By John C. Mannone
As poets & writers, we love to write (and for the serious artist, revise) and we love to read; we often want to publish, but are afraid and/or overwhelmed by the choices and protocols of the submission process; and many of us don’t much care about marketing our work (even though we might realize that it doesn’t happen without our dedicated effort). We can enter a discussion on all these things but for now, I will mention only a few things that will help with finding markets and submitting work.
Early in my writing when I tried to find markets to submit my poems (and late my prose) in hopes of publication, I was very frustrated. No sooner would I finish my research into a venue (to see if there could be a match for both of us), the submission window closed. Yes, I was slow but I had to learn on my own; I had no mentor. I needed to find a strategy that wouldn’t result in failure (and further frustrate me). I found that themed venues gave me enough breathing room to learn the rules of the game of publishing. It was easy to search my portfolio for a match because I logged all my creative works in an Excel spreadsheet (and kept track of submissions and rejections/acceptances with it as well). Perhaps some poems could have been adapted but I often created fresh works in a timely manner…and I received acceptances (as well as rejections).
I learned how imperative it was to follow the submission guidelines. My cover letters were short but would indicate that I read work from the journal. Perhaps I don’t comment as much as I used to because I have a reputation, and far more importantly, confidence in my work, but it was a good strategy that helped me stand out.
In those early years, I used Duotrope, and it was very helpful. It was free then but now you’d pay a small fee to use. If I recall, it’s $5/month or $50/year. I would recommend using it for a month or two where your confidence and skill in finding venues will increase significantly.
I have also used these other resources:
(1) CRWRPPS (formerly a Yahoo-based group)—facilitated by Allison Joseph (editor of the Crab Orchard Review)—is now a blog that you can visit: https://creativewritersopps.blogspot.com/
(2) New Pages has been very helpful (especially for reviews of individual issues of selected journals) https://newpages.com/
(3) Facebook groups, more recently, has served me well. Here are two that I have extensively used: “Calls for Submission (Poetry, Fiction, Art)” https://www.facebook.com/groups/35517751475/about and “Call for Submission” https://www.facebook.com/groups/156020074604805/about
Consider these non-paying venues promoting various themes, which are listed alphabetically. I support these because I like their supportive stance toward the writing community and don’t have difficult submission protocols (but be sure you follow the guidelines!):
Altered Reality Magazine (SciFi/fantasy)
*American Diversity Report (cultural/religious diversity; women’s issue)
Atunis Galaxy Poetry (general)
The Avocet: A Journal of Nature Poetry
The Ekphrastic Review (especially the biweekly challenge)
The Elixir Magazine (general)
Heart of Flesh Literary Journal (Christian poetry)
Quill & Parchment (seasonally themed; also has ekphrastic prompts)
The Rye Whiskey Review (alcohol-infused poems)
Setu: A Bilingual and Peer-Reviewed Journal of Literature, Arts, and Culture
The Starlight Emporium Magazine (seasonal)
* With bias, since I am their poetry editor