Middle West Press LLC is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, poetry, and journalism. We are a veteran-owned business. We publish from 1 to 4 titles annually.
For more about our mission, submissions practices, and business model, click here.
Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest. To view a round-up of our previously published books, click here.
We are also managers of The Aiming Circle, a Patreon-based community of military-writing practitioners. If you write on themes and topics related to military experiences, please check-in with us there!
Middle West Press LLC seeks poetry manuscripts by a single author, comprising 50 to 100 poems each, for potential publication in 2024-2025.
We are particularly seeking manuscripts that intersect in some way with military experience or service, especially those stemming from the lived experiences of women veterans, poets of color, poets who identify as LGBTQ+, and other marginalized voices. Past and present military service members, family members, and others are invited to submit work.
This reading period ends March 4, 2024 or a maximum of 25 submissions, whichever comes first.
Submissions will be processed "First-In, First Out." All submissions will receive a reply not later than June 4, 2024.
Middle West Press is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, journalism, and poetry. Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest. Our award-winning book titles are available for sale in print and e-book editions via on-line retailers, and via select independent and museum bookstores.
We publish from 1 to 4 titles annually, and have plans to make at least one of these a collection of poetry that informs and illuminates the American Midwest.
Examples of our past poetry collections include:
- Paying for Gas with Quarters by Aly Allen, U.S. Army veteran
- Hugging This Rock by Eric "Shmo" Chandler, U.S. Air Force veteran
- The Time War Takes by Jessi M. Atherton, U.S. Army veteran
- HEAT + PRESSURE: Poems from War by Ben Weakley, U.S. Army veteran
- Permanent Change of Station and FORCES by Lisa Stice, U.S. Marine Corps spouse
- Always Ready: Poems from a Life in the U.S. Coast Guard by Benjamin White, U.S. Army and Coast Guard veteran
- September Eleventh by Amalie Flynn, U.S Navy spouse
- Blood / Not Blood Then the Gates by Ron Riekki, U.S. Navy and Air Force veteran
- Welcome to FOB Haiku by Randy "Sherpa" Brown, U.S. Army veteran
We also published, along with the editors of Chicago-based literary journal Line of Advance, the anthology Our Best War Stories: Prize-winning Poetry & Prose from the Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Awards.
Most recently, we published an anthology Things We Carry Still: Poems & Micro-Stories about Military Gear.
Each of these projects notably explored, at least partially, themes of national service or citizenship during wartime. We look to constructively complicate the popular stereotypes of what it means to be a military service member, veteran, or family member—not all of us, after all, are American Snipers or Navy SEALs. We contain multitudes.
While we look forward to continue to explore such themes, we are equally motivated by any work that helps renew and revise the milieu of the Middle West as a growing, changing, modern place.
Our informal rule-of-thumb is that the modern U.S. states carved from the Louisiana Purchase, and/or states located west of the Ohio River and east of the Missouri River, safely define our intellectual playground. The Middle West is a moveable feast, however. We recognize that the Middle West includes themes, characters, and geographies that cannot be contained by mere borders. In fact, the Middle West may be most apparent in places where it is not.
Whether you are from here or live here—or just adhere to a particularly Midwestern sensibility—we would love to read your work!
- Submit Microsoft Word (.DOC or .DOCX) files; Times New Roman, 12-point type.
- Each poem should be presented on its own page. (Use page or section breaks.)
- Include an "Acknowledgements" page listing those venues and dates at which individual poems have appeared in print or on-line.
If accepted for publication, after a written and signed contract is place, Middle West Press LLC pays poets a $100 advance, on print and e-book royalties. "We pay authors; authors do not pay us." Royalties are generally 10 percent or greater of retail "cover" price. At any time—not just at the time of publication—authors may also buy their own copies at significant discount. These may be sold via their own readings and local bookstore venues.
