The Low Down on Lit Journals
As aspiring writers we all have the same goal: GET PUBLISHED! Let’s be real, we don’t hop ourselves up on coffee and become a slave to our word processor for our own benefit. We do it because we want others to read, cherish, and, if all goes according to plan, be affected by our work. We may have began writing for ourselves, but our hard work craves (and deserves) an audience.
That’s just what we’re trying to help authors achieve through the PUBSLUSH site, but while you’re waiting for those 2,000 supporters there are so many other opportunities to get both your name and your work out into the literary world. Also, as I know all too well myself, we don’t all have our ground-breaking first novel or that long awaited, surprisingly sharp and witty collection of short stories under our belts, so until that fateful day when we finally have that completed work of brilliance ready to go, we need a little toot for our horn to keep us persevering. (C’mon we all love a little toot now and then. Or all the time. Whatever.)
The internet is the aspiring writer’s new best friend. First of all, anyone can start a blog, which serves as an outlet for any and every rant and rave your brain can concoct as well as a place to spew your literary knowledge for (potentially) the entire World Wide Web. Although blogging doesn’t necessarily count as being “published,” it’s certainly a great outlet to get your name out there and hopefully develop a following of loyal readers.
The number of literary journals that accept unsolicited submissions can be overwhelming. And then there’s the fact that every journal has their own unique submission guidelines(double spaced, single spaced, e-mail submissions, submishmash, word minimums and maximums, phew!). Never fear! There are resources that will help you navigate this vast and overwhelming terrain.
One database I’ve found particularly helpful in my own quest for publication is the Poets & Writers online database of literary journals. It has a very comprehensive list and each journal listed details the genres published, the reading period, types of submissions accepted, as well as the journal’s editorial focus, tips from the editor, and a link to the website. Other helpful websites with similar compilations include NewPages.com and Write Habit.
The thing to keep in mind when scouring these databases is the time-old saying of quality over quantity. Take your time and research the journals that interest you and only submit to the ones that seem like a good fit for your work. It’s helpful to read a current or archived issue of a magazine to get a feel for the type of work they’ve published in the past.
And as with all things in life, remember: Persistence is key. Keep on keepin’ on, my friends.