Why Literary Editors Aren’t Publishing Your Stories Or Poems | Writer’s Relief

Feb 28, 2024 | Literary Journals And Magazines

Why Literary Editors Aren’t Publishing Your Stories Or Poems | Writer’s Relief

The writing process for creating poetry or short stories requires an imaginative, inventive mindset. But when it comes time to submit your work to literary agents for publication, many writers make a big mistake: They forget to stop thinking like a creative. The submission strategists at Writer’s Relief know that getting published takes more than good writing—it also takes a business mindset and industry know-how. Here are the real reasons why literary editors aren’t publishing your stories or poems.

Reasons Why Literary Editors Aren’t Publishing Your Short Stories Or Poems

Your Writing Isn’t Ready

Did you take the time…to edit, rewrite, proofread, and format your work—or did you dash off a first draft and send it out, convinced it was already perfect? Your poem or short story may have good bones, but it requires polishing.

Is your work original and intriguing…or is it a rehash of something editors have seen many times? If your short story or poem uses a trope or concept that has been done countless times before, then an editor will most likely pass, even if your version is well-written. Even though certain genres will expect particular tropes, you should find a way to break the mold and put a unique spin on the idea.

Did you use proper formatting…and proofread for typos and grammar? Did you use ten words to say something that only needed two? The nitty-gritty elements of writing are just as important as an imaginative storyline or poem! Having the proper technical aspects and craft behind work that is well-written will kick it up a notch in the readers’ eyes.

You Don’t Follow Submission Guidelines

Do you think submission guidelines are unimportant…or that for some reason they don’t apply to you? Literary journal editors and readers are often underpaid or volunteers. If you ignore the submission guidelines and send in a 5,000-word short story when the limit is 3,500 words, or a rhyming poem when the journal requests free verse only, your work will be rejected without a second look. You’re showing the journal you’re not interested in what they want or how they want it presented, so why should they be interested in you? And no, your short story or poem is not the exception.

You Aren’t Submitting Work To The Right Literary Journals

Are you spending hours researching journals…or are you submitting your writing to the first few literary magazines you find? It can take hours and hours to determine which journals are a good fit for your writing—and just as importantly, to discover the journals that are NOT right for you.

Fortunately, you can save time and energy by letting Writer’s Relief help you with finding the best markets for your work. Our expert research team will pinpoint the right journals for your writing and boost your odds of getting an acceptance! And we’re very good at what we do: Over 90% of Writer’s Relief short story and poetry clients have been published with our help! Learn more about our services and submit your work to our Review Board today!

You’re Not Giving It Enough Time

Did you submit to only one or two literary journals…and give up when you didn’t hear back in three days? Making successful submissions means being consistent and patient. The competition to get published is fierce. Even for well-written, well-researched work, the publishing industry standard is that it can take 100 submissions to get an acceptance! If you want to boost your acceptance rate and get published, you need to submit your work to many markets and on a continuing schedule. And keep in mind that while some journals respond quickly, others can take months to reply.

If you have good writing that’s prepared to publishing industry standards and submit it to 25+ carefully vetted markets every two months (the proven-effective Writer’s Relief submission schedule), you’ll have much better odds of getting acceptances from literary editors.

Whether you want to take the traditional publishing route or are thinking about self-publishing, Writer’s Relief can help. Give us a call, and we will point you in the right direction!


Question: How many literary journals do you typically submit to, and how often?