Written by Emily Harstone February 10th, 2022

Literary Journals: A Great Way to Promote Your Book

A literary journal is an online or print periodical devoted to literature. Literary journals usually publish short stories, poetry, and essays. Most focus on general literature, but there are others with more specialized interests such as science fiction, children’s literature, horror, and mystery. Some are just focused on a specific subject matter. For example, there is a literary journal that just publishes fiction about travel.

Literary journals are an often overlooked as ways to promote books. But they can be a key component. When my second book was published, I contacted every literary journal that had published one of the poems the book contained. Since ten of the poems had been previously published in literary journals, that was a substantial number of publications.

In the email that I sent to the literary journals, I informed the journal that my book had just been released and it featured a poem, or poems that they had previously published. I asked them to share this news, if they wanted to. I also included a download review copy of the book, an offer to send a print copy if need be, in case someone at their publication wanted to review it.

Because of this three separate journals published reviews of my book, and all ten featured a promotion about it on their Facebook pages. Two also sent out an email that promoted my book along with other books by previous contributors.

If what you are working on in terms of a manuscript does not lend itself to being submitted to literary journals, it could be worth writing shorter work that does and submitting it, to make these valuable connections to promote your work. Many of the literary journals that ended up promoting my second book had not previously published a poem in that book, but they had published other work by me.

It is important when it comes to short story collections and poetry collections to publish your work in literary journals before publishing it in manuscript form. This is because most journals are not interested in work that has been previously published. Also it is a lot easier to find a traditional publisher for short story collections and poetry books if your work has been previously published in literary journals.

Some literary journals also publish excerpts of novels (some are only interested in unpublished ones, others focus on published excerpts) and that can be a good way to promote your work as well.

Whenever your work is published in a literary journal they publish an accompanying 50-word bio, and that can be a good place to promote your work, also.

All of these suggestions require you to submit to literary journals. If you have never done that before it can be a little overwhelming, but once you start the process is easy and relatively painless. This article is a great place to start.

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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