Some Myths About Your Litmag Submissions

Some really valuable advice in this article… please poets, don’t post your work on Facebook or your personal blog. Read it at open mics, share with your friends privately, workshop it with poet peers, and then when it is ready, submit!

The Workshop

I read stories. A lot of them. I read for The Journal, the literary magazine at Ohio State, and I read (and edit copy) for Raleigh Review, an up-and-coming litmag founded by MFA alums from North Carolina State University. When I’m not reading for either of these magazines, I’m handling every last submission for Reservoir, where I’m the fiction editor, and helping to judge the book-length poetry and nonfiction contests run by my MFA program. I’m fairly sure this all added up to about two hundred stories last semester, from flash to novellas, and maybe another fifty poems, dozen essays, and thirty-five poetry collections.

And sometimes I come across people online or in real life who have no insight at all into this process, a great many misconceptions as to how their work is being read. People who submit scattershot for years on end without success, or—and…

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Categories: Poetry

10 replies »

  1. On the subject of submitting to lit mags, this is something I have yet to do but will in the next month with a story that I think is “done”. The matter of finding the right fit is ridiculously challenging and ALL the mags say the best way to figure out if what I have fits their niche is to read/subscribe to their journal. This is, of course, impossible to do. Although I’m employed full time, I do have to eat and pay my utility bills, not to mention support my university age children who live at home. I can’t possibly subscribe to/read/analyze dozens of lit mags that may or may not make a good fit for what I have to offer. It is an endless nauseating loop.

    However, I still post small pieces to my blog because, frankly, I would rather have a reader – any reader – than have the work sit on my hard drive unread forever. Isn’t that the point of writing? To be read?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely, and as long as you have a plan for your work, then there is no harm in sharing it any way you see fit. I think the idea is to know the difference. Also, lots of presses and lit mags do have online samples. I really think the key to getting work published is to send out polished pieces to as many places as humanly possible :). Thanks so much for commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

    • It definitely takes a lot of time and effort. Self-publishing is one way to go. If it helps you meet your personal goals, then I see nothing wrong with it. It’s hard to build a steady stream of readers and followers. I’ve been at this for over a year now, and though I am proud of where my blog has taken me, I don’t have the tens of thousands of followers often expected by big publishers for prose writers. Maybe if I keep at it… maybe someday :).

      Liked by 1 person

      • It is a task for sure, and I’m going to take another stab at sending work out and the wonderful spreadsheet you shared will definitely help. I’ve had my blog for almost 3 years and I only have a little over 700 followers. I don’t think I’ve run across anyone who has thousands. Most WordPress members seem to be other writers and artists and it really seems to me that it’s more about community than building a following of readers….just my thoughts. I really appreciate your posts, thank you.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. It seems like trying to find a needle in a haystack – finding an ed who likes your work.
    I can understand why writers post to blogs and facebook often it is the only way of making contact with other writers.

    Liked by 1 person

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