This month we’re celebrating Granta’s 40th anniversary. Each week we’re publishing an article written by the Granta team about literary magazines. Today we have the editorial team’s advice for submitting to literary magazines like Granta to maximise your chances of being noticed and published.
1. Read the magazine
Read several recent issues of the magazine you’re submitting to, and pay attention to what genres and styles they publish, what they seem to value, and who they are as a publication. In a way, it’s not just about the magazine deciding if your work is right for them, but you deciding if this magazine is the right platform for your work. It’s also a great way to get to know other authors you might like and could learn from. Some magazines can be expensive, but are often also available in libraries.
2. Follow Submittable on Twitter
Granta, and many other magazines such as Guernica, Electric Literature, The Stinging Fly, Poetry and Ambit use the online platform Submittable to deal with their submission process. It’s an easily accessible platform that does away with a lot of the logistical faff of self-stamped envelopes and lost email attachments. Submittable have a great Twitter account and weekly newsletter where they highlight upcoming submission deadlines from all sorts of interesting publications. You’ll discover all sorts of magazines you didn’t know you could read and submit to.
3. Don’t struggle alone
Writing can be a lonely process, and having fellow travellers alongside you can really help. Getting someone else to look at your work before you send it is a great way to prepare your writing for submission, and also, a great way to connect with other writers. You don’t need to do a writing course to build a writing community around you – you could just get together with some friends once a month to write together, discuss each other’s work, or even just have a friendly proofreading eye.
4. Follow the guidelines
It’s important to follow the guidelines of the magazine you’re submitting your work to. If you know there is an online platform but submit your work by post anyway, it’s not more likely to be read. Likewise, if you send an email when they prefer postal submissions, it’s more likely that your work will end up at the bottom of the pile. Most magazines will have guidelines and FAQs on how to submit.
5. Be patient
Literary magazines receive thousands of submissions and, as you can imagine, the to-be-read pile stacks up very fast. In order to give every submission the reading time it deserves, it might take them a little while to get back to you. Magazines often have estimates about average response time, so you can find out what to expect from each one. That being said, it’s often fine to make simultaneous submissions, so long as you let the other magazines know if it’s been accepted elsewhere.
We hope you find these tips helpful in making the submission experience a little less intimidating. Good luck!
– The Granta team