Researching Literary Magazines and Contests

If there’s anything I know about publishing (besides the fact that I haven’t been published yet), it’s about researching for literary magazines and contests.

Originally, I started off trying to get poetry published when I was the wee age of 12(ish). While I had a very slim (like, -01%) chance of getting published in Poetry magazine, it was a great learning experience.

I learned how to research and learned a lot about all the little nit and gritty things about publishing in magazines.

Here of some gleanings of my wisdom. *Sits down with a long pipe and big circles of smoke above my head*


Writer’s Market is your friend. Go to your local library and get (or request) a copy. It’s a big ol’ fat book that comes out yearly with listings of literary agents, publishing houses, small presses, literary magazines of every sort, contests, and conferences.

Tip: When searching through the Writer’s Market, info is kinda slim on a lot of the magazines. If you think it might be possible fit for your work, write it down. After you have a long list of all the possibilities, look them all up online and pare them down.

Poets and Writers is a website that also has a lot of resources, a lot of updated links to contests, and what not.

Aerogramme Writer’s Studio is a blog that features writing news and resources.

Read the freaking guidelines

Reading the guidelines is just as important as everyone says. Sometimes they are hard to find on certain websites (buried at the bottom of the page or somewhere in the about page), but you have to find them. Some important things to pay attention to are:

Simultaneous: Simultaneous submissions mean that you are submitting the same MS to multiple places. If you intend to do that, make sure the guidelines accept them. Some places do and simply asked to be notified if your submission is accepted elsewhere.

Fees: These mostly applies to contests. Do you or do you not want to pay a fee? (Or the more real question: can you?)

Word count (though a few places specify pages, especially with poetry): If your word count is either below or above what the magazine stipulates, yeah um, don’t send it there.

Payment: Some places pay and some do not. Make sure you are OK with whatever and how much.

How to send: Most places are now set up for electronic submissions. (Not like when I first started, and you had to send along the old SASE.) Make sure you are sending to the right place, in the right format, and with the right accompaniments. (Some places ask for short bios and stuff.)

Response time: Check the response time and make note. This way you can track your submissions. If you don’t hear from them within the allotted time, it’s probably a no.


Rejections will probably pile up.

I know this happened I first starting submitting. But it was actually kinda exciting to get a rejection? I mean, obviously I wanted to get an acceptance letter, but even getting a rejection letter meant something.

It mean I did it.

I sent my writing into the world.

Someone read it.

Someone hated it.

Maybe someone kind of liked it.

I was about to go on about, “You just gotta take the first step because that’s all that matters, blah, blah, blah.”

*swallows some mouth wash and gargles* I hate cheap sentiment. *spits it out*

There’s my 2 cents.dots

As a new year of blogging has begun, I wanted your input on what YOU would like to read about this year. More tips? More about my own writing experience? More fun and funny posts? More gifs? Less gifs? (What’s wrong with you?) Any particular topic?

Comment, and let me know!

Header Photo by Plush Design Studio on Unsplash


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