The quest to achieve your heart’s desire can make you susceptible to the wiles of snake oil salesmen. Over and over again I see blogs with titles that claim to include insider information for writers peppered with phrases that include: how to get published, insider tips, and editors’ preferences. I plead guilty to putting these phrases into my tag list to attract readers sometimes, because even a simple blog post cries out for followers.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was some type of magic formula, aspiring writers could ingest, to instantly transform them into literary greats? But dedication to the craft, perseverance and luck are the three ingredients on the top of my list necessary to achieve some degree of publishing success.
It’s fun to dream and the dreams keep us going, but the good fairy is not going to tap you on the shoulder and grant all your wishes. However, I’ve found if I can keep pushing myself to continuously send out pieces, when they are ready, it is possible to see a few of your stories and essays in print (or online) in a vetted publication. So I share my conviction that you can’t be deterred by the odds. The joy is in the writing, but getting published keeps you going.
I’m often asked where I find publications to submit my work to and currently I find myself consulting three platforms: Submittable, Duotrope, and Chill Subs. Submittable and Chill Subs are free to use.
Duotrope, after a free one month trial, costs approximately $5 a month and sends out newsletters with specific call-outs for themes and news about which publications are currently open and closing for submission. Duotrope also gathers statistics on response times and acceptance rates and publishes them in monthly reports.
Chill Subs is the newest of the three, and does an admirable job of attempting to convey to writers to the general vibe of a publications, ie. “Top tier stuff, not Paris Review, but ok” vs. “We’re Just Chillin here”. (They currently have six categories of vibe ratings.)
Submittable easily keeps you organized between submissions, rejections, withdrawals etc.. They post opportunities in the descending order of deadlines and then you must use their filters to narrow down genre and whether you wish to pay submission fees, etc. Each platform has its strengths and weaknesses. The more you use them, the more you learn about how to best utilize what they offer.
Facebook groups, Instagram, Twitter, and various bloggers can also provide leads on new magazines and opportunities. So as a blogger, here I will do my part to share news about some writing opportunities on writing platforms such as Medium. I started subscribing to Medium, about eight years ago, because it was an easy way to gain access to dozens of different articles on various topics that included science, technology, history, and writing.
Medium hosts a number of publications, including Tell Your Story that publishes true stories vetted by editor Chris Sowers who writes on the about page, “Everyone has a story to tell, probably many more than one. Tell Your Story is home for the best creative nonfiction and personal essays on Medium, stories from the heart that help us all understand a little bit more about ourselves and the world around us.” This month, October, Tell Your Story is having a contest with cash prizes. The deadline for entering is October 31 st. The best true stories are simply and honestly told. Shorter is always better than longer. Click on the link to here to get all the details.
Just prior to the announcement of the story contest, I submitted a piece to Tell Your Story and it was published within a week, which was a refreshing change from the standard two to ten month wait to hear back from the majority of publications. You can read my true story,”His Exit Line Was I Have a Headache” here.
Thank you for reading. Please follow me, Nadja Maril, on Medium and on Twitter at SN Maril.