Thanks to Tom Tenbrunsel who recently left a comment on my blog in reference to some of the publication opportunities I have posted. Here’s what Tom wrote.
Denton – I have tried a dozen of your suggested posts sifting through their stated themes, meeting their deadlines, even paying some to no avail. I fear your suggested posts might be less for beginners as all mine did and more for esoteric publishing. Do you have any down to earth, plain talking good ole boy publishing sources for someone who is from the hills of Appalachia with a story or two and a lesson perhaps as good or bettern’ highfalutin writers?
Tom is right that I post a lot of top-tier journals in my lists. Not all, but a lot. Top-tier journals receive a large number of submissions, often from excellent writers. These journals are very competitive in terms of quality, but they are also very competitive in terms of quantity. Some journals receive as many as 6,000 to 10,000 submissions for a single issue. However, every editor is eager and universally open to writers looking for their first publication.
One reason that I started making these publication lists was to encourage friends (and myself) to aim high when submitting work. I personally wrack up a lot of rejections, but I know that it’s par for the course. I expect it, and if you want to be a published writer, you should expect it too.
There are hundreds if not thousands of literary magazines and journals out there though. And for every top-tier journal, there is a smaller journal who doesn’t receive as many submissions and is still excellent. I put together a short list of 10 such journals, thanks to Tom’s prompting. Note that several of these publications are especially interested in writing about Appalachia.
I want to be clear that just because these publications are smaller does NOT mean that they will accept sub-standard work. I personally know and have worked with the editors at most of these journals, and they are dedicated to publishing the highest quality writing. That’s why it’s important to make sure your submission is the best it can possibly be. To get it to that place, ask yourself a few questions. Are you sharing your work with other good writers (such as in a critique group)? Have you attended any workshops and conferences where you can study with published writers? Are you following each journal’s submission guidelines? And have you read the journals to be sure that your submission matches their aesthetic?
You’re only ready to submit when you’ve done all of these things. If that’s you, then good luck!
We accept manuscripts from a variety of disciplines, as long as the work focuses on the Appalachian region. Major fields of interest include anthropology, art, cultural studies, ecology, economics, education, ethnography, film, folklore, health care, history, gender studies, geography, literature, media, music, political science, sociology, and studies of sustainability. We like well-documented, well-developed articles that feature primary source research. We also publish poetry.
Birmingham Arts Journal
The Journal is operated without profit by passionate volunteers, who believe that exceptional works by the famous, not-yet-famous, and never-to-be-famous deserve to be published side by side in a beautiful and creative setting. We accept Fiction and Non-Fiction up to 1,000 words. Excerpts and quotes of fewer than 1,000 words from longer works are published, too. We accept all types of Poetry up to 50 lines. Shorter works are preferred.
Fiction Southeast: An Online Journal Dedicated to Short Fiction
The editors of Fiction Southeast are interested in short fiction (approximately 1500 words or less). We are also interested in interviews with authors of short fiction, articles concerning fiction craft, as well as reviews of short story collections (preferably, but not limited to, collections of flash or micro shorts).
Floyd County Moonshine
Floyd County Moonshine invites you to submit poetry, short stories, essays, and artwork in a digital format. We accept literary works addressing all manner of themes; however, preference is generally given to those works of a rural or Appalachian nature. A bi-annual publication, Floyd County Moonshine has been in production about five years, publishing a variety of home-grown Appalachian writers in addition to writers from across the country.
HeartWood Literary Magazine
HeartWood is an online literary magazine in association with West Virginia Wesleyan’s Low-Residency MFA program. We publish twice yearly, in April and October. Our inaugural issue will go live April 2016. We accept submissions year round and welcome previously unpublished poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, from both established and emerging writers. We do love Appalachian voices, but we enthusiastically encourage writers from all backgrounds to submit.
Main Street Rag
Main Street Rag Publishing Company has been publishing our print magazine, The Main Street Rag, uninterrupted since 1996. Among its features are poetry, short fiction, photography, essays, interviews, reviews, and commentary. Submit Fiction and Creative Non-Fiction up to 6000 words. Submit up to 6 pages of poetry. That can mean one long poem or as many as 6 one-page (or shorter) poems. No Simultaneous submissions.
New Southerner Annual Literary Contest
We accept submissions of previously unpublished poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction for our annual literary contest. Although the contest theme is open, we are especially interested in work that relates to our mission, which is promoting self-reliance, environmental stewardship, and local economies. Winning entries, as well as finalists and semifinalists, are published in The New Southerner Literary Edition, available in print.
Submit fiction and creative nonfiction up to 5000 words. All prose should be double spaced and in standard font. For poetry, send up to 5 poems. Poems may be single spaced. Open Submission period: October 1 – December 31. Notifications will be sent in late January and publication will occur in March.
Souvenir Literary Journal
“A Journal to Help Remind You Of Where You’ve Been & The Places You’d Like To Go”
Town Creek Poetry
William Wright, Editor
The editors of Town Creek Poetry tend to favor poems that use the natural world in an original way, particularly in a way that elucidates deeper human issues. Our preferences lean toward the narrative and lyric. We wish for a tightly paced story, and we like poems that put something at stake. Please send up to three poems at a time.