Friday, September 14, 2018

Tips for Submitting Work as a Spoonie

1.  Wait for a "good" day.
No energy and brain fog guarantee mistakes and frustration.

2.  Start from a list. 
There are websites that post monthly or even weekly lists of literary magazines and presses open to submissions.  Some post only fee-free opportunities.  These allow you to begin with a manageable pool.


3.  Narrow the list and make it yours.
The computer's search function is your friend.  Type in your genre and scroll through the entries.  Look at each for restrictions, fees, etc.  Write down any that seem to fit.  Be aware of any deadlines listed (and only select the ones you think you'll get to in time).

4.  Pick a number of places to check.
Decide how many markets you can research without depleting yourself or having all the information run together.  If you aren't sure, start with two.  Check guidelines and sample work, contributors' biographies and editors' blogs.  Sometimes, editors give interviews which are more helpful than many writers realize.  Take notes.  Cut any places that don't seem like they fit.

This step is going to take a number of days due to spreading out the necessary research.  I use deadlines to dictate which magazines/presses to check first.

5.  Prepare yourself beforehand.
Finished work should always be in a separate folder for easy access.  You should also have different versions of a print-ready biography (different lengths, credits based on genre, etc.) and a cover letter template.  It might take a while to set up, but it's worth it.

6.  Keep a submission log that's easy to track.
Matching pieces to places and sending them will take time... let it.  Then, keep a document with where you sent what when.  Update it the second something is successfully sent, don't wait.  You don't want to forget what you sent.  And you will forget, especially if you send out a lot.

Some writers use Excel, but I use a normal document.  The search/find function helps me here, also.  I can search by literary magazine or story/poem title instantly.

7.  If you have a lot of work, list it.
As a poet, I have a lot of finished work on my computer.  I keep all my poem (and story) titles in a master document with the name of any magazines that have them.  Why?  Because I simultaneously submit and want to know how many places are considering a piece at any time.  Plus, if I want to send something to a press that doesn't allow "sim subs", I know which poems are available.  My submission log can't tell me what isn't sent.

8. Don't set impossible goals.
Want to know a secret?  I haven't submitted my poetry or fiction anywhere in a month.  I try to, but life keeps making other demands.  It bugs me a little, but I'm mostly okay with it.  I'm still a writer if no one is reading my stuff.  So are you.

9.  Back up your writing.
Not a spoonie thing, just do it.

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