- always check out any website (a dead link likely means a defunct journal)
- always check out the backlist to ensure that your piece is aligned with the sort of work the journal/ magazine/ e-zine publishes
- READ the journal and consider subscribing (supporting literary mags is good karma!)
- more generally, you should be READING all the time, especially in your chosen genre
General Manuscript Submission Tips:
Beware of any publisher who offers to publish your poem or story for money. Can you smell the stink? Something is rotten! Publishers pay you for your work, not the other way around.
- That said, modest entry fees for a competition are not unusual, and may range from $5 to $50, depending on the calibre of the competition and the prizes offered.
- Always check out the website of any publisher, magazine, or journal. Make sure that what you’ve written truly fits the “call for submission” requirements before you submit. READ the magazine or journal first to see if your work matches the style and content.
- Follow submission guidelines meticulously. Editors are busy people. If your manuscript is messy, error-ridden, or incorrectly formatted, it’s likely to be filed in “recycle” also known as “rejected.”
- Use an easily readable font. Size 12 – no bigger, no smaller. Double space. Use 1 to 1.5 inch margins on all four sides of the page. Print single-sided on white paper.
- Don’t send an electronic copy to a journal that ONLY accepts snailmail.
- If you send via snailmail, you may be asked to include a SASE (stamped and self-addressed envelope) or International Reply Coupon (IRC) for return of your manuscript.
- For Pete’s sake, for the love of Mike, PROOFREAD!!!
- Don’t pester the editors. Read the submission guidelines for response times. Many publishers, unfortunately, only reply to those writers whose work they are intending to publish.
- Never send original work or artwork. Make a copy or keep your originals in a cloud storage like Dropbox. Keep your originals safe at home, both electronic and hard copies!
If your work is rejected, take heart. There are other publishers out there. Do consider editorial suggestions, but remember you are the author of your own story. In the end, you are the arbiter of your own words. Tinker or rework and send out your manuscript again. And again. And again.
TEN (Markets and Resources):
- Places for Writers: “[places for writers] helps writers find homes for their work. Our goal is to help you write more and get your writing published. Since 1997 [places for writers] has featured submission calls and contests for publications in Canada and around the world: from independent presses to large well-established journals, from blogs and web journals to print magazines with wide distribution.”
- Quick Brown Fox: “Brian Henry’s Quick Brown Fox – Creative Writing Courses and Workshops and other great stuff for writers.”
- Broken Pencil: “Since 1995, we have been a mega-zine dedicated exclusively to exploring independent creative action. Published four times a year, each issue of Broken Pencil features reviews of hundreds of zines and small press books, plus comics, excerpts from the best of the underground press, interviews, original fiction and commentary on all aspects of the indie arts. From the hilarious to the perverse, Broken Pencil challenges conformity and demands attention.”
- The Puritan: “The Puritan: Frontiers of New English is an online, quarterly publication based in Toronto, Ontario, committed to publishing the best in new fiction, poetry, interviews, essays, and reviews. The Puritan seeks, above all, a pioneering literature—work that pushes boundaries, or sees boundaries as unstable, or lines to be re-drawn.”
- paperplates: “a literary quarterly published in Toronto….[that publishes] short personal essays, reminiscences, and travel accounts…. short stories, one-act plays, musical scores, poems short and long, extended travel pieces, formal essays, interviews, and reminiscences…. reviews, mostly of books.”
- forget magazine: “What we are really after: what we are really after in this publication is the publishing of material that is ignored in the mainstream press and the even the independent news. Anything that has reason and passion. And more stuff that is Canadian than not.”
- Joyland: “is a literary magazine that selects fiction and essays regionally. Our editors work with stories and excerpts by authors connected to locales across North America.”
- Stone Soup: “the print magazine written and illustrated by young writers and artists. It is the leading publisher of creative writing by children ages 8 to 13.”
- Grip Magazine: “is written by youth for youth, 13-18 years. Launched in 2006, its focus is mental health and well-being topics relevant to this age group.”
- Predators and Editors: “was founded in July 1997 by Dave Kuzminski as a resource and a simple compendium for the serious writer, composer, game designer, or artist to consult for information, regardless of genre.”
For the young who want to – Marge Piercy (b. 1936, novelist and poet)
Writing Tip: Read aloud to yourself from your writing. Your ear will pick up the rhythms and mis-rhythms in your sentences or lines of poetry. Hearing your own words will reveal the beauty and the faults.
Writing Prompt: “Walked to the Old Bailey to see Daniel Isaac Eaton in the pillory. As I expected, his punishment of shame was his glory.” – Henry Crabb Robinson (lawyer, 1775-1867)
Have fun! There are no rules here. Treat this as an exercise or a beginning or a departure.
Submitting manuscripts to Gail (firstname.lastname@example.org):
Just a few words about manuscript submissions. Being a writer is very much about following submission guidelines closely. Here are mine:
- submit a maximum fifteen pages of prose in a separate Word Doc – double spaced
- submit a maximum six pages of poetry – double spaced
- use margins as you would for a letter
- use a readable font size of 12 (e.g. Times or Helvetica)
- include page numbers
- include your name and the title of the piece on a cover page or running header
My hours are Monday to Thursday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. You’re welcome to drop by, but it’s best to set up an appointment with me at email@example.com, as I may be busy working with other writers.
I’m also happy to just have a conversation with you about writing and all related topics. You don’t have to submit a manuscript to meet up with me.