Where Do I Send My Story or Poem?

The other day, Ellie from Crossed Eyes and Dotted Tees asked me how I find magazines/journals where I can submit my writing. On the chance that maybe what I do might help someone else, I thought I’d share my haphazard method for finding good places to submit short stories (both fiction and nonfiction) and poetry.

First, though, Kana says hi.

My list items are effective by themselves, but I also think that there is a synergy that develops from doing them all or a large portion. Kind of a 2 + 2 = 5 result. Some journals show up repeatedly, and I’ve learned more about them in this way. Then a new name springs up, and I check it and wow! a wonderful new mag for writers and readers to discover.

  • Let’s start with social media. I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, my blogs, and a website. For the purposes of finding journals and magazines, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are arguably the most important.
  • On Facebook I joined writers’ groups and engage at least occasionally. I also “like” the pages of journals that are mentioned. When Facebook gives me suggestions to like journal pages, I either “like” and check out later or check out before I decide to “like.”
  • On Twitter, I follow lots and lots of literary magazines and journals, as well as writers. The more you follow, the more suggestions for journals you discover and, hence, the more you follow.
  • On Instagram, I follow “suggestions” for journals to follow.
  • I’ve taken writing workshops in the past where I met writers. I stay in touch with many of them.
  • When I find journals and have a chance to read and check them out, I keep track of them. I used to bookmark them on my computer. But the other day I deleted most of them because this method had become unwieldy. I also found that I have reached the point where I didn’t need it as much any longer.

What else do I do?

  • Search Twitter and Facebook for submission calls. Sometimes that search can produce a request for submissions from a journal you have never heard of before. Or maybe a themed issue that fits well with something you are working on.
  • Use the Poets & Writers literary magazine list as a guide.
  • Check out Clifford Garstang’s Pushcart ratings lists. They are invaluable for seeing which journals have published Pushcart-selected pieces (doesn’t predict the future, but looks at the past). Here is the 2020 list for Fiction. You can look around for nonfiction and poetry once you’re on the site.
  • Search for submissions through my Duotrope membership.
  • Read Allison Joseph’s site. She used to run CWROPPS, a valuable Yahoo group. When they shut the groups down, she started posting on her blog: Creative Writers Opps.
  • Read Trish Hopkinson‘s site for poets only.
  • Read collections of stories or poems. Then I check out the acknowledgements and see where the writing was first published. That gives me a solid list of journals.
  • Every time I encounter a journal new to me that looks promising, I read at least a good portion of an issue. Try it. See the bios of the writers published in that issue? They often give names of other magazines that have published their writing. Go check those out!

You can see that this process is extensive and symbiotic, but not exhaustive. I certainly don’t do this all perfectly. But I’ve done it for a long time, and I don’t stop going through the process: the literary journal world is ever-changing. It’s important to keep up. Many journals have closed up shop in the last year or two, but many more are publishing their first or second issue.

If you have other ideas for finding places to which you can submit your work, please share!

This cactus flower was a little slower to bloom than the others. It’s nice to have one open now while it’s so stinken hot.


Filed under #AmWriting, #writerlife, #writerslife, Literary Journals, Publishing, Submissions, Writing, Writing Talk, Writing Tips and Habits

54 responses to “Where Do I Send My Story or Poem?

  1. Thanks for all that good info, Luanne.

  2. Think of how much more difficult it was before the internet!

    • I remember those days! I had to first use this big tome in the library that listed the journals. Once I bought it. They published a new one every year, so buying it once was a lesson not to do so again because who could do that every year. And then the whole process of sending out by mail and enclosing an SASE (stamped self-addressed envelope) for pages you didn’t want back because they were shopworn. Awful.

  3. Good advice. I think I’ve learned by trial and error to do most of what you’ve suggested, except I’m not very organized about it. 🤣

  4. susanne Fletcher

    Helpful suggestions, Luanne, though I note with dismay the dependence on FB and Twitter where I refuse to go. My Instagram is in peril, too, as I gag at the feed every day. Oh well. I subscribe to a variety of lists that are helpful, like Authors Publish where they steadfastly only send pubs that don’t charge a reading/rejection fee. I have other cranky thoughts that maybe I’ll save for a post if the mood swings in that direction. Keep up the good work and stay safe.
    Signed, your friendly (sometimes) neighbourhood curmudgeon.
    PS. 4th time trying to enter this comment.

