Quiz: How to Identify (And Avoid) Submitting Your Creative Writing Under the Influence

It happens late at night.  Well after everyone else has gone to bed, during the witching hour when there’s not even any good reruns on television.  You’ve checked your email and submishmash account 12 times successively in the hopes of an update.  You reread the short story which most recently received rejection from the literary world.  You’re impressed by the performance of each sentence and reassured that the story is damn good.  It deserves to be published.

You google search for literary journals and magazines that might be the perfect home for your short story.  You read their “About” page and are convinced that you MUST submit.  ASAP.

And this is where the dangerous activity starts.

You decide to submit your creative writing right then.  At 3am.  Without reading the contents of the literary journal first.

This is not smart creative writing submission practices.  You might not like waiting for submission responses, and though I can promise you that submitting blinding without doing the research will get you a response letter real quick, without a miracle, it will always be a rejection letter.

But worse than a sense of disappointment over yet another rejection letter, you’ve quite possibly insulted an editor.  If you submit again in the future, your short story might have a hard time getting past that bad first impression.

I’ll admit it.  Hello, I’m Hannah and I have been a reckless creative writing submitter.  [shameful hang of head].  But what’s more embarrassing is that I’ve done it recently.  I should know better.  So I sincerely apologize for cover letters that didn’t follow submission guidelines and submitting short stories that don’t belong in the literary journal in question.  All I can say is that I’m forcing myself to go to be before that sleepy-irrational-dangerous witching hour, and highly recommend that everyone do the same.

[PANK] magazine already has had to deal with my irresponsible creative writing submission.  I encourage you to only submit if you’ve got an awesome short story that they’re actually gong to want to publish.

What they want:  anything and everything.  There are no official guidelines, but there’s definitely a style.

How [PANK] wants it:  via submishmash.

When [PANK] wants it:  anytime.  It’s rolling submissions.

How [PANK] publishes it:  online and print.  Read it!

Official submission response time:  none.

My personal submission response time:  3 days.

Quiz: Are You Submitting Your Creative Writing Under the Influence?

  1. How many issues of the magazine have you read?
  2. Why does your creative writing fit in this particular journal?
  3. Does your creative writing fall within a genre and word count that the journal is actually interested in?

If you answered:

  1. At least one, cover to cover
  2. Because it’s like another particular story, poem, theme, or style previously published in the journal; and
  3. Yes

Then you are safe to submit your creative writing to the journal.  The sooner the better.

BUT.  If you answered any of the questions incorrectly with things like “none,” “because it’s well-written,” and “I don’t know,” then STOP IMMEDIATELY.  Read the journal or magazine and don’t submit until you get all the right answers.

Reexamine your last three creative writing submissions.  Do you pass the quiz, or fail?


Published by hannahkarena

author & book publishing person.

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