Friday Speak Out!: The Submission Merry-Go-Round and How to Navigate it

Friday, March 08, 2019
by Penny Wilson

As writers, if we want to have our work published, we all go through the same thing in the attempt to get published. We write, submit, reject and repeat. At least, that’s the way that it seems.

There are almost as many WAYS to submit your writing as there are places to submit it. Everybody has their own set of rules. Let me give you a few examples: Some accept previously published pieces, others do not. Some consider a blog post as being a published piece, others do not. Some charge reading fees, others do not. Some places do not accept simultaneous submissions, while others do. Some want your submission to be blind. No name on it anywhere. Others want your name on each piece. Some places want a bio from you. These can vary wildly. Anything from a short piece, limited to 50 words or less to something longer. Some places want the bio written in the 3rd person, other do not. Then some places do not want a bio at all. Then there is the matter of font style and size. Everyone wants something different.

It’s all maddening!! Why do we do it?

Because in many instances, in order to BE published, have to have BEEN published. It’s like when you’re a 15-year-old kid, trying to get a summer job for the first time. In order to get a job, you need to have HAD experience. In order to get experience, you need to HAVE a job!

So what do you do in this mad, mad world of getting published? I know that the process can be overwhelming. Here are a few pieces of advice that will help:

*Cry yourself a river, if that makes you feel better. Yell and curse the Publishing Gods. Shake your fist and stomp your feet. Scream into your pillow, if need be.


*Take a deep breath, slow down and pause.

*Print out the submission guidelines and keep them next to you as you prepare your piece for submission. This way, you won’t overlook anything.

*FOLLOW the submission guidelines to the letter. No matter how brilliant your piece is, if you did not follow the rules, you’re out on your ear often before the piece is ever read.

*Proof your piece. For heaven’s sake, you don’t want to be rejected because of a spelling error or a simple typo, do you? Proof, proof, proof!!

When it’s all said and done, why do we put ourselves through this? Because we’re writers, that’s why. If it were easy, anyone could do it.

* * *
Penny Wilson is a freelance writer who writes in several genres. She's had a successful blog with a growing and loyal following for more than 5 years. Penny has written articles for Counseling Directory .org, Introvert Dear .com, and WOW Women on Writing. Her poetry has been published on Ariel Chart, a monthly online Journal, Spill Words Press and the Poppy Road Review. Penny is a member of the Austin Poetry Society and a member of All Poetry .com Her poetry has been featured in the publication America's Emerging Poets 2018 by Z Publishing. She is currently working on her first novel. You can find more of her writings on her blog at: and follow her on Twitter @pennywilson123.
Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!


Margo Dill said...

Hi Penny:
This is good advice. I especially like the idea of printing out the submission guidelines while you are preparing your manuscript. It seems like such a common sense tip, but I think so many of us don't do it. Thanks for your thoughts on all of this. I'm sure many writers are nodding their head along while they're reading.

Angela Mackintosh said...

Great post, Penny! :) It IS maddening. I think the hardest part for me is finding journals I think will be a good fit for a particular piece. You can research and research and then, nope, not a fit. I agree with following the guidelines closely, and I think writing a catchy cover letter can really help sell a creative piece.

Thanks for the post!

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