Publishing your creative writing is an exciting opportunity to share your work with the world for others to enjoy. If you haven’t sent your work to a journal or magazine for consideration before you may have questions on how the process actually works and how to get started. Here are a few simple steps on how to submit to literary journals and magazines.
Read the Journal
Familiarize yourself with the journal you’re planning to submit to before sending your work. It’s important to read the journal’s content to assure that your work aligns with what the editors may be looking for. Read the current and/or past issue of the publication to get a feel for the journal’s themes.
Review the Submissions Guidelines
The submission guidelines are a note from the editor on how they would like you to send your submission. These guidelines will tell you when the journal accepts submission (some journals accept submissions year-round while others may have limited reading periods), if there’s a submission fee, if work that has already been published is acceptable, and if simultaneous submissions (work that you’ve sent to other journals) are allowed.
Write a Cover Letter
Draft a concise and professional cover letter addressing the editor directly if you know their name. Include the title of your work(s), your contact information, and a brief bio about yourself. Your cover letter can resemble the following example:
Dear [Editor’s Name/ or Editorial Staff]
I have enclosed [“title of your piece(s)”] to be considered for publication in [name of the journal]. Below please find my artist bio. Should you need to contact me in regards to my submission I can be reached via email or phone. Thank you for reading my work. I look forward to your response.
Write Your Artist Bio
Write a brief bio in the second person to include in your submission. Use your artist bio as a space to tell readers more about yourself like your hometown, where you go/went to school or what inspires you to write. You can also share your accomplishments in your artist bio such as past publications and awards.
Choose Your Best Work
Select work that best represents who you are as a writer. These should be pieces you feel most confident in and would consider to be polished final drafts. Try to avoid sending out pieces that are brand new that may need more time to develop. Read the pieces you’d like to submit out loud, this will help you to catch typos, repeated words, and awkward phrasing.
Get a Second Opinion
Have someone you trust, a close friend, mentor, or someone from your core group cohort, review your submission before you hit send. It can be difficult to spot errors in your own work. A fresh set of eyes can help you weed out any mistakes you may have missed to make your work stronger.
It may take some time to receive a response considering the high volume of submissions most journals receive. Expect to wait a few months to a year to get a decision. While you wait to hear back you can submit your work to other journals you’re interested in.
Whether your work is selected or not, be proud that you’ve put yourself out there and tried. Getting published is a game of persistence – keep it up!
Looking for opportunities to publish your work? Check out the Girls Write Now Writing Contests & Publication Opportunities for Youth 2022 page.
For 25 years, Girls Write Now has been breaking down barriers of gender, race, age and poverty to mentor the next generation of writers and leaders who are impacting businesses, shaping culture and creating change. Thank you for joining our movement.