With that in mind, your list or plan is what piece you want to submit. When you head into an online or printed directory of lit mags, you’ll have a direction and you can scan the markets to find one that sounds appropriate. Bookmark publications that look interesting but aren’t right for the current story. That way, you can stay on track and use what time you have to find markets for the piece in question.
Once you have a mission, it’s a lot easier to filter out what you don’t need. For instance, start by searching for markets that publish the genre or theme of your piece. My short story is straight-up literary so I can skip over sci-fi magazines or publications that want experimental or edgy literature. Duotrope’s Digest, a database of literary magazines, includes a search function with specific categories to hasten the process.
Check that the magazines you’ve come across are active and accepting submissions. Some close to submissions when they’re overloaded. The final elimination round is to read the magazines before you submit. It sounds obvious, but with every editor begging people to do so, I figure many must overlook this step. I know I used to. But it’s the only way to know if the magazine is right for your story.
Once you’ve done that, it’s time to submit! Remember to follow submission guidelines for each publication to the letter. Every magazine is different, which is a pain, but it’s necessary so they will actually read your work. A little forethought and prep work can go a long way to finding a publication that loves your piece.
How do you deal with the submission process in general? Do you have a system for getting everything ready to go?
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