My Best List of Submission Search Engines for Literary Magazines

I’ve just added to this list after attending Gayle Brandeis’ excellent talk on the history and practice of essay writing at the NCW Conference in Fort Collins, Colorado. Search engines are listed in terms of number of markets indexed. With the exception of Duotrope, they are free resources.

The Submission Grinder is a free searchable database and submission tracker. Close to 8000 markets.

Duotrope — the venerable journal search engine. Free trial. Paid subscription is $5 a month or $50 a year. 7000 markets.

New Pages Searchable database of places to publish from well-known literary magazine about literary magazines. 1500 markets.

Poets and Writers. From the well-known and well established magazine about writing. About 1200 markets by my reckoning.

Entropy’s Where to Submit List — a free list of submission opportunities is updated every two or three months from Entropy, an online literary magazine and “place to engage with our writers.” 200 or so current listings.

Yahoo Neo Groups has the CWWROPPS listserve from which you can receive daily emails with new submission opportunities. Recommend you opt for the daily digest. 11 new posts in the last week.

Submittable Check out their Opportunities tab for some places you can submit. To find the Submittable page of the many journals that use this service, however, you have to search on the journal’s name and “submission.” Specific journals’ submission pages are not searchable from within the site. The opportunities list can be long, but many of the most prominent upcoming opportunities are not listed; it tends to the less-well known and to the fee-charging markets.

Every Writer’s Resource has a classified ads section for calls for submissions. 17 entries at this time.

The Review Review. A short list of submissions in their classified ads section. 5 entries at this time.

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11 Things you need to understand when submitting to literary magazines

I think this week I passed 100 hours of reading random literary magazines as part of my submissions project, and have now passed the 100 submissions mark as well. These are the pieces of information I think fellow writers may want to know:

1. There are 9000 plus literary magazines on Submittable alone.

2. By my count, about 2 out of 3 literary magazines are on Submittable.

3. A good half or more magazines now charge a submission fee, typically $3.

4. Annual contests are not uncommon, with entry fees from $3 to over $30.  Anything more than $20, that’s a lot. Maybe too much, unless, like some folks in Vegas, you’re feeling lucky.

5. The quality and character of published work varies widely. Literary quality is, as agents always say, subjective, and subject matter and speaker characteristics do count. That means if you share the editor’s political ideals, geographic location, hobby … it helps to get your work a positive reading.

6. When you see a magazine and you think, now these people get it, they are more likely to respond positively to what you send them.  If you get them, they will more likely get you.

7. When you match your work to their editorial focus, the same thing.

8.  Most literary magazine editors are also writers.  Who knows why they have started a magazine.  Probably not so they could publish their own work, come on people.  Don’t be that way.  It’s probably so that there would be a magazine that represented their own artistic and philosophical ideals.

9. They had to do this because it is not easily possible to just find someone else’s magazine that shares your ideals and tag along.  Literary magazines are exclusive.  They don’t let you join the editorial staff easily even if the job doesn’t pay.

10.  Would you fit in?  Refer to Sylvia Plath’s poem, The Applicant. The First two stanzas only.

11. That said, running a literary magazine is a time-consuming, labor-intensive and relatively thankless job which requires dozens of hours of largely volunteer labor monthly, weekly, maybe even daily.  So if editors send form rejections, don’t get back to you for three months, and are likely to respond not at all to pleas for substantive reasons for rejection (no, I am not stupid enough to write an email asking them for this, but I’ve heard stories) you now know why.  Their editorship is their service to the universe, being open to discussions with writers about rejected work is simply not realistic.

12. Persevere and you will find your warm spot in the literary magazine universe.  If you keep writing, I don’t think you can avoid it.  Refer to Charles Johnson on Writing Fiction if you want to see more of what I mean.