Brighthorse Books is a new literary press publishing novels, collections of short fiction, poetry collections, and works of creative nonfiction. We will publish a range of writers, from the well-known to the first-timer. For now, the only manuscripts being considered for publication are those submitted to our contests. See below for details.



Congratulations to the 2014 winners and finalists for The Brighthorse Prize and to everyone who submitted to the contests.


Winner: Rick Christman, Searching for Mozart
Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Richard Carr, Fitzpatrick
Lisa Hartz, The Appearance of Vanishing Things
Jesse Millner, Memory’s Blue Sedan
Kathleen Tyler, Open the Window and Drown
Lawrence Wray, The Night People Imagine


Winner: Michael Henson, The Way the World Is: The Maggie Boylan Stories
Finalists (in alphabetical order):

David Borofka, My Life as a Mystic
Mark Brazaitis, Truth Poker
David Ebenbach, Missionaries
Donna Miscolta, Hola and Goodbye
Michael Olin-Hitt, The Messiah Complex


Winner: Elizabeth Oness, Leaving Milan
Finalists (in alphabetical order):

Lesley Heiser, The Actor
Monica Hileman, Los Laristas
Jason Kapcala, Hungry Town
Ellen Michaelson, From the Love of Strangers
Genanne Walsh, Twister



The Brighthorse Book Prize is an annual awards series honoring unpublished novels, collections of short fiction, and poetry collections. Three prizes will be given in 2014. Authors writing in English—regardless of nationality, residence, or publication history—may submit to the competition. Winning manuscripts will be published by Brighthorse Books under the press’s standard (50/50) contract: the standard split for presses is 90% for the press, 10% for th writer; Brighthorse splits net profits 50/50 between the writer and the press. The editors reserve the right to offer to publish any manuscripts submitted to the competition in additon to the winning manuscripts.

Reading Period

February 15, 2014 — June 30, 2014 (Reading period closed)
(Note: The reading period for the 2015 contests will be January 1, 2015 — June 1, 2015. To receive a notificaton when the reading period opens, email us.

Eligibility Requirements

Authors writing in English, regardless of nationality, residence, or publication history may submit to the competition.
Eligible manuscripts are limited to unpublished novels, collections of short fiction, and poetry collections. Poetry manuscripts may be a collection or a single long poem.

All manuscripts must be submitted online.

Submitted manuscripts must not have been previously published as a whole, though individual works or parts within the full manuscript may have been published.

Authors of manuscripts accepted by another publisher while under consideration for the Brighthorse Prize are asked to withdraw it from the competition by emailing us. However, entry fees cannot be refunded.

No Brighthorse staff member, board member, or volunteer may enter the competition.

Failure to comply with these guidelines may disqualify the entry.

Winners have two weeks after notification to return the signed contract.

Statement of Integrity

Brighthorse Books maintains the highest standard of integrity. Manuscripts are judged anonymously, and judges are required to avoid all actual and perceived conflicts of interest. Manuscripts whose authors are recognized by a judge will be reassigned to maintain anonymity.

Privacy Statement

Brighthorse Books will use your contact information to stay in touch with you on matters regarding the competition and its publishing activities. Your information will not be sold or passed on to any other individual, business, entity, or agency.

Equal Opportunity Statement

Brighthorse Books does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’ve never heard of Brighthorse Books. Why should I submit to your contests?

A: Brighthorse Books is a new literary press. It’s located in Omaha, Nebraska and is the brainchild of writers Jonis Agee and Brent Spencer, who between them have a history in the literary community of nearly a hundred years. Brighthorse is a proud associate member of The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses and a member of The Independent Publishers Association. The mission of the press is to publish deserving books of poetry, short fiction, novels, and creative nonfiction (though we won't begin publishing creative nonfiction until 2015).

Q: Can I submit more than one manuscript?

A: Yes, but each submission must be accompanied by a submission fee.

Q: What format do you accept?

A: Only book-length manuscripts will be considered—about 70,000 words. All submitted manuscripts must be in black 12 pt. Times New Roman font, double-spaced, and formatted with a one-inch margin all around. Do not include a cover, photographs, drawings, or illustrations of any kind. Please make sure the pages of your manuscript are numbered and that the author’s name does not appear on the title page, in headers or footers, or anywhere else on the manuscript. Please do not include a list of publication credits. Submissions containing information that identifies the author in any way other than in the form boxes of the submission manager will be disqualified. See the online submission manager for more details.

Q: This fee thing is just a money-making scam, right?

A: Wrong. Fees are used to fund prizes for the winners, to pay for the publication of winning manuscripts and any other manuscripts chosen for publication, and to fund promotional campaigns for the published books.

Q: If you’re going to charge a fee, will you at least give me feedback on my manuscript?

A: Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to, the number of submissions makes that impossible.

Q: I self-published my manuscript in a small run of 200 copies that are all stacked in my garage. Can I still submit it?

A: I’m afraid not. The Brighthorse Prize is for unpublished book-length manuscripts.

Q: What if I want to make changes to my manuscript after submitting it?

A: Once a manuscript is submitted, no changes are allowed, unless it is chosen for publication.

Q: What if I have more questions?

A: Email us at