Though I’d been writing poetry very regularly since my sophomore year of high school, I did not start submitting my poems to publications until January of 2006. Being my own harshest critic, I was prepared to get rejected to all the places I submitted, so I set a rule that I would only submit my work via e-mail or online submission forms (as an economic decision). However, I was surprised to find more than 20 of my poems accepted over the first 15 months or so of my submission efforts.
After success via e-mail and online submission forms (and with the ability to afford stamps without sacrificing my son’s next haircut appointment), I decided it was time to start submitting to places that only accept submissions the traditional route. That’s what I’m currently in the process of doing, and I’m wondering if that is a good or bad thing.
I wonder: Am I somehow just following the crowd by submitting by post? Am I doing it just to have a cool credit? Should I just be trying to get my material published as fast as possible by whoever “understands” what I’m getting at?
By the way, I don’t have any answers to those questions yet. Just thinking out loud.
As far as the respectability factor, Virginia Quarterly Review and The Pedestal Magazine–both very respectable publications–only accept submissions online. The New Yorker and Ploughshares accept submissions online and through the post. So there shouldn’t be any kind of taboo on online submissions–it all comes down to what works best for the editors.
Yet, I’ve noticed that I submit by traditional mail if I’m given the option of either/or, because I figure traditional mail at least forces the editors to open the envelope. Online submissions are so easy to “accidentally” delete or forget.
I submit both ways, but I’m wondering if one is better than the other. Or is a mix-and-match approach the best way to submit.