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How to Publish Short Stories, Poems, and Personal Essays in Literary Journals and Magazines

by Writing Workshops Staff

12 months ago

How to Publish Short Stories, Poems, and Personal Essays in Literary Journals and Magazines

by Writing Workshops Staff

12 months ago

In the age of digital media and online literary magazines, it's easier than ever to get your work read by editors and/or gatekeepers. If you've been itching to share your original poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or hybrid essay with the world, this post will help you find the perfect place to do that.


Never before have so many journals, magazines, and websites focused on literature opened their virtual doors to new and emerging writers. That said, sifting through all the options can feel a little overwhelming at first glance.


For anyone looking to get their creative writing in front of readers, this list is an excellent resource for identifying top literary magazines that accept submissions from emerging writers.


What is a Literary Magazine?

Literary magazines publish short stories, poetry, and non-fiction essays on arts and culture. They're usually independently owned and operated. Some of the most well-known literary magazines include The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and McSweeney's. Generally, most literary magazines have a specific theme, aesthetic, and tone. Before submitting, it's essential to ensure your work fits the publication's guidelines. Some literary magazines accept submissions only from current students and alumni of certain universities. Others want to see work published in other journals and magazines first. Still, others will accept submissions from all writers, regardless of their publishing history.


How to Find the Right Literary Magazine for You

Maybe you've read the much-shared article titled "Why You Should Aim for 100 Rejections a Year" at Lit Hub. If not, give it a read and see what you think (and maybe start collecting your first of 100 rejections this year). 


Literary magazines accept submissions year-round and usually have guidelines posted on their website. Before submitting, make sure to read their submission guidelines carefully. Typically, literary magazines accept unsolicited submissions; this is when you submit a piece of writing directly to a literary magazine editor without them having invited you to do so in advance. 


You may have done this if you've been browsing a journal, found an editor's name, and sent them your work directly. Some literary magazines prefer that writers submit their work this way, while others won't even consider an unsolicited submission. 


You can also look out for Calls for Submissions. This is when a literary magazine editor invites writers to submit work on a particular theme or for a specific issue. They may also invite you to submit multiple pieces for different issues. Journals often publish a call for submissions on their website, social media, and newsletters. 

Literary Journal & Magazine Submission Resources

Go to (@submittable) and use the "discover" function to find lit mags and check the status of your submissions. 


Go to (@poetswritersinc) to research lit mags, small presses, and find calls for submissions & contests.


Go to (@newpages) to discover writing contests, calls for submissions, and research lit mags.


Go to to check how long responses typically take for poetry & fiction subs. You can also track your submissions here.


Use to check if you received a tiered or personal rejection vs. their standard rejection.


22 Journals to Submit Your Work to Now

If you like to write, you've probably thought about publishing your work in a literary journal or magazine. But with so many journals and magazines, it can take time to figure out where to start.


First, you'll want to find out which literary magazines publish short stories, poetry, and non-fiction essays. Next, you'll want to ensure your work fits the publication's aesthetic, theme, and tone. Finally, you'll want to follow the editors' submission guidelines to ensure your work gets noticed.


With these three steps, you'll be well on your way to getting published. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and share your words with the world. Here are just a few examples of excellent literary journals you can submit to now:


  1. AGNI
  2. American Short Fiction
  3. Fantasy & Science Fiction
  4. Granta Magazine
  5. Guernica 
  6. Harvard Review
  7. Palette Poetry
  8. Ploughshares 
  9. Rattle
  10. Split Lip Mag
  11. SmokeLong Quarterly 
  12. Southeast Review
  13. Strange Horizons 
  14. The Antioch Review 
  15. The Atlantic
  16. The Kenyon Review 
  17. The Raleigh Review 
  18. The Sun Magazine
  19. The Threepenny Review 
  20. The New Yorker
  21. Thrush Poetry Journal 
  22. Virginia Quarterly Review

Publishing in Literary Journals to Launch Your Career

Led by Writing Workshops Founder & Executive Director, Blake Kimzey, this path-to-publication seminar walks participants through his journey to publication. They say in order to be universal one must be specific, so Blake shares receipts from his 10+ years of sending work to literary journals, overcoming 900+ rejections, and receiving 10 emails from agents inquiring about his work (screen shots abound!). You can read about the successes past participants of this seminar have had finding publication here, here, here, & here.

Sign Up for Blake's Seminar Here

Blake shows participants the importance of perseverance, being findable, and participating in the literary community beyond their own work. Blake screen captures his entire journey, shares best practices, and will hopefully inspire you along the way. You'll walk away from this seminar inspired to set manageable and reachable goals along with meaningful strategies to get your work out into the world.

This is a good fit for writers who are:

  • Interested in submitting their work to literary journals
  • Looking to create a more robust writing and submission practice
  • Desiring to implement an individual system for their professional development


  • A 2-hour, in-depth video seminar
  • Example Literary Journal Cover Letters + Real Examples
  • Blake's Query Letter
  • A template on how to summarize your story, essay, or book manuscript
  • A PDF of Blake's PowerPoint presentation

Sign Up for Blake's Seminar Here


How to Get Published