Chapbook Contest
Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you so much for your interest in the Button Poetry Chapbook Contest! We get many, many submissions and questions. Please read the FAQs below carefully. To see the current status of the Chapbook contest, please visit our Chapbook Contest page.

Check out past Chapbook Contest winners

Please be aware we cannot give information about results or the next contest ahead of our official announcements on social media, so if you are looking for updates regarding winners, etc., please be patient!

If you can’t find the answer to your question after reading through the FAQs page, please contact with your question. Be aware that you may get an auto-responder pointing you to this FAQs page. No worries, just reply to that response to reach our support team.

Want some insight on what we’re looking for in a submission? Check out this interview with our Editor-in-chief and company founder Sam Van Cook on Duotrope

Read more

Contest Background Jump to Top

What is a chapbook? Jump to Top

A chapbook is a small collection of work, that centers on a specific theme or concept.

Do you have this contest every year? Jump to Top

We have historically since 2012, and though we do not guarantee it we plan to offer this contest every year.

Do you run longer-form contests? Jump to Top

At this point in time, the chapbook contest is the only print poetry contest. However, we are looking into the possibility of a longer form contest in the future.

Do you run any other contests? Jump to Top

Yes! Button Poetry also runs an annual chapbook, short form, and video contest. The chapbook contest typically runs around the end of the year. Video contest is usually held in the summertime. You can visit the contest submissions page for up to date info..

How long until you post results? Jump to Top

We don’t have a definite idea of how long it will be before we have results. We want to make sure everyone’s manuscripts are read and reviewed, and that takes time. We’ll have updates for you when we know more. Until then, please keep checking back at the contest submission page for the results.

Contest and Submission Details Jump to Top

Prizes Jump to Top

The winner will receive publication, 50 free author copies, a $500 honorarium.

Entry Fee Jump to Top

The entry fee is $15. Payment requires a credit/debit card or PayPal at time of entry.

Where/how do I submit an entry? Jump to Top

Entrants can submit a PDF manuscript and enter their submission on Submittable, our online submission manager: Submittable, our online submission manager. The full web address of our Submittable page is

Submittable will prompt you for all the information we need for your entry.

What are the contest rules/submission guidelines? Jump to Top

The rules may change year to year. When we are open for submissions, they can be read in depth on Button’s Submittable page.

If we are closed for submissions, next year’s rules have not been announced yet. Here we provide sample submission guidelines to give you an idea of what to expect.

Typical Submission Guidelines Jump to Top

These guidelines are typical of our chapbook contest from past years, but when submitting always follow the current contest rules on Submittable. The rules on Submittable are considered the correct contest rules over what may appear in this FAQ, as our rules may change slightly year to year.

Is there an age requirement for submission? Jump to Top

Writers of ALL AGES are able to submit. If chosen for publication and under the age of majority, you will need a signature from a legal guardian.

Is the contest open to international submissions? Jump to Top

We accept manuscripts from all over the world, but ask that the manuscripts be primarily written in English.

Can I submit multiple entries? Jump to Top

Yes. But the $15 entry is required for every entry.

How should I submit my cover letter? Jump to Top

Just type it directly into the space provided on Submittable. There is no method for attaching a PDF cover letter.

Can a title or line in a poem be from a song or another piece of writing? Does that violate copyright? Jump to Top

That is no problem from a copyright perspective. You may want to include a notes section at the end of the manuscript that mentions those sources/inspirations, but that’s not required.

Can I submit work that has been published previously? Jump to Top

Yes. Manuscripts may contain previously published poems, so long as the manuscript itself is unpublished as a collection. This includes poetry which has been published in online, such as on tumblr, or that have been written previous to the contest, performed, etc.

Individually published pieces are fine, the chapbook as a whole just can’t have been published elsewhere or as part of a larger work. A slight exception is that if the manuscript has been self-published as a whole, that is also fine to submit.

Can I submit a collaborative entry with 2 or more partners? Jump to Top

Yes. Collaborative manuscripts with more than one author are accepted. We recommend that the bio and cover letter include some info about all the people (or organization involved).

