Submitting to Literary Journals: Really Useful Links by Lucy O’Callaghan | Resources | Essential Guides | Links for Writers
Lucy O'Callaghan

Lucy O’Callaghan

Literary journals are still thriving both in print and increasingly, online. Readers who love short stories and poetry gravitate towards literary journals for their variety and excellent writing. For the writer, getting work published in literary journals is a great way to build their list of publications. But pushing the door open with your submission is not easy. I have put together some articles and podcasts that share useful advice on submitting to literary journals.


Most literary journals receive far more submissions than they can publish, which means that many authors are vying for few available slots. This article shares 6 tips for an outstanding literary journal submission, including reading the guidelines, sending your most polished work, and making sure you proofread it. Check to see what type of stories the journal publishes, and be professional.


This article begins by giving an insight into what it’s like to be an editor of a literary magazine. It then moves on to your job as a writer, to fulfil the editor’s deepest wish: send them something perfect please! Send in work that is developed, complete, thoroughly revised, and most importantly, appropriate for the magazine. Always make sure that you do your research and read the magazine! Examine the pieces that have been previously chosen for publication. What do these pieces have (or not have) compared to your work? Which editors like what? Create a list. Send it out and get back to reading and writing. The article then goes on to discuss rejection and what the different levels of rejection mean, and what to do if you get an acceptance.


Learning how to submit writing for publication is an important part of freelance writing. Masterclass covers 6 things to consider when submitting to a literary journal. The most important thing that you need on a personal level is a thick skin and the expectation that you will get many rejections. You must submit to appropriate publications – ones that publish similar work to yours. Consider the tier of the publication to which you submit. Established writers can submit to a top-tier literary magazine. If you are an emerging writer, you need to cast a wide net and submit to smaller magazines that feature new writers. Masterclass also offers advice on writing a cover letter for submissions.


Sending your work out into the world of literary magazines can feel like an uphill battle and it’s hard not to take rejection personally. It is so important to do your research and read the magazines that you want to submit to. If you are lucky enough to get comments back with rejections then check to see if there are any consistent things being picked up on or suggestions for improvement. Don’t dwell on rejections. Keep the faith.


Well Storied offers a beginner’s guide to literary magazine submissions. The guide breaks down the big considerations as you delve into the world of submissions. It helps you to discern what publications best fit your work, and how to ask yourself the questions that will decide your submitting preferences.



This episode from The Writer Files podcast discusses how to submit your short story to literary magazines with two guests. The first guest is Eik Harper Klass, a writer and the founder of the full-service short story submissions service Submitit. Jenna Faccenda is the second guest, she is the founder of Eclipse Lit. After losing her fiancé to suicide and finding solace in the transformative power of writing, Jenna set out to provide a forum for others who have suffered.


In this episode from Plume, they’ve pulled back the curtain on what happens behind the scenes of a literary magazine. It offers advice on what to do when submitting and some insight into what editors look for.


This is the Slate Culture podcast, and in this episode, they speak to literary magazine editor Brigid Hughes, who started her career as an intern with the Paris Review and went on to be its executive editor before leaving and starting her own magazine, A Public Space. Brigid explains what the editor of a literary magazine does and how she works with authors to unearth the story underneath the story. She also discusses how literary magazines can help authors find an audience.

Researching the literary journal, you want to submit to is key. Buy the journal and read it; be familiar with the types of stories they publish. Remember that it’s not a reflection on your story if it is rejected, it just means that the story wasn’t the right fit for the editor at that time. Dust yourself down, refocus, and find somewhere else to send your story to. If you are lucky enough to get feedback with a rejection then take it on board. Improving your work before you submit elsewhere will pay off. I hope this week’s column was useful to you. As always if there are any topics you would like me to cover, please get in touch.

(c) Lucy O’Callaghan

Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31.

Facebook: @LucyCOCallaghan

Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

About the author

Writing since she was a child, Lucy penned her first story with her father called Arthur’s Arm, at the ripe old age of eight. She has been writing ever since. Inspired by her father’s love of the written word and her mother’s encouragement through a constant supply of wonderful stationary, she wrote short stories for her young children, which they subsequently illustrated.
A self-confessed people watcher, stories that happen to real people have always fascinated her and this motivated her move to writing contemporary women’s fiction. Her writing has been described as pacy, human, moving and very real.
Lucy has been part of a local writing group for over ten years and has taken creative writing classes with Paul McVeigh, Jamie O’Connell and Curtis Brown Creative. She truly found her tribe when she joined Writer’s Ink in May 2020. Experienced in beta reading and critiquing, she is currently editing and polishing her debut novel.
Follow her on Instagram: lucy.ocallaghan.31. Facebook and Twitter: @LucyCOCallaghan

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