Last week I wrote about the pros and cons of submitting to literary magazines. Something I realized as I was preparing for that is that there's a lot of articles about why one should submit to literary magazines but nothing about the downsides of it. They made it seem like magazines publications are the only way to get your short fiction and poetry out there other than through a big publication. And that's not true.


The other 3 other ways I recommend for getting your work and name out there.


My first suggestion is actually only for poets.


1. Perform at Open Mike Nights


If you're a college student like me, your university probably has some sort of open mike night where anyone can perform in front of an audience. If you’re not a college student, try to get in touch with your local arts scene. Ask around, research on the Internet, you might be surprised. Spoken word and poetry communities are out there. They're just very far underground. Sometimes bars, restaurants, and even bookstores will have opportunities to recite poetry.


I know that for some of you reciting your poetry for people is terrifying—it terrifies me too—but it's a great way to connect with other poets, share your work, and even gauge the quality of your work by how the audience responds to it. If you have any interest at all, I encourage you to try it out—a few times at least. The first time, you're going to be very nervous, so it might affect your performance negatively. But with some practice you’ll get better and more comfortable. If this becomes something you do regularly, you'll become better known in your local arts scene, which is a great starting point.


My next suggestion can work for all types of writers:


2. Posting on Wattpad and Similar Online Communities


With this, you’re basically cutting out the middle man of literary magazines to self-publish work to a community that’s already been formed. On Wattpad, you can post short stories and even individual chapters of a novel. I’m not sure about poetry since I’ve never done it myself, but you probably can. Then there’s also some similar sites solely for poetry like Allpoetry.com.


Once you post your writing, it’ll be placed where everyone can read it, and odds are a few people will click on it. It does take work, and it might take some time to get noticed. But if you post consistently and write well, you should get some traction. Then, you can also receive useful feedback from other members and maybe make some new friends.


But my first two suggestions are really steps contributing to my last way you can get your writing out there, and that is:


3. Building an Author Platform.


An author platform is a place online where your readers or potential readers can discover you, find out what you’re working on, and connect with you. This can be your website, a YouTube channel, social media accounts, sites like Wattpad, or even a podcast. The choice is yours. You can publish your writing on these places to easily share with others. And you can use my previous two suggestions as a way to meet people to point toward your author platform.


One of my cons for submitting to literary magazines was that it takes a lot of time, but do not misunderstand me when I say that building an author platform also takes a ton of time. You're not getting off easy either way. If you want to get your name out there, you have to put in the time and the effort. It’s really just a matter of which way do you prefer. Would you rather submit to literary magazines that will handle the publication for you and already have a readership in place, or would you rather bypass the gatekeepers, publish your work, and build a readership yourself?


Nowadays, there tends to be two main types of writers: ones that pursue traditional publishing and ones that pursue self-publishing.


I, myself, have decided to pursue self-publishing.

I used to submit to literary magazines, but I recently stopped because I wanted to try to build an author platform instead. I feel that it's more beneficial for me to share my work now to build an audience rather than waiting for a magazine to publish it. Self-publishing also appeals to me because I get to have 100% say with what I do with my work and I don't have to deal with gatekeepers.


Literary magazines are going to have more appeal to people pursuing traditional publishing. Publications are after all a way to draw the eye of agents and publishers. They also won't mind dealing with the gatekeepers as much. And the long waiting periods and the process of submitting will help prepare them for publishing a book later.


On the other hand, writers pursuing self-publishing are going to want to build an author platform anyway. It is absolutely crucial for success as a self-published author. Sharing your work online is a great way to start building a following, but you can't do that if you're submitting to literary magazines because then they’ll consider your work to have been previously published and won’t accept it. And oftentimes people don't have time to both submit to magazines and build an author platform.


Now both types of authors can benefit from either path. Already having an author platform will make it more likely that a traditional publisher will sign on with you. It's a safer bet for them because they know for certain that there are readers who will buy your book that they're considering investing money in to publish. Then, for independent authors, a magazine publication is a great way to reach a bigger audience and is something to add to your resume.


The Internet has changed everything.


Writers have more options now for sharing their work than they have ever had before. Literary magazines are a tried and true method, but don't feel like you can't try anything else. One path isn't going to work for everyone. Consider your own goals, what you like to do, and then figure out which path you should take and do it. I believe in you. Now, go and pursue your dreams.


