Call for Submissions

NO FEE Sonnet Contest + editor interview – Better Than Starbucks, DEADLINE: Nov. 30, 2020

Better Than Starbucks is “Not your ordinary poetry magazine” and is published in print and electronically. They host regular features categorized by form and genre available on their web site and content is always available to read online for free. They pay $20 for monthly features via paypal and offer other contributors a PDF or eBook version of the print issue. They are currently running a sonnet contest with a first prize of $350, second prize $100, and third prize $50. The deadline for the contest is November 30, 2020. Otherwise, they are always open to submissions. And they do accept previously published work!

I wondered how and why this literary magazine came to be, so I asked their staff and they kindly replied. See my interview with them and a link to submission guidelines below.

HOPKINSON: Tell me a little bit about Better Than Starbucks.

BTS: We are home to free verse, formal poetry, haiku, poetry translations, international poetry, short fiction and creative non-fiction. We accept published and unpublished work equally. We love poetry from anywhere, with a special appreciation for poetry written in or translated to English from places other than the USA, Canada and western Europe, though we love poetry from those places, too.

HOPKINSON: How/why was Better Than Starbucks originally started?

BTS: As a poet, I have always been very frustrated with the requirements most publications put on the poet. I do not believe the idea of not publishing poems that have been published elsewhere makes any sense. I also couldn't find many places where all sorts of writing were available for the reader. I wanted a "broad spectrum" literary publication. I tried to do that as a one man operation, but soon expanded to a team of people, each better at some component than I was, and then we ended up with Vera, who is not only very good with formal, but has a sense of organization and dedication that has made it run like a first rate publication, instead of my more haphazard "wander about the desert" approach.

There is a ten-page answer, but I am not sure you want to go into it that much!

HOPKINSON: What type of work are you looking for?

BTS: Wow! Literally good writing. We want free verse, formal (both classic and modern), translations, haiku, limericks (yes these are forms, but sometimes they are considered as different), experimental poetry, and experimental fiction, short fiction 800-2000 words, flash, or micro fiction, creative non-fiction. Mostly, we want something that when we start, we can't stop reading until we have finished it, and then we want to share it with someone because it is so good. We believe if we feel that way, so will our readers.

HOPKINSON: What do you wish you’d see submitted, but never comes in?

BTS: We get some of everything, but I would love more international poetry and much more experimental poetry. Vera would like to see more of everything!

HOPKINSON: Where can folks send submissions?


(note, please put your poem, or fiction or non-fiction in the body of the email if you have concrete poetry, please include a photo or a screen shot so we can try to make sure we get the layout correct)

HOPKINSON: If someone has a question, how can they contact you?

BTS: Email us at:

Click here to read Sonnet Contest submission guidelines.

DEADLINE: December 1, 2019

NOTES: No simultaneous submissions

FORMAT: print, digitally online


CONTEST PRIZES: 1st – $350, 2nd – $100, 3rd – $50

FORMS: “This contest is for a metrical sonnet. Your sonnet can be shakespearean, petrarchan, spenserian, rhymed, or slant-rhymed. Blank verse is fine, as long as the sonnet form is clearly identifiable. We’ll consider tetrameter, hexameter, etc. as well as pentameter. Some metrical variation is fine, but don’t forget the volta!”


Click here to read regular submission guidelines.

DEADLINE: Always Open

FORMAT: print, digitally online


PAYMENT: $20 for monthly features

FORMS: poetry, flash fiction, short stories, personal essay/non fiction, images, haiku, formal poetry/lighthearted verse, poetry translations, experimental


If you like this post, please share with your writerly friends and/or follow my blog or like my Facebook page. You can see all the FREE resources my blog offers poets/writers on my Blog Tour page. 

Leave a Reply