Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dead Ends for Your Creative Writing

If you want quality readers such as literary agents, Pushcart Prize judges, famous writers, and Best American Poetry anthologists among your readers:

1. Don't submit to a brand-new literary journal. They don't have subscribers, and their newbie editors don't know enough to nominate their contents for Pushcart or other prizes.
2. Don't submit exclusively to journals edited by students in MFA programs. Because the editors change yearly, their contents are unpredictable and can be uneven, and because of this they are not taken very seriously. In fact these journals are referred to in the aggregate as "MFA rags."
3. If you win prizes from your local literary organization's contests and get that good work printed in the awards-ceremony program, or on the organization's website, that may be the last daylight your prizewinning work will ever see. Some litmag editors consider that work to have been "already published."

I think some MFA rags are wonderful, but if you're career-minded, learn to think differently. The above information from a seminar I attended last Saturday on poetry publishing.

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