Posted in Life, Poetry, Writing

A Rant About Submitting to Publications

I don’t know about you, but I am awfully tired of the Merry-go-round that publications have us on!!  I’ve been fortunate enough to have several of my pieces published.  All of them online forums, nothing in print.  I keep submitting, but it’s SO frustrating!!

You write from your heart.  You’ve poured your soul onto the page.  You’re sure that THIS one is the jewel that will finally be in print.  You proof and edit until your piece is perfect.  You select THE perfect place for it to appear.  You send your precious baby out into the webisphere to be critiqued, analyzed and criticized.  You wait and wait and WAIT, patiently for a response.  Until one day, you receive that email that says, once again, that (they are very sorry, but) this piece was not chosen for publication.

This is all well and good.  I DO understand that maybe that piece was not for them, they didn’t like it, whatever the case may be.  I can handle that.  What GETS my dander up, is that usually, these places do not want anything that was previously published.  (this includes your blog) Also understandable.  BUT they take a freakin’ lifetime to get back to you with a response!!

Seriously!!  Are you just supposed to sit on this (awesome) unpublished piece and not post it ANYWHERE for God-knows-how-long?  Most of the publications have a ridiculous time frame for a turnaround.

Below is a piece that I Cut and Pasted from the Poetry Foundation .org website.  (the typos are theirs)

How soon can I expect to hear about my submission?
Out of respect for poets, we are doing everything we can to minimize response time. We will do our best to respond within seven months from the day of receipt, but are sometimes slower in responding. Please be patient! It is our goal to make sure each submission gets a good read. Adhering to our single submission of four poems or fewer at a time will help insure a timely response to your work.

Seven months???!!  Sometimes slower???  Are you freakin’ kidding me?!  I’ve submitted to a few places that have taken almost a year!

There HAS TO BE a solution to this!  This is just insane.

Your thoughts?  Do you have this kind of frustration?  


Penny Wilson is a freelance writer who writes in several genres. She has written articles for WOW Women on Writing. Her poetry has been published in online journals, such as Ariel Chart, Spill Words Press and the Poppy Road Review. Penny is a member of the Austin Poetry Society. Her poetry has been featured in the publication America's Emerging Poets 2018 & 2019 by Z Publishing and Poets Quarterly and Dual Coast Magazine published by Prolific Press. Penny is an advocate for Mental Health Awareness and has the page "Mental Health Help" on her blog. She writes about the struggles of mental illnesses and Depression. She is passionate about spreading awareness for Suicide Prevention and Domestic Abuse. She expresses her passion through her writings of poetry and life experiences. You can find more of her writings on her blog at and follow her on Twitter @pennywilson123.

22 thoughts on “A Rant About Submitting to Publications

  1. Hello- I self-publish on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Honestly, I am not setting the world on fire anywhere, but I sure do appreciate the ‘likes’ I get right here. I am not well known, so they don’t promote my stuff. I listened to a publisher once and changed a chapter I wrote in my ‘Meet Duff’ and basically got a pat on the back and a kick in the you know what. He gave me three out of five stars to begin with, then after I changed things around the way he wanted, he gave me one star. It got me pretty discouraged. So, I don’t listen too much to criticism and don’t try to please anymore. I basically now, write because it helps keep me sane. I’ve kind a given up on the money and fame part. Thank God I am retired and me and my wife have pensions. But, I know I have to get with it and finish books I started years ago. Laziness, maybe or I guess I’m not in any great hurry because of what has happened in the past. I would say from my point of view to just keep doing it because you like it. That’s what I do. I don’t know, I guess I’m not a real positive thinker, but it sure seems to help me write quotes about things and poems better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hear ya! It can be frustrating. I had a prof in grad school say to forget the “no simultaneous submissions” rule. In fact, most of the journals and lit. mags I submit to don’t adhere to this rule anymore. That said, I submit (through Submittable, which makes it easy) a bunch at a time, so I always have active submissions. As they get declined, I submit more. It’s a pretty easy-in, easy-out process, and with a bunch at a time, I don’t get too hung up on the declines. I would also suggest you look at The Writers Market and target those publications that accept quite a lot of work by new poets. And I also like the suggestion, above, of submitting to local journals. Here in Maryland, it’s the Maryland Writers Association–which has a print journal that accepts work from new writers. I’m sure your state has one, too!


  3. I can totally get your frustration some of the journals have response time spanning 6 months or more and some of them even fail to respond.I also agree with submitting to the local events and the competitions which are faster in response.


  4. I have only rarely submitted work in the last several years, for the same reasons.

    I’m now embarking on Print-On-Demand indie publishing. First book (Small Town Kid) hitting the shops and online soon. It’s a great feeling and I’m learning that there is a huge difference between being a writer and being an author.

    Best luck with it, Penny.


      1. I have come to believe that- forpoetry particularly, where a couple of thousand copies might be an extraordinary result – working out how to do the business of publishing professionally as an indie is the way to go.

        Intense, but what a hoot!


  5. I have had some stories on line and some in real paper anthologies, thrice won some money; BUT a mere drop in the ocean compared to the hundreds of stories sent to competitions. I had files full of pieces entered, then returned to the other file ready for the next suitable competition… Now I mainly concentrate on self publishing and my blog. When Amazon Kindle started enabling us to publish in paperback as well there was even less incentive to send my work out.


  6. I’ve submitted only to local/regional/state competitions with excellent success. The wait for results is short. These contests are well-respected and typically host events featuring the winners, complete with readings. Each year I enter a poet-artist collaboration, a sidewalk poetry competition and a Minnesota-authors anthology competition. I’ve had great experiences. I’d suggest focusing on local, regional and state-wide writing opportunities.

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  7. My dear P,
    Trust me I have a log where I keep on writing my acceptance and rejection mails. I know such sites that take the entire life and all we do is living with our unpublished work published nowhere. It literally kills. And for this reason, I try to approach magazine, sites who are quicker than the rest. Put strong!


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