Written by A Guest Author November 30th, 2020

9 Literary Magazines Seeking Volunteer Readers & Why You’d Want To Participate

By Trish Hopkinson

There is 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.

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.

Literary Citizenship

Contribute to the community you love by donating your time and have a great time doing it!

Volunteer Opportunities

Carve Magazine

Readers for fiction, poetry, or nonfiction.

Application Method: Submittable

Format: Print

Notes: “We’re particularly interested in readers who demonstrate that they’re already fans of Carve and have an innate understanding of our aesthetic and style.” If not a good fit, they will recommend other lit mags who are actively seeking readers.

Helen: a literary magazine

Readers for flash fiction, poetry, and nonfiction.

Application Method: Email

Format: Electronic (downloadable PDF)

Notes: “After six months to one year of exceptional volunteering with our magazine, you will be eligible to apply for upper level volunteer positions.”

Cleaver Magazine

Readers for fiction, poetry, and essays.

Application Method: Submittable

Format: Online

Notes: “ Do you love to read contemporary fiction? Poetry? Essays? Are you a literary tastemaker? Cleaver needs readers whose sensibilities click with our own to help us thwack! through our growing submissions pile and proofread the pieces we accept. Editorial interns read and vote on submissions, help us proofread the issue before it goes live, and write at least one book review. Time commitment: 4-8 hours/week (or more if you would like.) We can work with your college or university to provide academic credit for a semester-long internship at Cleaver.”


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.’”

Strange Horizons

First readers for fiction and podcast editors.

Application Method: Email

Format: Online

Notes: “Strange Horizons is a weekly magazine of and about speculative fiction. We publish fiction, poetry, reviews, essays, interviews, roundtable discussions, and art.”

Flash Fiction Magazine

Readers for flash fiction.

Application Method: Email

Format: Online

Notes: They are also looking for social media volunteers to engage people with their platform.

Autumn House Press

First readers for annual poetry, fiction, and nonfiction contests.

Application Method: Email

Format: Print

Notes: “The contest is open from January 1– June 30. MFA (or MFA-in-progress) preferred but will accept a Bachelor’s Degree in literature or creative writing.”

New England Review

Readers for fiction and nonfiction.

Application Method: Email

Format: Print

Notes: “Fiction readers are assigned 20 submissions per month. Readers who complete their work on a regular basis are listed on our masthead and receive a complimentary print or eBook subscription to New England Review for as long as they are active as readers.”

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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