1. Astralwolf37
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    Astralwolf37 New Member

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    Does anyone know how hard it is to get published in a literary magazine?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by Astralwolf37, Jan 13, 2011.

    I've written the stories, done the countless revisions, bought the large envelopes and researched the publications. However, looking at these listings in the Writer's Market, these small university presses boast getting 500 submissions a month and accepting 5 new writers a year, in bold like it's a number worth having a positive jubilee over. :eek:

    Do these people exaggerate? Is it that hard to get into a small literary magazine? I have very limited cash right now, so spending money on high postage rates to be told I suck (if I even hear back) is a bit of a concern.
     
  2. FrankABlissett
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    FrankABlissett Active Member

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    Depends on the magazine.

    Lit mags for small, non-arts colleges may often accept accept submissions from locals.

    Well respected lit-mags from liberal-arts colleges would be much harder to get published in without having a good writer's resume.

    It's like asking "how easy is it to get a job writing a column for a newspaper" - depends on whether you are talking about the Anytown University Weekly, or the New York Times.

    -Frank
     
  3. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    It depends on how strong your story is. That's the deciding factor.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You'd be surprised how many submissions these small college magazines get. After all, some of these journals are quite famous. You can maximize your chances of getting published by seeing the kinds of stories they publish and by having previous publication credits in other good magazines. Most likely you'll have to start small and work your way up.
     
  5. The Degenerate
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    The Degenerate Active Member

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    This is actually something to think about. You'll increase your chances dramatically if you read the submission guidelines. Many of them will state whether or not they prefer the work of more established writers, or if they prefer to take on new writers. You'll also want to check if some of the college mags only publish their own undergrads or graduates. Most are open submissions though. Some markets, like Electric Literature, publish the work of new writers alongside accomplished writers. Two things will greatly increase your chances:

    1. Read the submission guidelines
    2. Write a strong, polished story.

    Everything else will take care of itself. Good luck.
     
  6. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    Um, it sounds like you've gotten a little confused here.

    A literary magazine is very distinct from a university press. Literary magazines often print poetry, short stories, essays, and short nonfiction articles; university presses are book publishers, generally have small print runs and little publicity outside their immediate area, and are more interested in nonfiction or fiction by scientists / academics.

    It is not unusual for a very small book publisher to get tons of manuscript submissions and only accept a few new writers a year. That sounds like what you discovered.

    It is different from a literary magazine, where they are interested in cultivating the arts rather than getting a writer "on board."

    Anything "accepting X new writers" in a year is a book publisher, as a rule of thumb. Anything "publishing X new and emerging authors" is more likely to be a magazine boasting that it takes submissions from authors it hasn't printed before. The difference is subtle but powerful.

    Don't worry about getting your stories published. (By which I mean, "Don't freak out! You'll be okay.") Just take a deep breath, make doubly certain you're in the "magazines" section instead of the "university press" section (guessing here: I've never actually read the Writer's Market), and look for magazines that need mainstream fiction.

    If you're not sure how to tell the different sections apart, try Duotrope.com first. That way you can enter the genre (General, Fantasy, Mystery, etc.) as well as the story's length and the payscale you're interested in, and the site will provide a list. Then you can double-check those against the relevant entries in the Writer's Digest with the certain knowledge that the markets are interested in the kind of stories you have to offer.
     
  7. Astralwolf37
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    Astralwolf37 New Member

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    HeinleinFan, I'm definitely in the magazine section. The postings even say "magazine" for the places I want to submit to. But thanks for the other advise, and I'll take a look at that website you recommended.

    Also, thanks to everyone else. You've been a great help!
     

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