Tag Archives: The Gettysburg Review

#WW Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

15 Apr

Rejected? How to Keep Submitting

Lately, I’ve been trying to help a lot of fellow writers find publishers, literary journals, and websites where they can share their work. The market is HUGE (hence the giant, capital letters), but for many, this is both a positive and a negative description of the industry. With so many options, how does someone know where to submit? And with so many opportunities, why do I keep getting rejected?

rejectThere are so many answers for this, and none of them are accurate. It’s all guesswork. I can’t tell someone why their manuscript was denied by so-and-so, and I can’t explain why someone else’s poetry made it into The Gettysburg Review over someone else. Only the judgers could, for certain, say why, but even then, it often comes down to their mood that day or their theme that month or how well it would fit in with the other work they already accepted. Again, guesswork.

That being said, this is when I see too many writers give up hope. They’ve submitted to 20 or so places and either received rejections or nothing at all, so they stop. Now, I want to take this moment to clarify that I’m talking about submitting to places today. I’m not discussing self-publishing. While I completely support (and often suggest) self-publishing, it isn’t for everyone, and many people do give up when submitting starts to overwhelm them, so this post is more for them – this post is for those writers who have specific journals they want to see their name in, to see a certain label on their work, to be among the voices of their favorite journal. That’s their goal and their decision, and I see nothing wrong with it. So, again, while I support self-publishing, this post is directed at writers who are submitting to places who might feel discouraged by the process. Below, I’m outlining a few steps to keep your pen up and your ink flowing while also submitting and submitting and submitting until that rejection pile becomes an acceptance pile.

Here are ways to keep submitting: (I’m going to use poems for the example)

Keep a Submission Journal

Set a goal for submitting a certain number of times during a specific timeframe. Ex. I will submit three poems to three journals every month. Now, here’s the tricky part – keep track of that goal. Write down what poems, what journals, and what dates you submitted. This will help remind you that you are currently submitting, and even if you get rejected, I guarantee you’ll already feel better because – chances are – you’ll already have other poems circulating for submission. Many journals, for instance, take months to get back to someone, so submitting different poems in different places will prevent you from getting that “I’m never submitting again” feeling because you’ll already have other submissions pending.

Keep Writing

While I believe it’s okay to have a specific poem you definitely want to get published, try submitting other ones too, and definitely keep writing new ones. A story I like to tell everyone involves my poetry publications. When I started submitting them, it was almost always the poems I NEVER thought they’d pick that were chosen in the end. My “best” poems in my mind are not my “best” poems in someone else’s mind. Remember that one reader won’t like everything, so send out more than just one piece of work. Send out a variety. And then write some more. And keep writing.

Keep Reading

One mistake I see many writers make is the lack of reading, especially of the journals and/or publishers they’re submitting to. I, myself, have made that mistake by accidentally submitting a controversial piece to a journal that no longer accepted controversy. Despite the fact that I kept reading the journal, I never noticed the theme change – so it’s important to read the journal and also take notes on the journal’s overall voice and goals. Sometimes writers think they can go around this by just reading the submission guidelines, but it isn’t rare to see “to get a feel for what we accept, read our latest edition….” at the top of submission pages. Even better, many literary journals offer a free copy for you to review, so read, and read a lot. You might even find a new writer you love.

Make a Mentor List

You know you have them. Your favorite novelist. Your favorite poet. A TED speaker. We all look up to someone, and it’s great to figure out where that someone came from. Even better, find someone with similar topics and/or voice, and check out where they came from and how they got their start. That famous writer wasn’t born a famous writer. They had to submit too. And you know what? I bet they even received rejections. But they never gave up, and you shouldn’t either.

Keep on submitting!

~SAT

Publishing Tips: Nonfiction

19 May

Quick announcement: if you can produce a review before the end of May, email me at shannonathompson@aol.com for a FREE copy of Minutes Before Sunset via Smashwords! 

I’m switching it up today! I normally talk about young-adult fiction, specifically sci-fi or fantasy, but I thought I’d leave a list of nonfiction journals where you all can submit your work to. I got this list from my Nonfiction Writing I class at the University of Kansas. The reasoning I’m including journals, rather than publishers, is simple: journals give an opportunity to get your name out there if you don’t already have something published, and they have a higher acceptance rate, depending on which one you’re submitting to. However, some of these journals also accept poetry, prose, and more, so check it out, even if you don’t write nonfiction. You might get something else published!

