I’ve been submitting poetry to journals for over 10 years, and often hear people ask how to find places for their work—that is, other than the few very well known venues which are nearly impossible to crack, such as Poetry, The New Yorker, Threepenny Review, etc. I once heard a well-respected poet (who went on to win a MacArthur ‘genius’ award) say that it took her almost 30 years to get a poem into the New Yorker. And I read online about someone who had a poem published in Poetry, but it then took 10 years and over two dozen submissions before she had another poem accepted there (even though in the meantime, her work appeared in other excellent journals, and was even selected for Best American Poetry).
Partly, this is a numbers game. Rattle, for instance, provides submissions statistics on their website—they receive 120,000 poems per year, of which they only publish 250. That’s 0.2%, or 1 out of 500 poems. If those are the stats for Rattle, I dread to think about the odds at Poetry or Threepenny Review, let alone The New Yorker.
So with the unreachables out of the way, where can poets and writers find venues for their work? Here are 10 (free) ways to find journals where you can submit your stuff.
1. Poets & Writers has a section of classified listings which they update every couple of months. It includes calls for submissions from journals, anthologies, contests, conferences, residencies, and more.
2. NewPages is an excellent resource for magazine reviews (among other things), and also has a classified section where they post calls for submissions.
3. The Review Review is similar to NewPages in concept—they review literary magazines and also have classified listings. Their blog includes interviews with writers and editors, and articles about publishing and the writing life.
4. Entropy is a spiffy online magazine with a quarterly ‘where to submit’ section that lists presses, journals, anthologies, contests, residencies, and conferences that are currently open to submissions, or have deadlines coming up soon. They also indicate what genres are accepted at each place, and any themes or special issues, if applicable. For contests, they include the entry fee, the award, and the judge. Similarly, for residencies or conferences, they include the dates, deadlines, fees, and other relevant details.
5. Submishmash Weekly is a weekly email listing of submission opportunities and links to literary news and trivia around the web. In addition, once you log into Submittable, the ‘Discover’ tab at the top shows you a list of places that are open for submissions (through Submittable), sorted by closing date. Their listings include not just opportunities for writers, but also for art, film, and other areas, but you can use the genre tags to find what’s relevant for you. And although it only includes places that take submissions through Submittable, the platform is popular enough that it casts a pretty wide net.
6. CRWROPPS, the Creative Writers’ Opportunities List, is a listserv run by poet Allison Joseph through Yahoo Groups. I highly recommend subscribing to it as a daily digest, so you get just one daily email with around 5-10 items—submission calls & contests, as well as teaching gigs and residencies.
7. On Facebook, there’s a group called Calls for Submissions (Poetry, Fiction, Art) that you can join. It’s very useful, but can also be a bit overwhelming since there’s so many posts each day. On the other hand, I come across stuff here that I often don’t elsewhere, so it’s worth the effort!
8. Winning Writers has a monthly email newsletter you can sign up for, as well as an archive of their past newsletters. The newsletter is edited by Jendi Reiter, and includes a shout-out to subscribers with new publication credits, and even a literary-themed comic at the end.
9. Poet Trish Hopkinson posts submission calls regularly on her blog, focusing specifically on markets that don’t require a submission fee and/or pay writers for their work. The blog also features editor interviews and guest posts by journal editors.
10. Erika Dreifus’s The Practicing Writer is a monthly newsletter with fee-free submission opportunities and paying markets. Each newsletter also includes an article and a featured resource for writers. If waiting a month for each newsletter is too long, the Practicing Writer blog features Monday Markets and Friday Finds for Writers with links to writerly news and resources on the web.
So now there’s no excuse not to send out your work. Go forth and submit!
Illustration by Josh Quick