A guest post by Aaron Gilbreath
In an age of smart phones and cloud storage, few things seem more primitive than a manila folder with a slice of white paper in it, but that’s what I use to keep track of the essays I submit to literary magazines. My system is simple: one folder for each essay I’m submitting, and one sheet of unlined printer paper to write down where and when I sent the piece. Writers with a deeper love of graphs and charts might use an Excel spreadsheet to record this information, but the cave man in me prefers minimalist hard copy.
A guest post by Sadye Teiser, Editorial Director of The Masters Review
When it is done right, a story told in the first-person plural can hold incredible power. In this craft essay, we take a look at successful uses of this point of view and some of its common pitfalls.
“If the first-person plural tries to be too sweeping, if it does not acknowledge its own subtleties, it can miss the mark.”
Here at The Masters Review, we often see trends among submissions. During any given reading period, patterns emerge: sometimes, there are a remarkable number of stories with surreal elements; lately, we’ve been seeing a lot of pieces about drones; for one anthology, we received an uncanny number of stories that involved fish hooks. One of the most interesting trends to identify, however, is the popularity of specific points of view. For a while, we received an enormous amount of stories told in the second person (and we still get a bunch of these). But what we have been noticing a lot of lately (and loving) is fiction told in the first-person plural. Authors are embracing the collective voice—“us” and “we”—to tell tales about group experience.
A guest post by Debra Eckerling
Most writers would agree: it’s a lonely profession. If you’re lucky, you get to spend lots of time behind the computer writing articles, prose, books, screenplays, etc. The drawback: you spend lots of time behind the computer.
It’s essential for writers to connect with others for various reasons.
Building a network gets you:
- Leads for representation, submissions, and assignments. I have been writing for years and have only gotten two gigs from blind queries; the rest have been from referrals.
- An audience, which only continues to increase in importance in this digital and social media age.
- A support system for the ups and downs of the journey.
Therefore, you need to actually make an effort to meet, connect, and develop relationships with other writers.
Dan Burgess, editor-in-chief of literary magazine Firewords, shares an editor’s perspective on the loathed but unavoidable reality of rejection letters.
At a recent book fair, we were talking to several writers about their experiences of submitting to literary journals. It was surprising to hear that they had all given up trying after receiving rejections.
We were aghast and quickly reassured them that they shouldn’t take rejections personally. We know (first hand!) that rejections are hard to take, which is why we try to give personal feedback to every single submission we receive, even though it makes our job infinitely harder (we’ll go into our reasons for giving feedback in a later blog).
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.