It's Been Said Many Times, Many Ways!

And It Needs Saying Again: Do’s & Don’ts to Submitting!

Image by Patrick Tomasso

A Call for Submission (CFS) has come to your attention and you’ve got just the piece to send, or you will once you write it. Whether you’re new to submitting or a regular at it here are some things to keep in mind when sending out your work.

DO: Read Submission Guidelines

Be sure you’ve read the submission guidelines for each magazine you submit to. This includes figuring out whether your work is a good fit for the mag. Submission guidelines vary in all sorts of ways. Some magazines are informal and some want your submissions to arrive in a precise way. Pay attention. If the guidelines say to send 1 piece, send one piece. If guidelines say send a range or specific number (1-3, up to 5) don’t send more than that. Don’t send “alternate” pieces or fiction when the call is for poetry and vise versa. This could result in your work not getting read.

DO: Communicate

Most places require you to email your submissions or use a submission manager like Submitable or Moksha. Again, follow the directions when sending your pieces. There is no need to email/submit the same work multiple times (we recently received 7 emails from the same submitter who is now blocked or Inkwell Black-listed). The organization most likely has provided a timeframe in which they will reply to your submission somewhere on their website/portal. If you’ve not heard back by then, send a query.

DO: Stay Ready So You Don’t Have to Get Ready

Don’t wait until the last minute to submit your work. It would be nice to be able to draft, revise, and edit something new for every call for submission out there. But that’s just not realistic. Nor is it realistic to think a first draft is going to be acceptable when there are so many submissions to choose from. Your work should be your best. It should be edited, proofread (by someone other than you), and as polished as possible.

Need a few more?


· Take your submission seriously

· Know what’s going on in current literature

· Submit within the deadline timeframe


· Include how/when/why your piece was written unless asked

· Get the name of the journal/magazine wrong

· Spam/send messages regarding your piece to every platform the magazine has.

Already received a rejection? This could be why.