Written by A Guest Author

15 Lit Mags/Journals Seeking Volunteer Readers & Why You’d Want To

By Trish Hopkinson

There are a variety of reasons you may want to volunteer as a reader for a literary magazine or journal. The majority of reading and other volunteer responsibilities will be conducted online, so you need not be in the same geographical area. Below are some of those reasons to consider, as well as a list of markets currently looking for volunteer readers and staff. To keep your eye out for future volunteer opportunities, you can search Submittable’s Discover feature using key words: volunteer, staff, reader, etc.

Why Volunteer

Gain Experience

By volunteering, you learn how the organization operates, learn how to use submission tools, and how their issues are crafted to support their mission. Volunteer work can help you boost your CV and resume for future paid positions.

Meet Writers

Expand your network by working with other writers who are passionate about the literary community.

Improve Your Own Writing

One of the tips I often see from writers/poets is to read what is being published today to help improve your own work. By volunteering as a reader, you’ll be exposed to a wide variety of work and learn what you love and how to incorporate it into your own writing style and craft.

Improve Your Own Submissions Approach

Gaining visibility to the variety, submission volume, and the labor done by staff to manage the submission process will provide a better understanding to help increase your success with your own submissions. Seeing wonderful work rejected due to final issue compilation, topic recurrence, timing, etc. will give you invaluable insights into your own acceptances/rejections.

Discover New Talent

As a reader, not only do you get the first look at some of the most surprising and incredible new work, but you may accept a piece for an emerging poet or writer who might become famous someday. When I was a reader for Adroit, I was honored to read some of the already established writers who submitted, as well as thrilled to come across new writers doing exceptional work.

Literary Citizenship

Contribute to the community you love by donating your time and have a great time doing it! For some, donating time is a better fit than donating money or subscribing.

Volunteer Opportunities

Abandon Journal

Readers in all genres.

Application Method: Email

Format: Online

Notes: “If you love contemporary poetry, fiction, nonfiction, flash, and experimental hybrid work that abandons form, then you might enjoy becoming a reader for Abandon Journal. We’re looking for help with slushing through our slush pile, 3-4 hours per week (or more, if you’d like). Drop us a line at phillip@abandonjournal.com and let us know a little about yourself, what you’d like to read (poetry, short fiction, flash, longer stuff, etc.), and why you’re interested in joining the ranks of the abandoned. For poetry readers, please let us know a few contemporary poets you enjoy reading.”

Autumn House Press

Submission readers

Application Method: Email

Format: Print

Notes: “Autumn House Press accepts volunteer readers to screen on a rolling basis. This is an unpaid position and volunteers will not be given college credit (unless volunteer hours are stipulated as a component of a course) but will receive gratis copies of the prize-winning books.” The also offer internships. They charge a fee for manuscript submissions.

Barren Magazine

Poetry Contributing Editor (first line reader).

Application Method: Email

Format: Online

Notes: “At Barren Magazine, we utilize Contributing Editors (CEs) as our first-line readers in each submission period. We have CEs for every written medium based on volume. We typically publish one issue per month, and have rolling submission periods that last anywhere from 4-6 weeks. In that time, we receive between 300-600+ poems on average. We are assembling teams of Poetry CEs so that every CE doesn’t have to read for every reading period. We’ve found that burnout occurs after consecutive reading periods, and we are looking to prevent that for everyone’s sake. All Barren Magazine Masthead positions are volunteer-based.”

Cleaver Magazine

Submission editors, proofreaders, and copyeditors.

Application Method: Submittable

Format: Online

Notes: “Cleaver needs submission editors as well as proofreaders and copyeditors to help us groom each story, essay, and poem before publication.” They are also seeking editorial interns. Cleaver charges for magazine submissions, except for some fee-free periods.

Electric Lit: Recommended Readings

Readers for weekly fiction magazine.

Application Method: Submittable

Format: Online

Notes: They are also looking for interns.

Five South

Readers for poetry, fiction, nonfiction.

Application Method: Web form

Format: Online

Notes: They are also looking for social media interns.
For literary magazine submissions, the humor section is free, the rest appear to be fee-based.

Identity Theory

Volunteer editors.

Application Method: Email

Format: Online

Notes: “Based in southern Nevada, our online literary magazine welcomes enthusiastic virtual volunteers from all over the world.”

Kitchen Table Quarterly

Readers for poetry and nonfiction.

Application Method: Submittable

Format: Online

Notes: “Experience is not necessary, but an understanding of our editorial focus and aesthetic is.”

Moot Point Magazine

Moot Point Magazine is a new journal that is actively looking for readers.

Application Method: Email

Format: Online

Notes: They are also seeking contributing editors and staff writers.

Newfound

Assistant reviews editor.

Application Method: Submittable

Format: Online

Notes: “Volunteers run Newfound projects. As a volunteer, you might read, vote on, edit, and solicit writing, steward the editorial process, and/or cheer your published writers online or at one of our annual readings. You will also receive invitations throughout the year to join our tri-annual writing circle and to apply for professional development funds.”

 

Philadelphia Stories

Readers for poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Application Method: Email

Format: Online + Print

Notes: They are also looking for a nonfiction editor and a director of communications. “The mission of Philadelphia Stories is to cultivate a community of writers, artists, and readers in the Greater Philadelphia Area through publications, professional development, and promotion of area writers.”

Ploughshares

Readers for poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.

Application Method: Email

Format: Print

Notes: “To obtain a Volunteer Screener application, please email pshares@pshares.org with the subject line ‘Volunteer Screener Application Request.” For the literary magazine, they have some fee-free submission options.

Room

Reading manuscripts and helping with issue launches.

Application Method: Website form

Format: Print

Notes: “Please note that due to the volume of applicants, we can only respond to people we wish to interview for an opening, and it can take up to six months to respond.”

The Southampton Review

Art screeners and readers for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Application Method: Website form

Format: Online + Print

Notes: “The Southampton Review has been publishing compelling writing and art since 2007.”

Utopia Science Fiction

Assistant editor – Manuscript Reader.

Application Method: Email

Format: Online + Print

Notes: “Founded July, 2019, we are a growing science fiction magazine dedicated to publishing quality science fiction short stories, science articles, and poetry.” They are also seeking an Outreach Manager.

Bio: Trish Hopkinson is a poet, blogger, and advocate for the literary arts. You can find her online at SelfishPoet.com where she shares submission calls and publication tips. She resides in Utah, where she runs the nonprofit group Rock Canyon Poets and curates the Poetry Happens series for KRCL 90.9 FM.

 

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