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How To Find Literary Journals To Publish Your Short Stories, Poems, And Essays

Writer’s Relief is constantly updating our database with information on thousands of literary agents, literary magazines, and editors; so we know how difficult and time-consuming the research can be! We cross-check our information using public sources (websites, market books, guidelines, etc.), AND we keep track of agents’ and editors’ personal preferences based on their handwritten notes to our clients. By signing up for our services, you too can take advantage of our hard work!

But if you’re a do-it-yourself type, here is what you’ll need to know to research the best editors of literary journals. Use our tips to submit your short stories, poems, and essays.

Most writers want to have their work published in a literary journal, sharing in the same magazines that have published such luminaries as Robert Frost, Billy Collins, D. H. Lawrence, Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and others. The difficulty, however, lies in determining which magazines might be the best places to send your work. Your submission strategy will change depending on the genre, style, and subject of your creative writing. Writer’s Relief uses many of the following techniques to successfully find homes for their clients’ work.

Market books are a good place to start if you want to submit short stories, poems, or essays. These are large, soft-covered books which include thousands of listings of publication outlets, including literary journals and magazines. The most popular ones are Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market, Novel & Short Story Writer’s Market, and The International Directory of Little Magazines & Small Presses. These books contain a wealth of information that may be useful to you in your search.

It is important to understand that these market books for writers are to be used as guides, and oftentimes, information is out of date before publication. However, these books contain much concrete information you can use to build a list of your favorite magazines. When researching literary magazines, be sure to verify the address and submission guidelines, including reading dates and length limit for work.

Submit to Review Board

Most literary magazines have websites also, but as with the listings in market books, the information may be out of date. Check to see if the guidelines page contains dated information, and look to see when their most recent issue was available. Many websites will now allow you to submit your writing online.

Another way to research information is to write directly to the magazine and request submission guidelines. This is a necessary step, particularly if there is no website available. Additionally, once you send your work to a journal and the editor responds, it is important to check the information on the response slip. Double-check the address, editors’ names, and other guideline information against the information in your records. This way, you’ll be set for the next round of submissions.

More Tips For Researching Literary Magazines
Subscribe to Submit Write Now! for information about the writing process and links for literary magazines. Visit a full-service bookstore and purchase some literary magazines. Choose a few of your favorites and subscribe to them. Support the literary community. Read and learn what kind of writing is getting published and choose markets that suit your style of writing. Keep good records of your research information and update it as it changes. Organization is the key to this part of the process, and once you have the basics, keep submitting your work. Don’t give up! Remember that persistence is the key to getting published.


Writer QuestionsQUESTION: Have you researched literary journals? What was the experience like for you?


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6 Responses to How To Find Literary Journals To Publish Your Short Stories, Poems, And Essays

  1. Hi Carly, interesting question. You shouldn’t assume that, just because of your age, your writing isn’t up to par with those older than you. There are quite a few variables that come into play, including your style, the journal in question, and the editor’s preferences; all of these can alter how your work is viewed, and whether or not it is accepted.

    That being said, you may want to have a trusted parent/guardian/adult submit on your behalf. Although age rarely defines quality, it does present issues regarding financial and legal matters. If you are under 18, it is best to have someone of legal adulthood submit your work for you, since the extra paperwork may discourage an editor/agent from accepting your work. If/when it is accepted, you may then converse with the editor and let them know under whose name you wish to publish the work.

  2. I’m just a teenager and I don’t expect my writing to stand up to that of an adults. Where would I find a place that would take my writing?

  3. Are you kidding? Researching literary journals is the worst! You should see the spreadsheets I’ve started and given up on…lo and behold, I haven’t sent my work many places. And not to the RIGHT places I’m sure.

  4. Researching lit journals can be tedious but if you want to get published, knowing the markets that you are submitting to can make all the difference! It was only after I really started putting in the work beforehand, that my submissions started to get positive responses. So don’t be afraid to do your homework, writers!

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