New to the wonderous world of submitting your work and getting published? You’re in the right place! Here’s our carefully crafted guide to becoming a lit mag connoisseur, getting your work out there, and getting to brag about being a published author.
In these guides, we’ve provided helpful information on the types of lit mags, benefits of submitting to them, the nuts and bolts of submitting your work, coping with the emotions tied to it, and finding places to share your work. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact us on our social media or shoot us an email!
WHAT IS A LIT MAG
You might think that magazines are reserved for juicy celebrity gossip about wrinkled royalty, but you are incorrect! Literary magazines are collections of writing, typically ranging from poetry to short stories and sometimes including jazz like art and scripts. They create physical, digital, or multi-media anthologies of work and send them out to the public. Although some magazines specialize in a single genre or medium, most accept a variety of pieces.
Literary magazines are usually smaller than other publications. They make money by selling copies of their work and for donations, and sometimes charge submission fees. Unfortunately, nobody has become a billionaire through submitting to magazines, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be the first!
What Qualifications Do You Need to Submit?
If you are a writer or artist, you can submit to a lit mag! Even if you don’t feel that you are not a prodigy in either category, literary magazines highly encourage writers of all levels to send in their work. You can get started by selecting a place to submit to and seeing if it is right for you.
Most lit mags have specific guidelines on what kind of writers they are looking to highlight, and what theme they are trying to stick to. For example, some only accept fiction pieces and others have strict age requirements. For more details on how to submit to a lit mag, go to our How To Submit To A Lit Mag page! We talk about all the nit-picky details that there are to submit to one of these bad boys.
Why Would You Want to Submit?
At first, it may not seem like much to get your piece published in a magazine, excluding ultimate glory, of course. However, there are benefits out the wazoo!
- (be) God
Submitting is great if you are an aspiring writer. Some lit mags may be small, but publications in them allow you to slowly start to get more recognition as a writer. It also helps you get experience in the word business. By submitting to a magazine, you are taking steps to becoming become a professional author!
Submitting to a lit mag is a great way to build your resume! You can use it on college applications, cover letters, and much more.
Some magazines pay people if their piece gets published in their magazine. For example, One Story pays its authors money if they get accepted into the magazine. Although they are extremely selective with what they accept, it is always worth trying! There are also lit mags that give you a free copy of their magazine if you do get published. Not only do you get recognition, but you also get a free magazine! How cool!
Overall, there are many reasons that you should submit to a lit mag. These obviously are not the only ones, but it is always nice when you can get recognition for the work that you have slaved over for hours on end.
What Are Some Types of Lit Mags?
Although all literary magazines post literature, and some art, there are several types of literary magazine classifications that describe how they publish their pieces or how they format their magazine.
Normal Magazine – Some magazines do not entirely fit a quirky type, and that is ok! Every magazine has something unique to them, even if it is not the way they format it.
Themes – Some magazines tend to have a theme that goes with every publication. A lot of the time they base it on a word or phrase and end up designing their magazine/website around that theme. Although not every piece has to fit this theme, it does end up creating a cool-looking magazine with a lot of pieces that have something in common with one another!
Zines – Zines are a smaller magazine that tends to include fewer pieces than a normal magazine. A lot of zines are made by hand and often have crafty additions unique to that literary magazine.
Artistic – Some lit mags focus very heavily on the artistic side of, well, art. They usually are littered with drawings and photography and are usually an exceptionally good place to send your artistic talents if you are not the best at writing.
Reviews – These types of magazines publish a lot of non-fiction pieces and book reviews. They may not publish much, if any, poetry and art- but they are a good place to send your work too if you like writing essays or are into creating a memoir.
Vanity Press – This is the type of literary magazine that only publishes the editor’s work. They do not accept any outside submission, but you can purchase their magazine that has a collection of their pieces.
Every literary magazine team is unique and ends up designing differently than others. Although some magazines have their similarities, there will never be two of the same magazines. Keep that in mind when choosing which magazine to purchase/submit to!
HOW TO SUBMIT TO A LIT MAG
So You Want to Submit to a Lit Mag?
Submitting to a lit mag might seem scary, but it’s one of the best things you can do to advance yourself as a writer. Publication not only boosts your ego, but your resume as well! Here’s our grand guide to becoming a SUPER SUBMITTER!
Setting Yourself up for Success
Literary magazines are a tight knit community, but unlike your middle school bully’s lunch table, you’re more than welcome to join the club. There’s a strong literary magazine community on Twitter and on other social media, allowing you to stay up to date on what’s going on.
Finding places to submit can feel harder than writing itself. Fortunately, there are lots of websites that make your life significantly either by listing magazines. It’s kind of like literary Tinder. Chill Subs is a great free option that can find you the perfect magazines based on acceptance rate, genre, vibe, call, and more! If you’re wanting to up your game, Duotrope has a collection of over seven thousand places to get published, though they do charge a subscription fee. You can also check out our Other Lit Mags page for some places we highly recommend shooting a sub!
