Front Range Book Prize

Front Range Book Prize

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About the Front Range Book Prize

The Front Range Book Prize is Alternating Current Press’ annual book award to recognize an unpublished manuscript of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, play script, or hybrid work that is written by a Colorado author or on the theme of Colorado. We especially want to hear from marginalized and underrepresented authors, and we are an LGBTQUIA+ safe-space.

What Is the Front Range?

The Front Range is the section of the Rocky Mountains that faces the areas along Boulder and Denver, stretching from around the northern Colorado border down to around Cañon City, and penned in roughly by Golden and Idaho Springs to the east and west. It’s called the Front Range because, once upon a time, when wagon trains were traveling into these mountains from the Great Plains, this area was what faced the travelers as the front entrance of the mountain pass. The Front Range includes the Indian Peaks and Longs Peak, the two highest points in the area, along with the famed Pikes Peak, which inspired the song “America, the Beautiful” and was named for Zebulon Pike, the infamous explorer and brigadier general who died in the controversial British Canadian magazine explosion at the Battle of York during the War of 1812.

For us, the Front Range also encompasses the Flatirons, a set of jagged peaks shaped like irons that jut above Boulder, facing our office window across an open mesa. We are stationed in Boulder, and our book prize rewards writers who are working, thriving, and making a difference right here in the environs that surround us. It’s our way of giving back to, enriching, adding vibrancy to, respecting, and keeping alive the immediate literary community that we call home.

Reading Period

Submissions open: SEP 1, 2023
Submissions close: DEC 31, 2023
Winner announced: JUL 2024
Publication: 2025/2026

The Prize

The winner receives $1,000 (upon publication), our gold Front Range Book Prize digital medallion, a certificate, a Colorado book-reading tour, and book publication on Alternating Current Press, which includes distribution through Ingram and all major online retailers. Publication is in hardcover, paperback, and ePub formats, with possible audiobook publication, as well, and includes 5 complimentary hardcover copies, 20 complimentary paperback copies, a complimentary digital copy in all formats, and 50% net royalties. Publication also includes our standard publicity package, including a press kit, a book club reading guide, a press release, multiple mailing-list email blasts, social media, review and contest copies, and more. Runners-up may also be offered book publication and receive our silver and bronze digital medallions. We will be working with Colorado businesses, organizations, and bookstores to provide further Colorado-related rewards that may be added at a future time.

Submission Guidelines

  • Manuscripts must be by a Colorado author or on the theme of Colorado. Writers born, raised, residing (when winner is announced in July 2024), or having resided for at least three years in Colorado or on Indigenous lands that make up what is modern-day Colorado are all considered. Colorado writers may write on any subject, though works with Colorado settings or themes may take precedence over general subjects. Writers from outside the state of Colorado may only submit if the work contains settings or themes of Colorado, or if the work was substantially written, workshopped, or funded through a Colorado residency or grant, for which acknowledgment will be publicly given.
  • Work must be in English or in a dual-language where one of the languages is English. We are also interested in Colorado Native American Indigenous languages translated into English. If you are a Native American Indigenous Coloradan and are unable to pay the entry fee, please email us for an alternative submission method.
  • Manuscripts must be geared toward an adult readership. We are not interested in books for children.
  • Single work by multiple authors considered. All work must be the authors’ own.
  • Manuscripts may be of any length in any genre, including poetry, fiction, nonfiction, plays, or hybrid styles.
  • Manuscripts are read incognito. DO NOT PUT YOUR NAME OR ANY IDENTIFYING MARKS INSIDE THE FILE, including headers, footers, cover pages, acknowledgments, and file names. If you do leave your identifying marks inside the file, the submission will be read as-is, but the reader may disqualify the submission if he knows you on any personal level.
  • If you need to adjust a submission, please use the Request to Edit option through Submittable. Please don’t request to edit for minor flaws, however—all accepted work will go through an editing process and will have the chance to be updated before publication, and your work will not be disqualified for a missing comma.
  • All authors must be at least 18 to submit.
  • Simultaneous submissions allowed. Please withdraw your manuscript through Submittable if it is accepted elsewhere.
  • ACP and The Coil staff may submit work for publication consideration, but they are ineligible to win prizes while on our staff (including volunteers).
  • Collections that contain previously published pieces are considered. Don’t include acknowledgments in the file.
  • Submit via Submittable only. We do not accept email submissions.
  • Straight or scholarly nonfiction should have reference pages.
  • There is an $18 fee for each manuscript submitted. You may submit as many manuscripts as you’d like, but each one must be submitted separately with a separate fee. The fee helps us with needed administration and book production costs, but it’s not meant to be too inhibitive. If you are unable to pay, please email us for an alternative submission method.
  • Each paid submission comes with a digital copy of our latest award-winner, A Gospel of Bones, a collection of poetry by Denver author, performance artist, and community activist Suzi Q. Smith ($7.99 value). There is an additional option to purchase the winning Front Range Book Prize print book (publishing in 2025/2026) as an add-on for a deep discount ($7.99 off the final cover price, shipped free worldwide).
  • We will send a response and notification of the winner to every submission by the end of July. Form response only, unless we are interested in publishing your book. We are regretfully unable to provide feedback.
  • If you’re ready to submit, head on over to Submittable.

Selection & Judging Process

We subscribe to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics: “CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1.) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2.) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3.) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.”

  1. We take submissions through Submittable and use its tools and our own to accept incognito submissions. The editor-in-chief has access to the information, but she does not read or accept submissions. While the editor-in-chief determines what is published on our press, she does not make judging decisions for awards.
  2. We ask submitters not to include their names, contact information, or any identifying marks within the documents, titles, and file names of submissions.
  3. Staff members of Alternating Current may have pieces published on The Coil or submit pieces for incognito submission consideration, but staff members are not eligible to win award prizes while serving on our staff. This includes volunteers while they are volunteering for our staff.
  4. For all awards, the editor-in-chief compiles a spreadsheet of all the eligible pieces, makes sure everything is stripped of any contact information, and sends that spreadsheet to the Front Range editor. The Front Range editor ranks the selections to choose the top finalists. The incognito judging decisions are final.
  5. While the manuscripts are read incognito, the editors are asked to recuse themselves from judging if there are any submissions that they may recognize as posing a personal conflict of interest. Once selected, we will reveal the winner’s name privately to the readers before announcement to clarify that there is no conflict of interest. Should there be a conflict, the next finalist in line without conflict shall become the winner, or judges shall recuse themselves from the ranking tallies. Conflicts of interest are defined as: close friends, relatives, students, and former students of the judges. We do not consider workshops to be disqualifying factors, unless the judge personally feels there is a conflict there. We leave the discretion of conflict identification up to the judges. Submissions that pose a conflict of interest may still be eligible for publication, even if they are ineligible for prizes.
  6. The winner is notified prior to announcement. The results are publicly posted online at The Coil and on the press website.