A Step-By-Step Guide to Publication

Welcome to the Realm of Publication!


The publishing world can be a confusing, frustrating place, especially for new writers. However, with the right information, you can be well equiped to enter the publishing realm and jumpstart your career. From the perspective of high school writers, it's often difficult to 


This page is primarily for getting published into literary magazines and journals. Our editorial staff has a broad range of experience when it comes to publication, and we hope to share our insights withour audience!


This guide is composed of three steps:


Step 1: Improve the quality of your work

Step 2: Research, Research, Research!

Step 3: Embrace the Rejection


Let's dive in!



Step 1: Improve The Quality of your Work


The truth of the matter is, we're always learning! One can always do better, and learning to write is a gradual, long-term process. When it comes to getting published, the logic is simple; the "better" your writing is, the better your chance of getting published. Though "better" is highly subjective (and depends on factors like reader's preferences and background, current trends in the market, etc), the overall quality of one's work is something that can always be tweaked.


So, how exactly do you get better at writing? You write (quite a lot)! The best thing you can do for yourself is put in the time and effort into your craft. This means spending time on editing, rewriting, and revising your poetry, short stories, fiction, essays, and creative non-fiction. It's an investment, no matter how you look at it, and it's one worth making. 


A great way to "improve" the quality of your work for literary magazines is to view your work objectively through the eyes of an editor. How are the flow of your ideas, the pacing of your text, and the hook of opening paragraph?


Here are some articles about some effective writing techniques for improvement, written by our editorial staff.


1a) Reading like a Writer


1b) Building Confidence in your Work


1c) Making Three-Dimensional Characters


1d) Writing Lovable Characters


1e) A Recipie for Honesty: 4 Self-Editing Tips


1f) Creating the Perfect Title


1g) How to Write Faster


1h) Are you Ready for Publication?


1i) How to Start Submitting!



Step 2: Research, Research, Research!


In order to be sucessful with publishing in literary magazines, the fist step is to understand HOW to submit. Generally, this process requires finding a literary journal right for you and your craft. Some literary magazines are exclusively for young writers, while others are only for writers from a certain state. Some journals have a focus on women or minority writers, while others prefer their writers to have a reputation in the publishing world. Some publish all submissions, while others are more selective. Some pay commisions for accepted works, while others charge a readers fee. The game is all about finding literary journals that work for you, which can be fairly research intensive. There isn't some special "secret formula" that can help you deduce the perfect literary jounrals that you have the best shot of getting into, but there are some general guidelines.


Firstly, know your craft. Do you write shorter pieces of fiction that tend to be humorous? Do you tend to gravitate toward science fiction topics that leave the reader thinking? Some journals look for a certain length when it comes to publishing. If they usually publsh moderate to lengthy poems, your three line haiku may not make it past their editorial staff. 


A great way to gauge whether or not your style may fit with the magazine's preferances is to read one of their previously published issues. Sometimes, this may require buying their past issue, but if there is a prize or monetary compensation for being published, it may be worth it.


Before you submit your writing, make sure that you understand how to interpret submission guidelines. It's important that you completely follow the submission rules of the literary magazine you're applying to, as it may get your submission overlooked for consideration. 


Next, you're most likely going to have to write a cover letter. Some literary journals don't require one, while others do. Your cover letter should be basic and straight to the point; it should include the name of the works you’re submitting, as well as your author bio.


Make sure you know the magazine's policy on previously published works and simultaneous submissions. Most allow writers to retain 100% of their rights, as copyright law and freedom of speech protect your work. Make sure you read and understand your literary journal contract, though! Some magazines prefer works that have never been published before, including on personal blogs or social media. If you submit the same work to two literary magazines, and find yourself in a position where you have to retract a submission or turn down an acceptance, it's vital to do so promptly and professionally. The last thing you want to do is burn your bridges - that is, ruin your relationship with an editor who may otherwise be willing to help you in the future.



Step 3: Embrace the Rejection


Ah, sweet rejection. Does that seem like juxtaposition, to you? We at the Elysian Muse Literary Magazine believe that rejection can be just as valuable as an acceptance. If you find yourself faced with rejection, it isn't a testament to your ability as a writer. Rather, rejections mean you are actively pursuing opportunites and actively doing your best to pursue your goals. It means you're a true writer!


Here are some articles that can help you grapple with rejection and stay motivated:


8a) Famous Author Quotations about Rejection


8b) Famous Author Quotations about Writing


8c) Famous Author Quotations about Motivation



Closing Notes


Congratulations on taking your first few steps to becoming an accomplished, published author! The journey ahead is far from easy, but it will definetly be worth it. Despite the road blocks, the rejections, and the dips in motivation, your perseverance will ultimately be the reason for your success. In the mean time, we're here for you at every step of the way. Shoot us a line or come back to this tab if you have any pressing questions. If you'd like edtorial help, personal writing advice, or just want to say hi, feel free to email us! We love to hear from young writers like you!


We wish you all the best on your journey to publication. Cheers!