SUBMITTING YOUR WORK
by Rosemary Johnson and Allison Symes.
Welcome to our Submissions page. The lists below of places where you might submit your work is for writers of flash fiction, short stories (sometimes called ‘prose fiction’), poetry, reviews and (short) non-fiction. If you are looking for somewhere to publish your novel or a non-fiction book, we recommend the Writers and Artists Yearbook. We appreciate that this tome is expensive and updated every year, but it’s in most public libraries (although you may have to ask for it at the enquiries desk) and editions for previous years are available online.
The markets listed below are print magazines and literary ezines which ACW members have submitted work to. We have not submitted to all of them, nor are we attempting to build a list of every single market. For more comprehensive databases of markets, we suggest you try Duotrope and The Grinder. Both these are American-orientated and some of the ezines are a little bizarre, but they provide useful information, such as which markets are responding and how fast, and the personal submission tracker on each of them is helpful. There is a charge for Duotrope (£42.50 per annum) but The Grinder is free. You might also find out about competitions and calls for submissions in print writing magazines, such as Writing Magazine, Writers’ Forum and Mslexia.
The markets on the list below were checked – for currency and what they accept – at the time this page was published on the ACW website, and it will be updated from to time, but life goes on, periodicals change and go offline, and new ones come along. We cannot guarantee that this list is up-to-date all the time. If you find that a market is no longer available, or has changed the type of work it publishes, please email Rosemary on email@example.com
We have organised our list according to format – flash fiction, short stories (sometimes called ‘short fiction’ or ‘prose fiction’), non-fiction, reviews and poetry. The same periodicals appear many times over because most accept several different formats. Lengths vary from magazine to magazine. For instance, flash fiction can be anything from 50 words to 1000 words (or even more). What one mag calls flash can be a short story in another, and vice versa. Be aware, also, that many markets have specific requirements: The Dublin Review is only interested in stories about Ireland, for example, and a number have an LGBT focus. Other magazines call for themed submissions – these are not so popular with punters so are good destinations to aim for.
Submitting to writing competitions, we have not covered, except insofar as the advice below applies to competitions as well. It would not be possible for us to maintain a list of competitions which would be always current and, if it can’t be current, it’s not useful at all. Duotrope and The Grinder include competitions in their databases and we have also provided, below, some other sites which do maintain up-to-date lists of competitions.
If you’re aiming at writing stories for women’s magazines, good luck. It’s an ever-diminishing, but well-remunerated, market. We haven’t listed any womags (as they’re called) here. We suggest you visit Womag and Other Writing. A warning: some womags now take ALL rights to a piece of fiction when they publish, so you would never be able to reuse it.
Some Advice About Submitting Your Work
(I’m sure you’ve heard it all before, but here we go.)
- Check the ‘entry requirements’ or ‘submission guidelines’ (or whatever they’re called) first. These will tell you straight off if there is any obvious reason why your story won’t do for this market. For example, the magazine to which you’re thinking of submitting might take historical pieces only. Or your story may be outside the length they require. (OK, you can edit to adjust length a little but only so much.)
- Now read several stories from the magazine. Get the flavour of it. Who do you think their readers are? Young or old? Male or female? Do they say they will accept an ‘eclectic mix’ (so misleading, that) but really only take futuristic and paranormal, or (very common) only stories set in the United States? Some destinations say they consider a wide range of word lengths but, in actuality, favour shorter stories, or longer stories.
- Proofread for Spag (spelling and grammar errors) and check for any inconsistencies in your story. (We’re using the word ‘story’ in the general sense here. Journalists refer to non-fiction articles as ‘stories’.)
- Check the presentation. Wide margins (4cm or more) are frequently asked for, or a particular font.
- When submitting work in a word processed document, use double-line spacing for printed submissions and email attachments in Word. When you’re pasting into an email or using a submission tracker (such as Submittable or Duosuma – see below), use single spacing.
- Does the editor want your name in the header or footer – or adamantly does not want to see your name at all?
- Check which word processing formats are required. .doc or docx? If you send your work in any other format, the editor won’t be able to read it, so you will have wasted your time.
- Check word length. Editors will not accept anything outside word limits.
- Check deadlines. Editors will not accept your work after the deadline.
- Check how the editor wants to receive your piece. It will be one of the following.
- Printed and posted by snail mail. Often with a stamped addressed envelope. (Rosemary’s unfavourite!)
- Word processed document attached to an email.
- Text of story pasted into the body of an email.
- Text of story pasted into a dedicated form which is part of the magazine’s website.
- Text of story pasted into Submittable or Duosuma (generic submission management platforms, used by many markets). You need to have an account with Submittable. Duosuma is part of Duotrope and uses your Duotrope user id and password.
- The important thing is to use the submission method asked for. Apart from the editor possibly not seeing something submitted in the different manner, it’s a mark of respect to him/her. Many editors say they will delete submissions sent as attachments to emails unless they have asked for them to be sent in this way, of course.
- Finally, keep a record of which stories you have sent where. Note acceptances and rejections and non-successes in competitions.