Can I revise/edit/alter my manuscript after submission? Jump to Top

No, we do cannot accept revisions after a submission has been entered. However, the winner will have the opportunity to revise before publication. You may withdraw your submission and pay for a new submission if you would like to revise, up until the contest closes. Please note that entry fees are non-refundable.

Can I submit to your contest AND another contest simultaneously? Jump to Top

Yes. Please let us know immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.

Is this a blind submission contest? Jump to Top

Yes. Do not include your name or contact information anywhere in the manuscript itself – in a poem, on the title page, etc. The title page of your manuscript should only have the manuscript title on it. If your name appears anywhere in the manuscript, your entry may be disqualified.

How will you contact me if this is a blind submission contest? Jump to Top

In the Cover Letter section of our submission manager ONLY, include a brief letter with: your name, the title of your work, your contact information, and a brief bio. You may also include any social media presence, but this is not required.

Will I get feedback on my submission? Jump to Top

Specific feedback on your manuscript is not available at this time but we are working to develop a system to accomadate this possibility.


Manuscript Questions: Style, Formatting, and Structure Jump to Top

How should I format my work? Jump to Top

Please send a manuscript, which should include a title page (manuscript title only, no other identifying information), a table of contents, and the text itself. Start each poem on a new page (longer poems that stretch over multiple pages are fine, but do not put more than one short poem on the same page). Use a legible 10-12 point font (Arial, Garamond, Times New Roman are strongly recommended).

In all, your manuscript …

  • Must begin with the title page (manuscript title only, no identifying info).
  • Optionally include a table of contents and/or acknowledgements.
  • Must include 20-30 pages of poetry.
  • Must not contain pages with multiple poems (though a single poem may span multiple pages).
  • Must not exceed 35 total pages (poetry + other pages). See page limits.

To help clarify the rules, here are some example scenarios:

  1. Valid Example: A manuscript has a Title Page, a page with a table of contents (optional), and the minimum 20 pages of poetry. The manuscript will be 22 pages long and will be a valid entry.
  2. Valid Example: A manuscript has a Title Page, a page with acknowledgements (optional), and the maximum 30 pages of poetry. The manuscript will be 32 pages long and will be a valid entry since it is under 35 total pages.
  3. Invalid Example: A manuscript has a Title page and 31 pages of poetry. The manuscript will be 32 pages long. This would be ineligible and will be disqualified because there are one too many pages of poetry.

What are the page limits? Jump to Top

Submitted manuscripts must be at least 20 pages and no more than 30 pages of poetry. As long as the overall document including poetry, the title page, and other optional pages is 35 pages or less it will not be disqualified.

Manuscripts containing over 30 pages/under 20 pages of poetry will be disqualified.

Manuscripts with over 35 total pages will be disqualified.

Can I only have one poem per page? Jump to Top

Yes, each poem should start on a new page. Longer poems that stretch over multiple pages are fine, but do not put more than one short poem on the same page.

Can I have different font sizes to make different length poems fit? Jump to Top

We recommend the same font size throughout, 10-12 point. We recommend Arial, Garamond, and Times New Roman.

Does it matter what font I use? Jump to Top

Please use a legible 10-12 point font. We recommend Arial, Garamond, and Times New Roman.

Can I make a poem two columns on the same page so as to not have it stretch onto two pages? Jump to Top

We do not recommend drastically adjusting the format of a poem for that purpose, but it will not be disqualifying if you do.

Are short prose pieces or similar allowed? Jump to Top

Yes, as long as your submission can still reasonably be read as a poetry manuscript (i.e. do not submit exclusively short stories or flash fiction, but if it’s mostly or entirely prose poetry that’s fine).

Can the whole thing be one long continuous poem? Jump to Top

Yes, as long as the submission can reasonably be read as a poetry manuscript, that’s fine.

Do the poems included in the manuscripts have to be a specific rhyme pattern, or can they vary? Jump to Top

There are no strict content/style requirements.

Should the entirety of the manuscript follow one topic? Jump to Top

The manuscript should follow one topic, but it should not matter what that topic is.

Is profanity permitted? Jump to Top


Can my manuscript include some words or phrases in another language other than English? Jump to Top

Phrases or even longer sections in another language are fine as long as the manuscript is primarily in English, as it will be published to an English-reading audience.

