Resources for Writers: A Quick Guide

Whether you are just entering the writing and publishing game or have been around the block a few times, here’s a roundup of resources that have served this MFA student well and will maybe become your new writerly best friends, too—

  1. New Pages: NP has consistently been a go-to of mine, mainly because of how comprehensive and expansive its site is – a resource guide and compendium of literary journals, independent presses, contests, writing programs, indie bookstores, and more. When looking for places to submit my work, my favorite thing to do is scroll the NP journal list, arranged alphabetically, and peruse the blurbs of each journal. Within just a few minutes I’ve got a sizable list of prospects.
  2. Duotrope:  For the writer that values data, Duotrope is worth the small fee you pay per month. This database breaks down the journal and contest market, listing acceptance and rejection rates, turnaround time, and journals with similar aesthetics—all based on the feedback of submitters. There are also handy lists of the top 20 toughest markets, the top 20 friendliest markets, the markets with the highest number of received submissions, and so on. As a first-year MFA student, Duotrope was invaluable to me as I searched for those “friendlier” markets—ones that gave my emerging voice a chance.
  3. Literistic: Perhaps my favorite resource out there, what sets Literistic apart is that it takes that massive list of journals, contests, and deadlines and tailors it to you and your interests and aesthetics. When signing up for Literistic, you’re asked a few simple questions—genre(s) of interest, whether or not a publication pays its writers, whether or not there is a submission fee, whether or not you have an interest in contests and residencies, which journals you would love to see your work in. Based on this, a monthly email is delivered with journals, contests, and deadlines that are right up your alley, each accompanied with a brief blurb, the genres accepted, and other pertinent information. While Literistic has gone from being a free service to costing $3.15, the customization alone makes it worth that small fee.
  4. Twitter: So much is happening in the writing world on Twitter! Follow your favorite journals, your favorite writers, and your favorite presses—and start your own “writing” account. This is a great way to connect with the lit scene; you can tweet about readings you are attending, issues you are perusing, and share your work in a supportive space. One of my favorite Twitter accounts to follow is Submittable’s (@submittable), since they are constantly tweeting about calls for submission, contests, and journal/press blurbs. Believe in the power of the hashtag and the retweet. They work.
  5. MFA Day Job: If you are an MFA student in their mid- to late twenties, you, like me, are probably already wondering about what comes next. This blog features articles and interviews that focus on the post-MFA path that is what many would call “non-traditional,” aka non-academic. Writers talk candidly about what it’s like to support their creative endeavors while making a living in potentially “non-creative” ways. A refreshing glimpse into the world of having your cake and maybe even getting to eat it, too.

Happy searching, happy submitting, and happy writing!

Paige Sullivan is currently an MFA poetry candidate at Georgia State University, where she also works as a composition instructor and the poetry editor for New South. Her poetry appears in or is forthcoming from Mead, New Mexico Review, the American Literary Review, and others. Her prose and reviews appear in Bluestem Magazine, Rain Taxi, and the blog Epicure & Culture.

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