Literary Submissions 101: A Free 10-Day Email Course on How to Submit to Literary Magazines

We’ve wanted to write a course on how to submit to literary magazines for almost two years now, and we’ve finally done it. Starting today we’re now offering a free 10-day email course on the basics of submitting your work. You’ll learn how to write a proper cover letter, how to gauge whether a magazine is appropriate for your work, you’ll learn about publishing rights and simultaneous submissions, and hopefully you’ll come away feeling like an expert.

The course is broken up into bite-sized chunks of a few hundred words, and lessons are emailed to you every day at 7AM (ET) sharp. We’re hoping that you’ll roll out of bed and read a lesson while you drink your morning coffee.

The course is instructed by the illustrious Eliza Robertson. Eliza studied creative writing at the University of Victoria and the University of East Anglia, where she received the Man Booker Scholarship and Curtis Brown Prize. In 2013, she won the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and was shortlisted for the Journey Prize and CBC Short Story Prize. Her debut collection, Wallflowers, was shortlisted for the East Anglia Book Award, Danuta Gleed Short Story Prize and selected as a New York Times editor’s choice. Her first novel, Demi-Gods, comes out with Penguin Canada and Bloomsbury this fall. She’s a perfect guru.

Here’s what a few people have to say about it:

“I thought it was so well-written and relatable and each email was the perfect length.” — Rev. Chelsea MacMillan. “I loved it. Looked forward to it. And am referring to it right now.”  — Susan Hahn, “Eliza’s course gave me a lot more clarity. I feel like she is especially helpful for people who, though they love to read and write, are not necessarily connected to the literary world as an industry. The tone was perfect – that of a real person who wants to help.” — Grace Eyre, “I enjoyed the course – particularly the short daily email format. It kept the material from feeling overwhelming, or like there was too much to read at that particular moment in time. I thought it was very accessible and helpful for submitters of all experience levels, and I learned some great tips.” — Constance Renfrow, “Smart, informed, funny and full of resources to take the next step. Really appreciated.” — Christine Sang. “The course was perfect for new writers not familiar with the process and a good reminder to those who are..  Thanks.” — Connie Kallback, “I appreciated your course on submitting work. I looked forward to what you would deliver every morning. It was always to the point and  meant I didn’t have to clear away a lot of fat to get to the meat. I’d open your email right away instead of waiting until I thought I had time, and then ending up never getting back to that particular email and eventually deleting it.” — Rita Pomade, “I thought overall it was wonderful, great insight that covered all the basis, loved the tone and charm of the language. Keep up the great work!” — A.P. Figueora Jr.

Sign on up below. You can unsubscribe at any time (but you probably won’t).


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If you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email at [email protected] You can also tweet at us: @literistic.


FAQ

Who is this course for?

Writers of literary fiction, non fiction and poetry. If you’re already a Literistic subscriber, chances are this is for you. Might not be the best for writers of genre fiction, journalists or playwrights.

Does the course cost anything?

Nope! It’s free for good.

How can I provide feedback?

Just reply to one of our emails. It’ll go straight to us.

Who are you?

We’re a small team of writers who manage Literistic, an online service that curates a list of  literary publications, contests and fellowships every month. You can subscribe to Literistic here, and you can read more about us here.

I have discovered a typo.

Oh no! Just shoot us an email at [email protected]

I have discovered a typo and I am going to be kinda shitty about it.

Just email us at [email protected]

Introducing the New Literistic

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We just finished our new website, and with it, we’d like to introduce you to “Literistic on steroids.”

Our intention from the beginning has been to create a list of deadlines that’s short and sweet. You’re not going to respond to each of the 50+ deadlines that we send you every month. But you might respond to 10 – 15 that are actually relevant to the type of writing that you do. Being presented with a small list of a few highly-qualified deadlines should significantly reduce the amount of time that you spend managing submissions every month. It’s also typically a job preformed by most literary agents. This is what we want Literistic to be.

We’d like to introduce you to the Literistic “Longlist,” or Literistic on steroids as we’ve come to call it. The Literistic Longlist takes the free version of Literistic, offers 30% more deadlines and is tailored to your subscriber preferences. It’s your new literary agent. If you want to receive nothing but fiction deadlines for publications that pay for submissions and are located in the United States, well, you can do that now. If you’re interested in reading more about how you can customize what you receive every month, here’s a blog post for you.

Right now, the Literistic Longlist costs $4.83/month or $58/year (changed . If, after a month or two, you’re not satisfied, you can have your money back. But, if you’ve been keeping track of the amount of time you spend managing deadlines every month and you consider that time to be worth roughly the price of a cup of coffee, it’s an easy to decision to make. We’ll be raising the rate to $48 after a few months, after all of our current subscribers have had time to sign up, and after we’ve released a few more personalization features, so, if you’re interested, click this click to subscribe at the lower price.

There will still be a free version of Literistic (now dubbed “The Shortlist”), and we’ll still put love into it. But our focus will be on making something that sustains the work that we do every month. We want to make Literistic an indispensable tool for writers, and there’s still a lot of ground to cover.

If you have any questions about the Literistic Longlist, send us an email! We’ve also launched a handy Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

Thanks for listening. We’ll see you on the 1st!

How can I customize Literistic?

We’ve just released the full-featured Literistic, and with it, we’d like to introduce you to the all new subscriber preferences. Subscriber preferences let you tell us what you want to receive every month. If you’re a poet who doesn’t have any money and wants pay for poems, you’re going to love this. Preferences are available to anyone who has purchased a Literistic subscription. Let’s talk about how they work.

Preferences

There are four groupings of checkboxes within your preferences: “Genre,” “Category,” “Money,” and “Geography.” The checkboxes within these groupings function as filters. By default, everything is turned on, which means that you’re receiving absolutely everything that we’re sending you.

