Contest Guidelines


       invites you to submit your writing to its    



Upstate New York Writers

The Prize: $1000 + 3 copies of the winning book

The winner may order more copies at half the retail price and sell the book in any way he or she wishes, including online. The book will be sold on consignment at an Ithaca, NY, bookshop with proceeds going to the author.

The winning author retains copyright to the book and receives all royalties on sales. The book will be assigned a barcode, an ISBN, a LLC number, and will be automatically listed for sale on Amazon. CLB will work with the author about the printing process and publicizing the book.

Contest judges:

Alison Lurie: Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Cornell professor emerita, CLB author    Edward Hower: author; NEA, NYSCA, Fulbright grants recipient; CLB editor

Eligible Material:  

Short stories, a novella, a book-length essay or memoir, a collection of creative essays or autobiographical material, high quality journalism, or a combination of the above.  

The length we are considering is 80 – 130 double-spaced pages, or 27,000 to 40,000 words.  

We welcome unpublished writing, or writing which has previously appeared in journals, magazines, newspapers, in print, or online.

Material that has already been published or self-published in book form—in print or online— is not eligible. If part of the material you wish to submit has been reprinted in an anthology, please query us about this with relevant information before submitting.

The submissions period: October 2 – December 15

All writers will be notified of the judges’ decision by about March 1, 2019.  

If possible, please email your submission before the end of the submissions period.  

We plan to publish the winning book in late April or May.  

Who is eligible to submit:  

Any writer who lives in upstate New York, an area not including Long Island, the New York City metropolitan area, and the lower Hudson River Valley area.  These regions are already well-served by the publishing industry; one goal of the contest is to recognize artistic achievement in an under-represented area.  

Draw an imaginary line on the map from Binghamton to Chautauqua, Chautauqua to Buffalo, Buffalo to Watertown, Watertown to Albany, and back to Binghamton—that is approximately the territory from which CLB is seeking submissions.  If in doubt about your geographic eligibility, please email us at our contest address, The winner will be asked to provide proof that he or she presently resides in upstate New York for a significant part of the year.  

Submission fee: $20

Please mail the fee to our postal address as a cashier’s check (no personal checks or cash, please).  Make out the check to Cayuga Lake Books. Include a note with your check in which you write “CLB Contest Fee $20” along with your name, phone number, and email address. Applicants living temporarily overseas: please email us for instructions. Please post your fee at about the same time you make your submission via email.  Manuscripts will be read after the author’s check has been received. No fees will be returned.

Contest Postal address:  Hower / CLB, 1409 Hanshaw Road, Ithaca NY 14850

Contest email address:

The Submission Process: 

— Please send your entire submission as well as other information about it, and about you, in one attachment to an email.

— Send the email and attachment to this address:

–In the email itself, simply give your name and the title(s) of your manuscript(s).

— In the attachment, please include a title page, with your name, email and postal address, phone number, and word count. 

— If you’re submitting several items, please include a table of contents on the title page, including information about what each item is—story, essay, novella, etc.   

— On another separate page in the attachment, you may write a brief cover letter in which you give biographical information, including previous publications.

— Your name and page numbers should appear at the top of each manuscript page.  

If your manuscript doesn’t win the contest, we’ll be very glad to consider it under our normal submissions process after the contest winner has been announced.  Your manuscript won’t automatically be considered for later publication; you’ll need to re-submit it. There are no fees for ordinary submissions, the guidelines of which are described on our website.    

Please feel free to query us at if you have any questions about the contest or Cayuga Lake Books.  

And see our website for information about our imprint, which is celebrating its sixth year of operation.

Thank you for considering submitting to the contest.


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