Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Literary Journal Submissions?

On another forum I found this question about literary journals: I'm a recent undergrad interested in applying to an MFA program next fall. Does anyone know of any good literary journals or magazines and other publications that would accept submissions from people who don't have an MFA? And what are the odds of a recent undergrad being published in these types of journals? Would I just be wasting my time?

Response from Speak Coffee:
I wish I could tell you where the best place to start looking is, but the truth is everyone wants that answer. As people have said, it's the strength of your work that matters the most. However, knowing what kind of journal you're sending your work to matters a lot as well. Make sure to read the guidelines thoroughly and to follow them. Read at least one if not several editions of the Lit Mag you're researching so that you know what kind of stories they take. This will help you find out what kind of company you're keeping as well as improve your odds.

Recent undergrads aren't frequently published -- not because of being recent undergrads, but because these things take time. Learning about writing and your own strengths takes time, polishing a good story takes time, researching lit mags takes time, submissions take time, then resubmissions take time, the editorial process before print takes time -- and more MFAs are published than recent undergrads because an MFA is nothing if not time, time to focus on writing and learning.

I say start trying to publish now. So long as you're not the type to cry over every half sheet rejection letter, what can it hurt?

Up Next: Review of Two New Books on Writing

Highly Recommended