Should the title page have artwork like a book cover? Jump to Top

No, it should just have the title of the manuscript. There should be no cover or cover-like element included.

Should an acknowledgments page be included? Jump to Top

It’s not required, but is fine. Keep in mind that the winner has the chance to revise their manuscript and could later add acknowledgments.

Can I include drawings/photos/illustrations in the manuscript? Jump to Top

Drawings, photos, and/or illustrations may be included in a submission, but we cannot guarantee their inclusion in an ultimately published version if your manuscript were to be selected.

Is a table of contents required? How should I format it? Jump to Top

It is not required to include a table of contents. If you do, there are no requirements or guidelines so it is up to you to format as you see fit. Please be aware of the manuscript length limits.

Can I hand write my manuscript and the pages then scanned them and turned it into PDF? Jump to Top

Sorry, No.

Attribution, Anonymity, and Pen Names Jump to Top

In general, using pen names, aliases, etc. is fine as long as we can still reach you. Please refer to the more detailed questions here if you are interested in doing so.

Can I use nickname, phonetic spelling of name, etc. to get around the no name requirement on the manuscript?

A nickname is a fine substitution as long as it is not something you are easily publicly/searchably known as. If you are including any indication of your name/substituting something for your name, we’d recommend including a note in your cover letter.

Can the winner remain anonymous or under an alias if selected?

Yes! You may use a alias or pen name if your work is selected for publication. Just know that you would have to sign the publishing contract with your legal name, even if the book was not published under it.

Can I submit my work under a pen name?

Totally fine! Just make sure we have some way to contact you in the cover letter.

What should I do if I want to use a pseudonym in my cover letter?

That’s fine, just know that a contract would have to be signed with your legal name even if the book wasn’t published under it

Technical Website, Payment, and Submission Issues Jump to Top

I can’t pay with a credit card, are there other options? Jump to Top

Unfortunately, we can only accept the payment options that Submittable allows.

I don’t have a credit card or a PayPal account. I usually pay via bank transfer. Would that be possible to do here? Jump to Top

Any questions about payment have to be directed to Submittable. We can only accept payment through their site.

I’m having trouble uploading a file/with some other aspect of Submittable’s site. Jump to Top

You can contact Submittable’s tech support,

Can I get a refund for a withdrawn submission? Jump to Top

Unfortunately, no. We don’t refund withdrawn submissions.

I forgot to include my contact information in my cover letter! How can I fix it? Jump to Top

Good news, we can get in contact with you via Submittable!

How can I check if my entry was submitted and received? Jump to Top

You should have recieved an email receipt of your entry. If not, you may have to contact Submittable support to see that your entry was paid for and recieved by them.

If you are still concerned about your submission, we’re reviewing all submissions that require adjustments and alterations and will be getting back to everyone once the submission period for the contest closes. Rest assured we’ll find a way to make sure your submission can be considered by our judges! If there is indeed an error, you will recieve an email with next steps from us shortly and thanks again for submitting!

Winner FAQs: What if I win? Jump to Top

When will finalists be notified? Jump to Top

The chapbook contest does not have a definite wrap-up-date as it depends on how many submissions are received, and how long it takes for our judges to read and review all of the manuscripts. We’re not quite sure when that will be because we want to be sure everyone’s work receives proper attention.

Will I retain rights to my chapbook? Jump to Top

Submitting a manuscript to the chapbook contest does not relinquish any rights. If you are selected for publication, a standard publishing contract would be drawn up giving Button Poetry the rights to the work as a whole.

Will I get royalties if I’m published? Jump to Top

If a manuscript is selected for publication, a standard publication contract will be drawn up, which includes royalties on copies sold.

If a person were to win and get published could they revise/expand the book?  Jump to Top

If your manuscript is selected for publication you will be given the opportunity to revise it (i.e. work with Button to edit, add to it, etc.).

Regarding expanding the book/adding to the content, that would definitely be an option we could discuss!

Is the winner allowed to change the font of the chapbook? Jump to Top

That would be handled in the interior design process.

What About Feedback on my Submission