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11 Questions To Ask Before Submitting Your Writing To Literary Journals | Writer’s Relief

Some writers rush into making submissions to literary journals, which can lead to haphazard research, sloppy manuscript pages—and rejection letters. Other writers drag their feet for years and years (seriously!) before finally working up a strategy to send their work to editors.

How do you know you’re moving at the right pace and are really ready to submit work? Writer’s Relief gives you the scoop!

If you can answer yes to the following questions, you’re ready to submit work to literary journals:

Do I feel good about it? If rereading your text gives you a little zing of excitement and confidence—yay!

Am I sure I feel good about it? Okay, now wait. After that first euphoric high wears off, are you still sure? Have you waited a few days to see if your feelings changed? Have you taken steps to increase your own objectivity as a writer?

Has it been critiqued? Feedback from a sensitive and caring critique partner or writing group can sometimes mean the difference between an acceptance letter and a rejection. Lean on trusted advisors who will push you to your creative limit.

Has it been proofed and formatted? It’s time to dot every “i” and cross every “t.” A second pair of (professional) eyeballs can catch the errors you no longer see. And be sure to format your work to publishing industry standards. (Psst: We can format and proofread your manuscript!)

Do you know the etiquette of literary journal submissions? Making submissions to literary magazines isn’t complicated, but it does take time to learn the right way to make submissions and then to actually make them.

Is your cover letter in tip-top shape? Cover letters are stripped-down models of query letters—but they, too, have their own etiquette. What goes in a cover letter? What doesn’t? Before you submit work, be sure you know.

Submit to Review Board

Have you done your market research? There are MANY literary journals—and more open each day. Do you know how to spot the literary journals that are reputable? Which take simultaneous submissions and which only accept exclusives? And—most importantly—which editors might actually LIKE to read your work?

Are you ready to wait? Making submissions is a numbers game: You have to submit work to many markets. After that, it’s a waiting game. Ready, set, wait! And wait. And wait…

Are you prepared for rejection letters? If you submit work for publication, you WILL get rejection letters. Fortify yourself with our book The Happy Writer.

Do you have an action plan ready so you can take the next step? Making a round of submissions is just the beginning of your publishing odyssey. While you’re waiting, plan your next step with actionable specificity. Will you write something new? Continue with what you’re currently working on? Or rework an older piece. Decide—then, do it!

If You’re Tired Of Going It Alone…

One final question: Will making submissions burn you out so much that your writing is negatively affected? If so, consider reaching out to the team here at Writer’s Relief. We help writers manage the submission process and increase their odds of publication.


Question: How do YOU know when you’re ready to submit for publication?

One Response to 11 Questions To Ask Before Submitting Your Writing To Literary Journals | Writer’s Relief

  1. I’m ready when the manuscript is finished and I have the money to pay for the self-publication in one of the packages offered by the company with which I do business. When I started writing, it was to tell a story if affordable. Took one tax refund to afford it back then, and I got a package where they took care of copyright and Library of Congress ID. Last I checked, the rates have climbed since then on the comparable package.It will take three tax refunds to publish the next book now. Gives me plenty of time to proof read the manuscript plenty of times. That or winning the lottery, which is one thing that might make me call it done and over with writing, depending on how big the prize is. -grin-

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