#authorplatorm #publishing #writing

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  • Mary K Gowdy


Let me guess. You finished that short story or poem that you felt like for the first time wasn’t, like, total crap. And you thought, “Maybe this is it. Maybe I can publish this.” So you go to the Internet and find out about literary magazines, which ones to submit to and how one does that.


After going through all the bureaucratic-like bullshit of researching magazines, reading their rules, making cover letters, paying submission fees, and figuring out whatever the hell is a simultaneous submission or considered to be a previously published work, you receive several rejection letters back. But there were a few acceptances in there—maybe one or two. You were overjoyed and thought that maybe this means that I made it. You continue submitting to more. And as you go on with your existence where nobody knows who you are and you receive rejection letter after rejection letter, you begin to wonder: is submitting to literary magazine really worth it? And then what do you do to find that out? You go to the Internet. And that leads you straight here.


I’m not going to tell you whether you should submit to literary magazines or not, but I am going to review the pros and cons. Then, it's up to you to decide whether you think it's the best route, because contrary to thought, literary magazines aren't the only way to put your writing and your name out there.


Let's look first at the pros.


Pros


1. Helps Build Your Resume


You can add the acceptances to your resume, and then agents, publishers, schools, and whomever it may concern will be impressed. They’ll know that you put in the effort to write the piece, edit it, submit it to magazines, and most likely get rejected several times. But you kept at it and someone else saw value in your work. They’ll be more likely to accept you for whatever you're applying for over someone who has nothing on their resume.


2. Helps You Become Part of the Literary Community


For one, if accepted, you'll be sharing your work with a community of readers. Second, you'll establish connections with publishers and editors that may come in handy later on. They could help you snag a bigger publishing deal or to join the staff of a literary magazine yourself.


Also, a good way to get published in literary magazines is to read them so you'll understand what type of work they accept. By becoming both a reader and a writer, you'll ingratiate yourself even more within the community that shares your love for writing. And that's what this is all about, right?


3. Exposure


Plain and simple. You can't get your name out there if you don't get something published.


4. Helps Thickens Your Skin


You're going to receive a lot of rejections. And often, submitting to literary magazines is just a step down the longer road to publishing something bigger like a book, and the rejections for something like that are going to hurt even more. Being a writer entails a lot rejections. So, submitting to literary magazines is a good way to start thickening that skin. I can verify that though it's always going to suck some, it will get easier with some practice.


5. Helps Strengthen Your Work


This process might reveal to you that your work isn't ready yet. And that's okay. You'll go back and edit, and you'll figure out what works and what doesn't by the feedback from the magazines you receive. Once you start getting encouraging rejection letters, you'll know you're on the right track.


6. Payment for Writing


Some literary magazines will pay you for publishing your work. It's a pretty nice way to make money, but it ain't easy.


7. Personal Achievement - aka. bragging rights


There's nothing like being published and seeing your work appear in a literary magazine with your name beside it. Even if your fandom only consist of your friends and family, you feel more like a legit writer. And this feeling makes all the rejections and the hard work worth it.


As you can see there's a lot of pros to submitting to literary magazines. But what are some of the downsides?


Cons


1. Submission Fees


These can range anywhere from around $1 up to 3 or 5. When you're wanting to submit to several magazines to increase your options of acceptance, it can get expensive fast. Now there's tons without submission fees, but sometimes it can be hard to avoid them.


And that brings me onto my second con:


2. Not All Literary Magazines Pay For Your Writing


It's often the ones with submission fees that are willing to pay you. That money has to come from somewhere. So if you're only submitting to magazines without submission fees, chances are you're never going to earn money. However, if you do decide to pay the submission fees, you might never earn back what you put in.


3. It Takes a LOT of Time


It takes time to find and research literary magazines to see if your writing would be a good fit with them. And then you have to weed out the ones with submission fees if you're cheap like me. And you're a writer, so odds are you're broke. Then, there's actually submitting to them, making sure you follow their formatting guidelines and making cover letters.


As I said earlier, most people suggest that you actually subscribe and read the magazines to increase your chance of being accepted, but that takes even more time. While this might help, you're still going to get rejected most of the time, so there’s little payback for all the effort you're putting in.