You should submit your piece to as many places as possible! You can submit the same piece to multiple places at the same time, just make sure the magazine allows simultaneous submissions.
It’s also a good idea to track your submissions. You can do this a few different ways- some websites like Chill Subs offer submission trackers. You can also use an Excel spreadsheet- just include what piece you submitted, where you submitted it, when you submitted it, and the expected response time. This will keep you all organized.
How to Submit to a Literary Magazine
Once you’ve picked out a magazine you like, check out their website for more information. Do they accept only edgy memoirs, or will they cherish your queer elven flash fiction? They typically specify in their submission guidelines, but reading some of the work they’ve previously published will give you some insight into what they’re looking for.
Read submission guidelines! Magazines have their own, picky picky conditions. They might only accept certain word counts, genres, and more. Make sure your work is a good fit, and formatted the way that they request. Magazines might request that submissions have a specific font, spacing, and size. If you don’t comply, you might be burned to the ground.
There are all sorts of ways magazines ask you to submit. Sometimes, you email them, sometimes you fill out a form, sometimes you send a barn owl five meters north to their headquarters. Whatever they ask, make sure to follow directions!
Keep in mind, some magazines do want a cover letter. Make sure you know how to make one before submitting to those magazines, since they want to be a bit more professional compared to others. Click here for more info how a cover letter is formatted.
How to Submit to our Sh-Lit Mag
Obviously, you’re here because you want to submit to our amazing lit mag (thank you) so we’re going to give you the epic Echo rundown. So, our website has a submissions tab that brings you to our guidelines. Make sure you read them carefully, because if we see ONE MORE DRAGON FANFICTION, we will find you.
After reading our guidelines and making sure your submission follows the rules, scroll down to the bottom of the page to find our submit button. Once you hit the button, it will take you to Duosuma (our submission manager) which allows you to submit to us in an organized manner. Once more, make sure that your submission follows our guidelines, or we will feed your submissions to our monkeys. Thank you so much for considering our magazine, we can’t wait to see everyone’s anti-dragon propaganda!
So you’ve submitted. You’ve waited. And you’ve finally heard back from our editorial team. And your writing has been rejected. UGH! Not to fear – The Echo has got you covered here! We’ve written a whole article on what a lit-mag rejection means.
DEALING WITH REJECTION
You poured your heart and soul into a piece. You muster up the courage to submit it. You get rejected. We get it! A rejection can be absolutely devastating, especially for new writers. But rejection rarely means that your writing was bad, or that your piece should be given up on. Most rejections are sent simply because the piece doesn’t match the theme and style of the magazine. As collections of literature, literary magazines tend to favor coherent bodies of work that compliment each other.
A rejection can sometimes suggest that you need revisions, but that doesn’t mean your writing isn’t good. Many magazines have acceptance rates lower than 10%, meaning that they have to reject plenty of strong pieces. Getting rejected always sucks, but try and remember to look at your writing from all perspectives in hopes to better understand why.
DON'T YOU DARE SELF-REJECT!
Do not! Under any circumstances! Tell yourself that your piece will be rejected! Or, even worse! NOT SUBMITTING AT ALL!! We will know! Your terrible, negative energy will seep into your submission and we will know!
Do not doubt your writing! if you are even considering submitting it, do it! We want to see your writing, you want to get published, this is a mutually beneficial relationship, don’t stop it pre-maturely!
Following the Laws of Rejectomancy
Rejectomancy is the art of reading, looking, and hypnotizing the lines in a rejection letter. When you’re putting your writing into the world, it’s important to investigate the magazine you could potentially be published in and understand how they take submissions and rejections. Good magazines tend to have lots of rejections, since those magazines only publish the best of the best. Submitting your work to a magazine in a very lenient acceptance policy means your potential submitted work won’t be next to the best of the best.
Our submissions manager of choice, Duotrope, keeps track of rejection and acceptance stats as well as which kind of rejection letters go out- so if you’re a big fan of rejectomancy, try finding magazines that give out a decent amount of personalized rejection letters. More on rejectomancy here.
Revision and Resubmission
Rejection does not mean the death of a piece. You may receive an invitation to revise and resubmit. R&R invitations can be for many different reasons. To change format, add detail, or fix grammar. Look over the feedback you’ve received and try to revise based on the feedback for your piece. An R&R invitation does not solidify an acceptance, but it also isn’t a rejection. It is an opportunity to improve your piece and refine your revision skills. So, take the opportunity to revise it because you never know! They could accept your R&R submission!
Submitting to Other Lit Mags
Perhaps the most productive way to channel your rejection is submitting to another literary magazine. Lucky you – we’ve compiled a whole list of perfect candidates for you!