Friday Speak Out!: Publishing Madness

Friday, January 15, 2021
by Penny Wilson

We writers all go through the same loop when submitting our work for publication. We write, submit, get rejected and repeat. I can handle that. Rejection is part of the process. Rejection makes you try harder and you learn from every rejection.

There is a vast amount of differences for submissions! There are almost as many WAYS to submit as there are publications that accept them.

*Some accept previously published pieces, others do not. Some consider a blog post as being Published, others do not.

*Some charge reading fees, others do not.

*Some places do not accept simultaneous submissions, while others do.

*Some want your submission in a Word document, others want a PDF. Still others want the submission to be a copy and pasted into the body of the email.

*Some have very specific requirements as far as font size and type, others do not.

*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, others do not. Then some places do not want a bio at all.

*Most publications seem to take a lifetime to get back to you. 6 months or more is not uncommon. If this is the case, you’ve got this unpublished masterpiece (IMHO)sitting there and you can do NOTHING with it. Because if they do not accept simultaneous submissions or previously published work, you cannot let it be seen anywhere else until the Publication Gods that you have submitted to have given it a pass or fail.

It’s all maddening! Why do we do it?

I get so frustrated. I crawl back to my little cave of self-pity to lick my wounds. Then that spark will come. That “ping” that tells me “This time! THIS will be the ONE that will get me seen and the publishers will take notice!!” So I go at it again and submit more of my work.

I do offer some advice in this mad, mad world of write, submit, reject and repeat.

*I print out the submission guidelines and keep them next to me as I’m preparing my piece for submission. This way, I’m sure not to 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, more often than not.

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

*Keep track of where when & what you submit. It will make it easier if are submitting simultaneously, or if you want to check back with that publisher.

*Lastly, take time to vent. Cry, yell and curse the Publishing Gods. Shake your fist and stomp your feet. Then when it’s all said and done, take a deep breath and climb back on that horse and give it another shot.

Why? Because we are writers, that’s why.

* * *
Penny Wilson is a freelance writer who writes in several genres. Her poetry has been published in online journals, such as Ariel Chart, Spill Words Press and the Poppy Road Review. Her poetry has been featured in the publication America's Emerging Poets 2018 & 2019 by Z Publishing, Poets Quarterly and Dual Coast Magazine published by Prolific Press. Penny is a member of the Austin Poetry Society. 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...

You are so right! I think all this submission and publication madness helps us when we get to our readers or to any readers because also they all like and want different things, too. Writers love writing which is why we put up with all of this. Thank you for this post. :)

Sioux Roslawski said...

Penny--Anybody who writes is nodding their head as they read your post. We keep writing and submitting because that carrot--a yes from an agent or publisher--is always danglin right in front of us. If we stop submitting (too busy licking our wounds, and too wounded to continue trying), we guarantee we'll never get published.

Good luck with your future writing projects, and send WOW another Friday post. We need messages (and reminders) like this.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

Publishers and agents! The variety of submission requirements is astonishing.

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