Publishing and Contests
Advice: Always try to read the magazine you submit to first, and read the current information for that magazine in Short Story and Novel Writer's Market or Poet's Market. Always use a cover letter unless otherwise noted.
When you feel you have a piece ready to send out for publication, first look up a few good journals or magazines you want to submit to. Writer's Digest's Novel&Short Story Writer's Market or Poet's Market are our Bibles! They contain addresses, editor names, what the journal wants, when the journal reads, how they pay etc. They also tell you if multiple submissions are allowed (where you send the same work to many journals hoping one takes it). These entries also tell you how many submissions the magazine gets each month (which will tell you how competitive it will be). Click here for a sample.
It's always a good idea to read the journal you want to submit to, or get its guidelines (guides are especially important when submitting to a contest). Often web sites will have guidelines so you can save the stamps. Of course, don't try to write for certain journals, try to find the journals that publish work like you already write. Click here to see the Glimmer Train Stories. Click here to see Ploughshares. Do either of them seem to publish any specific kind of work?
You usually must include a cover letter with your poems or story. Click here for a cover letter.
You must also format your piece(s) correctly (sometimes including word counts if the guide books tell you to do so). Click here for a sample of correct poetry format. Click here for a sample of correct story format.
Usually poetry journals take from 3-6 poems at a time (if they say they take 5 at once, don't send more than that). Usually it is best to send only one story at a time as well.
Finally, you need to send your work in a large envelope, 9x11 or so, so it arrives neat and flat. Put the cover letter on top, then the manuscripts, and paperclip an SASE to these items (self addressed stamped envelope). I usually only send a regular letter size SASE with one stamp for the rejection letter. If you want your whole manuscript back, you need to include a larger envelope and more postage.
Then wait from 1-6 months for your response! If they call you, you are probably going to be published. If you get your SASE back, they might ask for revisions, or at least tell you why they are not interested (if you are lucky). I have learned a lot about how to revise pieces by getting comments back on my rejection letters.
Call for Submissions
Scribendi out of New Mexico is calling for poetry, fiction, creative non-fiction (it only costs you postage). Ask Lee for Details...
Lee keeps her own writing calendar of goals and contest dates. Click here to see it.
Webdelsol's Bi-Annual Non-Quicktion Contest! A creative non-fiction of 250 words or less Due by Jan. 31, 1999.
DANA Awards for poetry, short fiction, speculative short fiction, and the novel due Oct. 31st!
Glimmer Train Poetry Contest (post marked during October)!
Story Magazine's Short Short Story Competition due October 30!
My Word--(a readings night at UVSC)--Fall 1998 My Word is CLOSED!
(SPRING--Get an entry form from Lee or in the English Department, FA 707.)
Desert Writer's Workshop in Moab, Nov. 5-8.
Copyright © Lee Ann Mortensen 2004