Monday, March 23, 2015

#Mondayblogs: How to #GetPublished #amwriting #writingtips

Publication. Ah, just the sound of it is exciting. How many of us have wanted to say the words “I am published_______”? Most of the people reading this, I dare say. And while I’ve already talked extensively on how to get an agent and how to self-publish, I’ve not yet said anything about how to publish your poems or short fiction in smaller journals and magazines. Thanks to my student A. (identity protected!) for the inspiration for this post:

How to Publish Your Poems or Short Fiction
1)      Identify where you would like to be published.
There are many places where one can send their poems or short fiction. You may already have a few that you read and admire. Submit to them. For example, I am quite fond of Diagram and Harper’s. If however, you’ve no idea who to submit your work to, try out this list, or this list for possible places. You may also want to use a submission manager like Duotrope. For $5 a month, you tell them what you are looking for and they make you a fancy list.

Regardless of which route you decide to take, step 1 is basically “make a list” of possible places you’ll submit to.

2)     Get sample copies of the publication.
Many people skip this step of course. They just send whatever they have EVERYWHERE. That is OK too. I can’t think of any writer/poet who hasn’t done it. However, it will certainly improve your chances of publication if you have a sense of what a journal/magazine likes. Most places are happy to send you back issues at a reduced cost. So consider this route before you submit your own work.

Step 2 is basically research your list.

3)     Select your best work that you think will best match this publication.
Once you have an idea of where you want to send your work, decide WHAT you want to send. Again, as mentioned in #2, every journal has its style. If you are reading a copy and think “Oh hey this reminds me of my______ poem/story. Then send them that.

Think of it as matchmaking.

4)     Prepare your submission.
Now that you know what you want to send and where you want to send it to, prepare for take off.
a.       Write a cover letter. All submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter. As the name suggests, it is an introduction to your submission. Make sure it is addressed to a specific person. No Dear Poetry Editor:…. Do your research. After you’ve addressed your letter, state your genre, what your submitting and any writing/publication experience you may have. The internet LOVES to tell you how to do things, so I am sure you can find resources on how to write cover letters if you feel you need more of a step-by-step guide. Oh look: tips, tips, and more tips.
b.      Double-check the specifics. Be sure you read the guidelines. Every magazine/journal has them. On their websites there will likely be a Submit/Submissions page full of instructions on how to send in your work. Read this page carefully. They will tell you exactly what they want and how they want it. OBEY. Failing to do so usually amounts to automatic rejection.
c.       Go paperless if possible. So many journals and magazines offer online submissions these days. If they do, take advantage of it! Otherwise, envelopes and stamps (don’t forget the SASE!), paper and ink really adds up. So if you can get away with submitting electronically, I suggest you do so.
5)     Send it in!

OK! You’re ready to do this! You’ve prepared your materials, double-checked all the addresses and are ready to send it in! Do it! Please note that a lot of literary journals are run by universities/schools and have wait times 1-2 months long. Furthermore, many don’t read submissions during the summer. So make sure you’re sending the work out at the right time. Furthermore, don’t be discouraged by rejection. For every publication I received, I had dozens of rejections. Just keep writing and sending out your best stuff. 

You’ll get there. :)

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