On Finding Venues to Submit to—For the Beginner

By John C. Mannone

John C. Mannone is former President of CWG 2016-2019 and currently sits on the board of directors. He has poetry in North Dakota Quarterly, Le Menteur, Blue Fifth Review, Poetry South, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, New England Journal of Medicine, and others. He won the Jean Ritchie Fellowship (2017) in Appalachian literature and served as the celebrity judge for the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (2018). His poetry collection Flux Lines: The Intersection of Science, Love, and Poetry, is forthcoming (Linnet’s Wings Press, 2010). He edits poetry for Abyss & Apex, Silver Blade,and others.

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

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