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6 Surprising Things That Could Happen If You Submit Work To A Lit Mag

If You Submit

When you submit a poem, story, or personal essay to a literary journal, chances are you’re crossing fingers (and toes) and hoping for an offer of publication. But did you know that getting an acceptance letter is only one of the MANY career-building extras that can happen when you submit to a literary magazine?

Here at Writer’s Relief, we help creative writers regularly get published in literary journals—and as a result, we’ve seen our clients gain a multitude of benefits from making submissions. Here are just a few of the many true stories from our archives about writers who have reaped the surprise benefits of our targeted literary journal submissions:

1. You could be nominated for a big-time award (and win it!). We once accepted a completely unpublished client based on the strength of his short stories. After we targeted his FIRST story to a round of literary journals, he received an acceptance letter in the mail (yay!). As if that wasn’t a reason enough to cheer, this literary journal then proceeded to nominate him for the Best New American Short Stories anthology (yay again!). Will it surprise you to learn that he won a prestigious spot in the final publication? (yay times three!) Our clients are regularly nominated for major awards because of the literary journal submissions they make with us.

2. You could develop a career-building relationship with an editor. One of our clients submitted work to a literary journal editor who offered a letter of acceptance for the piece. Great news! But even better: The editor encouraged the writer to submit the story to a certain writing contest—and amazingly, the story won! (Yes, there was a cash prize involved, not to mention lots of prestige.) If our client hadn’t developed a relationship with the editor, she never would have entered this career-enhancing contest.

3. You could garner interest from a literary agent. Our clients often receive inquiries from literary agents—as opposed to the other way around—because of a piece they had published in a literary journal. You might be surprised how often this happens! Literary agents often check out literary journals to find up-and-coming new writers.

4. You could be made a featured writer. One of our writers made a typical submission to a literary journal of a group of his poems. The journal accepted all of the poems AND asked to dedicate an entire featured section of their publication to him and his work. Amazing!

5. You could be invited to read. Some of our clients have been asked to read their writing to audiences at trendy gatherings sponsored by the literary journals that published their work, or by an organization with which the editor is affiliated. A simple submission to a literary magazine can lead to great exposure and networking opportunities.

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6. You could win a contest you didn’t formally enter. Many literary journals host writing contests; most writers pay to enter them. But some literary journals automatically enter all accepted submissions without requiring a contest fee. Just in the last few months alone we’ve seen two clients win reputable contests that they didn’t pay to enter!

Think You Have To Be “Lucky” For These Things To Happen To You?

Think again—in the world of creative writing, hard work goes a long way. The key to making the most of your opportunities is to knock on as many doors as you can. Some will stay closed—but some will open—and some will surprise you with incredible new opportunities.

Our clients are regularly “lucky” because they are constantly writing and submitting new work to literary journals (we prepare their submissions for them once every two months). Develop a better submission strategy and your life may be filled with lots of happy surprises too! Or contact us for help.

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: What’s your favorite “surprising” story about yourself or another writer?

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