Need help submitting your writing to literary journals or book publishers/literary agents? Click here! →

Category Archives: Short Stories

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.

Submit to Review Board

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.

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

5 Elements That Will Muck Up The Chances Of Publishing Your Short Story

Editors at literary journals spend countless (and often thankless!) hours reading through hundreds of short story submissions from writers who hope to get published. Many of the stories are tossed into the “thanks, but no thanks” pile relatively quickly. Why? Certain short story deal-breakers pop up again and again in submissions—here are a few to… Continue Reading

Lit Mag Spotlight: Beloit Fiction Journal

Here’s a holiday treat for you! December’s Lit Mag spotlight is shining on Beloit Fiction Journal. Affiliated with Beloit College, the journal publishes the best in contemporary short fiction. Find out what makes Beloit Fiction Journal special and what YOU can do to be published in this magazine. Give us the lowdown on your journal’s… Continue Reading

Featured Client: Saramanda Swigart

Our featured client, Saramanda Swigart, is thrilled to be writing fiction almost full time after years of writing ad copy and corporate literature. Her work has appeared in Superstition Review, Caveat Lector, and other journals. Saramanda’s been featured in Superstition Review’s  Authors Talk podcast series and also received an honorable mention in Glimmer Train! Watch… Continue Reading

Sign me up for
FREE Publishing Leads & Tips
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

WHY? Because our insider
know-how has helped
writers get over 18,000+ acceptances.

FREE Publishing Leads and Tips! Our e-publication, Submit Write Now!, delivered weekly to your inbox.
  • BEST (and proven) submission tips
  • Hot publishing leads
  • Calls to submit
  • Contest alerts
  • Notification of industry changes
  • And much more!
Live Chat Software