Lesson 8

What Now? Researching Literary Magazines

submitting to literary magazines

You’re finally ready to take the next step in your writing career: getting published. But with thousands of literary magazines, how do you choose which is most suitable for you?

I’ll be honest here and say that print magazines have a reputation as the place for serious writing. This is because it takes a lot more overhead to publish a print magazine. Editors tend to be more selective because they need to consider how a story fits — both thematically and spatially — with what else is in that issue. And they need to make sure they’re staying within their budget.

Online magazines are a whole other ball game. They have no space restrictions and lower overhead. This means they have greater ability to take chances on a story. Publishing in an online journal also means that your story is potentially available to more readers since anyone with a computer can access it.

Where to Find Literary Magazines

The first step is to understand the genre of your story and to know what kinds of stories each journal is most likely to publish. Of course, actually reading the journals is the best way to get a sense of what they publish, but to cut some time, here's an ever-expanding directory of literary magazines created by the team at Reedsy.

Let’s Talk about Money

Print or online, some magazines pay, and some don’t. And payment comes in all forms—some magazines send you the issue in which you were published, some pay professional rates based on word count, and others pay a flat rate, no matter the length of your story.

When deciding where to submit your writing, figure out what’s most important to you—getting your name out there or making money—and submit to the places that reflect your goals.

  • If your goal is to gain readership and build community, online magazines are the best thing for you.
  • If your goal is to make some money and appeal to agents, then print is the way to go.

But it doesn’t have to be either/or. You can always test out both kinds of magazine and see what works for you. Speaking of which, that’s what we’re going to be talking about in the next lesson: creating a submission that grabs an editor by the scruff of the neck.


Recommended Reads: