers). Manuscripts containing individual works previously or currently being published in periodicals or anthologies are acceptable, as long as the manuscript, itself (or a version of it) has not already been published. Winner of the First Book Contest will be requested to provide citations for all published individual works that are included in, or integral to, the manuscript, including stories, poems, and excerpts appearing in periodicals and anthologies.
  • The winning manuscript will undergo an editing process before going to press, during which time the author will collaborate with designers on cover art: editorial staff will make the final decision on artistic design, and Grossmont College will retain rights to cover art; author (or his/her estate) will own copyright of their written creative content.

Submission Specs

You’re welcome to include as part of the submissions process a short bio or any relevant information about yourself and the manuscript. The document you submit, however, should

  • if prose, be double-spaced; if poetry, be single-spaced (with allowances for special typography and layout), each poem beginning on its own separate page in the manuscript; 
  • be standard letter size (8.5 x 11") in portrait orientation and use Arial or Helvetica 12 pt. black font on white page background; 
  • submitted as MS Word (preferred) or PDF;
  • have a cover/title page indicating the manuscript’s working title, as well as provide the author’s full name, residential address (not P.O. Box), and contact information (e-mail preferred);
  • include a "Table of Contents" if a collection of individual works or chapters;
  • have sequential pagination in the upper-right corner (document header) of all pages, excluding the cover page and table of contents; and,
  • identify in the header of the document, both, the author's last name and the title  (e.g., Smith—My Title). 
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.