2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Guidelines

In a little over two weeks, we’ll begin another November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge. In my mind, I always think of April as a free-for-all; November is when I try (though don’t always succeed) to write around a specific theme. Not that others have to do that.

The November challenge is a little different than the one in April. The guidelines in this post should help guide you through the month.

Here are the basics of the challenge:

  • Beginning on November 1 (Atlanta, Georgia time), I will share a prompt and poem each day of November on this blog.
  • Poets are then challenged to write a poem each day (no matter where you live on the planet) within 24 hours (or so) from when the prompt is posted. Don’t worry: If you fall behind or start late, you CAN play catch up.
  • Poets do NOT have to register anywhere to participate. In fact, poets don’t even need to post to this blog to be considered participants.
  • The Challenge will unofficially conclude around 24 hours after the final prompt is posted. That said…
  • This Challenge is unique, because I expect poets to take all the material they’ve written in November and create a chapbook manuscript during the month of December. (Yes, you can revise material, and yes, the chapbook should be composed mostly of poems written for the challenge–I’m using the honor system.)
  • Poets have until 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on January 7, 2014, to submit a manuscript that can be 10-20 pages in length (not including table of contents, title page, etc.) with no more than one poem per page. So if you wrote 50 poems in November, you have to narrow them down to the best 20 (or even fewer). Submit manuscripts to robert.brewer@fwmedia.com with the subject line: 2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge. (The subject line is very important.)
  • The goal will be to announce a winning manuscript by Groundhog Day 2014.


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What do poets get out of this challenge? If nothing else, they get several new poems, but I’ve heard plenty of success stories over the years from poets who have gone on to publish individual poems from these challenges and even complete collections (mostly inspired by the challenges).

Plus, the winner gets recognized on this blog, along with many honorable mentions. That’s a good thing.

Regarding comments, this blog has a history with commenting problems, which why I don’t make it mandatory for poets to post on the blog to participate. However, I think poets who do comment get a lot out of it by sharing their work and creating a community on the blog. Just make sure you save all your work elsewhere too–like in a notebook or Word doc. It’s good to have backups.

If you have any additional questions, shoot them to me in the comments.

I can’t wait to see everyone in November.

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He’s married to the poet Tammy Foster Brewer, who helps him keep track of their five little poets (four boys and one princess). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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15 thoughts on “2013 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Guidelines

  1. MarilynH8

    Hello Robert,

    Do you have particular formatting requirements for submissions? For example,:

    1. Will you accept the submission as an e-mail attachment, or must it be in the body of a message?
    2. Will you accept a .pdf file? Microsoft Word? Apple Pages?
    3. Do you consider a “page” to be 8 1/2 x 11, or a chapbook-size page? (This matters because the limit is one poem per page, and a poem that fills an 8 1/2 x 11 page is too long for a 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 page.)

    Thank you for an inspiring month!

    1. bjzeimer

      We need to know if you want the manuscript in the body of an email (cut or copy, and paste) or as an attachment, as some editors won’t accept one or the other, especially attachments. Thanks.

  2. Artambrosia

    Sounds awesome! I love a good challenge. I’m doing NaNoWriMo too, so I’m definitely going to have my hands full. I must echo Cin5456’s questions. Thank you.

  3. Cin5456

    I’m in, but how do you go about creating a chapbook? I only have Word to work with, no publishing software. Are there page size requirements or lines per page for chapbook size? Is there any software I should look for that I could download? Not that I can afford much, but I’m willing to try.


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