30 Litmags in 30 Days: Create Your Own Submission Bonanza!

submission bonanza logo 2 copy

I did it! I completed my self-imposed challenge, Submission Bonanza!  During the month of July, I submitted poetry, creative nonfiction, short stories, and flash fiction to 30 litmags.  I’m not going to lie, it took work and it took time.  After so many years not submitting any work and not focusing on my writing, this was definitely a challenge for me.  But I can certainly say it was well worth it.  I would highly recommend that anyone looking to grow as a writer think about setting their own Submission Bonanza!   I’ve grown and learned so many things over the past month and I am excited to share them all with you.

You can see my halfway post, Notches on the Bedpost, to see some of the benefits I’ve gained and ways I’ve been developing by doing this exercise.  There are so many ways in which I have grown.  I’ve become a better reader. I’ve started editing more seriously.  I’ve learned so much more about contemporary writers and writing.  I feel like I am getting familiar with literary magazines in way I wasn’t before.  Most importantly, I’ve been motivated to write more than I ever have before.

Also (spoiler alert!) I have received a few replies already and it’s not just rejections I am racking up.

Because I felt like this exercise was so successful in my growth and motivation as a writer, I am planning on doing it again for the month of September and I would love for anyone who is interested to join me.

All this month, I will be posting a practical guide on how to create your own Submission Bonanza! Once you lay the groundwork (finding magazines, choosing your pieces, writing your cover letter) this month, you will be ready by September 1st to start submitting to the many, many litmags which will be opening their mailboxes for submissions.

After I did the prep work of looking for magazines, editing my work, and writing a template of my cover letter and bio, it took me about an hour to submit to each magazine.  Decide for yourself a reasonable goal for your Submission Bonanza!  I am fortunate to have an hour a day to submit to magazines and also still have time for my writing.  What kind of time can you make for it?  Can you do an hour a week?  Three hours a week?  An hour a day? Three hours a day?  You want to challenge yourself, sure.  But you also want to make a Submission Bonanza!  that you can stick to.

I am really excited about doing this again and getting into gear for another flurry of submissions.  If you’re excited too, let me know!  I would love to share lessons learned, tricks and things to consider, and just general motivation and support with anyone who’s game!



68 thoughts on “30 Litmags in 30 Days: Create Your Own Submission Bonanza!

  1. Are you saying it took an hour to submit one piece and therefore a total of 30 hours to submit to 30 mags? Or it took you an hour to sent out all 30 submissions? Are you using Duotrope?

    • Yeah, like I said, it took me an hour to submit to each magazine and I did that for 30 days, so a total of 30 hours over the whole month of July. I wasn’t using Duotrope because I’m not sure yet that it’s worth the cost of the new subscription fee.

  2. This sounds like a great idea. One of my biggest problems is not finishing my work completely because there is no real incentive, only some far off goal. I’ll be watching for your posts.

    • Yeah, I am working on making my goals more manageable and more concrete so that I can actually start getting things done. This challenge really helped with that and also really helped me see holes in my writing and what I needed to improve.

  3. I love this idea and may join you in your September challenge. Nothing like a deadline to make you accountable. Btw, I just went to a writer’s conference and was told Duotrope was worth every penny. I haven’t used it but plan to check it out.

    • I used it a bit before it went to pay. I am kind of still trying to decide how much I can invest at this stage. Still open to the idea, just not enough to commit, I guess.

      Let me know if you decide to join. It’d be awesome to have a little group going where we could support and motivated each other.

  4. Hey,
    I thought this was a great idea :), really pleased for you!
    I was wondering if the magazines you submitted to accept world wide/international writers? I’m finding it hard to sort through magazines in the UK to find out which are active, inactive, prose or poetry. Do you have any tips for narrowing it down? [I’ll be watching out for your posts this month!]

  5. Awesome! I think the hardest part is choosing which mags to submit for and which pieces go to which mags. A guide would be most appreciated :)

    Good luck!

  6. Congrats! That’s so awesome. I don’t think my body of work is extensive enough for me to quite go on this journey yet.. but I think planning to do this in the future would be great incentive for me to finish some pieces. Perhaps Spring of next year. Looking forward to the upcoming posts!

    • Hey Alex, a few people have had this same concern. One of the things I found is that many magazines accept simultaneous submissions, so even if you have one piece that can be sent out, you could send that one piece to 30 magazines if you wanted!

  7. Brilliant! I’m so impressed. Might just join you in September if I can get the prep work done by then. Surely that’s the hard part? Will be watching this space for more info.

  8. Hey pal,

    I play the same game. BUT I never read ANY of these magazines. Well, I have done, tried to read a good three dozen, fifty, I dunno – goodness a decade ago maybe I might have found my niche – before innernet…but they’re pretty much in the same boat as us, magazines on the bottom rung, looking to raise their circulation off the ground – and all stuffed full of a CW fix that you can get from wordpress, ach is frustrating.

    • Lol, thanks. I often go back and forth about self-publishing and litmags and print and online and how to navigate these things. The climate is definitely evolving. For me, I am starting an MFA program in a few weeks and will be working on the litmag there. I wanted to see what other MFA programs were putting out and also start getting more involved in that particular community, so this was a good way to do it. Also, if I want to go further in academia (which is up in the air, but…) I’ll need some print publications under my belt, so this was a little foray into that world.

      • I know…was a frustration outburst…comes down to finding audience – somewhere, or other. You’ll be fine, tho’ I did it in May with about a dozen subs, and essentially waited, which is the wrong thing to do :)

      • I’ll be posting more about what I learned soon. I am definitely still a noob myself, so hopefully I’ll be able to contribute something helpful. A post on finding litmags will be forthcoming.

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  10. I should consider doing this too. I have a steady habit of submitting stories out to various literary magazines. But I don’t think I do it as frequently as I would like. (Also, the more frequently you do send out submissions, the more likely you are to get something published.) I have gotten a lot of rejections over the years (I’ve been doing this since I was 14) and the rejections kind of factor in on why I hold myself back from sending stuff out. But I think I will try it. I’m interested in your method for finding magazines though. I’ve found that process becomes a bit drawn out and/or pricey if your local bookstore doesn’t have a copy of the mag on its shelves and you have to order one, because the best way to get to know a literary magazine and what they would accept from you is to read a couple of recent issues and any free sample writings you find on their website. That ends up taking a while. I don’t think I fully understand what Glimmer Train accepts, for example, and I’ve known about them for a year and a half.
    Anyway, I hope it works out for you.

    • I know what you mean. Luckily, a lot of the literary magazines I looked at had samples or past issues on their websites, so I would spend my first half hour a day reading through those to get a feel for what I wanted to choose. A lot of them also give descriptions from editors and readers of the kinds of things they like: funky, realistic, etc.

      Also, I definitely feel like it’s already worked out for me. I’ve gotten some acceptances already, but even more than that I feel like I’ve done some great reading, been motivated to edit, and inspired to write. So even if I got back only rejections, it would have been more than worth it.

      • Oh yeah, I think the research part is my favorite step of the process because you get to read so many inspiring pieces. Good for you that you got some acceptances and so soon! My pieces are still being read, according to the submission form. So we’ll see. I doubt they’ll choose my prose piece though, and I kind of hope they don’t because I want to rewrite it.
        But I’m staying tuned in for more updates.

  11. Great job and good luck! This idea really is brilliant. I need to do this. Thanks so much for being an inspiration.

    – Autore

  12. Nice work! Submitting is a fantastic way to learn, and I’m glad you got so much out of it. I’m looking forward to reading the next stage of your submission adventure in November :)

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