Inaugural Feature: Literary Magazines

From the vaults of 2009, our very first feature article!

By Diane Goettel

Everyone wants to know how to get published. The truth is, there is no formula, no set path. But there are specific things that you can do to increase your chances. One of the most important things that you can do, for example, is to have a good sense of what editors are looking for. While there are many guides on how to write cover letters that grab the attention of agents and editors, most of these guides are geared toward big publishing. Over the course of these newsletters, we hope to provide you with useful advice about how to get the attention of the editors of small presses and literary magazines and, by extension, hopefully also get your work published.

Let’s begin where many authors begin their careers: literary magazines. When you start submitting your work, it’s best to begin small. It is rare, however not unheard of, for an author with no previous publication credits to get a publishing contract for a book-length work.  Both online and print journals can be important to an author’s career. The Internet has been a wonderful resource for writers in many respects. Not only are there dozens of great sites that allow writers to network, search for work and competitions, and find contact information for editors, but it has also given rise to a new form of literary magazine: web-based journals. As the former Editor of The Adirondack Review, I have published people at all stages in their careers. I have to say that it is a particular thrill to publish someone for the first time. I think that there is still a sense that it is easier to be published online than in print journals. However, just like print journals, there is a range of selectivity in online literary journals. It’s not that it is easier to get published online, it’s that the Internet has created a new space for journals; there are more editors searching for work than there were before the dawn of online literary magazines, so writers have a better chance of finding a home for their work.

Over the course of these newsletters, we will introduce numerous literary journals in hopes of helping you to find a home for your work. We will also address issues regarding how to submit to both online and print literary journals.