Brain Mill Press is a small, innovative publisher actively dedicated to producing a catalog of human experiences of love — all kinds of love — with a story-first approach in multiple genres. We have open submission calls a few times a year, and we host the Driftless Unsolicited novella contest in the late spring. At other times, submission is via invitation only. We are particularly interested in submissions from people of color, LGBTQIA+ writers, and women.
Fiction Acquisitions Program for Brain Mill Press
Edited by Vanessa Willoughby

Submissions Open

Brain Mill Press is pleased to announce that editor Vanessa Willoughby is accepting unsolicited manuscript submissions for her acquisitions program.

Vanessa Willoughby is actively seeking diverse authors and literature with a strong voice. She seeks narratives that make the reader reflect and question the status quo. She is interested in strong storytellers. She is especially interested in fiction that evokes the stylistic language and themes of authors and writers such as Jesmyn Ward, ZZ Packer, Danielle Evans, Toni Morrison, Hilton Als, Zora Neale Hurston, Roxane Gay, Angela Flournoy, and Daniel José Older, just to name a few. She would be pleased to acquire emotionally raw, coming-of-age stories concerning young people of color, especially black girls and women.

Vanessa Willoughby holds a BA in writing, literature, and publishing from Emerson College. Following Emerson, she attended The New School and earned her MFA in creative writing. Her bylines have appeared but are not limited to the following print and online publications: Bitch, Book Riot, Bookslut, The Hairpin, Hazlitt, Hello Giggles, The Toast, and Vice. She is creative director at Winter Tangerine, a literary arts magazine dedicated to the electric. A full archive of her work is available on her blog. In the past, she has been an intern, a literary agency consultant, a senior acquisitions editor, and the high school poet laureate. Despite the conspiratorial nature of industry gatekeepers, she is determined to push for diverse authors, literature, and an overall diverse publishing industry. She is excited to be a part of the Brain Mill Press team and bring this vision to life.

Founded by two award-winning authors, Brain Mill Press publishes “Love Books for Humans” in multiple genres. Find more information at brainmillpress.com.


Your electronic submission of a manuscript pitch and 1-2 sample chapters will be accepted at the Brain Mill Press submission portal at brainmillpress.submittable.com. Up to two manuscripts may be submitted per person. Incomplete submissions and manuscripts, or manuscripts that are discovered to not meet the guidelines of this call, will be automatically rejected. All other submissions will be read by the editor in a timely manner. Authors who have not heard from the editor eight weeks from submission are welcome to inquire about their submission to vanessa@brainmillpress.com. Form rejection should be anticipated by authors whose submission does not meet the needs of the editor at this time, but comments and feedback may be occasionally offered per the editors’ discretion. 


Good luck, and direct inquiries not answered in this call to inquiries@brainmillpress.com.

The Ab Terra Series in International Science Fiction
A Search for Stories Belonging to Another

Science Fiction Series for Brain Mill Press, edited by Yen Ooi

Submissions Open


Science fiction, like all other genres, has been with us for centuries. It has found its way into our homes, onto the bookshelves of readers who enjoy stories of imagination that are rooted in science and reality. To encourage this exploration further, this series seeks submissions of science fiction stories belonging to another: stories that are written with cultural flavors that will perpetuate and promote the understanding of our siblings on Earth.

“Reading [science fiction] ... is about reading the marginal experience coded through the discourses of material symbolism.”

—Adam Roberts, Science Fiction, The New Critical Idiom


Brain Mill Press is pleased to announce that we’re currently open to unsolicited novel-length manuscripts of 40,000 words or more for the Ab Terra series. 

Requirements: complete manuscript, synopsis, cover letter

Criteria: science fiction (not fantasy) stories with cultural flavors from far-reaching corners of earth


Ab Terra series editor Yen Ooi will select books for digital and print publication in the series. Submit complete novel manuscripts of 40,000+ words via brainmillpress.submittable.com. Books selected for this series will be offered a contract for publication and royalties, and will be professionally edited and produced. The ebook and trade print will be internationally distributed. All published books will be promoted by the press, submitted for industry review, and chosen and promoted by the series editor.


Yen Ooi is a reader and author of science fiction and a consultant in publishing. She holds postgraduate degrees in English literature and international business, and a bachelor’s degree in commercial music. Having enjoyed a vibrant career in music touring, education, and management, Yen started writing in 2008. She has had various publications since then: a novel, Sun: Queens of Earth; a collection of short stories, poems and illustrations, A Suspicious Collection; and short stories and poems published in other collections. She hopes to explore further the role of fiction in understanding humanity, inspecting what it is that drives us forward in our lives. Soon, Yen will be pursuing a PhD in creative writing, specialising in Chinese science fiction.

