Getting Published in a Literary Magazine

Reaching the Consideration Level

From the Senior Editorial Staff of Blue Monday Review

Blue Monday Review Panel Discussion, Getting Published in a Literary Magazine, at the Longview Literary Festival

We know how frustrating submitting your work can be, especially when you’re getting a pile of rejections. Take these tips below to heart and you may just end up as our discussion topic next issue.

  • Adhere to guidelines explicitly (especially font and blind submission requirements)
  • Never carpet bomb but do actively submit to multiple markets that are compatible with your work. The more you submit (strategically, of course), the higher the chance your piece will make it to the senior editorial staff’s table.
  • Familiarize yourself with the publication so you understand their editorial tone and other considerations. However, know that great writing can often transcend editorial tone.
  • Your piece should look professional. Make sure your submission is free from grammatical, syntax, tense, format, and punctuation errors.
  • Things to avoid: * Point of view shifts (unless the story cannot be told any other way) * Cliches or common tropes that are unimaginatively used. * Caricatures. Focus on developing three-dimensional characters. * Telling the reader everything. A good story has bits of uncertainty.
  • Edit your piece for brevity. Make every word count or eliminate it — every word should either advance the story or develop character.
  • Immerse the reader in place and time. Make it so interesting that the words disappear and all that is left is the story itself.
  • Take advantage of subtext. Avoid writing completely on the nose. Readers are smart. We’ll praise the value of the Iceberg Theory until we’re dead.
  • Avoid analysis paralysis. Get your work out there. A rejection isn’t the end of the world and can make you a much stronger writer.
  • Be patient but proactive. Our turnaround time is three months or less, and we allow simultaneous submissions. Don’t always assume the numbers work against you. Continue to write while waiting to hear back.
  • Develop relationships with compatible editors and publications. Stories can be proffered instead of submitted. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be friends with us? Seriously, though, be our friend.
  • Remember editors are people, writers, and — most of all — human. Sometimes we make mistakes. But we’re doing this because nothing makes us happier than discovering great writing and amazing writers.

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