I recently discovered two sneaky publishing hacks for literary magazines, and I’ve been meaning to share them with you! My goodness, it has been a minute since I blogged. Like so many of you, my life was sort of rearranged over the past year and a half! It’s been kind of a bumpy ride. Before we get started, I want to acknowledge the craziness that has been the past while and to extend my deepest wishes that you were all doing OK out there in cyberspace. And that you are continuing to make time for your writing practice!
One of the things I’m getting back into is submitting work for publication. That definitely took a backseat over the pandemic! But I was able to submit some visual art, something that I like to do about once a year. My background is actually in painting, and it feels really nice to offer some of my artwork to literary magazines.
On this round of submissions, I learned about two publishing hacks, and I’m excited to share them with you today so you can start using them too!
Super Sneaky Publishing Hack #1: Always Query, Even if You Think it’s Hopeless!
One of the markets I submitted to is the New Reader Magazine, one of my favorite publications of all time. I’ve had a couple of poems published by them, and they always do an amazing job curating content and making it look beautiful. So I thought, why not submit some artwork!?
The only problem was, I didn’t hear back for months and months. I use Duotrope to track my submissions, and the number of days out was highlighted in red, letting me know it was either time to query or mark it as “never responded.”
Now, previous to this experience, I always thought it was a waste of time to query. It inevitably led to rejection or, worse, no response… which made me feel like an even bigger failure.
However, I knew this publication was really friendly and great to work with, so I wrote an email. When I didn’t get a response, I knew something was up, and I contacted their general email instead of the one I’d been using for the editor.
As it turns out, the publication had changed editors while I had submitted and had lost track of my work! The new editor found my submission and accepted three pieces right away!
Lesson learned: ALWAYS query!
Super Sneaky Publishing Hack #2: Submit Visual Art & Open the Back Door to Competitive Markets!
This next hack is a bit of a back door that I discovered as well. I have been submitting to Zoetic Press’s Non-Binary Review for a while, but my writing just never got in. I thought, why not try submitting some artwork?
Not only does this market pay well for artwork, but I also could see in Duotrope that they have low submission rates for this category, so my chances were way better.
In fact, not a ton of people submit artwork to literary magazines. It is WAY LESS competitive than poetry or fiction!
Now, because I’m in the “in“ crowd with Zoetic Press, I get early, exclusive submission calls from the publication before it goes out to everyone in the universe. And, I was invited to join a contributors-only Facebook group. So not only do I have a relationship with the journal at long last, but I also get first dibs on future submissions!
Lesson learned: submitting visual art can open doors.
If you’re an artist or like to doodle, consider submitting work! And if you don’t consider yourself to be artsy-fartsy? Then check out some of these hacks:
Hacks to turn your creative writing into artwork!
Even though I went to art school, I’m not one of those pretentious noses in the air, I’m so special painters. I deeply believe that everybody is creative and can make art.
Having trouble getting a short story or poem accepted? Running into writer’s block? Try some creative parallel fun with art-making… And then submit your artwork to increase your chances of acceptance!
Art ideas to hack publishing and creativity:
- Print out your story or poem. Then cut out each word or sentence, depending on how fancy you want to get. Break out some magazines and a glue stick, and make a crazy collage. Then paste your words over the artwork! Bam, you are a collage artist! Submit that cool thing!
- Find a book that you hate (I chose Twilight, don’t hate me!). Turn that book into a sculpture! Or, rip out pages, cut out interesting phrases and words, and do the collage exercise above. (See the video down below for more!) OR, make some blackout poetry (see photo below)!
- Sign up for an art class, either online or in-person! Create something fun that you never would’ve done on your own. Check out gel printing, scrapbooking, or a creative practice that uses found materials. Make something weird! Stamp, scribble, or paint your poetry onto it, then snap a picture and try submitting it!
Feel free to try some of these ideas. The worst thing that can happen is that you’ll have some fun. You might also beat writer’s block, create something funky to submit to a literary magazine, and get your foot in the door.
Keep on Writing! And Creating!
I’ve gotten really down lately about how competitive it is to get your work published as a writer. I mean, it just gets brutal sometimes. I recently had a long spat of rejections, and Duotrope let me know that my acceptance rate was still higher than average. I don’t know if it was trying to cheer me up, but it definitely just made me more depressed.
Putting your work out there is great. I mean, it’s important. I try and make time to do it every month and submit a lot of work in batches. But I always have to remind myself that publishing isn’t the reason why I write or create. I do it because it’s fun and I like it! I feel like if I lose sight of that, the game is all over, and I’ve lost.
How do you keep your creative spark going strong? How do you keep up submitting work to publications? Let us know in the comments below!