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Submitting Your Poetry To Literary Journals: The Do's and Dont's I learned Thus Far.

Been years since I've submitted anything, but it's been a goal I desired to accomplish for a while.

Databases I'm looking through : Poets & Writer's Magazine, and Duotrope. The Poetry Society of America has an A-Z literary journal section as well. This also includes me creating an Excel sheet with necessary info to keep track of submissions; and loading up a bookmark folder with submission guidelines from each site.

Not only is it important to pay attention to the submission guidelines, its pertinent to adhere to those guidlines. Each journal/magazine is different, and can come with the following:

1)What Genre is the Magazine/Journal?
Some accept not only poetry, but fiction, essays, and the like. Pay attention to the "feel" of the magazine and what their themes may be. Reading a copy of the journal will help.

2) What is the reading period for the journal?
This is critical. Each magazine can read year around, or certain periods of the year. Check the date prior to submissions, and know when they're accepting your submission.

3) What format is the journal?
Some publish through audio; others through print. Some are entirely published online.

4) What are the payment options?
While some Magazines/Journals don't pay you at all, while others have a flat rate anywhere between $5-50 per poem. Keep in mind not only if they pay, but how they pay. Payments can be issued via Paypal, check, or other mediums. In addition, payment in contributor copies (x amount of copies of the magazine where your work is published) is acceptable payment as well.

5) Do they accept electronic submissions?
Usually this is done via email, with strict guidelines about what to put in the subject line, body of email, or if they accept attachments or not. to see what type of file is needed: could be rtf, word, or .pdf.

6) If not electric submission...by mail.
This includes adhering exactly to the guidelines. 8-1/2" x 11" white paper, that is typed; never handwritten. Don't use fancy fonts; stick with the Times New Roman/Courier with 12 point. Poetry is almost always single spaced (double spaced if guideline says so). Keep each poem on a separate piece of paper. Finally (this is important) send a SASE or self addressed stamped envelope. This will ensure your submission is sent back with a rejection/acceptance letter from the editor. No SASE? No response back.

7) Do they accept simultaneous submissions or previously published works?
Simultaneous submissions are the same work which you give to multiple magazines/journals for the sake of getting the piece published. Previously published works include being published anywhere else-from your blog to another literary magazine. Some accept your work regardless of these two guidelines; some don't. Pay very close attention to what the journal wants, and if needed-let them know with your submission.

8) When will I know if I'm accepted or rejected?
The waiting game. Submission guidelines will let you know if its a few weeks or a couple of months; some will even notify you once they actually received your submission. It's not good to call or send a bunch of emails. Wait it out first.

That's all the advice I can give...and have learned thus far. Any more? Sound out in the comments.

Databases for Literary Journals/Magazines:
Duotrope: Duotrope
Poets & Writer's Magazine:
Poets and Writers Magazine
Poetry Society of America:
Poetry Society

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