    • Dear Neighbourhood Curmudgeon,
      I never promised this post would be helpful to everyone, only that maybe some people might find it helpful. It’s my method, but doesn’t have to be your method. You might want to use the old-fashioned method (that I wrote to Jill above about) hahaha. I am not as ticked off about a $3 reading fee. I’ll tell you why. In the old days, I had to buy two stamps, two envelopes, paper for the cover letter and the pages of my submission. I had to type it all up. That meant that I was constantly typing halfway through, screwing up, and then starting over on new paper. Sometimes I screwed up the envelope addressing. Sometimes the ones that were addressed to me :(. All that costs money. In today’s US$? About $3.Now about social media. I agree: ICK. But to really keep up with things the way I want to I feel compelled to do so. Plus now my daughter has all these cool engagement photos and I want to share those on social media because I am a bragging mom. I really appreciate your diligence at writing this post. Four times just sucks, and I feel honored that you kept trying. Sending hugs and safety vibes to you across the border. xo

  5. Hi, Kana. Thank you for sharing your methods, Luanne.

  6. Thanks so very much for your suggestions, Luanne. I have seen the results of your efforts so I will give a testimony about your methods. I will give your ideas a whirl for some poems I’m working on now.

    • Fingers crossed for you! Yes, I admit this year has been a productive one for publications. Nice that there is something good about this stupid 2020.

  7. Wow, thanks for all this info, Luanne, AND for sharing my website URL! 😀 BTW I have had things published in the past, in the slow snail-mail manner you talk about, in your comment above.

    Here’s a little thing I had in an online mag a couple of years ago. I just need a kick in the pants to submit more… https://formercactus.wordpress.com/read-issue-four/stung-ellie-presner/

  8. Thanks for all of these good ideas. I am going to save this post!

  9. This list is so helpful, Luanne! Thank you for posting it. (FYI: I got such a lovely note from Jim and Lauri, something I did not expect at all. What lovely people they must be. Still hoping/praying for complete recovery).

    • Oh, that was great that they sent you a thank you, Carla. There hasn’t been a lot of change for Matt. A little improvement in one thing, and he’s out of a full coma now, but he’s back on dialysis so it doesn’t look like his kidneys are working. Ugh. Please, yes, keep praying!

      • So sad for them all. We have been praying for him and will continue. At least there has been some improvement! That’s encouraging. Hope you guys are well. We are staying home, only going out when it’s necessary. No visits with people. Too dangerous!

  10. I’ve also had good luck getting leads from Submishmash.

  11. As always, lots of good info, Luanne! I have a question and it’s kind of personal, so please feel free to disregard:) Do you submit to journals that don’t pay? Or is that a factor at all? I know there are a lot of reasons to submit and publish besides monetary compensation, but I’m wondering how much (if it all) compensation plays in your decision.

  12. Thanks a bunch, Luanne! I’ve used Duotrope and Submittable as well. I also remember the days of snail mail and postage and going through journals at the bookstore or the library. Ugh.

    • Yeah, it was pretty awful. I started using postcards instead of SASE near the end thereby proclaiming I didn’t want the durn thing back.

  13. Oh, and Hi, Kana! What a pretty tongue you have 🙂❤️

  14. That’s so generous of you to share your tips. Love the “Cat Person” photo!

  15. These are great ideas! I’m slapping my hand on my forehead. I’m on FB and Twitter and Instagram also, but I’ve never thought about following journals and literary magazines. ;-0 THANKS.

  16. I have just figured out why it takes me so long to read all the blogs I follow! I have to read all the comments too! You have so much good information here and everyone else piping in helps entertain and educate as well. I’ve never submitted anything anywhere and probably never will. But the thought that I could find the information if I decided to do that is very reassuring. I have 2 FB pages. One for my crazy family, one for my intelligent blogging friends. Never the shall they meet. I tried Instagram but have still not found it useful. I don’t tweet. Blogging already takes every extra minute I have since you are all such a wealth of information. I can’t quit that either. I need 8 or 9 days a week to keep up here.
    As for hot, I don’t know how you do it there. I have family in AZ and a good friend in Scottsdale that are melting, I will be doing that shortly but we are so lucky to have a late starting summer. 😉 Hang in there. I love your sweet cat in the box. 😉

    • Good grief, did I really not respond to you? What a stupid summer. Twice now I’ve left Perry in his playpen accidentally. I’ve been putting him in there for meals because he has a hard time focusing and it means he and the others don’t eat well. But I can’t do it any more because I forget and he’s really quiet when he’s locked up. Haha, I need 8 or 9 day weeks, too! Where can we get those?!
      You take care of yourself! XOXO

  17. I admire your sense of organization and patience, Luanne. These are great suggestions! 🙂