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Category Archives: Poems

How To Submit Short Stories And Poems To Literary Journals | Writer’s Relief

You’ve written, rewritten, proofed, and polished your short story or poetry. Now comes the part that leaves many writers quaking in their boots—getting your work published. It’s time to submit your writing to literary journals!

Initially, literary magazines favored the print format; so did writers. But these days, Writer’s Relief knows that savvy writers appreciate the advantages of publication in online literary journals. And since the Internet has made it possible to produce great periodicals without enormous financial outlays, many respected literary journals—from magazines created by individual editors to big, well-known publications staffed by important contemporary writers at large universities—are choosing to publish online. Here’s what you need to know about submitting your work to these literary journals.

Where To Find The Right Literary Journals For Your Writing

There are more literary magazines online and in print than there have ever been before. Here’s the good news: Because there are so many great publications now, you may be more likely to find a home for your creative writing. But there’s a little bit of bad news too: Identifying the right literary magazine for your submission can be extremely time-consuming. Finding the one editor who is going to love your short story or poem means weeding through the thousands who won’t.

If you are taking a DIY method, consider subscribing to a reputable database of literary markets and publishing opportunities. If you’re looking for the fastest way to find market listings for literary journals, check out our Writers Classifieds. Our listings have been designed especially for creative writers, with easy-to-skim and easy-to-sort info that does not require lengthy page loads. You can also find a list of literary journals right here.

But if you’d rather spend your time writing instead of researching literary markets, a partnership with Writer’s Relief may work for you. Writer’s Relief has been helping creative writers get published since 1994. We help book authors connect with literary agents through strong query letters and proposals. And we help poets, short story writers, and essayists find the best literary journals and magazines. You do the writing; we do the  hours of research. Learn more.

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The Top Ten Essentials For Getting Published In A Literary Magazine:

  1. Do not share or publish your writing anywhere on the Internet prior to seeking publication with a literary journal. Most editors will not consider previously published writing (in any form).
  2. Follow submission guidelines.
  3. Don’t explain your story or poem in your cover letter.
  4. Know your market by reading samples, checking out masthead and bylines, and more.
  5. Don’t include the copyright symbol (it’s not good etiquette in the publishing industry).
  6. Trust your instincts. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  7. Embrace rejection. It happens to every writer and is part of the submission process.
  8. Find a great proofreader.
  9. Research, research, research (in part to be sure your target market is trustworthy).
  10. Format your submission to industry standards: no fancy fonts, spacing, or colors.

Can You Make Money Submitting Short Stories And Poems For Publication In Literary Journals?

Unfortunately, there is not much money to be made from publishing short stories and poems in literary magazines. Many journals operate on a tight budget — if there’s any real budget at all. Very few actually turn a profit.

The Rights Literary Magazines Will Acquire

When a literary magazine publishes your short story or poem, it usually acquires first North American serial rights. Essentially, this means the publication will be the first to publish the work in North America, and after that, all rights revert to the writer. Learn more about literary magazine contracts.

Can New Writers Really Get Published In Literary Journals?

There is a myth in the publishing industry that “you have to be published to get published.” But that’s not true! Literary journal editors love discovering new writers. And getting published in the literary magazine market is one of the best ways to establish a toehold in the larger publishing industry. Many new writers make a name for themselves through literary magazine publications.


Question: What is your best tip for submitting your writing to literary magazines? Please share with our readers in the comments section.

How To Come Up With The Right Title For Your Poem (With Examples) | Writer’s Relief

Sometimes, coming up with the title for your poem can be harder than writing the actual poem! Your poem’s title should catch your reader’s interest and entice them to read on, so it’s important to make a great first impression. For inspiration, Writer’s Relief presents a list of  examples from the best literary poems of… Continue Reading

7 Contemporary Poets You Should Be Reading | Writer’s Relief

How are you celebrating National Poetry Month? At Writer’s Relief, we recommend immersing yourself in contemporary poetry—inspirational and innovative poetry that has been written in the last hundred years or so. Here are some of our favorite contemporary poets! Brenda Shaughnessy Brenda Shaughnessy currently teaches at Rutgers University Newark and has won several American poetry… Continue Reading

Poems For World AIDS Day

Writing poetry can be a life-enhancing process—mentally, physically, and spiritually. Reading poetry can open our minds and help us understand new perspectives or better understand our own situations. That’s why the people behind poets.org remember World AIDS Day with links to these timely poems: Poems for World AIDS Day “Hospital Writing Workshop” by Rafael Campo “R.I.P.,… Continue Reading

Go Long! 9 Tips For Publishing A Long Story, Poem, Or Essay In A Literary Magazine

In the last twenty years or so, we’ve noticed a trend: literary journal editors are leaning toward shorter submissions of poems, stories, and essays. And we would know—at Writer’s Relief, we’ve been closely monitoring the lit mag market since 1994 to ensure that our clients have the best opportunities for getting published. But just because lit mag trends… Continue Reading

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