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If you want to get a book deal with a traditional publishing company, consider this: Publishing SHORT fiction or nonfiction in literary magazines might be your ticket to full-length book publishing paradise!
Writer’s Relief Reveals A Few Of The Ways Literary Magazine Publications Can Contribute To Getting A Book Deal
Listing literary magazine publishing credits in your author bio goes a long way toward proving you’re a skilled writer. Literary journals—especially reputable literary journals that are affiliated with CLMP or that routinely nominate for major literary awards—are selective about the submissions that they accept for publication. By listing your publishing credits in your author bio, you indicate that your writing makes the cut. Literary agents and book editors tend to pay special attention to authors who have meaningful literary journal publishing credits.
You might be spotted by a literary agent. Since Writer’s Relief first started helping writers get published back in 1994, we’ve seen countless literary agents personally reach out to our clients after reading a piece in a literary journal. Literary agents turn to literary magazines to find undiscovered talent—similar to how college sports recruiters look for tomorrow’s star athletes at high school football games. Agents acquire clients via literary magazine publications more often than you might expect!
Having literary journal credits shows there is an existing audience for your work. When an editor of a literary magazine decides to publish your work, literary agents take note. An acceptance by an editor means he or she believes the journal’s readers will enjoy your writing and—depending on the journal—might even pay to read it. So literary magazine publications can help convince an agent that you’ll be popular as a writer—and point to future sales.
You might make connections that lead to a publishing deal from an independent publisher. Editors who curate literary journals are often associated with small presses—many of which publish full-length books. Submitting for publication in literary magazines is a great way to get your foot in the door at an indie publishing house.
Book excerpts can be especially powerful when published in literary magazines. While publishing ANY of your writing in literary journals can work in your favor when you’re seeking a book publisher, it can be extra helpful to submit book excerpts for publication. Published book excerpts are especially exciting to literary agents and editors at book publishing houses—for many of the reasons we’ve already listed above.
Surprising things can happen to you when you publish in a literary magazine. Because they were published in literary magazines, we’ve seen clients win contests they didn’t even know they were automatically entered into! We’ve also had clients who were offered coveted spots to give readings at well-known literary salons (where key industry players hang out). And we’ve seen clients who were rejected time and time again suddenly be offered a spot as a featured writer in a reputable literary journal. In addition, we’ve had clients WIN major literary awards because they were published in literary magazines. You just don’t know what might happen when you submit and start building publication credits in literary journals!
The Moral Of The Story: Publishing In Literary Journals Means Making Your Own Luck
To be in the right place at the right time, you’ve got to try to be in the right place at the right time. And that means developing an effective, habitual submission system—as opposed to submitting once in a blue moon.
But developing a strong submission strategy can eat up a lot of a writer’s time. If you’d rather be writing than submitting your writing to literary journals or literary agents, learn more about the submission assistance program at Writer’s Relief.
QUESTION: Have you ever been published in a literary magazine? Leave the name of your piece in our comments section!