We’ve been over some of these creative writing submission “don’ts” before, but I think that this article, “The Number One Worst Mistake A Writer Can Make When Submitting,” from Writer’s Relief is pretty valuable in that the quotes are from real life editors working for real life publications. It even provides the links to their journals, some of which I’ve never heard of before. I’m particularly intrigued by Inkwell Journal because of its commitment to discovering new talent. (I’m new and upcoming talent! So are many of you!)
You may have heard this advice before, but don’t ignore it this time. These editors really mean it! Even if your story is amazing, it’ll just piss them off (rightfully so) that you didn’t follow the basic instructions. Their advice mostly boils down to these cardinal rules:
#1: DO NOT ignore the submission guidelines. They are law.
#2: DO NOT submit without doing some background research (i.e. reading back issues, perusing the website archives). Make sure you’re sending in pieces that the journal would actually want to publish. Otherwise, it’s a waste of the editors’ time and yours because you should already know, it’s going to be a flat-out “no.”
If you avoid doing these things, you’re already one step closer to getting published. I can’t really put it better than Writer’s Relief, in this case:
The fact is that many writers—more than you may think—are not making professional, well-targeted submissions. So if YOU are making professional, well-targeted submissions, you’re a step ahead, a cut above, at the front of the line, the head of the class!
Good luck! Keep submitting! And submit smart.