Choosing where to send your work is important, but you need to know something about the kind of creative work the journal or magazine publishes–you wouldn’t want to send a story about raising miniature racehorses to a journal that specializes in erotic literature.  But where to begin?

How to Find Journals and Magazines

1. If you have favorite books of contemporary short stories or poetry on your shelf at home, pull a few of them off and look for the copyright or acknowledgments page. This is usually found on the back (or verso) side of the title page. The standard practice is to acknowledge magazines and journals where the work was originally published. This list will give you a starting point of places you would ideally like to place your poems and stories.

2. Most journals have websites where you can find out about submission guidelines, reading periods, turn-around times, and samples of their published work. Increasingly journals are going to online/digital formats. This makes it even easier and less expensive to browse the market and find possible homes for your creative pieces.

3. You can also check out the link to Poets & Writers, Inc. website, which includes a database of literary magazines and journals, contests, and calls for submission, along with other useful tools for writers.

4. Ask your friends who have been published for their recommendations. Most journals give copies or subscriptions to writers they publish, so you could ask your friends to see the journals with their work in it.  When you send your work to the editor, you can mention in your cover letter, “My friend s0-and-so was recently published in your journal and encouraged me to submit some of my work for your consideration.”

5. Consider hosting a gathering at your home to which you invite  local writers to bring samples of journals and magazines where their work has been published and to talk about their favorite print or online publications. If writers bring copies of their list to distribute, by the end of the meeting, everyone will have plenty of places to begin sending their work to. If there are local journals in your community, consider inviting the editors to your group.

6. Once you begin to compile a list of publications that suit your kind of writing, arrange the publications into tiers, with the top tier being the hardest journals to be published in, and a second or third being the journals most likely to feature emerging writers. If your goal is to publish in prestigious journals, when you send work out,  start with the publications at the top and work your way down the tiers. If your goal is to quickly create a publishing history, send your work to the journals in your community first. Online journals are also good for emerging writers, as they are more likely to take a chance on a new voice.

7. Be patient. Be persistent. Send simultaneous submissions only if they are permitted. Expect at least 10 rejections for every acceptance. That’s not necessarily a reflection on the quality of your work, but rather on the tastes and needs of the editor.

Using a Submission Service

Many writers find the process of sending work out to be intimidating or  even overwhelming. It is at first. Several of the writers I work with have used a service called Writer’s Relief. I will admit, I was skeptical at first, because there are many scams that prey on the vulnerability of writers. After checking into the service and watching their practices for a few years, I can recommend them, provided you understand what kind of service they offer.

Writers Relief is not a literary agent, but for a fee, they can help you place your work in literary magazines and journals across the country. What they provide is a kind of mentoring in the submissions process. Often, once you have established a relationship with editors of particular journals, you can take it from there.

Here is the web link for Writer’s Relief, if you want to check them out:

Recently at a conference in Denver, I met Claudia Stanek who has her own poetry submission preparation service. I like the way she takes an individual approach to placing her clients’ work. Here is a link to her website:

List of Magazines and Journals I Recommend

Since names of editors, submission guidelines, and even mailing addresses often change, I’ve given you the websites for these publications. Each website should have a submissions or guidelines page as well as sample work so you can decide if it’s right for you without having to pay for a subscription.

There is a growing number of top-quality digital journals, or “zines,” that don’t yet appear on this list. Check back for updates.

First Tier (No Simultaneous Submissions—very prestigious publications)


American Poetry Review

Atlantic Monthly

The New Yorker

The Paris Review


Second Tier (Simultaneous Submissions only if Permitted)

Note:These publish more established writers but like to discover new voices, too

Calyx (women’s writing and art only) (Oct.-Dec. only)

Five Fingers Review

Glimmer Train

The Hudson Review

The Los Angeles Review

River Styx


The Sun

Threepenny Review

Tin House Magazine

Tundra (short lyrics only – 13 lines or less)       www.

Women Artists Datebook (Syracuse Cultural Workers)


Journals Associated with Writing Programs (usually read work September-May only)


580 Split (Mills College Literary Journal)  

Bellingham Review (W. Washington University) (October –February)  

The Chatahoochee Review (Georgia Perimeter College)

Clackamas Literary Review (Clackamas Community College)

First Leaves (SRJC Literary Journal)

Five Points (Georgia State University)

Flyway (Iowa State )

Fourteen Hills (SFSU –prefers experimental writing)

The Gettysburg Review (Gettysburg College )

Hayden’s Ferry Review (Arizona State)

Kalliope: A Journal of Women’s Literature and Art (Florida Community College)

Manoa (University of Hawaii)

Missouri Review

New Letters (University of Missouri)

Nimrod(University of Tulsa)

Paterson Literary Review

Ploughshares (Emerson College)

Prairie Schooner

Reed Magazine (SJSU Literary Journal) 

Red Rock Review (CCSN Literary Journal)

Santa Clara Review Santa Clara University, Santa Clara CA

Seattle Review (University of Washington)

Thirteenth Moon Feminist Literary Magazine (University of Albany SUNY) Moon  

Zaum (SSU Literary Journal – students only)

Local and Newer Journals—often interested in new writers)


Memoir (and)

Parthenon West Review

Haight Ashbury Literary Journal

POESY Magazine

The Redwood Coast Review Stephen Kessler, Editor c/o ICO, P.O. Box 1200, Gualala, CA 95445

Sinister Wisdom (lesbian journal)

Tiny Lights (personal essays only)

Women’s Voices

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