Ashland Creek Press is offering a $1,000 prize and a book publishing deal to the winner of its 2014 Siskiyou Prize for environmental literature.
The contest is open to unpublished, full-length prose manuscripts, including novels, memoirs, short story collections and essay collections. Poetry, children's books, novellas and individual short stories or essays will not be accepted.
Manuscripts must be submitted by Sept. 30.
"We just decided it would be great to have a prize to reward authors working on this type of literature," said Midge Raymond, co-founder and co-editor of the independent publishing company with her husband, John Yunker. "We really want to encourage this type of work."
Environmental literature refers to works that focus on the environment, animal protection, ecology, wildlife, climate change, sustainability and similar issues, the couple said.
Ashland Creek Press has a history of publishing books with an environmental theme.
Novels include "Falling Into Green," about an eco-psychologist who unravels a case of corruption while helping clients reconnect with nature, and a trilogy of books about a young woman runner dealing with vampires and forest destruction.
Authors who are unfamiliar with the eco-literature genre can visit the Ashland Creek Press website to read free excerpts of its books.
"People can get a feel for what we like," Raymond said.
Although submissions must have an environmental theme, they should also be good literature, she said.
"First and foremost, we're looking for good stories. Submissions shouldn't be preachy or didactic," Raymond said.
The Siskiyou Prize is named for the Klamath-Siskiyou region of Southern Oregon and Northern California.
With its outstanding diversity, the region serves as a refuge for species that have ranges stretching to the north, south, east and west.
"The title of the prize is inspired by our own backyard," Yunker said. "This is one of the most diverse ecological regions on the planet."
In keeping with the environmental theme of the prize, Ashland Creek Press is not accepting paper manuscripts. Instead, authors must submit their work via Submittable, a submissions website used by book publishers, agents and others in the industry.
Manuscripts should be approximately 40,000 to 90,000 words long.
Multiple submissions are allowed, but each submission must be made separately and each requires the contest's $25 reading fee.
Manuscripts must be unpublished and not under contract elsewhere.
Books that already have been self-published are allowed as long as the author retains all rights to the book. Authors must identify their books as self-published in a cover letter.
New York Times best-selling author Karen Joy Fowler will be the judge of the 2014 Siskiyou Prize. She is the author of three short story collections and six novels, including "We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves."
Fowler's honors include the PEN/Faulkner award for fiction, the Bay Area Book Reviewers Prize, the World Fantasy Award and the Commonwealth medal for the best first novel by a Californian.
For more information about the 2014 Siskiyou Prize, visit http://siskiyouprize.com.
To download a free sampler of eco-fiction excerpts, visit http://www.ashlandcreekpress.com/download/EcoFictionSampler.pdf.
For more information about Ashland Creek Press, visit http://www.ashlandcreekpress.com.