Tips for Submitting Your Work to Editors

I’ve been a writer for several years now, but it was only when I started my own literary magazine I truly appreciated what it’s like to be on the other side of the fence. Six issues and two anthologies later, here are some tips which could help other writers when submitting their work.

Read the guidelines

This might seem obvious, but we received so many submissions where the word or line count was over what we mentioned in the guidelines. Other writers submitted more poems or stories than the limit.


Different publications have their own way of operating. Some might delete the whole submission without reading your work. Others will be a little more generous and only pick the first qualifying pieces, and not read or consider the rest. If those pieces are your best work, you’ve just ruined your chance of getting them accepted.


Don’t assume the guidelines don’t apply to you

For example, if the guidelines say the genre is crime or horror, sending erotic fiction will be a hard sell, particularly if it doesn’t fit either of those genres. It doesn’t matter how good you think your work is. Also, if like many submission calls I respond to as a writer, the guidelines say the call might close early if all spots are filled, get in as early as you can.

Again, it seems obvious, but I’ve had a writer do this and act like it was my fault he either didn’t read the guidelines, or assumed they weren’t relevant to him.


Address the editor correctly

It’s important to make a good first impression. Find out the editor’s name if you can. Address them personally. If you’re unsure, ‘Dear Editor’ is better than addressing someone as sir or madam, or Mr or Mrs. You risk getting it wrong and causing offence or annoyance.


Don’t argue over a rejection

Everyone gets rejected sometimes, but it’s how you handle it that counts. I’ve had to reject writers. Many either accept it quietly, or thank me for my time. A few argue their cause.

One poet told me my readers were missing out. Another insisted his poem wasn’t racist, while someone else said I was racist. None of these things will make an editor change their mind, or feel favorably towards you in the future. Those who argue the most stand out for all the wrong reasons.


Learn the value of feedback

Getting personalized feedback is rare. Often, a form rejection is sent. (It’s not a good fit/it wasn’t chosen/this is not a reflection of your work…)

So, when an editor or the submission team give you constructive feedback, it provides you a valuable insight into what you can improve.

They might ask you to edit and resubmit, which shows they see something in your work. Otherwise, you can follow their advice and use it when you send your work elsewhere. It might be the thing that gets your piece accepted by the next editor you send it to.


There’s nothing magical about getting your work accepted. The above tips give you a better chance of getting your work read and published, so you can concentrate on writing the best piece to send to the right publication.

  • Posted by Amanda Steel
  • October 17, 2021 11:39 AM PDT
There’s nothing magical about getting your work accepted. Here are some tips to give you a better chance of getting your work read and published.




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