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Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues? : Tips and Advice • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

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jpappas8112
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Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby jpappas8112 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 3:18 pm

When submitting to literary magazines, what is your strategy?

Many literary magazines advise you to read back issues to "get a feel of whether or not your work is a good fit" for them. I find this advice somewhat frustrating because

1) If I'm submitting to 20 magazines, I don't have time to read 20 different literary magazines. I'm an avid reader, but I usually stick to novels. It's just what I prefer. And if I do read an issue, I can't just read one story per magazine. I have to read the entire issue to truly "get a feel" and I just don't have the time for that.

2) Even if my writing isn't quite the same as the magazine I've just read, well, isn't that a good thing? Obviously if I write fantasy fiction and your magazine is for poetry, then I shouldn't submit. But if something about my writing is unique to you and sparks your interest, isn't it better I submitted even if I didn't think our styles meshed?

I've taken to reading the anthologies (Best Short Stories of, O. Henry Prize Stories, etc.), but with each story I read, I don't necessarily think that I've picked up on a hugely specific style. Every story is different, but I can't honestly say "Tin House stories are like this, while Agni stories are so different because they're like this". Maybe I just haven't read enough.

So, I'm asking you writers. Do you read the back issues? Anthologies? Or do you just check the guidelines, and then blindly submit?

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DrG2
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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby DrG2 » Tue Aug 09, 2016 7:53 pm

I've read an issue of perhaps 1/3rd of the magazines I've submitted to, and I'm trying to increase that (One of the things I'm currently reading is Paris Review, which, upon reading, is probably not a good choice for many of my stories).

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roda havet
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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby roda havet » Tue Aug 09, 2016 8:02 pm

I'm not an expert and haven't really submitted anything to a magazine. Although I would suggest doing a little research on the stories a particular magazine has before trying to submit anything. :)
[color=#00BF00]Dream to live, live to dream, and write to love, love to write![/color]

jpappas8112
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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby jpappas8112 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 9:20 am

I've read a wide variety of stories through the anthologies, all published in different places. And honestly, never once have I thought "Wow, this story is so stylistically similar to my work!" In fact, I feel as though my stories are actually very different from the ones I read in anthologies. This may be because short stories are not normally my medium. I'm a novelist, I write YA. Maybe my short fiction sounds more like YA, and that's why I feel like my stories are so different than the anthologies I've read.

Maybe it's time to look into magazines published for teenagers? None of my short fiction is about a teenager though! They just "sound" like YA, if that makes sense.

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DrG2
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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby DrG2 » Wed Aug 10, 2016 3:38 pm

One thing I look at is the credentials of the authors in the mags. If they all have multiple published novels, an MFA, and teach at a university, it's probably not a magazine that will consider me, unless they have a contest.

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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby kamalayka » Thu Aug 11, 2016 11:00 am


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u.v.ray
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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby u.v.ray » Thu Aug 11, 2016 12:58 pm

Out from Murder Slim Press:
We Are Glass - Short Stories.
Spiral Out - novella
The Migrant - novella
Black Cradle - novel

jpappas8112
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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby jpappas8112 » Fri Aug 12, 2016 9:33 am

With the anthologies, I'm still getting the sense that these short stories have a certain style that I just don't incorporate into my own work. I'm wondering if there are other literary magazines I can look into that are better fit for me.

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Re: Literary Magazine Submissions: Do you read back issues?

Postby James A. Ritchie » Fri Aug 19, 2016 11:49 pm



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