Yesterday, three people from vastly different playgrounds of my life asked me how to submit to literary journals.
Googling will turn up tons of info. But if you're new to the game, this is a good starting place.
The Quick-and-Dirty Basics
step 1. write something you're proud of.
step 2. find some journals.
step 3. track it.
step 4. proof and format.
step 5. cover letter and bio.
step 6. read the journal submission specs.
step 7. what to track.
edits. you will make them.
mistakes. they happen.
- NewPages.com is my favorite.
- You can also tool around on their Call for Submissions (CFS) page. Here you'll see new journals expanding their writer pool, or established journals with a CFS to specific or themed issues. If your piece happens to match a CFS theme, you can bump your chances at pubbing.
- Other great resources: Poets & Writers, Duotrope, Submittable on Facebook
For fiction and creative nonfiction, unless otherwise specified:
- 12 pt font
- Double space between lines
- Do not add space between paragraphs
- 1/2 inch indent first line of each graph
- Your contact info in upper left-hand corner of first page, single spaced
- Title (in title case) centered, halfway down first page
- Byline (your name or pen name) directly below title
- Header: Select "Different first page"
- Header (first page): Word count (rounded to nearest 10) in top right-hand corner (e.g., "about 1,230 words")
- Header (all other pages): [Last name] / [shortened title] / [page number] in top right-hand corner (e.g. "Rivera / How to Sub / 5")
- Footer: Email address centered
Here's an example:
here or here.
- the date of submission
- title of your piece
- word count of your piece
- the date of response
- type of response (rejection, acceptance, withdrawal)
When do you respond to a rejection letter? Respond with a one- or two-liner note of thanks only if the editor has supplied more than cursory feedback on your piece. "I enjoyed your work but it's not for us" is cursory. Do not respond (DNR). "We really liked your work and hope you'll submit in the future" is flattering but not real feedback. DNR. Two paragraphs about your main character or plot? Send over a short note of thanks.
If you receive an acceptance letter, thank the editor in a timely manner.
Next, withdraw your submission from every other journal you submitted to. A short, polite, reply-to email is perfect for this. If using a submission manager, follow the guidelines on the site. Not withdrawing your piece is unprofessional, rude, and amateurish behavior unbecoming of a writer.
Eva Langston on common mistakes to avoid.
If you'd like to know more about the process, I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment, tweet at me, or email me.