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How to Submit to a Literary Magazine

Updated: Jan 14

Welcome readers! This is the Editor-in-Chief of Laudanum Literary Review. I started this magazine in June of 2023. I'd love to share some tips I've learned over the past nine years both for submitting to and being accepted by publications (as well as running one).

Become Familiar with the Literary Review

As readers may be aware, our first issue doesn't release until Spring 2024 so this advice is a bit irrelevant here. Still, we are trying to curate a certain vibe. Dark, satirical, macabre. But let's say a literary magazine has a large body of work. Even if it's only possible to read through a few accepted pieces online, it is important the writer's work is analogous with the publication's existing tone. Sometimes magazines will have specific themes that change issue to issue. Reading through past published pieces ensures editors and writers do not waste time on work that isn't the right fit.

Read the Submission Guidelines

After seeing the open call and getting a feel for previously published work, reading through the how-to-submit guidelines is the next step. Arguably, this is the most important step. Larger magazines can get hundreds of submissions each month. And smaller magazines (like this one) may only have one or two volunteers or staff members to look at submissions. To improve the chances of publication, it is vital when a guidelines states "12-point Helvetica, 3 poems on separate pages," or some other such nonsense that those instructions (and any others given by the literary review) are followed to those exact specifications. Magazines are purposeful with this decision. Otherwise, the work may be rejected outright without even being read. It's not mean. It's publishing!

Submission Guidelines, Submit to Literary Review
Submission Guidelines Are Important

Submit Work to Every Relevant Open Call

Start sticking hands in pies! The more pieces sent out, the better the odds are that one of them might eventually be published. It is great to try to establish a routine and submit often.

Dealing with Rejection

This is inevitable! It doesn't mean a piece is "bad." Even if submission guidelines have been followed perfectly, editors and magazines all have different expectations and opinions. In my own journey, I've found that up to 90% of work is declined. That's right. 1 in 10. For some, depending on their niche, it may be higher or lower. Rejection can be difficult at first and feel like a personal attack, but chill out. Accepting that certain works might not be for everyone, and continuing on is what separates good writers from great writers. Don't give up!

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