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  • Greg Norton

Literary magazines

It’s been a while since I submitted short stories to literary magazines. Recently I happened to dig out some stories that I had briefly submitted to litmags and then ceased when I got busy working on another project. One of the stories had been accepted for an anthology, but then that project bit the dust. The story is good to go including an up to date reworking.

I thought I’d unpack this submission process for both new writers and others like me, who have been at this for some time. I went to Poet’s and Writer’s to see what I could find in the rear area of the magazine. What I like to do is look up each web site and see if they publish anything remotely like my work (most do not). Then if I see enough compatibility to explore the submission process.

When I started this process of submitting short stories in the 1990s, nobody was asking for “reading” money or subsidies. It’s too bad because a number of pretty good litmags might have been saved, if we all had agreed to shift in that direction much earlier. I think it’s a good system, because writers have to think about whether they’ve turned in something coherent and worthy of an editor. And the litmags and editors get a modest subsidy to continue the struggle.

However, being a retiree on a limited income precludes me from pursuing the pay as you go method. So, instead of four magazines, I’m cut down to three. The first one to get cut was the Tahoma Literary Review. It looks like a serious litmag for working writers who want to get paid. Not quite my track.

I did apply to Bohemian literary magazine and promptly got rejected. Made me happy. I found out right away. No muss no fuss, no paper submission. Email and a snappy response. I wasn’t able to see much of what they published, so I assume my work isn’t close enough of a match or they’re full up with short stories.

I wanted to submit to Upstreet because it has a literary look that I like that goes all the way back to the 1960s and Grove Press and Evergreen Magazine, but it was not to be. This is a mainstream middle class litmag. And if I could afford it, I would subscribe, but these guys are running at the top of the field, not my track.

Finally, I submitted to Two Hawks, a student litmag associated with Antioch University in LA. They seem to be the most progressive and have no reading fees or restrictions on the fiction. They’ve been a target for a while, but I haven’t had any stories to send out.

So, while we await short story results, we also await the soon to be released, second edition, An Infinity of Days in the Psychotic Atomik Empire at Amazon.

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