4. Long Waiting Periods (especially if there’s no simultaneous submission)


Some literary magazines will make you wait six months or more to hear back. Having to wait that long isn't exactly rare, either.


And some do not accept simultaneous submissions. In case you don't know, simultaneous submissions are when you submit the same piece to multiple magazines at once. Some accept this and some don’t. Believe me: it's frustrating when you send your best piece to one magazine and can't send it anywhere else for months only to receive back a rejection.


On top of that:


5. You Can't Expose Your Work Elsewhere


The majority of literary magazines refuse to consider previously published work, and that includes anything that has been posted on the Internet. So why you're waiting months to hear back from literary magazines, you can't attempt to build a following by posting your work online. If you continue getting rejected, it can often feel like you're getting nowhere.

Also, if you publish a work in one magazine, you won't be able to get it published again by another (possibly more well-known) one. This applies to high school and university publications. You can, however, republish it yourself since the rights return to you a little while after the magazine’s publication.


6. One Publication Will Not Make Your Career


Unless you got published by one of the big dogs like The Paris Review or The New Yorker (which is extremely difficult to accomplish), you’ll most likely get published by a literary magazine no one has heard of and continue on living your unknown existence. At best, a publication will be a stepping stone for drawing the attention of an agent which can then lead to a bigger publication further down the road, and at worst, it’ll become an interesting party fact about you.


7. Trends


Certain things are in and certain things are out. It may be that your certain thing is out. This by no way means that your work is bad. Your writing may be great, but if the market isn't wanting it, magazines aren’t going to take it. The literary magazine community tends to lean towards certain genres more than others. While there are ones that specialize in sci-fi and fantasy, they are fewer and far between those that desire literary fiction (literary magazines -> literary fiction, get it?). The same goes for formal poetry. Free verse is all the rage right now.


Now, my last point can be a pro or a con depending on how you look at it.


Gatekeepers


Whether or not your piece is accepted will ultimately come down to the subjective opinion of the magazine’s staff. Some people consider that to be the way it should be—that they need the approval of others to give their writing legitimacy. And others find this system to be annoying and oppressive.


Those are the pros and cons of submitting to literary magazines, and now it’s up to you decide whether it's worth it. Next week, I'll be discussing the other ways writers can promote their work, and I'll be sharing my personal opinion on whether or not submitting to literary magazines is worth it. If that interests you, make sure to stay tuned by either subscribing to my YouTube Channel or signing up for my email list.


Thanks for reading. What are your thoughts on literary magazines? Do you consider submitting worth it?


#literarymagazines #writing #prosandcons #publishing

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  • Mary K Gowdy

Hey ya'll! I'm back and am ready to start posting again.


For those of you who don't know, I've been gone for the last five weeks on a study abroad trip in Spain! It was awesome. I definitely recommend that you try to study abroad if you still can. My language skills improved, and I got to see such beautiful places. I went to Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, and I even went to Austria to visit a friend, which was a lot of fun. I took tons of pictures, which I'm going to compile into a video and post on YouTube for ya'll to see.


Spain was amazing, but I'm kind of excited that's it's over because I have a lot of fun things planned for the back half of the year. In the front half of the year, I couldn't wait to do those things, but I didn't want to think about them till after Spain. I needed to focus on what I had to do at that time and then enjoy Spain before working on these upcoming projects.


But Spain's over. I can finally get rolling on some of these things I've been putting off because it just hasn't been the right time. But now's the time!


I want to first review the Year Resolutions I made at the beginning of the year, and then I want to make my monthly goals for July.


I had five year resolutions:


1. Begin Friday 10 Minute Stories


I was planning on posting every Friday a short story from some 10 minute writing prompts I had done. I did it for a month and then dropped that idea when I realized most of my short stories were funny whereas my longer fiction is quite the opposite. And the short stories weren't that good anyway.


I eventually turned to making a YouTube channel and have been posting more regularly there, which is what this goal was really about.


2. Recite My Poetry At Open Mic Nights


Accomplished. I've done it twice already this year. It was pretty nerve-wracking, but it was ultimately a lot of fun. I'm looking forward to doing it more in the future.


I feel like speaking poetry and performing it is important to enjoying poetry. I want to not only share the words on the written page but also me speaking them. And I've always wanted to do something artistic with my voice--whether that be singing or reciting poetry--and I've finally found that outlet.


