Literary Magazine Submission Tips Submitted to Myself
Feb 11, 2013I. Submit Why? Submit to the idea that submitting your work to literary magazines is an essential part of the writing process: compose, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, revise, submit. Submit to the idea that submitting your work can teach you where you've come from as a writer, where you're at as a writer, and where you might be going as a writer. Submit to the idea that submitting your work can only teach you if you let it. Let it. Submit to the idea that submitting your work to literary magazines is an essential part of the literary community creation process: read, read, read, read, read, read, read, read, discuss, discuss, discuss, subscribe, submit. Submission, like subscription, is participation. Submission, like subscription, is motivation. Submit so that your work might be worked on by dedicated editors, dedicated editors who might respond generously and ingeniously with ideas that can teach you about your work. Submit so that readers might read your work alongside the work of other writers. Submit so that your work might be in conversation with the work of other writers. Submit, above all, so that you might be productively humbled by rejection. Submit, above all, so that you might be productively humbled by acceptance. After all, even Gertrude Stein was rejected. Quite thoroughly. II: Submit What? Submit the work that you feel strongest, biggest, or sharpest about. Whatever you do, don't wait until you feel 100% certain that your strongest, biggest, or sharpest work is 100% ready. Instead, wait until you are 75% certain that your strongest, biggest, or sharpest work is as ready as it can be at this point in your life as a writer, right now, today. If you aren't sure how to hit 75% certainty, humbly solicit the responses of writer and non-writer friends, mentors, or acquaintances who are familiar with your work. Respond to these responses with revision and ideas of your own. Then submit. III. Submit How? Get to know the aesthetics of the literary magazines you wish to submit to, best accomplished by reading them, second-best accomplished by skimming them, third-best accomplished by visiting their websites. If you're not sure which literary magazines you'd like to get to know, check the title pages of collections to see where the poems, stories, or essays of writers you're excited about have been published, or ask for suggestions from writer-friends, writer-mentors, or writer-acquaintances who are familiar with literary magazines and with your work. Read and follow the submission guidelines of the literary magazines you'd like to get to know. Simultaneously submit your work to a number of literary magazines. Log your submissions in a document, spreadsheet, website, or notebook. Include what drafts you submitted to what literary magazines on what day, and update when you are rejected or accepted. Note any editors' comments--positive rejections, close calls, encouragement. When your work is accepted, refer to your submission log and immediately withdraw your accepted work from the other literary magazines where it is under consideration. Remember that editors' preferences vary wildly. In all sorts of ways, submitting is a crapshoot. Remember that a work rejected at 21 places over two years might get accepted at a literary magazine you admire.* Remember that you might have to submit the same work to 21 places. Remember that you don't have to submit one work to 21 places in one day. Remember not to put it off. If it helps, submit with writer-friends while enjoying caffeinated or fermented beverages. If it helps, make deadlines or deadline-based bets with writer-friends. Choose not to be made bitter by rejection. Choose not to be made bitter by rejection. Choose not to be made bitter by rejection. When your work is accepted, be humbled, and honored, and thrilled. *Happened.