Things to do if you want to be publish with lit mags


I honestly have no business submitting to literary magazines. I can't get the basics right and always wonder why my work gets rejected. I don't put in all the effort I should be and expect to somehow get published, but the truth of the matter is you can't just cut corners and somehow think you'll get lucky. There's a few basic things you at least have to do before you can even consider submitting your work. Don't be like me beloved. Make sure you do these five things:

Read the guidelines

This is the absolute first thing you have to do before you even think of sending your work to a literary magazine. Most lit mags won't accept your work no matter how good it is unless you follow their guidelines up to a T. Simple stuff like what format they want, what should be your email subject line and how they want to be addressed are paramount. I once sent out an email written "dear editor" only to read their guidelines after months because they never responded and realise they wanted to be referred by their names.

Familiarise yourself with their... everything.

Something else that I don't do that you should definitely do is always familiarise yourself with the magazine. It will save you a whole lot of time. See the names of the editors (re: point 1). See what demographics of contributors they are most likely to accept. Damnit read a few selected pieces on their websites so you know which ones of your works are the right fit - if at all. It might seem time consuming but ironically it will save you a whole lot of time.

3. Know how to write a cover letter

Something that literally hinders me from submitting to most magazines that I want, that have a high probability of accepting my work is that they usually want a cover letter..... And I have no clue how to write one. Like not at all. I've tried a thousand times to look it up on Google but then I get stuck in my own head. I know for a fact figuring out how to write a cover letter is not a hard task to do. I could do one in twenty minutes and have a template. But nope, I just don't. Don't be like me beloved. All you need is one that you change here and there for each submission.

By the grace of God, edit your work

No matter how interesting your story is, one thing that is likely to put off even the most patient of publishers is poorly edited work. Don't give them simple reasons to immediately scrunch their noses at something you've sent. Always make sure every "i" is crosssed and every "t" is dotted before you submit. Get a friend to crosscheck and proofread. Read it aloud. Make sure the technical part is immaculate so that the people judging your work only have time to focus on the quality of the storytelling.

Submit widely

Here's the truth beloved, even if you follow these rules, you're still very likely to get rejected. A lot. So much so that it will discourage you. But trust me, your work will find a home, you just have to make sure you keep searching far and wide for that home. By submitting widely you increase your chances of getting published somewhere, somehow. I'm trying to rectify the mistakes I make when it comes to submitting work so I gave myself the goal to submit to at least five lit mags a year as a start. So far, so good. (All rejections though, but someone is bound to accept down the line ey?)

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