By Colorado Review Editorial Assistant Yuni Ramos
While sending your writing into the world can certainly feel daunting at times, there are several benefits to doing so. Some highlights include reaching a new audience, boosting your confidence, engaging in the literary conversation, and obtaining professional credibility. Now that I’ve got your attention, you may be wondering where to start?
Choosing the Right Piece
The first thing you’ll want to consider is which piece you’d like to submit. The piece you choose should be the work you’re most proud of. You’ll want to submit work that you’d be happy with if it were published as is. So, that piece you just finished writing, the one you’re really excited about? You may want to set that aside for a few days. This allows you to see it with fresh eyes before you decide if it requires revision.
Often times, literary journals and magazines will ask for submissions about specific topics. If you ever find yourself in a creative rut or are unsure of what to write about, these calls for submission serve as excellent writing prompts.
So, you’ve written something that you’re proud of, collected feedback from your most trusted writer friends, and revised your work to ensure it’s everything you want it to be. Now what?
Finding the Right Home for Your Piece
You’ll need to read through a variety of journals to determine which ones will make a good home for your work. Here are a few resources to help you with this:
I’ll assume you already have a Submittable account. (If not, what are you waiting for? It’s free!) Allow me to introduce you to your new best friend: Submittable’s discovery tool. This tool gives you access to calls for submission listed in order, based on upcoming deadlines. You can also search by topic, genre, or deadline. Submittable allows you to view the journal’s website, read issues and submission guidelines, submit your work, and track submissions.
Entropy is a magazine that publishes a list of places you can submit your work to. The list includes the literary press or journal’s name, deadline, genre, fee, and prize (if applicable). The order is based on the type of source, and the list is updated every three months. The best part? It’s also free!
Poets & Writers:
This is another free resource, which lists different journals and magazines, providing a short description of each, the dates submissions are accepted, and the different genres that are published. They also offer publishing tips from agents and editors.
Writing a Cover Letter
Once you’ve chosen where you’d like to submit your work, you will want to review each publisher’s submission guidelines to make sure that you include everything they ask for in your cover letter. Here’s a general template:
Dear Editor(s) Name(s),
Please consider my 3,500 word essay/story, “Essay/Story.” Since this is a simultaneous submission, I will promptly contact you if this piece is accepted elsewhere.
Thank you for your time.
All the best,
Your Full Name
•Keep a record of the places that you’ve submitted to so that if your piece is accepted, you can immediately notify all other journals.
•Make a note of places that reject your piece, but encourage you to send additional work in the future. Take their word for it.
•Know that rejection is a part of the process. Instead of viewing it negatively, try to reframe it in your mind. Make it your goal to get one hundred rejections. Rejections are evidence that you’re making an effort to put your words into the world.
•Create more beautiful work!
Editor’s Note: Check out associate editor Aliceanna Stopher’s blog post for more tips on submitting!