The checkboxes under “Genre” allow you to filter out genres that you aren’t interested in. Don’t worry, you’ll still receive listings that have cross over (for example, publications that publish poetry, fiction and non-fiction will still appear if you only have non-fiction checked).

The checkboxes under “Category” allow you to filter out certain types of deadlines. Don’t want to see Grants and Fellowships? Uncheck that box. Think contests are just the worst? Uncheck that one too.

The “Money” section sounds ambiguous and believe us we tried our hardest to make it easy to understand. The Money section lets you filter out unpaid deadlines, deadlines with fees and paid deadlines (why would you want to filter those out?). This section functions a little differently than the others though: checking the “Fees” and “Paid” checkboxes while unchecking “Unpaid” will not show you deadlines that only have fees. Instead, it’ll show you deadlines that pay, and deadlines that pay and have fees. Got it?

The “Geography” section functions like “Genre”: this section allows you to filter out organizations by their location. This is not to be confused with being able to filter out deadlines that only allow work from a person who holds a certain type of citizenship. If a listing is going to exclude you based on where you’re from, we’ll note it in its description.

It’s important that you’re not too zealous with your preferences. You may find yourself only receiving a few listings. But hey— maybe that’s what you want. If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below. Alternatively, you can always send us an email.

Ready to subscribe? Well friend, here’s a conveniently placed link for doing just that.

Don’t know how to get to your preferences? Scour your inbox for a Literistic email, scroll to the bottom of it, and click the “Preferences” link in the footer. It’ll look like this.

What does Literistic actually look like?

Literistic

We don’t have a FAQ yet and many people are asking for an example of what Literistic looks like. We’ve taken a huge screenshot of March’s list and pasted it below. The list is not totally representative of what we’re going to be sending in the future — this is our first list — but it should give you an idea of how the list is formatted and whether or not it’s something you want to see in your inbox every month. Remember, we query each subscriber about their tastes in publications and fellowships when they sign up, so the tastes reflected below may change in the future. Take a look:

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Interested in subscribing? Head on over to literistic.com.

The Best Advice Neil Gaiman Got But Completely Failed to Follow

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Neil Gaiman’s commencement speech at the University of the Arts in 2012 is incredibly inspiring. Gaiman tells the story of getting his first few freelancing gigs (he lied about being published by a bunch of magazines in order to get employers to pay attention to him), about ignoring good advice, and about his publisher going insolvent and being unable to pay him. Sit back, grab a tissue box and prepare to get a little weepy:

Last Week in Literary Controversies: Raziel Ried Responds to Conservative Critic Barbara Kay

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Every time a critic makes a statement like “I’d not have wasted tax dollars on this values-void novel” it is important to raise an eyebrow. Not only is this type of rhetoric completely false (it postures weakly at a civic good which it reveals itself to not understand), it demonstrates a profound conservatism, a conservative which is often antithetical to literature worth giving a damn about. Last week, Raziel Ried, author of When Everything Feels Like the Movies, a Governor General’s Literary Award–winning book, defended herself against the National Post’s Barbara Kay in an amazing op-ed published in The Walrus. The ensuing conflagration in the comments and elsewhere is well worth the read. Go and take a look.

Watch This Incredible Trailer for Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage

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Who isn’t a fan of Haruki Murakami‘s novels? His latest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, sold more than a million copies in the first week it went on sale in Japan. It looks like Knopf put together a trailer that almost no one noticed (a measly 15,000 plays on YouTube). Anyway, we thinks it’s brilliant. The music is performed by Knopf’s cover designer Peter Mendelsund. Check it out below:

Check out These Stunning Minimalist Book Covers by New Directions

Type and space— that’s all you need for a good book cover. The covers below are a testament to design minimalism and good sense. Thanks New Directions!

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Watch Peter Mendelsund Play Liszt for Haruki Murakami’s Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

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Peter Mendelsund is one of my favourite designers. I have a copy of “Cover” sitting next to me on my desk right now — right next to my Bringhurst — and “What We See When We Read” is, well, a must read. Here Mendelsund performs Franz Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage, which is featured in the trailer for Murakami’s newest book, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki & His Years of Pilgrimage.

Murder your Spreadsheets: introducing the editors who will keep you up to date on literary submission deadlines

Liam Sarsfield and Jessie Jones, your editors.

Liam Sarsfield and Jessie Jones, your tiny editors.

Most of my literary side projects have gone nowhere. First, it was a poetry blog. Then, it was a publishing company. After that, a magazine. There was an app. I’ve filled more space in my notebooks with writing about what kind of literary institution I want to build than actual “literary” writing.

Up until a few months ago, I had made peace with this impulse and had started the process of convincing myself that none of it would ever get built. Then, I observed a conversation between Jessie and our friend Garth Martens about the spreadsheets they’d created in order to keep track of deadlines for publications, contests and fellowships. They talked for at least twenty minutes while I stuffed myself with onion rings. By the end of it, I could tell that Jessie was envious: Garth had amassed what sounded like a colossal and definitive list and had worked himself into a lather generating the will to maintain it. Walking home, brainstorming ways to keep abreast of deadlines without having to be an ascetic, we had the idea for Literistic. We’ve been hammering away ever since.

A little about us: we met while we were both still lucky enough to be taking classes with Tim Lilburn and Steven Price. We currently work in technology. I’m a designer by trade. Jessie is a copywriter and support staffer. You can follow me on Twitter, and follow Jessie on Tumblr. You can read a little bit more about how Literistic works in our article, “Building Literistic: Humans, Robots & Juvenile Capitalists.” We’re hoping we can make your lives a little easier. Sign up for Literistic here.