Magazine Submission Etiquette
As you all may or may not know, I found a literary magazine called The Corner Club Press about 3 years ago. I am now simply the president and web designer for the magazine, having decided to take a backseat to focus on all the other things going on in my life. In any case, throughout these three years, I have come across a multitude of things that are just downright annoying. You expect them, but countless posts have been written like mine, and, yet, writers still do these things we tell them not to do. I feel like there are no excuses anymore, not when you have an entire world’s worth of information at your fingertips. Not to mention that every reputable magazine should have solid submission guidelines. In any case, let’s begin with what you should be doing when submitting a short story or poetry piece, or when you are considering doing so.
- Follow submission guidelines down to the very last letter, lest you be rejected. It doesn’t even matter that the submission guidelines are detailed. People will still sub to us with wonky or small fonts, incorrect formatting, genres we don’t want, or more pieces beyond the limits we’ve established. We’re not desperate for submissions. We receive more than enough. And, to be frank, when I was going through the slush pile, I was looking for any reason to reject a piece because I’d get so many. The ones we accept are the rare few that make us not want to get up from our chairs to fetch a snack.
- When submitting, address us accordingly. I once had a writer address me as Mr. Forbes. Read the bios. They’re not just there for gloating.
- Rejection. Throughout the three years of the CCP’s existence, only one has ever gotten into a fight with us about rejecting his piece. I wasn’t able to find the e-mail he sent us. Otherwise, I would have posted it right here, sans name. I am not above doing that. We editors eventually develop a snarky side. I can’t even remember exactly what he said, either, but it was enough to cause me to send a polite, nasty letter to him, simply for the sake of his own writing career. So, technically, I was doing him a favor by responding at all. Mariah was the one who read his response first, by the way. I don’t look at submissions anymore. I trust my experienced staff with them.
- Don’t respond to rejection letters. Even if you’re just thanking us for taking the time out of our day to read your piece, don’t do it. At all. It’s not going to make us accept your next piece, just as not responding is going to make us reject your next piece. Just send to us again. That alone tells us you really want to be in our magazine, and that alone makes us hope we eventually accept you.
- Respond to acceptances immediately. Please. Don’t send us a revised version, either. We liked what you originally sent us. Plus, we do light editing anyway.
- Don’t tell us to make corrections AFTER PUBLICATION, when there is no error on our part. I actually had one writer tell me I published the wrong story. It was THE ONLY story said writer had submitted. Poets are especially notorious for doing this. Don’t tell us to italicize something when it wasn’t italicized to begin with. This means having to go through and change something so you don’t slander our magazine, having to change links, and then having to re-upload the issue. Think about how you’re inconveniencing us before you send a correction to an error we never made. We’re not perfect, and we have made errors in the past that we’ve fixed, but if no errors were present to begin with, don’t accuse us of doing something we didn’t do in the first place.
There you go! My post will be just one of thousands already written, but it’s worth repeating, over and over and over and over and over…