5 Tips for Managing Writing Submissions
Updated: Feb 25, 2019
When I started submitting poetry and short fiction, I struggled to find places to submit. Now, I have found more opportunities than I can submit to. Here are some tips on managing submissions for poetry, short fiction, and non-fiction.
1) Search for journals that accept submissions. Be aware of genre.
The Canadian Market - CBC Books has A guide to Canadian literary magazines and journals open to submissions.
Speculative Fiction, ralan.com has lists of markets from Pro to Token. I suggest starting with Pro as they pay better.
Writers' Guild of Alberta sends out a weekly email with submission opportunities and many other useful things. Most provinces have a writing organization, and at least for Alberta you don't have to be published to join. WGA is free for students and has regular, senior, and low income pricing.
Many journals use Submittable or another external website to accept submissions. This is a good place to learn about submission opportunities. You can follow journals, and search by date or genre. They send a weekly email.
2) Keep track.
I have running lists of submissions deadlines, current submissions, rejections & publications. It's as important to keep track of rejections as publications. It is unprofessional to re-submit a piece to a journal that has already rejected it, but a good idea to submit a different piece provided you are writing within the genre.
3) Research and rank the journals based on the d
Simultaneous/Non-simultaneous: some journals accept pieces that are also submitted to other journals at the same time. This is very helpful as it takes a long time. Others do not.
Cost vs. Income: Not all journals pay for publications. Not all journals pay the same. Submissions can have a small reading fee, but it shouldn't cost much. Writing competitions often cost. Writing competitions tend to pay better, so that might outweigh the fee. If the fee includes a subscription to the journal, it is a good way to read it for future submissions.
Rights: read the rights to make sure that copyright stays with the owner & know exactly what you are selling.
Previous Publication: if it is on your website, most journals won't take it. If it won an award that did not result in publication, be sure to specify that in the cover letter.
Submission Details: In general, submissions include a cover letter either in email or an online form and a submission in Word or PDF. Some journals use blind reads and others do not. Always format your work based on the submission guidelines given by that journal.
4) Read the journal or books written by the judges.
I find this step the hardest, but it saves time & money by not submitting something to a journal which would never publish it. The library is useful in this regard.
5) Submit another piece to a different journal or competition while you wait.
It takes forever and rejections letters are disheartening. Many literary journals take 3 to 6 months to get back to you. I find it useful to have a few things always out for consideration, so rejection letters don't stop me from submitting.
Good luck writing and submitting your work.