Submission Strategies for Writers

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If you’re a writer, you know how hard it is to get published. You probably also know that if you’re serious about making it happen, you should be submitting more than you are.

After years of taking a fairly half-assed approach to submitting my creative work, I decided to get serious about it (in part because I’m working on a collection of short fiction). In the last few months, I’ve leveled up my game, both in terms of my numbers and my record-keeping–and so far, I’ve seen more acceptances in January alone than I did for the better part of 2017. =)

If you’re interested in doing the same, here’s my recent post on the subject for Litreactor, “8 Submissions Strategies That Get Results.”

January means New Year’s resolutions—many of which we will ultimately fail to keep. But If one of your resolutions this year is to get more of your work published, friends, I’m here to help you make it happen.

The following tips and techniques are from a class I recently taught for Litreactor, Fiction: Final Draft, an intensive for emerging authors who are in it to win it. Which is to say, it’s a class for those who have worked hard, put in their ten thousand hours, and are now ready to beat the numbers game that is publishing.

If that sounds like you, it’s time to put the following strategies into play—now, early in the year—and consistently apply them over the course of 2018. If you really have put in the hours necessary to hone your craft, I can guarantee you they will produce results.

1. Set Aside Time

If you are not currently setting aside time on a regular basis to submit your work, now’s the time to establish that practice. (I would also recommend that you keep this time separate from your writing time, because if you try to perform these two functions at the same time, not only will you not be working efficiently, you’ll be more likely to second-guess your work.)

Here are some of the tasks I’d suggest you include in the period of time you set aside for submissions: A) researching reading periods, open calls, and opportunities; B) researching target markets and updating your “hit list”; C) submitting your most polished pieces of work, formatted according to the guidelines of each publication; D) updating your submissions records.

2. Do Your Research

It’s great to have big ambitions for your work, but everyone wants to be published by The New Yorker or Asimov’s, which means everyone else is submitting to these publications too. There are plenty of other publications that are worthy of your best work, in terms of their prestige, pay, or both, and on a purely statistical basis, you have a far better chance of being published by them.

But in order to suss out these publications, you’ll have to do your research. So don’t just hit the same ten or so dream pubs over and over again—do the research necessary to expand that list of target publications to 20, 30, or more. (And hey, if a publication sounds intriguing, consider a subscription—while we can’t do that with every journal or magazine, there’s no denying that actually reading a pub is the very best form of research there is.)

Looking for resources? Check out Poets & Writers online and Duotrope.

Read the rest of the post over at Litreactor.

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