Literary Magazine Submitters/Wrters I need your opinion - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 10-26-2009, 10:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, I have a collection of 10 stories. I have been sending them out in a not very consistent way, individually to journals. I have had one published. I am ready to send them out consistently hot and heavy. I want to find at least a few more of them a home, so that I can market the collection, or at least get my work out there. I am working on two novels, and I'd like more publishing credits under my belt by the time they are ready to market.

I have no budget so here are my options:
1. Submit to journals that I think by title and what I can gather from the website might be a fit for my work as well as those that I am familiar with.

2. Enter contests (legitimate ones featured in Poets and Writers) to narrow the playing field. But, at $15 a pop that can get expensive.

I don't have much money to subscribe to many journals. I have a few subscriptions, but I would love to know more. There are no bookstores near to me either - I'm very rural. I'm not sure the best route to go to get the results I hope for. Any thoughts?

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#2 of 6 Old 10-26-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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Do you have a local library? Even if your library doesn't carry a certain journal, maybe they can get an issue for you with library loan. What about a college library? Also try contacting the journal directly. I know a lot of magazines will give sample issues or only charge a few dollars for them. That's better than buying a whole subscription.

I've learned that the best chance of success is to study the magazine you are submitting to. It took a long time for that point to be driven home for me, but I finally have gotten it. Even for magazines that I read frequently, I was still somehow missing the overall picture. So, I would even recommend that you read more than one issue of a magazine. It's frustrating to submit with no results. Sometimes that happens because the writer misses the style of the magazine, not because it's not a good story. I think it would be a stroke of luck to get an acceptance without having viewed an issue. I put all of this hard won knowledge to good use and sold an article to a popular children's magazine recently. I've got a query almost ready to send to another that I have studied extensively as well.

But, that said, some websites are pretty good and you can read some or even all of the published articles or stories on-line.

I'm shy about contests because of the expense. But, I'm getting ready to enter one right now. I just printed a draft to proof tomorrow when I'm well rested. However, I don't plan on doing them frequently.
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#3 of 6 Old 10-29-2009, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Twocoolboys View Post
Do you have a local library? Even if your library doesn't carry a certain journal, maybe they can get an issue for you with library loan. What about a college library? Also try contacting the journal directly. I know a lot of magazines will give sample issues or only charge a few dollars for them. That's better than buying a whole subscription.

I've learned that the best chance of success is to study the magazine you are submitting to. It took a long time for that point to be driven home for me, but I finally have gotten it. Even for magazines that I read frequently, I was still somehow missing the overall picture. So, I would even recommend that you read more than one issue of a magazine. It's frustrating to submit with no results. Sometimes that happens because the writer misses the style of the magazine, not because it's not a good story. I think it would be a stroke of luck to get an acceptance without having viewed an issue. I put all of this hard won knowledge to good use and sold an article to a popular children's magazine recently. I've got a query almost ready to send to another that I have studied extensively as well.

But, that said, some websites are pretty good and you can read some or even all of the published articles or stories on-line.
Our library subscribes to one journal and it is one of the ones I subscribe to. I didn't think of interlibrary loan. I'd probably aggravate them to death doing that. hehe...

There is also the time factor. To wait to read and study as many journals as I'd need to submit too... Still a cost factor too.

But, I guess what you are saying is it may actually be more of a waste of time and money to submit blindly, or semi-blindly to a journal. I'd be more successful if I did buy a few issues (at least one) and went from there. That would mean not as many submissions going out. I just read an article in Poets and Writers. A guy submitted his story 39 times before it was published... to 39 different journals. He says just keep trying... get it back and send it out again.

I talked to a writer friend who has a career in literary writing. She recommended using News Pages... www.newspages.com and submit from there. It's a pretty good site, with a lot of info.

I'm so torn... thanks for the advice though. It does make a lot of sense.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#4 of 6 Old 10-29-2009, 09:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by eastkygal View Post
But, I guess what you are saying is it may actually be more of a waste of time and money to submit blindly, or semi-blindly to a journal. I'd be more successful if I did buy a few issues (at least one) and went from there. That would mean not as many submissions going out. I just read an article in Poets and Writers. A guy submitted his story 39 times before it was published... to 39 different journals. He says just keep trying... get it back and send it out again.

I talked to a writer friend who has a career in literary writing. She recommended using News Pages... www.newspages.com and submit from there. It's a pretty good site, with a lot of info.

I'm so torn... thanks for the advice though. It does make a lot of sense.
Wow! I definitely admire that guy's tenacity! But, I wonder if he could have saved himself some postage if he did a bit more research?

I do think you would have a greater chance of success if you did some groundwork. I totally get wanting to just get stuff out there and get it published. I've been at this a long time. I've gone that route, as well. With no success though. You're probably a better writer than I was, so maybe you'll have a better time of it.

It wasn't until I started doing research and really focusing my writing to the market that I started to have some luck. I've had 5 articles published in print and a contract for a 6th. So, to me, that's progress in the right direction. Things are starting to click for me and make sense as far as the level of work I have to do before I even write an article or story. All of my published credits are articles, though, not stories. I did just finish a story for a contest, so my fingers are crossed. To me, fiction writing is an even harder barrier to break through. But, I still think that tailoring a story to the market is the best bet. At the very least, make sure you've seen the submission guidelines for each journal and be sure to be within their required word count, follow their preferred formatting, etc. Best of luck to you!

ETA: I checked out the newspages link, but I can't quite figure it out. There doesn't seem to be much there. Am I missing something? Do I have to register to see the blogs and groups?
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#5 of 6 Old 11-09-2009, 11:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I figured out why you didn't find much. I gave the wrong website. oops.

www.newpages.com

They have a database of sponsored and unsponsored literary magazines, examples of work there and their criteria and stats. It's a nice page for both readers and writers.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#6 of 6 Old 11-10-2009, 05:49 PM
 
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I use Duotrope Digest to narrow down my searching and researching/reading. I think there's a big difference between magazine submissions and literary journal subs (which it sounds like you're wanting to do). While lit journals often do have a particular aesthetic, I think they're just as frequently changing, evolving, and even responsive. I mean, when I was an editor (for three years, of a Pushcart winning journal), we often found a "theme" emerge from the slush pile. There are often rotating editorial staffs too.

I'm not saying it's not worth your time to read as many lit journals as possible, but, you're right, that can get pricey. But so many journals now have web iterations that you can do a fair amount of research and get a pretty good handle on their stylistic interests by reading the work they archive on their site.

When I'm pressed for time and want to do some mega-submissions, I search Duotrope for journals that accept electronic submissions. Some of the really really good journals are doing that these days.

Good luck! And congrats on the pub you did get!

Wendy ~ mom to VeeGee (6/05), who has PRS, Apraxia, SPD, VPI, a G-Tube, 14q duplication, and is a delightful little pistol! I'm an English professor and a writer.
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