Archives For Publishing

Mistakes Writers Make When Submitting to Literary Magazines
In this guest post Eva Langston from Carve Magazine shares ten of the most common mistakes writers make when submitting their work.

1. Not reading literary magazines

This seems obvious, but if you want to get published in a journal, it’s helpful to read the types of pieces they publish. Most literary magazines suggest you read a few back issues first to get a sense of their aesthetic. In an ideal world, you should do this, but chances are you don’t have time to read multiple back issues of every single journal you’re going to submit to. Instead, make it your goal to simply read more literary magazines than you currently do. Subscribe to a few each year. Get your friends to subscribe to different publications and then trade. And of course, take advantage of free online journals, such as Carve. Read a story whenever you have a spare moment, even if it’s on your phone while waiting in line at the grocery store.

2. Not submitting your best work

Instead of finishing a story and submitting it immediately, let your piece rest for a few months then go back and revise. Workshop it, or let a trusted writer friend read it and give feedback. Print it out and triple-check for grammatical and spelling errors. Read your piece out loud at least once. Only submit when you think the piece is the best it can possibly be.

3. Not following guidelines

Double check all guidelines before submitting to a magazine. Is there a word count requirement? Should your name be removed from the piece? Should your document be in Word, PDF, or rich text format? If it’s an email submission, do they want the document attached, or pasted into the body of the email? Do they accept simultaneous submissions? Don’t risk getting your piece being tossed out because you didn’t follow the rules.

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How a Cover Letter Can Help You Get Published

Canadian literary magazine PRISM international aims to publish the best contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction, translation, drama, and poetry from around the world. While its pages have featured such luminaries as Margaret Atwood, Jorge Luis Borges, Raymond Carver and Seamus Heaney, most of the work it publishes is unsolicited, and many writers whose first publication appeared in PRISM international have gone on to critical acclaim. PRISM’s Prose Editor Christopher Evans explains how your cover letter can play a role in you being published or not.

Writers often ask if a good cover letter can improve a piece’s chances of getting published, and the short answer is: sort of. Of the thousands of submissions PRISM receives in a year, a minuscule percentage – well under one percent – arrive flawlessly executed and ready to be published without any editorial effort on our end. A slightly larger percent of work submitted is very close, and needs only a few small edits to lift it to exceptional. There’s another ten to fifteen percent at the other end of the spectrum that never make it past our first readers – work that doesn’t even come close to our guidelines, is riddled with typos or unintentional tense shifts, or is basically porn. This leaves a substantial volume of submissions in the middle, and this is where a cover letter can help or hinder a piece’s chance of being given a second, third, or fourth read-through.

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No Poem Starts Perfect: A Q&A with Pelorus Press

Pelorus Press is a new literary magazine based in New York City. The magazine asks contributors to submit their work in a unique way. We got in touch with editor Cahaley Markman to find out more.

Why did you want to establish your own literary magazine?

I started this magazine with my friend and co-founding editor Dylan Debelis. We both really love poetry and wanted to play a role in getting more poetry out into the world; however, it was very important to both of us that this magazine bring something different to the table. There are already so many great literary journals out there, I wanted to make sure that if we were going to enter the publication world it would be because we were doing something different than a standard journal. I thought it would be interesting to bring the focus to the writing process.

What makes Pelorus Press unique?

Our focus on the writing process rather than the product sets us apart from most literary magazines. We do this by publishing several drafts of each poem along with the final draft. The reader gets to see where the poem started, and how it grew over time. It’s also really cool because some of the poems we published have hand written revisions and notes. It feels very intimate to read. As if you get a sneak peek into the poet’s thought process.

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Granta is Accepting Unsolicited Submissions

After a six-month hiatus Granta, one of the world’s most prestigious literary magazines, is again accepting unsolicited submissions.

Granta’s history can be traced back to 1889 when a student politics and literature magazine called The Granta was founded at Cambridge University. Since its relaunch 35 years ago, Granta has been a quarterly literary journal, with the aim of publishing the best new writing.

