Friday, July 9, 2010

Literary Journals

I've blogged about submission guidelines for magazines. And then there's the literary journal. These are the non-commercial, semi-annual publications of high literary quality, often founded and run by universities and nonprofits. Many journals include fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction as well as critical essays, interviews and art/photography, but some focus on only one or two genres. A few are more topical such as Alimentum, with its focus on food.

Literary journals aim to publish work that isn't always prized by the mainstream. Some, like Crazyhorse, are "always on the lookout for writing that doesn't fit the categories." While most claim to publish both new and "emerging" writers, contributor bios are enough to intimidate any fledgling.

The pay seems nominal (some pay with grant dollars, others in the form of subscription and contributor copies), but competition is fierce and the fine exposure may be worth the meager monetary award. Many authors get their work reprinted or anthologized, and others are nominated for the esteemed Pushcart Prize, Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the O. Henry Prize, Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, etc.

The up side: Submission guidelines are much easier to access and more straightforward than other periodicals. Most lit journals accept simultaneous submissions. And you don't need to query first! lists hundreds of literary journals alphabetically, with the publisher's description, response time, submission schedule, contact info. and weblink to the journal's site where you can read sample copies and check out further guidelines.

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