The #1 Thing You Can Do to Up Your Chances of Being Published in a Lit Mag


Here is what you have to do:


Literary magazines don’t just make up their guidelines as polite suggestions or text to be skimmed. There are often reasons that they set these guidelines forth; for example, the word limit for stories in our lit mag is 2500 because that fits comfortably on 3 pages, and we try to keep our page count low so that the magazine itself is cheaper for the buyers. The submissions per person limit is 3 based on a formula we made up of how many people submit versus how many stories we can accept per month.

And this is the other thing: Literary magazines usually get a pretty high volume of submissions. Reading through all of them takes readers a lot of time and effort. So if some guideline hasn’t been followed and a reader can reject that story to save the time of reading it through, they’re going to take the opportunity.

While I’m at it, here’s another thing I HIGHLY recommend: READ A PAST ISSUE BEFORE YOU SUBMIT.

I recently subscribed to a fairly well-known lit mag that I’d submitted to before, but had never actually read their content. Now that I’ve read a couple of issues, I have a way, way better grasp of the style that they’re looking for. When I think back on the story that I submitted, I’m almost embarrassed, because it was so different from what they usually accept.

And a final note: Those “we have received your submission, thank you” and decline emails aren’t meant to be responded to. Those get sent out en masse by the hundreds; the lit mag isn’t trying to have a personal conversation with you. And definitely don’t write a snarky email back if you receive a rejection; that’s pretty much as unprofessional as it gets.


I’m sorry if this seems like a rant, but it just makes me so sad to see good prose get rejected because directions carelessly weren’t followed.

6lit mags, advice, writing advice, yeah write!,