It’s been a slow couple of days posting on here because of submission madness. I thought I’d quickly outline how I go about submitting to magazines and journals both online and in print.
I rarely enter competitions anymore but generally submit poems to publications between forty and sixty times a year. If that sounds like a lot try taking a look at how many awesome magazines are out there! I stopped entering poetry competitions because it felt very disconnected. I love finding journals, magazines and blogs that I love reading and then finding if any of my work is likely to suit their editors. Submitting to publications is a great community-building tool that allows you to re-imagine your own work, read what other poets are writing and hopefully gain some insight into what readers are taking away from poetry.
I tend to send out submissions in batches so that I always have the widest possible range of my own work to choose from. I never submit simultaneously so if I have a long list of places that I want to send poetry to, by doing it all at once I can make sure that my poems are matched to the best possible publication for them. This takes a lot of time, a lot of organisation and a lot of practice.
I have folders set up on my computer with all of the publications that I love so I can open a couple of windows in Chrome full of tabs and see who is seeking submissions, how many poems they want and what they are looking for. I make a comprehensive list of ALL of them and then I get my poetry folder out.
I have to work in paper for this part. I have every poem with the most current edits, typed up and printed out and I keep them all in a folder. I write on this every time it’s been rejected from somewhere so I know which publications it doesn’t suit. I go through each poem, carefully to see if I have something that will work for a submission. When I think something will fit I write the name of the publication on a post-it note and stick it on the poem so if one piece works for two magazines I can choose between them.
Then it’s a case of choosing and making sure I’ve got it all written down. Fiddly and time-consuming? Yes. Useful? You bet!
It takes me a full day to go through the poems and then another day to send all of the submissions off, making sure that I send it in the right format.
I have a spreadsheet showing me where each poem has gone and a document with a list of everything that is out on submission at any one time. I think this all comes under the idea of really treating my poetry like a business. It’s all organised and accounted for so I can see very quickly where all my work is and how it has been received.
So, that’s my process, I’m sure y’all have different methods but this one works for me! Now all I have to do is keep my fingers crossed that I did a good job matching them up!