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  • Writer's pictureThe Publishing Post

Magazine Material: How to Get Published

By Frankie Harnett, Laura Ingate and Emma Regan

In an industry largely focused on churning out highly anticipated and profitable books, literary and art magazines are often forgotten. Typically publishing poetry, short stories, literary critiques, art and photography, these magazines rarely reach large-scale audiences and are dependent on monthly subscribers for funding. With the birth of e-magazines as a cheaper alternative to printed publications, the number of these magazines has only multiplied.

But that is not to discredit them. In fact, for any aspiring writers, these magazines can be key to launching your literary careers. Without any need for literary agents or previous publications, these magazines are the most accessible way to get your work out into the world. Notable magazines to try submitting your work to include Aesthetica, Cura, Creative Boom and It’s Nice That, but there are thousands out there. New resources such as Duotrope and Writer’s Relief: Author’s Submission Service can help determine which are best for you.

Publishing your piece in a literary magazine is not too dissimilar from publishing a book. Some steps are often inevitable, such as learning how to be patient and handle rejections, yet other efforts such as paying a submission fee are not. Here are the crucial implements to remember when submitting your work to a literary magazine.

Before you fill out the submission box, having thick skin is required. Most writers are not unfamiliar with facing rejection, and unfortunately, it doesn’t stop when submitting to magazines either. To help your chances of being published, you should research various literary magazines and submit to those which line up with your style of writing. If you’re a new writer, this might mean finding a magazine which specifically takes submissions from new writers. Some UK-based literary magazines for this are Goatshed Press, Fictive Dream and Idle Ink. It’s also important to remember the piece you’re submitting is all about impressing the editor of the magazine, so making sure it’s a text highlighting your skills is vital.

Other matters to be aware of are the fees and deadlines. The majority of literary magazines will have reading/submission fees for each piece sent so it’s important to consider that when making a decision. Magazines featuring new writers might be the exception to this, but you should always check to make sure. They will also have a very slim window for your piece to be submitted, so it’s best to have your work prepared before that opens. As always in publishing, a cover letter is guaranteed to help, if not preferred.

There are many benefits of having your work published by a variety of magazines and journals, from the more niche art-house prints to the national press. From awards to competitions, there are many ways to get your work in front of readers, and it is a great way to get more eyes on your craft and be able to seek further writing opportunities. Many credible authors started off writing for newspapers or magazines, which has helped them gain a social following, an audience and a platform to speak out on.

If you are looking for upcoming competitions and opportunities to showcase your work, UK-based arts and culture magazine Aesthetica has a Creative Writing Award. This provides a platform for poets and writers across the globe to showcase their work through their publication, and includes a £5,000 prize. Katie Hale, a previous 2022 winner for her Short Fiction entry, wrote a “truly adventurous story and a worthy winner: one that lingers, and resonates, in the reader’s own imagination,” as described by Wayne Price. Since her prize, she has gone on to write her debut collection, White Ghosts, which was published by Nine Arches Press. The upcoming deadline for the Creative Writing Award for all entries is 31 August 2023.

Put simply by a representative of Writer’s Relief, “literary magazines exist to showcase writings (and sometimes artwork) that would otherwise be unable to reach an audience.” Writing for a magazine may not be as glamorous as working for a traditional publishing house. You may not even get paid. However, your work can be published, validated and showcased to subscribers, fellow writers and, most importantly, literary editors. These connections and the reputation you can build for yourself could be the beginning of a highly successful literary career. So, try it out; get yourself published.



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