Before you submit:
- Always read submission guidelines carefully and follow ALL the rules.
- Subscribe to the journals you want to submit to, READ them, get to know them, comment on their blog posts, etc. I can’t stress the importance of this step often skipped by new writers.
- Sign up for a submission tracker. Duotrope has the best listings, but does require a small fee for membership. The Grinder (fiction only) is free.
- Use the submission tracker to check all the stats on each market before submitting—know what you are getting yourself into. If the Acceptance rates are VERY low, you may not want to waste time putting together a submission unless you have done your homework already and know your work is a good fit and is your very best.
- Research the editors—read the About pages on their sites, pay close attention to what they mention they are looking for in the submission guidelines, read any related editor interviews posted on Duotrope or search the web.
After you submit:
- Don’t get discouraged! Most writers I’ve talked to only have their work accepted about 10-20% of the time. My stats are on the lower side, but they do get better the more I study up on the markets I’m submitting to in order to make sure they are a good fit.
- Keep reading and keep writing, the more you produce, the more refined it is, the more you can submit.
- Do not self-publish unless you don’t want your work accepted elsewhere. Most publishers and presses will not accept previously published work, even if it’s on a personal blog. Very few markets will accept reprints, unless it’s a themed anthology.
- Do not pay reading fees! Little processing fees of a few dollars are acceptable, but anything more than that should only be for a reputable contest. Make sure you aren’t supporting a vanity type press.