How To Submit Poems To Literary Journals And Magazines

Writer’s Relief has helped hundreds of writers submit their poetry to literary journals and magazines, and as those of you who regularly read our Newsflash for Writers know, we’re pleased to share our techniques with you. If you’ve been hoping to publish your poems by submitting poetry to literary magazines, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get your poems to editors to increase your chances of getting an acceptance letter.

Write awesome poems. One would think this goes without saying. However, if you’re not reading the poetry that is being published in literary journals and magazines, then you won’t know how your poetry stacks up. Read to improve your technique, to support the underfunded literary journals that publish poetry like yours, and to engage with modern aesthetics. In other words, don’t just think your poems are awesome: know that they’re awesome. Then you’ll be ready to successfully submit.

Research markets. We’ve written quite a bit on our blog about how to find the best markets for your poetry. You can research journals online, or you can buy a market guide. Be prepared for researching to take a lot of time (generally, Writer’s Relief has found that you’ll need to send any given poem to 100 markets before you throw in the towel). You’ll have to reevaluate:

Reading dates

Calls for submission (theme, topics, etc.)

Editorial preferences

If you’re not up to the task of doing the research, you can use our A La Carte Service (we will target 25+ markets that will be a nice fit for your particular type of poetry). Or you can read more about how to research markets on your own.

Choose 3 to 5 of your best poems for submission. Most literary magazines will not read more than five poems per submission. The poems may or may not be thematically related. Here is an article about why length matters for poetry, and how to write poems of the best length.

Format and proofread your poems. Skip the big, unique fonts—stick with something simple and traditional. Put your name and contact info on every poem. Also, note page numbers on poems that are longer than one page.

Write your cover letter. Keep it simple. Include the titles of your poems, a brief professional bio, and a courteous closure. If you want to be clever, do so at your own risk. Click for an article with more information on how to write a cover letter.

Put your submission together. Paper clip or staple? SASE or e-mail address? Here’s an article with information on how to physically mail your work.

Keep track of where you send your poems. Be prepared to send out many, many submissions and receive many, many rejections. Embrace the large numbers of submissions and the equally large numbers of rejections as part of the process. You’ll need to find a way to keep track of who is reading what, who has rejected what, and who made a nice comment and/or asked to see more work from you in the future so that you can send work to them again.

Get ready to do it all again. Making submissions habitually and regularly is what gets acceptances. So suck it up and get those poems out there, soldier!

At Writer’s Relief we manage all of the above processes for our clients (with the exception of writing your awesome poems!) For an overview of our services, visit www.WritersRelief.com.

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: Have you ever had a poem published in a literary journal? Leave the details as a comment!

23 Responses to How To Submit Poems To Literary Journals And Magazines

  1. I wonder how to publish my research in modernism .Could you please give me a website to publish it .

  2. I too have had my work published in a variety of venues, mostly due to my connection with Writers Relief. They have made it possible for me to have time to write instead of constantly searching for places to submit. Thanks to all of you there!

  3. Carol, thank you for your kind words! Of course, your gorgeous writing should be widely published, and it is our pleasure to target markets for you!

  4. I have my work ready for publishing what must I do to get my poetry published every where in there world, publishers should stop charging too high publishing fee to young and up coming Authors who are battling to get their work published.

    I have my scrip ready to get it published where can I submit it.

  5. I write short inspirational stories,and poems.I hope to be able to market them in some form. My goal is to reach young people with guidelines they can live by. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  6. I really wanna find out where to bein with someone reviewing my poetry, without someone stealing my work

  7. I am trying to figure out where to reach my audience, I understand that socializing consist of using the internet and well i can not figure out where to show my work. How can i publicize my Work?

  8. John,

    We have many articles on our site about how to promote your creative writing online. Be sure you’re subscribing to Submit Write Now! so you can continue to get our new ones that are in the works.

    http://www.writersrelief.com/free-newsletter-for-writers

    In the meantime, here are a few articles:

    http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2011/09/online-promotion-writers-tips/

    http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2011/09/writer-facebook-page-get-fans/

    http://www.writersrelief.com/blog/2009/08/seven-ways-to-build-your-reputation-as-a-creative-writer/

  9. hello,
    I am a young poet from India and I assure my poems are worth reading and that they exhibit teenage dreams and passions, I am looking for some authentic publishers who could piblish my work and provide a range of greater audience.

    thanking you.

  10. hi….I have written a poem this Valentine’s day (14Feb2013) titled “My Dreamgirl”..
    I uploaded it on a blog…and it was very well received on internet….now i intend to formally get it published in a magazine.
    I have read that writersrelief has helped people in this regard.
    Your guidance to me will be highly appreciated

  11. Hi Sameer, unfortunately, since your work was published online and has been publically viewable, it is no longer eligible for publication. You never want to put short prose or poems up on the internet if they are unpublished, as editors will rarely take them. They need to know that the work they are taking is fresh, original, and, most importantly, from you, which becomes compromised once you put it on a public venue such as the Internet.

  12. i have quotes and poems i have written. im trying to put my work out there and get publicized.

  13. I wonder if there is some sort of geographical restriction as I presently live in Nigeria. Please, I’d like to know.

  14. Hi..I’m a Nigerian and I have a poem titled ‘The People of the Fallen City’. I’d like to get it published but I don’t know how. I wonder if you could be of help. Thanks.

  15. I’ve had many poems published. I’ve had many published for charity. I’ve been writing since I was a teenager.
    To write, think of pasttimes/news events & build your poem round them.

  16. Frederick,

    Most literary journals accept submissions from all over the world. Just make sure to read through the submission guidelines thoroughly and submit online when possible!

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