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Literary Magazines: Why submit?

Updated on December 19, 2012
PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

Justin W. Price, AKA PDXKaraokeGuy, is a freelance writer, blogger, and award-nominated author based out of Juneau, Alaska.

A Few of the thousands of Literary Magazines

So you've got stories, poems, essays and everything in between. You're happy with your hubpages account, your blog and your ebook, but, you're not getting the traffic you want--or need-- to make a living. Your words aren't being read by a wide enough audience.

What's next? How can you bring the seven billion eye balls around the world to your little website and your insignificant little book? What's going to attract those eyeballs to your work and not to the hundreds of millions of other books and websites available globally? You've Tweeted your little heart out, you've spammed your facebook page to tune of 30% of your "friends" "unfriending" you, you've Pinned until blood has been drawn, and you've Dugg until your muscles ached. You're a brilliant writer. you're the next Kurt Vonnegut, the next Dickinson, the next Capote. and no one knows who you are.

How do you change that?

Literary Magazines!

There are numerous magazines throughout the world, some with extremely diverse content, others which are clearly niche (atheist Haiku, stories about cancer, zombie themed westerns, handwritten poems only, as a few REAL examples). Assuming you send one hundred submissions, you might get one acceptance. That one acceptance could be the one that launches you.

Furthermore, while their are some agents whom scour blogs and article sites for new writers, literary magazines are a great way to legitimize your work and put your work in the hands of like minded folks, namely, folks who want to read literature... including agents.

With all due respect, and as a blogger, anyone can have a blog. All it takes is an e mail address,a platform, and a little content. Not everyone can appear in a literary magazine. To appear in a literary magazine, you must submit your work and wait for an editor or group of editors to decide whether or not they want your work to appear in their pages. Most of the time, they say no. Sometimes, they say yes. In fact, in one week, I had FOUR magazines agree to publish my work. This was preceded by approximately two months with nothing but rejections. My work has been published in eFiction Magazine, the Bellwether Review, Hellroaring Review, Crisis Chronicles Cyber Lit Mag and The Rusty Nail. I have submitted to close to a hundred. Rejections don't mean you're a bad writer; it means your piece isn't ready or isn't right for that particular market.

At the risk of stepping on toes, literary magazines have more legitimacy and prestige, in the eyes of agents and "serious" purveyors of literature than a blog or other writing platform simply because of the exclusivity and apparent legitimacy. Fair or not, these are the rules of the game and to be seen as a serious writer, you must abide by those rules.

Not all literary magazines pay-- in fact, most don't and, if they do, it's a token payment ($20 or less). For awhile, I only submitted to magazines that paid. I soon realized that not only do magazines that pay reject more often, they were also few and far between. Did I want to be seen now and work to build a platform for future monetary and critical success or did I want to make a few dollars now? I decided name recognition was more important, and, while I've never been paid directly for my appearances in literary magazines, I have always had an uptick in blog and hubpage traffic, and in book sales, around the time of publication. My byline grows, my profile grows, my resume grows. These are all things that will help me succeed in my chosen profession. I now include my literary magazine publications in my portfolio which has help me to land numerous editing and ghost writing jobs-- good, honest work that helps me pay the bills until my creative career takes off.

In coming weeks, I will write a series of articles about how to select which magazines to submit to, how to submit, how to work with an editor upon submission and acceptance and even review some magazines you should consider submitting to and reading.

I am the managing editor for a literary magazine, eFictionHorror, and I have learned a lot as an editor and contributor through my experiences with the magazine. I want to share that wisdom with you and help you on your path to success.

It doesn't matter what you write or how long you've been writing... there's something for everyone in the world of literary magazines.

Until next time, tata.

Thanks for Reading.

PDXKaraokeGuy, also known as Justin W. Price, is an author with Sweatshoppe Publications, which will soon re-release his poetry collection, Digging to China. Additionally, the managing editor at eFiction horror and The New Bridge online newspaper.. Husband to Andrea, father to two dogs. writer.poet.baseball fan. tattooed. He is am amateur theologian with a rabid sweet tooth. He resides in a suburb of Portland, Oregon.He has a poetry book available for Amazon Kindle, and also maintains a blog, FirstBlog. His work has been featured in the Crisis Chronicles, efiction Magazine, The Hellroaring Review, the Bellwether Review, eFiction Humor, and the Rusty Nail. Please visit his profile page for more information. Thanks!


