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.

Submissions Challenge Month Three: Accepting the hard work of writing; rejection statistics of the month

By the end of the month, I had run through my budget for submitting and was only submitting to free markets.

Submission Tracker 3It is now that I begin to see the real hard work of writing.  I mean, in order to get 22 submissions in 30 days, I had to pretty much work on the submissions challenge every weekend day and some nights.  Kindof like grad school.

Actually, it was grad school which made me believe I could do this.  It was clear from finishing grad school that if I was disciplined, I could carve a good 15 to 20 hours of writing/reading/thinking time out of the average work week, with short bursts of up to 40 to 50 hours in seven days.  Deciding to apply that kind of work load to writing was just the next step.

This month I have made 22 submissions.  I received two “warmer” rejections, each with an invitation to resubmit, from literary magazines.  I received five “stone cold” rejections, with one flash fiction piece getting a quick rejection twice.  I wrote “what’s wrong with this story” on its line on the submission tracker and stopped submitting it for the moment.

I did not get a request of any type from any of the four #pitchwars mentors I queried.  Although I’m sure I’m not alone, it was a disappointment.  Made me feel like back when I was in 7th grade, and I wasn’t one of the popular girls. Perhaps I will try again next year.  To the organization’s credit, they didn’t charge me or any other contestant anything, which given some of the other contest fees could be seen as quite generous.

Last month I wrote that I was willing to pay to make submissions and enter contests.  I spent $73 submitting stories this month, mostly for three contests.  In addition, I paid $8.50 for the Literistic List of the Month, which was pretty helpful.  During the second half of the month, I saw several more contests I might have entered. But it just cost too much. By the end of the month, I had run through my budget for submitting and was only submitting to free markets.  We get paid on the first of the month around here.  I had to cut back.

So, to sum up the stats:  9/22 to 10/22

Submissions:  22

Personal or warmer rejections: 2

Stone Cold rejections: 9, including the four from #pitchwars

Still in submission:  23, including six emailed and website-form submissions and 17 with Submittable.

Next month’s goal will be the original first month goal again:  30 submissions in 30 days.

And no, I am not doing NaNoWriMo.   I’m doing my submissions challenge until I get an agent or enough street cred that I’ve got editors who’ll just look at my work.

I admit this may take a while.


More “Should writers pay to make submissions?” Jane Friedman has answers.

I was reading along a Google search thread which I generated in my quest to find out how much it actually costs to use Submittable if you’re a literary journal (best info:  $180 to $1100 a year, depending on how many subs you get) where I turned up this really thought-provoking blog by Jane Friedman, which builds on mine of last week, when I admitted to become willing to pay for subs.img_20180703_0758292105117800.jpg  The essence of Jane’s blog post is:

“Hey writers, I used to be on the side of ‘no paying for submissions, no matter what,’ but the economics of the situation have changed. “

You totally should read this.  In fact, if you haven’t, probably a lot of the questions you’re asking yourself and the writing universe are answered on this well-developed blog by a magazine and book publishing insider (worked at both Writer’s Digest and Virginia Quarterly Review).  Talk about working both sides of the fence.

Jane also offers a writer’s coaching service that looks pretty reputable, and the charges are right there in digital print, no request form needed.  Best blog find of the week, perhaps month.  Thank you Jane. 


My Third Submissions Challenge Begins, and I explain why I decide to pay money to research and submit

It may be a huge reversal in writer philosophy but I have dropped my refusal to pay for writing support services,  having joined Literistic ($8 a month) and Duotrope ($5 a month). Under Literistic’s advice (given in its free, and excellent, Submitting 101 course) I also decided that it’s okay to pay to submit to contests.

Why did I change my mind about paying for writing services? The argument made by Eliza Robertson (Twitter: @ElizaRoberts0n) in Submitting 101 was overwhelming:  the potential return on paying for submissions was much more than the cost.  The reason for not paying to enter contests at this point, I began to see, was pride, the money being hardly significant.

For me, this is because years ago I went to teaching school for the purpose of making money. Using this strategy, I reasoned, I would never surrender creative control on topic or design of my writing work in order to get money from editors. I had been working in magazine journalism and had seen more and more crossover of “the wall” which is supposed to exist in magazine publishing between the advertising department and editorial. I felt my artistic integrity was being compromised; the ‘giving the people what they want’ was taking over, and it was not the readers but the advertisers who were the people some editors cared about.

That being the case, paying to get information or even paying to enter contests is a small concession.  I rate my time’s value by the rate I’m paid hourly as a teacher, and if I measure it that way, there’s no question that both Duotrope and Literistic’s charges are worth the time I save.

I stop short of saying “this is my hobby, and it’s not an expensive one when you think about it” (having sold my horse after five years last spring, I know what it is to have an expensive hobby. ) This is placing a premium on making art.  It’s more like what I told my younger brother last week, when he asked if he should take time to do art:

“Always take time to do art whenever possible,” I said. And I mean it, not just for him, but for every person who feels so inclined.

And spending a few bucks so you have more time to do art, and less time researching publications, is totally worth it.

On to the Submissions Challenge Number 3:  Since during the first challenge, I submitted seven times, and in the second, 16 times, for the third I will try for twenty submissions.

A report is due back from me no later than October 22 … we’ll see how this goes.


The query challenge continues, with the surprising recovery of long-lost fiction manuscripts from an unexpected source.

I am moving along on the query challenge.  Not only have I submitted 11 items, had three rejected, and entered the #pitchwars contest, but I began researching submission trackers, both paid and unpaid, for a planned blog post which will tell people what you need to know about constructing or choosing a submission tracker, including a review of Duotrope and Submittable.

Interestingly, when I signed up for Duotrope, I was able to recover a number of good (IMHO) stories that I had lost due to the theft of my computer back in 2009. My long-lost stories were located in my email “sent” file, but I had forgotten where they had been sent and thus how to search for them. I was able to find them because my submissions were entered and had been maintained all this time on Duotrope.  By backsearching the names of the publications on my email, I found the manuscripts.

Finding the stories again has made me smile.  It’s like being reunited with children who moved out and now have come back.  Whether these kiddos will ever make good, I’m not sure. But there is the potential to give them a chance by entering them into the query challenge roster.  In fact, one or two has already gone out.

How to Write a Cover Letter for a Submission of Completed work, and do you put a Salutation in the Cover Letter Blank on Submittable?

So, getting down to the submissions for the Query Challenge.  On Submittable, on most (not all) of the forms they ask you for a cover letter and you have to type it into the blank.  My standard cover letter is:


(one to two sentences about the work I am submitting and what the theme or intent of the work is)

(standard bio paragraph, which right now is most-noted publications plus professional affiliations and biggest current project, my novel)

(standard paragraph thanking them for considering the work)


But what should the salutation be?

“Dear Editor”

“Dear Editorial Team”

“Dear (name of editor I looked up on their masthead)

“Dear (name of journal)

or … nothing, just go into the letter.

Any thoughts?


Let us call this Day One of the Query Challenge … and should you pay to submit your work?

Or day 2.  I managed to make two submissions yesterday afternoon and so, if today is day 2,  now I am ahead!  The goal will be 15 submissions before September 22; however, I am secretly wondering if I can get higher.

Making these subs means getting used to Submittable, which they didn’t have back before I was teaching, ten years ago when I used to send stuff to literary magazines by mail, or sometimes email.  Seems like every small press uses it.

It’s a help, but a hinderance.  A lot of places charge money to submit!!!

In the old days, the creed of the freelance writer was you never pay anyone for anything.  But in the modern day, I guess, things are lightening up?  Anyone have an opinion?