As an extra, I’m also including my three finalized personal essays from this class, so you all can see what I learned. (If you can recall, I wrote Writing Tips: How I Handle Rejection on March 23, 2013, and I included a first draft, which is now below, rewritten and edited.)

My essays: They will open as PDF files.

  • Flashbacks: This is the edited version of the only essay I’ve shared before. It’s about my mother’s death, along with my roommate’s death, and how these moments, along with other traumatic events, have affected my views on mortality.
  • My Weeklong Marriage and the Lying Truth: I’ve mentioned my vacation to Puerto Rico quite often, and there’s a reason for that. It was one of the most important vacations in my life, and this essay is about what I learned while I was there. However, it is explicit, but I don’t want to ruin the contents either by explaining.
  • Now[here]: This particular essay is about my life on the road. As many of you know, I have moved over fifteen times, and I’ve lived in five different states. This is where my desire for creativity began and how it formed somewhere beyond the window. This essay also includes quotes from Erin Moure’s The Unmemntioable.
This is my favorite photo taken during my vacation in Puerto Rico. I'm sharing this as a part of my essay, "My Weeklong Marriage and the Lying Truth."

This is my favorite photo taken during my vacation in Puerto Rico. I’m sharing this as a part of my essay, “My Weeklong Marriage and the Lying Truth.”

Nonfiction Journals: Now. This is a list of all of the journals we discussed in my class. I will add some information, but I can’t include everything (because there is A LOT of specifics.) If you’re interested in submitting, I highly encourage everyone to continue to read over the journal before doing so. This list is simply a collection where you can begin:

  • AGNI: Poetry, essays, fiction, creative nonfiction, autobiography, memoir, cross-genre, prose, narrative, and literary fiction. Accepted Sep. 1 and May 31.
  • Brevity: Publishes well-known and emerging writers. Work must be shorter than 750 words. Reads between May and September.
  • Ecotone: all forms of literature within a transition zone between two adjacent ecological communities. Reading period between Aug. 15 and Apr. 15.
  • The Iowa Review: nonfiction, but unsolicited manuscripts are accepted during the fall semester only.
  • The Georgia Review: nonfiction, specifically subjects against a broad perspective. Reading period between Aug. 16 – May 14.
  • The Gettysburg Review: essays over literature, art, science, history, film, and contemporary thought. Reading period is between Sep. 1 and May 31.
  • The Gulf Coast: accepts fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and reviews. Reading between Sep. 1 and March 1, but there are prizes and contests.
  • The Kenyon Review: short fiction and essays up to 7,500 words, poetry, plays, excerpts from larger works, and translated poetry or prose. Reading period is Sep. 15 through Jan. 15.
  • Missouri Review: nonfiction only. No restrictions on length or topic. But they only accept online submissions for $3.
  • New Letters: essays of fiction, nonfiction, and some poems. Most essays are between 3,000 and 5,000 words. No simultaneous submissions.
  • The Normal School: nonfiction, memoir, personal essays, and creative nonfiction with contemporary styles. Most interested in whatever goes against the norm. Literary short fiction, poetry, and culinary journalism, but no unsolicited criticism. Manuscripts read between Sep. 1 to Dec. 1 & Jan. 15 to Apr. 15.
  • N + 1: Instructions say to read a couple pieces to see if your genre fits. Submit if you decide it’s applicable.
  • The Fourth Genre: contemporary and creative nonfiction. Accepted between Aug. 15 – Nov. 30.
  • Threepenny Review: includes art from many different genres, including but not limited to, fiction, nonfiction, essays, memoirs, poetry, operas, plays, books, film, and photography. Submit whenever but multiple submissions will be ignored.
  • Under the Sun: creative nonfiction (no academic articles or review essays). Very short pieces (2-3 pages.) Manuscripts read between Aug. 15 – Jan. 2.

    If you want more information, I share a lot on my Facebook page! You can also ask me anything you'd like. Join by clicking here.

    If you want more information, I share a lot on my Facebook page! You can also ask me anything you’d like. Join by clicking here.

Good luck! Let me know if any of you submit and/or get published (or have been published) in these journals. I’d love to share the links with everyone as positive examples to help others be inspired into publication 😀

~SAT

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