3. Receive 25 Rejection Letters From Literary Magazines


My total now is 9, but I've stopped submitting to literary magazines. I feel like submitting to them isn't worth it because it takes up a lot of time for very little payback. It's difficult for me to even find literary magazines that I want to submit my poetry to. My tastes are pretty choosy so I don't like what's being published most of the time. Then, it's hard for me to find literary magazines I enjoy and think will likewise enjoy my poetry.


I suspect there's a better way for getting my poetry and my name out there. I've decided to pursue those options rather than the literary magazine route. Another drawback about submitting to literary magazines is that they will not accept previously published work, and they consider anything that has been published online to be "previously published". I can't put my poetry online if I'm wanting to submit to literary magazines. It's a tough situation, so I've decided to stop submitting and promote my work online instead.


So that resolution has likewise been dropped.


4. Publish My First Poetry Chapbook


I haven't accomplished this yet, but it is happening this fall! All the poems have been written, and it even has a title: Sensuality. (the period is included in the title). It has fourteen poems. I have a few more things to do concerning it, and I cannot wait to release it. It'll be sometime in September or October.


5. Finish Revisions for Episodes 3-10 before May 25th


This was for my current novel in progress--Volume 1 in The One and the Other Series. Each volume is separated into various episodes. Originally, Volume 1 had ten episodes, but now it has only nine.


I accomplished this resolution. I finished all the edits, prepared it for beta readers, and sent it off to them before I left for Spain, which was my big goal for the first half of the year.

Those were all my year resolutions: 2 accomplished, 1 waiting to be so, and 2 have been dropped by the wayside. Oh well, that's life.


Now, here are my goals for both the month of July and the rest of the year:


1. July Goal - Write 20 poems


This is a lofty goal for me. The most I've written in a month has been 8. I have tons of ideas for poems and I really want to get cracking on them. Also, I'm beginning work on a concept for a full-length poetry book. I've been procrastinating on it because it intimidates the shit out of me. With my chapbook Sensuality., I had already written most of the poems before knowing I would publish them together. This full-length book is the first time I've had to write poems to purposefully fit a concept.


I've already written a couple so far. I'm aiming to write a poem a day, understanding that some poems will take multiple days to write and I'll probably miss a day every now and then.


2. July Goal - Finish Recordings for Sensuality.


I've wanted to record myself reciting all of the poems from this chapbook so I can release them alongside it. I started recording a few weeks ago when I was in Austria with my friend. We recorded most of the poems, and it went really well. Way better than I thought it was going to turn out. I'm very surprised and excited. I can't wait to share it with people, but there's a few poems we didn't get to that I need to record on my own. Then, my friend--Thaddeus Cochrane--will produce them, and I can release them with the chapbook this fall. Keep on your toes. That is coming soon.


3. July Goal - Post Regularly on YouTube


This is both a month and the rest of the year resolution. I want YouTube to be a platform where I can reach out to people and share my art through. Hopefully, I can get into a schedule soon.


4. Year Goal - Write 35 Poems


Last year, I wrote 27, and I want to surpass that this year. I hardly wrote any poems during the first half of the year. I think I wrote like 4. If I write 20 poems in July, I hope to catch up and then continue writing so I can pass last year. I have tons of ideas for poems that I want to finally get down to writing.


5. Year Goal - Recite at More Open Mic Nights


I want to do this a lot more in the fall. Then, I hope that I can also use this to promote my chapbook. I think it'll be a lot of fun.


6. Year Goal - Finish Beta Reading Stage and Begin the Final Rounds of Revisions for Volume 1 of The One and the Other


I'm hoping to complete the beta reading stage sometime in the early fall, and afterwards, I'll analyze the data. I want to start the final edits before the end of the year but I don't know if I'll be able to finish them by then. I don't know how much I'll have to edit or how long it'll take because I've never done this type of thing before. I won't know till I receive my feedback. While it's being beta read, I'm focusing more on poetry.


Those are all my goals for July and the rest of the year! I'm really excited and can't wait to share all of these things with you. I hope you're as excited as I am! Stay tuned. We'll keep in touch. Thanks for reading!

#monthlygoals #writing #betareading #yeargoals

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