The Write way to Submit to Lit Mags

On the tough reality of submitting short fiction stories to literary magazines.


I’ve spent practically all day finding literary magazines and submitting my work to them. Would you like to guess how many magazines I applied to? Fifteen? Twenty-five?

Try six.

I’d like to think that I’m not just incredibly incompetent at this task, and the fact that there are now companies which exist to solely do this work for you proves that it is a challenge to more people than just myself. I’ve said it before: submitting your work to literary magazines is hard.

According to this source, there are over 4800 literary magazines today. 4800!!! If you read my previous post on how to Submit to Lit Mags, you’ll know that the proper way to make sure you’ve found the right home for one of your stories is to read at least one or two archived stories from the magazine. That’s 9600 stories to sift through, and at the end of the day, you could go through hundreds and only come up with six places to submit like I did.

But then of course, each mag has their own rules too. Some only accept submissions during specific periods and even if your story is a perfect fit, you may have to wait months before you submit it which, lesbehonest, unless you’re REALLY organized (I most certainly am not), the chances of you remembering which story you wanted to send to that one specific magazine by the time half a year has gone by is slim. Some don’t accept simultaneous submissions either, and if you’ve already submitted story you feel is the right fit to another mag, well, too bad. Some charge reading fees and you may not be willing to dole out the cash no matter how perfect it is for your masterpiece. Writers have bills to pay too! It’s jusy obstacle, after obstacle.

That being said, I don’t write this to discourage you. I’m actually really happy with six, and one of the mags promises to send back my story with suggestions! Bonusssss. Most of the magazines I submitted to are known to reply within a week or a few months (what can I say? I’m impatient) as well which is another perk of doing good research.

I sent out four stories to four separate magazines and the same story to two magazines. The latter is the story which I mentioned in The Write Way to Get Rejected which was ALMOST accepted for publication at CALYX. I was considering posting it on my blog (which as I’ve mentioned, you should never do if you have any hopes of it ever getting published), but thought I would give it one more go before surrendering.

I will keep you all posted on my success or lack there of.

Happy submitting.

2 thoughts on “The Write way to Submit to Lit Mags”

  1. You said you’re not organized, but I would definitely suggest a spreadsheet or at least a list of where you submit, when, and how long their reply timeline is. You could also put those future calendar dates for submission on it. 🙂 Good luck! How exciting to submit. You can’t get published if you don’t send it out, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

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