Elise Holland, the editor of 2 Elizabeths, provides insight on how writers should submit their short fiction and poetry to literary magazines and journals.
Check out the excerpt below and let us know in the comments below about your experience with literary publications! And if you like what you read and want to see more, subscribe to our email list for more thoughts, quotes and writing prompts or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
How can I find the magazines or journals with a similar taste to my own?
You’ll want to read as many genre or literary magazines and journals as you can, to get an idea of the publications that best suit your work. When you first begin, it’s completely normal for the market to seem intimidating. A quick Google search will yield a dizzying number of options, and it’s helpful to have some context to guide your research.
The following sites are great resources to use as you sort through the market.
- Writer’s Market – Writer’s Market is the internet’s most complete guide to getting your work published. It’s a subscription service (just $5.99/month) with detailed information on where to sell your work, whether you’ve written a book or short form literature.
- Duotrope – Duotrope is also a subscription based service, with a database of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction markets.
- Poets & Writers – Poets & Writers offers free information online, including a database of literary magazines, list of contests by date, and more.
Look carefully at each magazine or journal you explore. Do they mostly publish poetry, essays or fiction? Do they prefer genre or literary work? Editors at varying publications will have different taste and preferences, and you’ll see that reflected in the work they select to publish.
You’ll find that in time, deciding which magazines or journals to submit your work to becomes a natural process. Simply put, if you love the stories a magazine prints, and you find them to be similar to your writing style, submit your work! While there is no way to be 100% certain your work will be selected, following this rule of thumb will point you in the right direction.
What should writers avoid doing?
So long as you follow a publication’s submission guidelines when submitting your work, you really don’t need to worry about any faux pas. Submission guidelines are always key. That being said, here are the most common things I’ve seen happen, that you would want to stay away from doing.
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