Friday, September 15, 2017

Some thoughts about submission guidelines for literary journals

As a writer I know that it is up to me to read submissions guidelines for online literary magazines. I also know (as a former editor of an online literary journal) that it is quite easy to have one page of submissions guidelines and to up date that every time the guidelines change rather than to have a different page of almost identical guidelines for every issue of the journal (all of which are live and easily accessible from other websites) and only the page for the latest issue mentioning that the journal is now permanently closed to submissions. I am more than happy to read a lengthy page of guidelines, but not to then find out that it was the wrong lengthy page of guidelines and that I should have read one of the other many lengthy pages of guidelines.

Also although as a writer I am obviously aware of the need to check whether a journal is still open to submissions or whether it is closed for the next few months, on indefinite hiatus, or totally closed down, I am also aware as a former editor that it is quite easy to have 'Submissions Closed' stated clearly at the top of the home page rather than the potential contributor needing to scroll down a densely packed page in size 10 font before they find a wee note that says 'closed to submissions'. 

I also know that editors are generally not paid to edit their journals, I certainly wasn't, and I know that any updating of a website takes time and indeed some websites are set up in ways that make updating tricky, but on the other hand poets are generally not paid for their work and it takes time to research potential outlets.

So, editors please remember it's time consuming for both sides. Those of us submitting to your journal have lots of other things in our lives and how difficult is it for you to take those small steps to help make things easier for us?

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