Blog

Submitting to Literary Journals

Thank you to everyone who came to our submissions-themed events this week. As we learned, submitting your work can be hard.

We at Litsoc want to help you get your name in print, so (in case you missed our events) here are some tips and guidelines for submitting your work to journals.

The first thing is to get your work to the highest possible standard – never submit a first draft! Getting feedback from a second pair of eyes is always helpful (did you know Litsoc can get you a 50% discount with a local creative writing school…?) When you feel the piece is ready, there are a few things to keep in mind when doing your final edits. Watch out for typos. Avoid telling rather than showing/pandering to your reader. Avoid making the piece longer than it needs to be, e.g. having too much setup, repeating a point that’s already been made – does your story really need that first half page of setup? Does your poem work well even without that final stanza?

It’s also a good idea to have an organised approach to submitting. An up-to-date spreadsheet of what you’ve sent where, and when, and when you got a response, will help keep you from sending a story back to the same magazine without significantly changing it. It will also help you avoid/keep track of simultaneous submissions (having the same story under consideration in more than one place at the same time) – a lot of magazines do accept these, but you should always send a courtesy email withdrawing your piece from consideration if it’s accepted elsewhere.

When actually sending off your piece, the first things to look at are form (poetry, short, flash, novel) word count (what stories have you got to fit?) deadlines, if any. You should follow the submissions guidelines of your chosen magazine really carefully, or you’ll risk drawing attention to your work in the wrong way. If you can’t find the editor’s name, addressing the email “Dear Editor” works fine.

You will undoubtedly get rejections. They can be super disheartening but the first thing to remember is that rejection does not mean your work is bad. It might mean your work needs some more polishing, but subjectivity also plays a huge part. There’s also the question of whether it’s a right fit for that issue of the magazine. It’s not unusual for a magazine to be sent over 1,000 subs when they can only publish 5%. Rejections are not personal, never take them personally, keep submitting.

Here are some pretty literary journals to start you off!

Banshee: Very very cool. They have set submission windows in October and March.

Channel: They’re new this year and have just launched their first issue. They publish “poetry and prose that fosters connection with the natural world” and are open for submissions right now!

Crannóg: Also very cool, well established. They are open for submissions until the end of November!

Dublin Review: Extremely well respected. You can submit anytime via an online form on their website.

gorse: Quite experimental, rather lovely. Not currently accepting fiction or poetry submissions.

Sonder: Good friends of ours! They are also new this year, they have themed submission windows – they are taking submissions until Saturday 16 November on the theme “Secrets”.

Stinging Fly: Have a reputation for excellence. They next open for submissions in December.

Tangerine: Belfast-based, gorgeous, also open for submissions! Deadline is 25 November.

There are also some excellent resources you can use to keep an eye on submission opportunities, such as writing.ie, or the social media of Big Smoke Writing Factory, Poetry Ireland, and the Irish Writers Centre. It can be worth keeping an eye on the twitter accounts of authors you like.

So there you have it! If you have any questions, hit up our twitter. Happy submitting – and if you get published, do let us know… x