Before we set our hearts on the name Limping Devil Press, we wanted to make sure it was available. We began our search with Google. The database of literary magazines maintained on the Poets & Writers website came up in the search results. What began as a simple research endeavor changed into an attentive exploration of the large world of literary magazines and presses.
Last week, we presented our approach to submitting work to literary magazines. It was a fun post to write and to share. This week, we are going to continue with last Tuesday’s theme and look at each step closer. In this post of the series – How to Submit Work to Literary Magazines – we will discuss the Research stage of the submission process.
Where to Look
Finding publications through a search online is a great start. The downside may be that the initial results can appear daunting. Checking specific sites like the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) can reduce the amount of time used by visiting the multiple pages of search engine results. CLMP has a database of literary magazines, journals, and presses to aid in your research. This database is similar to the ones found at Poets & Writers and New Pages.
Utilizing a database will help organize your research process; most options will be within your reach and presented in a clear manner. The databases on CLMP and Poets & Writers will allow you to filter options and find publications based on your parameters. The list provided by New Pages enables one to view a variety of publications in one place.
Books and Magazines
In our emphasized digital world, it can be easy to forget that printed material offer the same information as a website. A caveat to utilizing books and magazines for your research is publications can and do become outdated. An easy solution is to verify the information provided by publications such as Poets & Writers, Writer’s Digest, and The Writer. Visit the websites of your sources to ensure that all the details are correct and still relevant, even if the publication is new and updated annually like the Writer’s Market.
Read the Magazines and the Journals
Once you have located publications that appeal to you, read them. Start off with the most recent issue of a publication that interests you. If a publication is new, as in the case of Limping Devil Press, visit the website. View the magazine’s about page. If a blog is maintained and updated regularly, read this too. These sources will help clarify who the publication is and what its angle may be.
Reading the blog of a literary magazine with several issues under its belt is a good strategy, too. The most recent information can and may be found on a publication’s blog. While a blog is a fun way to get to know a literary magazine, reading current and previous issues will help you to determine if the voice of the publication suits your voice as a writer.
Each literary magazine has its own point of view. This is something that editors work hard to establish and maintain, so it is worth paying attention to. It will save you a lot of time, money, and rejection. Some literary magazines will only focus on a particular style of writing like poetry or short story. For example: a publication might seem perfect for you, but you write narrative nonfiction but the magazine only publishes essays. Knowing the look, feel, and style of a publication will allow you to proceed in the submissions process with confidence, so take some time to discover the market.
Make a List
All of this information gathering can seem overwhelming. It is also fairly easy to lose track of all the new information. We suggest making a list. Use whatever method is intuitive to you, but we like making spreadsheets. Oh, deer! We said it. Utilizing free, versatile web based services like Google Docs will help you maintain some order. Excel works too!
After you have made a list of your own, keep it up to date by checking in with the websites of the publications you like. You will want to ensure that your own information does not go out of date. If a spreadsheet is not your style then play around a bit until you have found some form of information management tool that helps you stay on top of things.
This completes our close look at the Research step in the submission process. Being a writer is an active job, n’es pas? Initially, this can all seem like a lot of work. Indeed, there are some steps to be taken toward getting your writing out there, but an organized approach will help to ease the process. It will not be long before much of this becomes second nature to you.
Ultimately, people, editors want to read your work. Editors especially since we are so invested in the written word. The submission process can make it seem as though an editor wants to do anything but read new work. In truth we are merely looking to match our interest with yours, a first step in building a relationship between editor and writer.
Next Tuesday this series returns with an in-depth look at Submission Guidelines.