If you’re not already familiar with Clifford Garstang‘s annual literary magazine rankings or you’ve forgotten to check them out for a while, here’s a reminder to how handy they are! Every year Garstang ranks lit mags based on Pushcart Prize anthology. He creates rankings for the three main genres–Fiction, Poetry, and Non-Fiction. He explains why he started doing the rankings and his methodology. Submitting your work to lit mags you admire and managing submissions can be rewarding but can also be cumbersome work–Garstang explains, “Years ago, when I was first submitting short stories to literary magazines, I wanted a way to tier my submissions. I believe in simultaneous submissions, but I didn't want to submit a story to a great magazine and a not-so-great magazine at the same time because of the risk of multiple acceptances. (If the not-so-great magazine accepted first, it would pain me to withdraw the story from the great magazine.) Developing a ranking of literary magazines allowed me to submit only to those magazines in roughly the same tier. I began sharing the list on my blog because I knew other writers used the same tiered approach to submissions. Eventually I added poetry and non-fiction rankings and also links to magazine websites.”
When I first started submitting my poetry regularly, I too wanted a way to identify great lit mags who not only publish emerging writers, but also pay for work. I kept finding great sources and articles describing which literary magazines were paying markets and which publish new/emerging poets, so to make heads or tails of it, I cross referenced several lists including those that use Pushcart Prize Rankings, lit mag reviewer expertise, other online writing experts, and Duotrope. The results of my 2015 research are displayed in a table here. I have yet to be published by any of these… but I’m going to keep trying!
For more tips on how to manage simultaneous submissions, check out this great article by Becky Tuch up at The Review Review: The Savvy Writer's Guide to Simultaneous Submissions.
For general info about the Pushcart Prize, check out their site here: http://www.pushcartprize.com/