Middle West Press LLC, an independent micro-publisher of military-themed and -adjacent literary projects, has issued a call for 300-word proposals regarding craft essays on the writing of Military-themed Science-Fiction and Other Genres. Editors there write:
In 2019, we published "Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War," a 250-page anthology featuring tips, techniques, and insights from more than 60 established and emerging authors, each of whom tell stories involving military themes and topics. With this newly proposed project, we are aiming at similar targets, but viewed through a specific scope: how military-writers write and publish creative, genre, and speculative fiction.
For the purposes of this project, "Military-themed Science-Fiction and Other Genres" can be defined to include, but be not limited to:
- MilSciFi and related/adjacent sub-genres such as Space Opera, Space Marines, Alien Invasion, Space Noir, Post-Apocalyptic, Galactic Empire, Colonization ...
- Military Sci-Fantasy (Wizards, Warlocks, Airships, Dragons, etc.)
- Military Thriller and Espionage
- Military Romance
- Military Horror
- Historical Fiction and/or Alternative Histories
- Speculative Fiction and/or "Slipstream"
- Military Memoir, Creative Non-fiction, or other Non-fiction
- Military Humor
While the editorial make-up of the anthology is not yet determined, editors anticipate concentrations in at least three types of approaches:
- Tactics, Topics & Technologies: What do today's military-focused writers need to know about tomorrow's infantry, armor, ships, robots, drones, climate change, AI, genetics, Space Force, etc.? Examples: "The Kill Chain vs. Blockchain: Release the BitDoges of War"; "Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics as Applied to the Law of War"; "What We Write About When We Write About 'Star Wars'"
- How-to-Write Techniques: Must-have tropes, taxonomies and mini-histories of given genres/sub-genres, insights on character- and world-building, collaborative techniques such as co-authoring and world-sharing, etc. Examples: "Military Humor: Does It Have to be Dick-based?"; "Planning Military Operations in a Shared Universe"; "Hitting the Heist: Put a Little Larceny in Your Next War Story"; "Writing about Space Marines: In Space, No One Can Hear Us Eat Crayons"
- Author Platforming & Marketing: How-to essays on building mil-themed/-friendly/-focused newsletters, audiences, marketing personas, book proposals, and research. Examples: "How to Research Alternative Histories"; "How to Find (or Become) a Military-Friendly Publisher"; "Pre-Combat Checklists for Book Launches"
There is no submissions fee. Deadline for proposals is Dec. 4, 2023.
Previously published material will be considered, if submitted by the copyright owner. If published on-line, include the link in your proposal description. If not published on-line, describe the essay and where it has previously appeared.
Notifications of proposal acceptances will occur not later than Jan. 1, 2024.
Requested deliveries of resulting 1,200- to 2,400-word manuscripts would be not earlier than July 1, 2024.
While the business model and publication schedule for this proposed anthology project are still pending, successful contributors will receive at minimum one free contributor copy in consideration for their work. The publisher is exploring the possibility of crowd-funding this project, with the intent of financially compensating contributors for their works prior to publication.
A signed and mutually agreeable copyright agreement between author and publisher will be required for publication. The publisher will likely request first and non-exclusive worldwide print and digital rights for inclusion in the anthology, along with sufficient rights feature and/or excerpt selected work on a military-writing website or similar venue. Designation of a partner military-writing organization for this anthology is pending.
In addition to underwriting The Aiming Circle community of practice, similar past Middle West Press projects include the 2020 anthology "Our Best War Stories: Prize-winning Poetry & Prose from the Col. Darron L. Wright Memorial Awards," and the 2019 non-fiction anthology "Why We Write: Craft Essays on Writing War."
Middle West Press LLC, an independent micro-publisher of military-themed and -adjacent literary projects, has issued a call for human-generated poems engaging with “Giant Robot” technology themes. This is a "speculative poetry" market.
