Wednesday Writer Wisdom/ Learn Grow Submit

In today’s post I’m going to talk about submitting your work.  I’ve talked about this before in lesser degree, but today I plan to go into a bit more detail. Authors, who submit their work to literary journals, reviews, magazines, and websites, find that it’s a cool way to get their books noticed. People love to read examples of an author’s work and authors get free publicity for their books when they submit work. It’s a tried and true methodology to reach readers you might not get a chance to reach through social media networks.
Until recently I had no idea there are informal rules when it comes to submitting a piece of work and I learned this the hard way. I kept sending poems, flash fiction and short stories to online and traditional magazines, literary journals as well as websites and kept receiving rejection notices. I found myself sending those letters to the recycling bin or throwing them in the trash after reading only the first few lines. Then I would get depressed and upset and eventually stop writing. Yeah, I was being childish.
But then I came across this site called The Review Review.  In their post: What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines,  the author  Lynne Barrett talked about  facts that anyone submitting to a magazine should understand. I read her post and it was like a light bulb had come on. I was going about things all wrong because I didn’t understand the etiquette of submitting.
After reading her post over a few times, I submitted a poem to an art and literature magazine and within weeks I received my first acceptance letter. I was excited to say the least. My piece “Butterfly’ was accepted to a real magazine and the publication will be out this fall. How cool is that?
 Now you are probably asking yourself, what was in that article that changed things around for me and can it work for you. Well you can always go and read Lynne Barrett post for yourself. I suggest you do she has a lot to say that I haven’t added in this post. I have put together what I gather from her article here.
I have come up with 6 points to submitting that I think will help you receive my results.

1)      Read, Taste, Needs
  This is basic but so important.    How can you know what to submit if you have never read any of their issues or posts?  Editors hate it when someone submits a piece of work that has nothing to do with their readership. “Help the editor by sending work that is developed, complete, thoroughly revised, and—of great importance—appropriate for the magazine.”  Know their taste, are they basically a magazine for readers or both writers and readers etc.… Do your research. This will also help to feed the editor’s need for suitable content. 

2)      Read the directions!
How can you know what to write if you don’t follow the direction? Read and follow the submission guidelines outlined by the site. Submit only work in exactly the style, file-format, and manner they request. This is elementary.  Don’t give the editor a reason to throw your hard work out before he reads it.  Also keep records, where, when, and who or if you submitted simultaneous submissions from an editor.  They help keep track of your work.  

3)      Cover Letter
 Yeah, you’ll need one. Look online for sites on how one should look, but don’t get overly worked up over it. Let your work do the talking for you. It’s not a bad idea to let the editor know that this isn’t your first rodeo. It’s fine and acceptable to mention other places your work has appeared, and any awards. Go ahead and brag a little, its expected.

4)      Learn from Rejection
Read the whole rejection letters even if it’s harsh. If they critique your work you can learn from them.  You might be tempted to but don’t respond.  Editors do not want to hear back from you.  

What you can do is celebrate somewhat encouraging rejection letters. “It could mean the magazine wants to see more of your work in the future.” That’s good news. But wait; don’t send them a thank you email. Barrett says wait until “you submit something else to them. Then let them know how much their letter of encouragement meant, then spring your latest on them,” thus pushing your work to the front of the line.
I recently got a personal note from an editor along with my rejection letter. That was a big deal let me tell you, it meant they looked deeper at my work. “But keep in mind that this critique is, in a way, a compliment….” Barrett points out in her article. “Be sure to mention your appreciation of the editor’s comments when you submit NEW work in the future.”

5)      Acceptance
Always respond to acceptance letter. Tell them how very excited you are and how thrilling it would be to see your work in their magazine. Get them any bio info, address info and whatever else they requested ASAP. Don’t send them a revised version unless they asked for one.

6)      Simultaneous Submission
If you submitted the same piece to another same tier magazines let the other one know, that is just common courtesy. Good manners show.

Today I got another rejection notice, thus this post, but it hasn’t stopped me from submitting as much as I can. I won’t go into a temper tantrum, or cry myself to sleep this time. What I will do is learn, grow and submit some more.

Check out the original article at The Review Review

Copyright © 2013 Glynis Rankin

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