Written by Emily Harstone November 8th, 2021

Eight Exciting New Literary Journals

In my experience, there are many reasons to seek publication in journals that have been around for less than a year. When a literary journal is new, the editors tend to be a lot more passionate. I have gotten handwritten thank you cards from editors of new publications, something that has never happened when my work was published by a more established journal.

Editors of new journals tend to be more generous with their time, energy, and enthusiasm. Plus, they are genuinely grateful that you trusted their new and untested journal with your work. Several of the journals that published my work in their first issue have gone on to permanently feature my poems on their website as their ‘sample poem’, so that other submitters get a feel for the kind of work they like to read.

New journals have recorded podcasts about my work. My work ended up getting promoted a lot more than if it had been accepted by an older, more established journal.

With a new journal, the odds that work will be nominated for a literary prize increase as well. I have been publishing in new journals for over a decade and some of the journals that published my work when I was a new writer are now established and several now have a less than 1% acceptance rate. However, when I originally submitted, they were far less competitive.

During that ten year period, a number of those new journals went under, which is one of the major pitfalls to submitting to new journals. The other major pitfall is that you don’t know what you are getting into, particularly if your work is published in the first issue. You can’t look at past issues, online and in print, because they have none. In a way it is stepping into the unknown. In my experience though, the risk is always worth it because the reward can be much greater.

Some of these journals are currently closed but the vast majority are open to submissions.

The Good River Review

A brand new journal based in Spalding University, they are open to a wide variety of work including stage plays, short films, and videos of produced scripts. Also, those writing for children and young adults may submit work in the prose, lyric, and drama categories. They are open to book reviews, as well.

Abandon Journal

A new journal open to a wide variety of work including but not limited to flash (up to 1,000 words), short stories (up to 7,5000 words), longer stories (up to 12,000 words), creative nonfiction (up to 8,000 words), graphic novels, cartoons, comics, poetry, and craft essays.


They publish art, comics, photos, nonfiction, short fiction, flash fiction, genre fiction and anything in between. The first literary journal I’ve ever encountered with a Submission Progress page and three clearly outlined responses: acceptance, revise and resubmit, and rejection. Regardless of the response time they will provide you with at least one editor’s rubric to explain why they made the decision. When they publish a piece, they list why they chose it. It is currently closed to submissions and will hopefully re-open shortly.

State of Matter

They are looking for Speculative Fiction stories and poetry, which is a broadly defined category and includes Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Obscure and other slipstream genres. The website is well laid out, and the story I read was particularly satisfying.

Scrawl Place

They are currently closed and plan to reopen later in November (you can sign up to their email list to be notified), but one of the reasons I list them is that they have a very specific and intriguing self description “A litmag for readers who prefer Bashō to Lonely Planet”. They publish creative nonfiction, poetry and hybrids. They pay 35 dollars per piece. The editors only fixed criteria is that the work “be about or connected to or associated with a specific, physical place that someone could visit.” They try to respond to all submissions within 4 weeks.

The Madigral

A beautiful poetry journal based in Dublin that is currently closed to submissions, they reopen in December. They describe themselves as publishing work that is “delicate, sincere, and above all emotive”.


A new electronic publisher of speculative fiction that pays  1¢ per word for fiction, and responds to all submissions within seven weeks. They also are open to previously published stories as long as you indicate that your work is reprint during the submission process.


A brand new journal just gathering work for their first issue, they publish fiction, poetry, nonfiction, articles, plays, screenplays, photography & art.


Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2021 Guide to Manuscript Publishers.

She regularly teaches three acclaimed courses on writing and publishing at The Writer’s Workshop at Authors Publish. You can follow her on Facebook here.




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