Submitting Dot-to-dot: How to Submit to Lit Journals Part 3
May 14, 2014
1. Write a kickass short story, creative nonfiction, or 4-5 poems. Revise! Have a couple of your writer friends read it and critique it. Revise again! Revise until you are sick of looking at it and have started deleting a word here and there, just to go back and add it again in the next revision. It is as ready as it'll ever be (until you look at it a year later).
2. Research the markets, but give yourself a timeframe. Do not attempt to read every issue of every journal ever created. You can not do this. Until medical science makes theoretical immortality an actual thing, you have to accept the Nike slogan, "Just Do It!" Check out lists of journals like Poets & Writers list. Hell, check out their entire website, it will do you good. Visit many journals' websites. Read a piece or two on each one. Read their submission guidelines. You will start to get a real grasp on lit magazines.
3. Write a basic cover letter. Do not sweat this. You got it. Honestly, I don't think most literary editors give two, ahem, cents about the cover letter. Just don't muck it up. Keep it straight forward. Do not do cutesy. Part 4 of "How to Submit to Lit Journals" will cover the basic elements of a cover letter, but you can always google other examples.
4. Submit to 10-20 journals that you feel like fit your style and you would be proud to be included within their pages. Even if they are only an online publication, it is still considered published. Usually they retain First Publication Rights that come back to the author after the issue comes out. This is common.
5. Keep detailed track of where you sent your writing, when you sent it and the publication's response.
6. If accepted - notify the other publications immediately of your withdrawal of submission. Pat yourself on the back, you're a writer!
7. If rejected by all (You will be rejected by a lot. Trust me, this is completely normal.) - repeat the submission process with other journals. Or, submit those new pieces you were working on during the first submission process. The pieces you like even better than the ones you just submitted. Pat yourself on the back, you're a writer!