Written by Emily Harstone March 28th, 2022

Seven 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 10-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 majority are open to submissions.

Radon Journal

Radon welcomes short story and poetry submissions containing elements of anarchism, transhumanism, dystopia, and/or science fiction. They pay all contributors and try to respond to all submissions within two to four weeks. Their first issue is forthcoming in May. They have extensive FAQ.

GROUND journal

GROUND Journal is a biannual poetry journal of found object-inspired ekphrasis. Which is to say a poem that is a vivid description of an object, rather than a piece of art. I really like this area of focus for a journal, and it inspired me to write a poem for the first time in a while. They have a simple, but well-designed website.

Boats Against The Current

A brand new literary journal, with a well designed website that is easy to navigate. Currently they are publishing poems regularly electronically but they plan to put together a print edition in fall 2022. They will re-open for submissions in July.

The Bureau Dispatch

They describe themselves as “an ode to the writer’s bureau; an ongoing collection of stories accompanied by photographs of writers at their places of work.” They publish short stories between 500 and 1,500 words. They are open to all narratives. They are currently closed, but will reopen to submissions on April 1st. I couldn’t not feature them, because their website is both well organized and engaging and their theme is very well executed. Their contributor page for the first issue is wonderful.

Grim & Gilded

They are looking for stories and poetry steeped in the genres of horror, fantasy, and dark fiction. This is what they have to say about their foundation: “Grim & Gilded was founded upon the idea of finding beauty within the darkness – the feverish seeking for threads of gold among the twisting gloom and dusky shadows.” They were founded in December 2021 and are currently reading for their third issue. They read submissions year-round.

Discretionary Love

The founding editor, Jessica Frelow, “believes in the sanctity of love and all that comes with it. Discretionary Love was created to help people find solace in their vulnerability.” They publish creative nonfiction, poetry, short stories, essays and videos all about love, both hard and easy, involving others and oneself.

Grand Dame Literary Journal

They publish fiction and memoir by women writers of a certain age. They do not strictly define that age. One of the many things I like about them is that besides having a nice website they are more open to mainstream work including literary chick lit, upmarket women’s, romance, and thrillers. Their tone overall is very accessible. They are a member of the CLMP.

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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