by Sarah Tun
Needing ideas or motivation to write something new? Seeking to get published? Need a new marketing strategy? In any one or all three cases, have you considered Literary Journals?
Writers Market… An oxymoron?
Sometimes it may feel like we, as writers, do more marketing than actual writing. This can be frustrating. All we want to do is to write our “stories”, be they fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose. Yet once we have, we yearn for many eyes to read it. So begins the task of marketing.
I’ve tried marketing as a writer, and although I enjoy composing marketing copy and understand the value and importance of marketing, I do not find it easy, and I rarely give a large chunk of time for direct marketing. Instead, I build networks, blog, and hope my work and my name gets around enough that people who read my on-line posts will also seek out and find my books.
Enter wise and experienced folk like our own dear Tom Blubaugh, who has ways and systems that are brilliant. Others do too. For those who devote time for such strategies, I take my hat off. I’ve done some of the same. But inherently, it doesn’t really suit me. But can I afford to ignore marketing entirely? Not if I take myself seriously as a professional.
So, I’ve found another way to make inroads, which I’m putting my time into at present. It’s got a Double benefit: Journals offer motivation and prompting for new material, as well as offering a means to a wider market Click To Tweet.
I’ll outline an alternative way to get our names known and our work available on a variety of different platforms.
Have you tried the Literary Journal?
Literary Journals — both print and on-line — abound. Some of them hold contests, others just seek material for their periodicals. Usually it costs nothing (or a nominal fee) to submit. They provide platform and occasionally feedback on an entry, even if ours is not accepted.
What they seek can also spur us on to new writing.
Suppose they seek a piece on a topic we don’t already have material for, but are interested to write about? There is a springboard for us.
Witness me! Recently, I wrote a story for a popular fashion magazine. They were asking for fictional stories on the title, “The Looking Glass”. Oooh. When I saw the notice, immediately an idea for a short story came to me. So, I wrote the story which sprang from the suggestion.
At the time of composing this, I’m about to submit the story, a story which got my juices going and which may get me into a popular magazine.
Another great thing about literary journals is that most of them are quite happy for us to submit our pieces to other platforms, so long as we let them know if our piece has been picked up elsewhere. No journal wants to compete with another by having a piece duplicated. They want fresh, not previously published work. We keep the copyright but they get first dibs, so-to-speak. So, if you have already published a piece, whether in a magazine or on your own website, or something in between, I recommend you don’t submit it to a Literary Journal (unless of course the ad actually says they don’t mind previously published work).
So there it is in a nutshell: writing subjects, platforms and marketing strategy all rolled into one.
And here’s a gem of a tip:
I use Submittable — It’s a platform for literary journals and writers. It lists invitations from journals, as well as contests. It offers an easy access point for information as well as a means to track our entries. I’ve found it to be an excellent gateway into the Literary Journal “scene” and one I’ve been using for a few months now. I offer it to you as encouragement, particularly if you feel blocked or overwhelmed by the task of marketing: www.submittable.com
© Sarah Tun, 2018