Yen enjoys reading science fiction stories that are distinctive in characteristic and use storytelling to test the boundaries of our reflection and conception of humanity. Some of her favorite stories in this realm are Vandana Singh’s “The Woman Who Thought She Was a Planet” and Ken Liu’s “Paper Menagerie.” She also enjoys the classic science fiction of Frank Herbert, Philip K. Dick, Arthur C. Clarke, and others.


Founded by two award-winning authors, Brain Mill Press publishes “Love Books for Humans” in multiple genres. Find more information at brainmillpress.com.


Your electronic submission will be accepted at the Brain Mill Press submission portal at brainmillpress.submittable.com. Incomplete submissions and manuscripts, or manuscripts that are discovered to not meet the guidelines of this call, will be automatically rejected. All other submissions will be read by the editors in a timely manner. Authors who have not heard from the editors eight weeks from submission are welcome to inquire about their submission to inquiries@brainmillpress.com. Form rejection should be anticipated by authors whose submission does not meet the needs of the editors at this time, but comments and feedback may be occasionally offered per the editors’ discretion.


Good luck, and direct inquiries not answered in this call to inquiries@brainmillpress.com.

Call for Pitches: Essays for BMP Voices Column "Makers on Making"

Opens: ongoing

Brain Mill Press seeks emotional, radically authentic essays of 750-1,500 words to appear on Voices, our online content platform, in the "Makers on Making" column.

Makers on Making features a different maker each month — printmakers, writers, knitters, crafters, painters, photographers, textile artists, and anyone else involved in art — with essays about their process on a particular project. These pieces delve into the psychology of making, the lessons we learn from success and (often more usefully) failure, and what it is to be a human authentically and emotionally involved as a maker in our world.

Essay pitches will be reviewed for suitability by Brain Mill Press staff. If your pitch is selected, you will be given a mutually-agreed period of time to write your essay. You will receive editorial development and feedback on your submitted piece, a contract granting Brain Mill Press the limited right to reproduce your piece in Voices, and payment at industry-standard rates upon publication. You will retain all other rights to your work.

Your essay and profile will be promoted on our social media outlets. Your essay will contain your headshot and bio, as well as information you may wish to include about recent work and your website and social media links. We will also include your profile on our page of Voices contributors.

Brain Mill Press exclusively invites submissions from people of color, women, and LGBTQIA+ writers.

Other interested writers for Voices, please contact inquiries@brainmillpress.com directly, and we will consider your pitches on a case-by-case basis depending on the response to the original call.

Brain Mill Press publishes “Love Books for Humans” in multiple genres. Find more information at brainmillpress.com.

Contact Brain Mill Press at inquiries@brainmillpress.com with questions.

Ends on December 31, 2016

The 2016 Mineral Point Photography Call

Opens June 1, 2016

Closes December 31, 2016, or at press's discretion.

$125.00 and use of photograph on the covers of a Mineral Point Poetry Collection

2016 theme: Love & Mercy

The 2016 Mineral Point Photography call seeks original photographs on the 2016 theme, Love & Mercy. In this series, one or more full poetry collections, selected by poet Kiki Petrosino, will be published in both print and ebook and internationally distributed by Brain Mill Press. Photographs that are selected for this series will appear on the cover of a collection, in addition to the cash honorarium. The artist retains all rights to their photograph.

The 2016 theme, Love & Mercy, may be broadly interpreted by the photographer. Winning photographs will be incorporated into a professionally designed cover. Photographers will be nationally promoted by Brain Mill Press on the Brain Mill Press website, newsletter, and other Mineral Point poetry Chapbook Series annoucement materials.

Founded by two award-winning authors, Brain Mill Press publishes “Love Books for Humans” in multiple genres. Find more information at brainmillpress.com.

Please submit your high-quality image file (.jpeg, .tif, or .png) on the theme Love & Mercy to brainmillpress.submittable.com/submit/40702. Photograph may be full-color or black and white, and may be manipulated/edited by the photographer. The photographer must have exclusive rights to the work. International submissions are welcome. Brainmillpress.submittable.com will provide guidelines for successful electronic file submission.

Good luck, and for additional inquiries contact Brain Mill Press at inquiries@brainmillpress.com.

If you have been invited to submit to Brain Mill Press, this is the place!