Middle West Press LLC is a Johnston, Iowa-based editor and publisher of non-fiction, poetry, and journalism. We publish from 1 to 4 titles annually.

Our projects are often inspired by the people, places, and history of the American Midwest.

We are also managers of The Aiming Circle, a Patreon-based community of military-writing practitioners.

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.

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:

Giant Robots in Literature. Examples & inspirations include:

Giant Robots in TV, Toys, Movies & Animation. Examples & inspirations include:

Giant Robots in Comics. Examples & inspirations include:

Giant Robots in Video & War Games. Examples & inspirations include:


  • 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.

Middle West Press