Call for Submissions

300+ NO FEE Literary Mags & Journals to submit to —— guest blog post by Niccolea M. Nance

Back in September, I was inspired by an article on Lit Hub by Kim Liao about setting a goal of 100 rejections per year. The idea being that making the rejections the goal would take some of the sting out of getting them and hopefully remove the mental block most people have with submitting caused by their fear of rejections. She suggests, "Collect rejections. Set rejection goals. I know someone who shoots for one hundred rejections in a year, because if you work that hard to get so many rejections, you're sure to get a few acceptances, too."
I decided when 2016 was almost over to do set a personal goal of a 100 submissions in 100 days. I have to admit that I was not prepared for how much work this was going to be! Since I am not subscribed to any journals and have only read a few here and there over the years, I had to basically read everything that was available online in order to get a feel for the accepted work of the publications.
This meant doing a single submission would take HOURS. First, it was time spent reading the journal. Then, it was time going through my catalog of poems written over the past fifteen years to find the ones that fit the bill. So. Much. WORK.
I was on a roll for the month of October, and got up to 24 submissions of 102 total poems before a change in my work schedule and job function slowed my progress. It greatly limited my time to work since I live on a boat without access to Internet, except when the nearby coffee shop was open, and that only left me two hours per day instead of the four I had before.
I have recently revamped my approach based on the most recent Pushcart rankings. Not sure if that will do anything for my rejection rate or not, but I figure maybe starting at the “bottom” might be a way to up my chances in 2017 when I restart my submission a day challenge. We’ll see!
Now for the best part. This challenge inspired me to create a public Google spreadsheet that lists all the publications that accept submissions without a fee. I will be working on it over the next week to get as much information on all of the journals (submission deadlines, pay rates, etc). Hopefully, this will be helpful/useful to other poets. The link is below. Please share widely!


nmnanceNiccolea Miouo Nance is a poetartistamateur fire-spinner, and soon to be world traveler via sailboat. Niccolea's published work, which she explains is drawn from personal life experiences and the stories of those closest to her, can be found in Borderline, a cutting-edge persona poetry journal and Canyon Voices, an Arizona State University journal for emerging writers. She also has two books published on Amazon – her self-published The Words I Hold, and the charity project “For Those Who Outlast Their Pain” released by Swimming With Elephants Publications (the proceeds above printing and shipping will go to organizations that help women and sexual assault survivors). You can read more about Niccolea here on her web site:

If you like this post, please share with your writerly friends and/or follow my blog or like my Facebook page. You can see all the FREE resources my blog offers poets/writers on my Blog Tour page. 

32 replies »

  1. This is awesome! Thank you for compiling. My goal this year is to submit, submit, submit and build my portfolio and I find the impediment of submissions that cost money so discouraging.

  2. I’m glad I’m not the only one who went in blythely to submit stuff only to realise it takes forever! Submissions could be a fulltime a job in itsef!

    • It definitely takes time! I try to prep packets of poems to make it go faster, but making sure you’re picking the right place for the right poems takes some research for sure.

      • Indeed. And since I mostly like to publish my poems on my blog, it’s a case of keeping the “best” ones aside… until I have 4 or 5 of them. Somewhat frustrating! 😉

      • I publish my poems on my blog only after they’ve been published elsewhere. That way, they are always in the running. You’ll have a bit of a lull while you wait for poems to get published, but you can always re-post your favorites from the past. Niccolea is working on pulling all of hers down so she can submit them.

      • This is something I need to consider as I’d like to get more stuff published this year… I hadn’t ever thought of taking stuff down to submit it. Is that legit as still “unpublished ” ? Also food for thought

      • Good question. Many of those seeking submissions specifically say, ‘never published — even on a personal web-page.’ I have also read that when they are taken down, the work should not be submitted for at least six months as a courtesy. This was said to also apply to submissions published with exclusive first rights.

      • Yes, I have that same conundrum. I find I want to do both with them, and few places want published works — even when published on the author’s own site.

  3. It’s an interesting dilemma…is your goal to do work that gets seen and read?, or get published (or shown, in the case of art) for the accolades, I guess, we’re not getting rich either way. I often think more people will see and read what I do if I put it on my blog. But I don’t think of that as “published” at all. On the other hand, if it’s been on a blog, it’s been seen by the larger world, and taking it down doesn’t change that fact, so I would not consider it legit to submit under the rules most places have. I think the rules are silly, but they seem to be standard, and I bet if you asked them they would still consider it published.

    • Some might and others might not. It just depends on the lit mag. I think if your blog has only been seen by 100 of your closest friends, most would not consider that published if it’s not still available online. When in doubt, always ask or err on the side of caution. Thank you for the comments and discussion!

      • Thanks Trish. And thanks for all the information you provide.
        Do you know why putting something on a blog is considered published? You could never put it on a resume that way, you’d get laughed at.

      • Then having put it on a blog once should disqualify it, even if you have taken it down later. And instead of saying they don’t want anything “previously published”, they should be very clear and just say they want new work that no one has ever seen before, either online or in print.

      • Some do say that, I read one today that was very specific. Others say if it was printed and not online and has since been discontinued, they will take it. Some say personal blogs are okay. Some aren’t specific at all. When in doubt, it’s always best to ask. Thanks for this helpful conversation!

  4. Reblogged this on Wind Eggs and commented:
    For many poets, writing is an act of self-expression. For others creating a poem requires serious thought, a willingness to master the craft, and a desire to open the readers’ eyes to something in the world they’ve never before seen.
    For those poets, I’m forwarding Niccolea Nancy’s post with links to three hundred no fee literary journals.

Leave a Reply