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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

While You're Waiting...

The link list to the right has a few places to submit to while you’re waiting to hear back from agents, or if you need a break from your manuscript.

Let’s face it, a good response to your query letter comes down to whether or not the agent reading is interested in your plot. Period (well, not quite period—try to skimp on the grammar mistakes and awkward phrasing too).

BUT, it certainly doesn’t hurt to add a line or two at the end, stating any memberships etc., along with the words, I have written for the online magazines/publications _____, _____, and ______. It shows the agent that you care about making writing a career. Some of these guys don’t pay you, but my opinion is that a writing credential counts for something regardless of payment. In many cases (not always) online magazines get back to you faster than print magazines like Highlights, which can take up to 6 months.

**Make sure that, if you include a publication in your query letter, it’s relevant to the genre you’re writing—sadly, not too many agents will care if you wrote an article for Poodles Today! if you’re submitting an adventurous time-travel novel.

For you MG writers, there’s a whole website dedicated to Kids Magazine Writers—these include fiction and nonfiction, so if you’re writing a novel about horses or science class or fashion, why not check out a nonfiction kids publication on these topics—it’s good practice and stretches your writerly brain. Plus, this list includes interesting online magazines like CROW TOES QUARTERLY, a unique publication that accepts submissions in dark and eerie stories for ages nine and up.

For YA writers, I chose two new websites to check out:

YARN Magazine: YARN publishes outstanding original short fiction, poetry, and essays for Young Adult readers, written by the writers you know and love, as well as fresh new voices...including teens.

YA Lit Review: We publish Young Adult and Childrens fiction short stories and poetry. Please do not send in stories with adult themes, language or content. We greatly appreciate writing samples in the form of mini-reviews on books in the YA/Childrens genres. This demonstrates an understanding of the content we review and publish. Stories should be 5,000 words or less. We will consider longer, serialized stories, but it is very rare. **These guys are partial to teen writers, but accept adult work too.

For Both—Flash Fiction, anyone? Though it might not be your typical genre, and these little buddies can take longer than you think, why not try writing a story under one thousand words. Take a look at other examples on the websites to see what makes a good product. If you’re happy with yours, send it in. Seriously, no harm done—it gives you more experience writing, and you might just get a nice response—who knows.

Flash Fiction Online: Accepts stories 500-1,000 words. Great website with pieces by award-winning authors and previously unpublished folks too.

Flash Me Magazine: Same deal; they accept stories under 1,000 words.

I’ve submitted to several of these places with varying degrees of success (including a few publishing credits), and always have a good time trying something new while taking a break from novel writing.

I’m on vacation until next week, so you won’t see more posts for a few days. Hope everyone’s enjoying the sweltering heat of July (or moderate heat or cool breezes or summer rain…today just happens to be sweltering hot where I am). I’ve got the kiddie pool blown up in the backyard and plan to take a dip with Charlotte (see my profile picture) later today.

Hope you’re having some fun too!


  1. Hi, Jess. A Google alert called me here. :)

    Just so you and your readers know, most submissions to Flash Fiction Online *don't* get personalized rejections, unfortunately. And you're right, it's usually really blunt when it happens. Sorry, but (as I'm sure you know) we do it with respect and because that's what we want as writers, not because we want to be jerks.

    Thanks for the mention.

    Jake Freivald
    Flash Fiction Online

  2. Thanks Jake--I'll edit my text to reflect that. You definitely handle all submissions and rejections with respect, and we appreciate the opportunity to submit!