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    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks a lot SuzzyCue. It feels so nice when someone believes in your work enough to publish it, even if they don't pay you. It makes up for the hundreds of rejections that come before and after that acceptance :-)

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Opening a magazine and seeing a page with your story and picture on it is priceless whether you get paid or not. I can see PDXKaraokeGuy you are not a quitter and that encourages me also. I can see you are proud of your accomplishments and you should be. Being an Artist is not for the faint hearted. Believe in yourself and you do. I applaud you.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      iguide, I agree. I didn't feel like a publsihed author until I saw my work in priint. Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • iguidenetwork profile image

      iguidenetwork 4 years ago from Austin, TX

      I think it's a greater feeling seeing your work being actually published on paper, kind of an old-school medium. Thanks for posting. Voted up and shared.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks a lot, Dwa. I appreciate the kind words!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Dah, there's magazines for everybody. you should do a search on dutrope and see what you can find. you may be surprised!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Jim, once you get a system down, submitting isn't too difficult. Thank being said, I'd be willing to help you do it for a small fee (my time is money :-) PM me if you're interested.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi Justin,

      Reading this article, one can tell you have vast skills and knowledgeable in writing and especially in literary magazines. You have a cue there, although we may wish for monetary gains in writing, name recognition is more important at initial stages. Voted up and useful.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I haven't thought much about literary magazines. I quess I thought they were mostly for the academic community and contained "literary" writing. Thanks for the information.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      Really good info here! I am lazy about submitting. I submit fairly often to contests, but I am sure competition is fierce.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      You're welcome, Lindalou. I'm pleased you found this helpful!

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 4 years ago from Texas

      Not only did I read it... i saved it for future reference! Thanks again!!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Linda... I answered your question in the second installment. it looks like you read it. Let me know if you have any other questions!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 4 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Vinaya, keep trying! your stuff is good!

    • lindalou1963 profile image

      Linda 5 years ago from Texas

      Great hub, very informative. I'm wondering, is it okay to submit the same piece to more than one magazine, if content is appropriate?

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Justin,

      I used to submit my stories and poems to lots of literary magazines. Though local publications accepted my writings, I did not find luck with international magazines. These days I have stopped submitting to literary magazines.and focused more on niche content sites.

      Thanks for sharing your views.

      Cheers

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
      Author

      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Dancing Water. I look forward to sharing them!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Helena. It can be scary. You have to have thick skin... but, remember... everyone has different tastes. I had one magazine tell me they really really didn't like my writing. I've had others tell me that anything I submit they'll publish... it's just a numbers game :-)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Till... what to submit is always tricky, depending on the zine. I will certainly write a hub on this aspect. Stay tuned!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Way to be persistent, seafarer... and how nice to be paid for something that didn't get printed. That's like a bonus... and now you can hub about it and make a little bit. Thanks for stopping by!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Jelly!

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Donnah. I look forward to sharing what I've learned.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Cyndi... you really do. It's a great way to broaden your audience :-)

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks hecate

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks a lot Audrey. Much appreciated.

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image
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      Justin W Price 5 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      Thanks Carol. A lot of trial and error to accumulate this info. Happy to help folks learn from my mistakes :-)

    • Dancing Water profile image

      Dancing Water 5 years ago

      Thank you for your generosity in sharing this with us! It is very encouraging, helpful! I await your future hubs on publishing!

    • Helena Ricketts profile image

      Helena Ricketts 5 years ago from Indiana

      Interesting information. I've never considered submitting to literary magazines before but will be watching for your articles to see more!

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Looks like this is a series I need to follow. Having experience and a flair for writing you can guide us on how to submit to magazines....how to learn what to submit perhaps? Great job! Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Seafarer Mama profile image

      Karen Szklany Gault 5 years ago from New England

      Great, timely article....a reminder that we must balance where we publish our work. There are some things I save for submitting to literary magazines, and don't write them on HP...I am also grateful to have a few opportunities for side work lining up. So, I agree that it is very important to submit our work to literary magazines. For me, that includes children's lit magazines.

      But...there is one piece that I wrote and submitted to a Canadian Catholic Magazine. It was accepted and paid for, but not printed. I wrote to the editors of the magazine to find out when they plan to use it (and thus the first N. American Rights they paid for would revert back to me) and they said that they wouldn't be printing it because their operating grant included a condition that 80% of their articles needed to be written by Canadian authors...They gave me their blessing to submit it elsewhere., so it is now one of my hubs: http://seafarermama.hubpages.com/hub/Angel-in-My-C...

    • jellygator profile image

      jellygator 5 years ago from USA

      I'll look forward to your related articles.

    • donnah75 profile image

      Donna Hilbrandt 5 years ago from Upstate New York

      Getting ourselves out there is key. I look foward to more in your series on this topic.

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Sageleaf 5 years ago from Western NC

      Wow! You've got me thinking. I definitely need to look more into this. Thanks for sharing. :)

    • hecate-horus profile image

      hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

      Thanks for this great info! I'm going to check into this. Also, going to share, pin, vote up, etc.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Great article Justin!!! Sharing this along!

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      Some good information here and worth looking into. YOu did your homework and I think this needs to be shared.