How to Verify Lit Magazines

Question Mark aglow in fluorescent red/orange against black backdrop
Image by Simone Secci on Unsplash

Recent community conversations have many writers questioning how to determine the legitimacy of some lit magazines.

Lit mags seem to be cropping up everyday. Sometimes it’s hard to determine which ones are legit and truly formed symbiotically for both writers and magazine. A recent scandal was unearthed and documented on twitter when one EIC received messages from upset writers that had had work stolen and manipulated for a lit mag’s own monetary gain. Writer’s were rightfully peeved when they realized work was used without their permission, and/or was poorly displayed and manipulated.

Without the help of the writing community this particular lit mag might have gone on to take advantage of more writers.

If this has you questioning what lit mags are safe to submit to, you’re not the only one.

Here are some ways to vet a lit mag before submitting your work to them.

1.) Use your writing community. Cute cat gifs and words of encouragement aren’t all they’re good for. Ask those you trust if they are aware of the lit mag in question. Have they worked with them or heard anything about the way that particular mag works with writers.

2.) Inspect their online and real world presence. Has the mag popped up overnight? Do they have a legitimate website and contact.

3.) Are they transparent as to who is running the magazine? What are their credentials?

4.) Are they charging unusual submission/contest fees, not providing contributor copies, or any other off putting behavior?

5.) Trust your gut. This seems simple, but if something feels off with how a lit mag is interacting with you or others, (or even how they present themselves) take a step back. There should be no rush to get your work out there. The right place will treat you and your creations with respect.