Granta publishes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. There are no strict word limits, though most prose submissions are between 3000 and 6000 words and the editors advise they are unlikely to read more than 10,000 words of any submission.

Alongside the print edition, the online new writing program publishes stories, poems, essays, interviews, animations and more from established Granta alumni as well as new voices.

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What We Look for in Unsolicted Submissions

A guest post by Kim Winternheimer, editor of The Masters Review

The Masters Review is a publication that focuses entirely on new and emerging writers, offering a quality platform for readers, agents, and editors to discover new voices. In addition to our printed anthology, we have submission opportunities year round including a short story award for new writers, workshops, and a fiction contest running throughout September and October. Nearly all the stories we publish are unsolicited, which means most of our work comes from the slush pile. So how do you make your story stand out? Here’s what we look for when reading stories.

1. Clarity 

Especially at the beginning of a piece. Assume any story you submit is being read by editors who are also reading many other stories that week, day, or even hour. A difficult beginning is disastrous because it informs the reader’s opinion on the rest of the story, making her less forgiving of small errors or lulls later. The start of your story should read clearly on the sentence level and avoid too much exposition or throat clearing. Our favorite pieces show intention, finesse, and clarity from the start, and introduce the story in a way that is easy to understand, even if the piece is experimenting with structure or other style.

2. A Good Hook 

The opening line in this year’s anthology is: “Almost everyone agreed that the death of Rodrigo Bradley had been an accident.” This is a great example of a piece that begins in the action of the story. When reading a large number of submissions, it helps to begin with a plot element that immediately draws readers into the world and has them wondering: “What will happen next?”

3. Productive Ambiguity 

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Small and independent magazines are the lifeblood of the literary scene, providing many emerging writers with their first chance to have their work published. Here are five new literary magazines accepting submissions this August.

Two Cities Review

Two Cities Review

Two Cities Review (USA) launched its inaugural issue in (the northern hemisphere’s) Spring 2014. Published quarterly, the editors are looking for “high-quality fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction that bridges the gap between forms, genres, or realities”. They interpret this loosely, but are especially excited by work that crosses form or genre in a new and exciting way. Submissions can be up to 3000 words and simultaneous submissions are accepted.
Read more about Two Cities Review

 

Pear Drop

Pear Drop

Pear Drop: A Journal of Art and Literature (UK and USA) aims to tell stories that document and explore the human condition from all perspectives. It published its first issue in March 2015 and its most recent issue (#3) carried the theme ‘Untitled: A Discussion on Feminism’. Pear Drop  is currently seeking flash fiction submissions of up to 500 words for its next issue with the theme ‘Law Enforcement: The Theatre of Crime & Punishment’. The deadline is 1 September.
Read more about Pear Drop

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The Times Children's Fiction Competition: Entries Close 18 December

The Times / Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition is now open for entries. The winning writer will receive a worldwide publishing contract with Chicken House with a royalty advance of £10,000 (US$15,6000), plus representation from a top children’s literary agent.

The Times / Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition began in 2007 and has launched the careers of a number of new authors. In 2014 the prize was won by Kerr Thomson for his beautiful book The Sound of Whales

To enter this competition you must have written a completed full-length novel suitable for children aged somewhere between 7 and 18 years. By full-length the organisers suggest a minimum of 30,000 words and ask that manuscripts do not exceed 80,000 words in length.

The competition is open to writers around the world, regardless of nationality or residency status. To enter, writers are asked to submit the full manuscript in hard copy, accompanied by:

  • a one page synopsis of the story
  • a chapter-by-chapter plot plan
  • a cover letter including a brief biography and an explanation of why you believe the work would appeal to children.

All entries must be accompanied by a £15 fee. Previously submitted manuscripts can be re-entered and self-published works are also eligible for entry. All longlisted entrants will receive a reader’s report of their work.

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