Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Poets and Writers Let Me Down

Poets and Writers is a non-profit organisation serving writers, and their site offers a free online database of fiction and poetry markets. If you're a writer looking to see your work in literary magazines, it's possible that this website could be a brilliant place to start...

But it wasn't for me. I used to use Duotrope, a similar literature resource, before they started charging a membership fee. And using this site I got a string of written pieces accepted into a range of literature magazines. (See the section on the right of this site.)

Poets and Writers offers a similar search tool to find magazines that are looking for the type of story or poem you're looking to get published. I used this site, as mentioned here, to send out a number of finished pieces that have been sat on my hard drive waiting to be seen by publishers. Here were a few initial pros and cons I found whilst using the site:


You can filter your results to show magazines that accept simultaneous submissions, and to cut out those that don't.

The same goes for unsolicited submissions- i.e. you're a writer like me with no agent.

The same also goes for submission type: I only wanted magazines that would accept electronic submissions- by email or through their own site.

You can choose to filter out magazines that only accept a certain smaller percentage of from a number of percentages of unsolicited submissions published. 

You cannot arrange results by most likely publications to accept work.

You cannot filter out publications not accepting submissions.

You cannot filter out publications that will not accept multiple submissions.

You cannot filter out publications that charge a reading fee.

The biggest con, the most important let-down for me, was a big problem: I didn't receive a single acceptance from any of the magazines I approached. I made over 50 submissions. After sending out each piece 10 times, I made a note of the date and waited a month. I figured that would give enough time for editors to make decisions.

That month has passed, and I've so far received 9 rejections and no acceptances. That's a fairly average ratio, although there are still over 41 submissions unaccounted for. This is a problem with the individual magazines more than anything, but this still doesn't reflect well on the Poets and Writers site. I quickly started to wonder whether I was doing anything wrong.

Have you used this site? What kind of experience did you have? Comment below...

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