I’ve decided to start submitting my creative non-fiction work to lit mags. I’ve only ever submitted a few stories in my life, but never have I had anything published. As always, I could use some help.

Despite my inexperience, I’ve come up with a few guidelines:

No longer will I submit to contests or magazines that require fees. I’m not in this for the money (I would be hard pressed to earn more with literary than technical writing). And I realize that having work rejected is part and parcel of the literary writing game. But paying a fee to have your work ignored seems silly. I’m not completely ruling out paying a fee, but I’ve only got so much time for submitting work, and the fee-based venues go to the bottom of the sort.

If I ain’t in it for the money, I am in it to boost my fragile ego (or at least earn some bragging rights). I am shooting for the best non-fiction publications, or at least the ones that will publish my work. This is where I could use the most help. When I asked my friend Gary Presley what he thought were some of the more prestigious non-fiction magazines, he offered some suggestions (links appear below my blogroll). One of my friends from the IWW suggested The Sun Magazine for a piece I recently submitted for critique.

For Christmas one year, Holly gave me one of those thick books that list all the publishers, but I haven’t found it too useful. It lists magaiznes by how much they pay and the genres they publish, but there wasn’t a particularly comprehensive list of non-fiction publications. For example, I could’t find listed Creative Non-Fiction Magazine or Brevity, which are the only two literary magazines that focus solely on creative non-fiction.

It looks like finding a venue that matches your own particular style is the toughest part about submitting (or if not the toughest, at least the first part). It doesn’t help that a lot of these magazines don’t have recent issues online or free back issues. Research is going to take an investment of time and money, but I don’t see any other way. 

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10 thoughts on “Submit!

  1. You go, Tim! I need to get myself back in action again, too.

  2. sarah morgan says:

    Marketing is the worst. I hate, hate, hate it. But I guess if writing was the only part, we’d all do it. Finding the market for the stuff is the hard part. Then of course you can look at Gary’s struggles once you’ve gotten the score of a published bok….

    I haven’t posted on my blog for a bit. Just to let you know, I’m taking an essay class with MediaBistro and they are keeping my fingers popping over there. I’ll be back in action soon.

    Has anyone suggested Brick to you? It’s a Canadian Lit magazine that might like your stuff. Check them out in Writer’s Digest, or online for their writer’s guidelines. You might also try the ezine route so you have a small pedigree started before you attack the bigger venues.

    Your writing should be out there. You have an honest voice and lots of people will want to read you. Good luck in the search s

  3. Tim Elhajj says:

    I am looking into it and imagine I’ll post more as I figure it out. Thanks for the suggestion about Brick. I’ll add them to my research list.

    What is an ezine and how is it different from a journal?

  4. sarah morgan says:

    ezines are online lit magazines who generally publish “the less known writer.” ie you and me, baby. They generally don’t pay, but after scoring a couple of those you are able to say you’ve been published– a BIG thing when going after the bigger lit magazines. Start small, be successful, and move on. That has been my game plan.

    I’ll send you my file of ezines and then, LABORIOUSLY, you will have to go through and see who’s zine fits your work. That, I would say, is the biggest thing to learn– you will get publsished, but not until you figure out who likes your voice and what you have to say. Can’t see your latest piece (money up your ass) in Cup of Comfort, por ejemplo. 😉

    You also have the advantage I don’t. Go to Powells or any good bookstore and sit down and read the Lit joournals there. Find the ones that have your kind of material in them. It is time consuming, laborious (as I stated earlier) but you’ll also read some really good stuff. You’ll also read some stuff that is not as good as yours. Persistence, my man. Just ask Gary!

  5. Tim Elhajj says:

    And how are these ezines supposed to satisfy my elephantine ego?

    Just kidding. I’ll send my stuff out to any magazine I think would publish it, but I’m still going to focus on the big boys. No matter how you slice it, you get a lot of rejection. Why not be rejected by the best?

    I just picked up a stack of lit mags. I’m willing to send them to you when I’m done, if it doesn’t cost too much.

  6. Gary Presley says:

    I’ve been rejected by some of the finest magazines on this list:

    My dream venue: The Missouri Review.

    After you find a publisher for your memoir, you also can ask that house for help in getting elements of the book published as essays.

    All you need is to breech the wall, as Sarah notes. Get some bylines out there, and each one becomes a rung on a ladder of success.

  7. […] Sun Magazine seems like my kind of journal. This is a followup to my earlier effort figuring out how to submit my work. Part of getting published is figuring out where to submit your […]

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  9. […] is a followup to my earlier effort, about figuring out how to submit my work. And a big part of accomplishing that is figuring out where to submit your […]

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