Written by Emily Harstone

Why and Where You Should Start Submitting Your Writing This September

 “I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged… I had poems which were re-written so many times I suspect it was just a way of avoiding sending them out.” — Erica Jong

Starting to submit your work to literary journals is a hard task. Before you start, it can seem overwhelming. It is easy to delay submitting your first poem or prose piece to a journal indefinitely. The first submission I made took over an hour. However, now I can easily submit work in five to ten minutes, because it is a habit and I have a system established around it.

If you are one of those writers who has not yet submitted your work, or perhaps you just took a long break from submitting over the summer and need motivation to start submitting again, this article is for you. It focuses on all the reasons why you should start (or re-start) submitting this September.

1. Why Not?

Everyone I know is capable of procrastination. We even published an article on the benefits of procrastination. However, while procrastinating might help a writer write, procrastinating does not help your writing become published. Most writers from time to time will be struck by the inspiration to write, even if they don’t have a regular writing practice. Submitting does not work that way. Submitting just takes research and effort. Some also say it takes courage, but the more you submit, the easier it becomes.

This lecture I gave last winter really gives readers the tools to get started with submitting. This eBook goes into even more details about how to submit effectively.

2. Most Journals Reopen to Submissions in September

The hardest time of the year to start submitting is the summer, when most journals are closed. Many literary journals are run by academic institutions, which means that the bulk of literary journals reopen during the month of September.

Also many editors of smaller journals take the summer off, which means they reopen to submissions in September as well. Not only does this mean that there are hundreds of journals that are now open to submissions, it also means that the editors have had a break or the staff has turned over. This means that your work is more likely to be read by fresh eyes.

3. Some of the Most Prestigious Journals Have Just Reopened to Submissions

So many journals have just started accepting new submissions again, that it can be hard to sort the smaller journals from the more established ones.

If you really have your heart set on publishing your work in a prestigious journal The Kenyon Review, The Bennington Review, The Adroit Journal, The Cincinnati Review (before they hit caps), and The Paris Review (free electronic submissions till they meet their monthly cap, then they switch over to postal submissions only) have just started accepting fee-free submissions again.

The following prestigious journals have reopened to fee-free postal submissions, but do charge for online submissions: AGNI, The Iowa Review, The Gettysburg Review,  and Ninth Letter (online submissions to their print magazine are free in November and December, and the web magazine submissions are free till end-October).

It’s important to note that some of the best journals open to submissions on the 15th. So if a journal isn’t currently open to submissions, it should be soon.

In general though it’s always best to submit to journals at the start of the month. Many journals close to submissions when they reach caps on their Submittable account, that can be anywhere between 24 hours and 3 weeks of opening to submissions. Of course, some journals never hit these limits.

It’s also important to note that even though this article focuses on publishing in literary journals, the same is also true of publishers, and agents. Many of them re-open to submissions in September as well.

Where to Start Submitting

You can also try  The Spectacle, Passages North, River and South Review, Halfway Down the Stairs, The Moth Magazine, The Journal, and The Nashville Review. All of these recently reopened to submissions and are highly respected.

S. Kalekar also put together this list of paying markets that just re-opened to submissions. You can also S. Kalekar’s  most recent round up of themed submissions here.

Just remember that you can procrastinate forever, but that is not the road to publication. September is one of the best months to start submitting, so start now.


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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