What is a "Giant Robot" theme? For this project, the term "Giant Robots" can include examples of technologies in timelines both real and imagined, and of any size or (even formless) form. Living Ships. Loitering Drones. Taxi-cab AI. Robot Tanks. Virtual Soldiers. Space Explorers. Mecha-suits. In short, any vessel for exploring themes of human-electro-mechanical-cyber interaction, connection, and competition.
The working title of this project is Giant Robot Poems: Poetry About Mecha-Human Science, Culture & War.
Editors of the project write:
Our intent with this project is to have fun, but also to illuminate, interrogate, and challenge (via the still-human domain of poetry!!!) the ways people think about emerging and future technologies such as robots and drones, Artificial Intelligence (AI), cybernetic enhancements, etc. We are looking for terrain-shifting, mind's-eye-bending, firmament-rending expressions of new and future realities. Be provocative. Be poignant. Be human. Even if you write like a Giant Robot.
Ideally, many of the works submitted will engage questions such as:
- How does technology potentially change human behavior / culture / society?
- How does technology potentially change human behavior ethics / values?
- How does technology potentially change the ways humans fight / love / think / feel?
Many examples of "Giant Robot-ness" exist in today's news and culture. As a starting point or prompt, our editors offer a list of examples and inspirations. In creating and crafting their own, original concepts and works, poets might consider various modes of commenting, observing, or even inhabiting technologies, mythologies, or stories depicted in these and other venues:
Giant Robots in Modern News & Modern War. Examples & inspirations include:
- Tactical Drones & "Loyal Wingman" concepts
- Battlefield Robots & Security Drones & Dog-bots
- Exoskeletons / Powered Armor / Battlesuits / "Iron-Man" Suits
Giant Robots in Literature. Examples & inspirations include:
- Keith Laumer's Bolos
- "Living Ships," such as those of Anne Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy; Fred Saberhagen's Berserkers; Anne McCaffrey's "Brain & Brawn Ships"
- Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries series
- Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers (1959)
- Frankenstein's monster from Mary Shelley's 1818 book; Golems and other fantastical constructed creatures
Giant Robots in TV, Toys, Movies & Animation. Examples & inspirations include:
- "The Iron Giant" (Warner, 1999)
- "Giant Robo" a.k.a. "Johnny Sokko & His Flying Robot" (1967); "Gigantor" (1963) a.k.a. "Tetsujin 28-go"
- "Mobile Suit Gundum" (1979)
- Voltron; "Titan Maximum"
- Rock'Em Sock'Em Robots; "Real Steel" (DreamWorks, 2011)
Giant Robots in Comics. Examples & inspirations include:
- Marvel Comics' mutant-hunting Sentinels
- Giant Robot Maintenance Crew (Cosmic Times, 2017); Mech Cadet Yu (Boom, 2017); Giant Robot Warriors (AiT/PlanetLar, 2004)
- Giga (Vault Comics, 2020); The Monuments (2023); 20th Century Men (Image, 2023): We Ride Titans (Vault, 2022)
Giant Robots in Video & War Games. Examples & inspirations include:
- OGRE (Steve Jackson Games, 1977-present)
- BattleTech/MechCommander franchise (FASA)
- Iron Harvest (King Art, 2020)
- Titanfall 2 (Electronic Arts, 2016)
- Pizza Titan Ultra (2018)
- Deadline for submissions is Dec. 4, 2023. Notifications will be sent not later than Jan. 1, 2024. Target publication date for this project is April 2024.
- Submit from 1 to 3 poems in the same file (.DOC or .DOCX).
- Work generated using ChatGPT and similar computer-assisted word "AI" will not be accepted. Human-generated poems only, please.
- New and original work is preferred. Please note in cover letter whether specific works have previously been published elsewhere.
- Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Please notify the editors via Submittable if one of more poems becomes unavailable during the consideration period.
- Publisher requests non-exclusive, worldwide, English-language print and e-book anthology rights.
- Contributors will receive one complimentary print or digital (where postal delivery is not available) contributor's copy.