Good Literary Journals for Unpublished Writers

Written by Emily Harstone | August 14, 2014

Updated February 16th, 2015

Over the years we have published a lot of articles about Literary Journals.

If you’re curious why, then start with this article: Why You Should Submit to Literary Journals. In response, many of our readers have asked about where authors who are new to submitting should send their work.

If you’re new to publishing in literary journals, keep reading.

There are not any hard or fast rules on where you should submit. Although certain journals make it clear in their guidelines that they prefer submissions from unpublished writers, this is a rare request. Most journals are happy to publish a writer for the first time but they are not overtly trying to do so.

Every writer has different goals and ambitions. Some just want to publish their work. They want to get it out into the world and they don’t care how prestigious the journal is or how many authors they accept. Other authors are only interested in publishers that publish genre. Some new writers just want personal feedback and others just want a quick response time.

I really think you can submit your work to any journal that you want.  But I do think that it is good to know what you are getting into. Below I have listed some good places to get started if you are looking for journals that accept most of what they receive, journals with good reputations,  and journals that respond quickly to submissions.

Journals That Accept Most of What the Receive:

Some journals accept over half of what they receive. Some of the journals that are best known for being an easy place to get your work publish include Eskimo Pie, Plum Tree Tavern, Down In the Dirt Pidgeon Holes and Story Shack Magazine.

These are not the only publishers that are easy to get into, but they are a good place to start if your sole goal is to get published in a literary journals.

Journals That Have Good Reputations:

Now most journals we review have good reputations. But here are some good journals to start submitting to that are highly competitive and prestigious. For fiction some of the best places to submit include Glimmer Train, The Threepenny Review, Tin House, and Black Clock. For poetry some of the best places to submit include BarrelHouse, Poetry, Jubilat and Blackbird.

There are a lot of literary journals out there that are very respected and the more you read, submit, and talk to other writers about where they are submitting the more you will learn.

Journals With Fast Response Times:

It is good to start out by submitting your work to journals that have fast response times. It is rewarding to hear back from journals within a month, rather than a year later, when you have forgotten all about them. Here is a list of ten journals that all respond to submissions within a month.