Posted in Writing

Submission Hell-A Rant

We writers all go through the same loop when submitting our work 
for publication.  We write, submit, get rejected and repeat.  
I can handle that.  Rejection is part of the process.  
Rejection makes you try harder and you learn 
from every rejection.  

The thing that gets under my skin is the Vast amount of 
differences for submissions!  There are almost as many WAYS 
to submit as there are publications that accept them. 

*Some accept previously published pieces, others do not.  
Some consider a blog post as being Published, others do not.  

*Some charge reading fees, others do not.  

*Some places do not accept simultaneous submissions, 
while others do.

*Some want your submission in a Word document, others want a PDF.  
Still others want the submission to be a copy and pasted into 
the body of the email.  

*Some have very specific requirements as far as font size 
and type, others do not.  

*Some want your submission to be blind.  No name on it anywhere.  
Other want your name on each piece.  

*If submitting short pieces, poetry, etc., some places want just 
One document with ALL of your pieces.  Others want each piece 
attached as a separate document.   

*A LOT of submissions go through Submittable.  With others you 
must email the publication directly.  Still others have their own 
online form you must fill out to submit.  

*Some places want a bio from you.  These can vary wildly.  
Anything from a short piece, limited to 50 words or less to 
something longer.  Some places want the bio written in the 
3rd person, other do not.  Then some places do not want a 
bio at all.   And remember the requirements for font 
size and type!!

*Most publications seem to take a lifetime to get back to you 
with an answer, 6 months or more is not uncommon.  If this is 
the case, you’ve got this unpublished masterpiece (in some eyes) 
sitting there and you can do NOTHING with it.  Because if they 
do not accept simultaneous submissions or previously published 
work, you cannot let it be seen anywhere else until the 
Publication Gods that you have submitted to have given 
it a pass or fail.

*Then there is the whole legal mess of your rights as the author.  
Do you retain your rights?  Do they?  You need an attorney to 
read the leagalese on some of the websites.  

It’s all maddening!!  Why do we do it??  

I get so frustrated at times that I just throw my hands up in 
the air in defeat.  I close down the website I’m on and crawl 
back to my little cave of self-pity to lick my wounds.  Then 
that spark will come.  That “ping” that tells me “This time!  
THIS will be the ONE that will get me seen and the publishers 
will take notice!!”  So I go at it again and submit 
more of my work.

I do offer some advice in this mad, mad world of write, 
submit, reject and repeat.   

*I Print Out the submission Guidelines and keep them next to 
me as I’m preparing my piece for submission.  This way, I’m sure 
not to overlook anything.

*FOLLOW the submission guidelines to the letter.  
No matter how brilliant your piece is, if you did not follow 
the rules, you’re out on your ear often before the 
piece is ever read.  

*Proof your piece.  For heaven’s sake, you don’t want to be 
rejected because of a spelling error, do you?  
Proof, proof, proof!!

*Lastly, take time to vent.  Cry, yell and curse the 
Publishing Gods.  Shake your fist and stomp your feet.   
Scream into your pillow.  Cry yourself a river, if that makes 
you feel better.  But when it’s all said and done, take a deep 
breath and climb back on that horse and give it another shot.  

Why?  Because we are writers, that’s why.    

© 2018 Penny Wilson


Penny Wilson is an international 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.

20 thoughts on “Submission Hell-A Rant

  1. You are right. Submissions require so much work and they are all different yet writers are treated so poorly. It takes ages to hear back and often, if there is any feedback, it is damning and completely unhelpful. You are brave to keep trying.


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