Saturday, April 7, 2018

Tips for the Submissions Process

It’s easier than ever to submit your writing for publication but harder to have the work published. Two keys to having your writing considered are knowing the publication and following the guidelines.

  • Genre: Make sure the publication considers writing in your genre, and adhere to the parameters.
  • Deadlines & Reading Periods: Many journals set deadlines and reading periods by genre so make sure you’re submitting at the right time.
  • Submission Methods: Most publications have an online portal; others direct writers to email. Use the method the publication specifies.
  • Formatting: The guidelines specify whether to attach your work, for example, as a Word document, or include it in the body of an email. Online portals usually require the upload of a specified file type.
  • Fees: Whether they’re called reading or processing fees, many literary journals now require a fee to submit work, so it’s up to you to decide whether the journal is worth the investment.
  • Print, Online, or Both: Some literary magazines are e-zines, meaning they’re online only. Few are print-only; most have a web and print presence. The better journals have at least one annual print publication, but pay attention to where your submission would appear if accepted and whether online acceptance also allows for print consideration.
  • Feedback: Some literary journals, such as Under the Sun, offer feedback whether the work is accepted or not. These journals are especially friendly to emerging writers.
  • Payment: Many literary magazines pay writers for their accepted work and not just in copies. As you gain experience, consider sending your work to publications that offer monetary remuneration.
  • Prior Publication: Some publications accept and even welcome previously published work. But be honest about when and where the original work, including blog posts, was published.
  • Rights: Given the ubiquity of web content, more publications specify the rights they offer in return for publishing your work. Among the most common is First North American Serial, the right to be the first publisher of your work one time in North America.
  • Simultaneous Submissions: If you send your work to more than one publication, seek journals that accept simultaneous submissions. Most publications do but ask you to let them know if your work is accepted elsewhere. If a publication says “no simultaneous”, respect the journal’s requirement.
  • Theme: Because of their longer shelf life, anthologies are great places to send work. Since many are theme-based, check the specifications on how tightly or loosely the theme is interpreted.
  • Contact Information: Some publications read blind, meaning they don’t want to be swayed by what your name may tell them about you, so make sure you follow the parameters.
Duotrope, NewPages and Poets & Writers Classifieds are free online resources for places to send your work. When in doubt about whether your piece is a fit, query the journal’s editor. When when you send your work, make sure it’s polished and original. If you’ve made it through the above list, you’ll make it through the guidelines.