Welcome to another, You Asked, the Experts Answer, segment. This week ‘s question is: Is there a secret to getting published in literary magazines?
Well yeah, sort of. Lincoln Michel, a Buzzfeed contributor, takes us behind the scenes in his two-part article, The Ultimate Guide To Getting Published in a Literary Magazine.
This is one of the most in-depth articles on getting published I have ever read. We’ve all heard the tips :
- Submit often
- Read the magazines
- Follow the guidelines
But, we’ve never understood what happens behind the scenes or how literary magazines actually select those they choose to print. Well, now you will. Lincoln goes into great detail about editors, readers, the slush pile, solicited and non-solicited work, and even “carpet bombing.”
“Most editors would probably consider at least 60% of the slush pile to be unpublishable, period. Twenty percent shows promise but needs some work, and 10% is publishable but not in the journal being submitted to. That leaves 10% of work that might deserve real consideration.”
Here’s a few important things I gleaned from the article, but I still encourage each of you to read it in its entirety.
- Submissions go first to the slush pile.
- 60 % of those in the slush pile are unpublishable.
- Acceptance rates are about 1% for good magazines.
- Submissions are sometimes solicited by editors or through agents (I had no idea).
- 20-100% of works published come from the slush pile.
- Connections are important.
- Editors are not the first to read your work, readers are (typically 2).
- Readers are volunteers, or students.
- The first paragraph and page is important in making it past the readers.
- Persistence in submitting is one of the main keys to success.
- Know the Cover letter No-No’s (see the article).
- Selective your top 3 to 5 magazines and go for it; again & again.
Where to Find the Right Market for Your Story?
Many sites offer information on Magazines open for submission. Here are my top five resources.
- Every Writer’s Resource
- The Review Review
- The Writer’s Database
- Clifford Garstang’s Pushcart Rankings
I’ve only given you the teasers from the article, but I can tell you it’s one worth keeping for the files. What do you think? Are you seeing submission success? Do you have a favorite market site?