Written by Emily Harstone October 30th, 2023

Nine Exciting New Literary Journals (Fall, 2023)

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 now, 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 decade, 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 majority are open to submissions.

S. Kalekar also put together this terrific longer list in July!

Their motto is “Lit half civilized, half wild”, which is appropriate because they only publish hybrid works. There are lots of different definitions of hybrid work out there, but I particularly like their definition: “experimental writing that pushes beyond genre definitions—a story on top and a poem underneath; half memoir and half tale; a fable connected to a memory.”
They publish four issues a year on May 1, August 1, Nov. 1, and Feb. 1. Look for four to eight stories in each issue, as well as one original artwork or a photo.  They pay $20.

Only Poems
This wonderful literary journal publishes only poems, and focuses on the work of one poet at a time, at the rate of one per week. They are open to submissions for the first seven days of every month and closed otherwise. They pay each featured poet for their work. The work they’ve published so far is really impressive.

The Passionfruit Review
One of the most common questions we get at Authors Publish magazine, is “who publishes love poems?”. Although most lit journals publish love poems among other kinds of poetry, most readers appear  frustrated by the fact there aren’t more journals focused on that. The Passionfruit Review describes itself as “a new online poetry journal committed to making a home for love poetry”. They are also running a contest, but their is a fee attached to submitting to that.

This prose only journal describes itself as “The home of skillfully written stories that are brief, humorous and engaging, with the emphasis on wit, word play, absurdity and inspired nonsense.” There are so few lit journals that embrace and lift up the lighter side of lit, including puns, and I for one am grateful to see a new journal focused on that.

A charming and quirky new journal devoted only to publishing very short poems. I love how the editor says, “I want to see work that only you could have written.”

A twice-yearly print literary magazine, Postcard features 10 poems by 10 poets along with original art inspired by each poem. Everything is printed on a postcard and packaged as an issue. Issues have a limited 100 copy run. It is run by the form editor-in-chief for Salt Hill and NightBlock. Writers must reside in the US.

Write or Die Mag
They have published interesting pieces about writing and publishing, as well as more general essays, but are now getting into fiction, and are paying $200 for short stories (which will be published alongside an interview and custom art work). You can learn more about the submissions here. Their detailed submission form is here.

Ghost Light Lit
They bill themselves as a literary journal for those that need light in the darkness. They publish poetry, prose (including fiction and creative nonfiction), short screenplays, monologues and more. Their first issue comes in November. They are currently closed to submissions. Their first issue is focused on the theme, Grief Machine.

Where the Meadows Reside
A new journal based out of Canada. They have an engaging and unusual website. They close to submissions October 31st! They nominate for most major prizes/anthologies. They publish poetry, prose, creative nonfiction and artwork, and are also open to music and hybrid work.

Emily Harstone is the author of many popular books, including The Authors Publish Guide to Manuscript SubmissionsSubmit, Publish, Repeat, and The 2023 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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