Lit Fic Mags for Spec Fic Writers 103: Five Markets to Consider (and Two Databases to Bookmark)

by Caren Gussoff

carenNote: Part One appears here: Lit Fic Mags for Spec Fic Writers 101.
Part Two appears here: Lit Fic Mags for Spec Fic Writers 102: Is It Literary?

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Now, you’ve decided to submit to a literary market for a particular story. You’re hip to the fundamental differences between lit mags and SFF mags (Part 1)  and feel confident that your work falls well within the parameters a literary fiction editor would enjoy (Part 2).

There are many, many established magazines and journals, and new ones pop up all the time. Poets & Writers, the professional magazine for literary fiction and non-fiction writers and poets, maintains an excellent, free, searchable database with up to date entries that span the biggest to the smallest DIY upstarts.

The Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, which is the “… national organization for independent literary publishers of fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction” also has a searchable directory of its members, which also includes book, chapbook, and graphic novel publishers.

If you just want a short list of where to start, the following five magazines are excellent places to begin — if your piece fits their guidelines, that is. I list these five out of the possible hundreds because they are friendly towards speculative and weird fiction, have a decent pay rate, or carry some sort of prestige. By all means, though, everyone, do list in comments any places that you have had experience with sending and publishing your literary SFF.

The Friendly Five include:

  • The New Yorker: Of course. The career-maker, the great-grandmamma. They claim to respond to submissions within 90 days, only if they are interested. Unconfirmed rumors state that if you do get an actual rejection slip, it’s a compliment and means you made it through at least one gate. They recently published, as we all know, an entire issue of science fiction stories and articles, but if you are curious about who other SFF writers have appeared in their pages, they have a whole list. Submission details are here.
  • Tin House: The very first question in their FAQ asks, “Do you accept genre fiction?” While their answer is pretty wishy-washy (read what we have published before, blah, blah), Tin House does indeed publish fantastic fiction of all kinds. Like the New Yorker, Tin House published its first all SFF issue, their “Science Fair” edition.They have an aggressively short set of reading periods and occasionally adhere to themes, so do check their guidelines before sending.
  • The Kenyon Review: One of the oldest, most venerable journals, TKR has published every writer we all grew up wanting to be (including TS Eliot, Flannery O’Connor, Thomas Pynchon, and Joyce Carol Oates). Stories from the journal have won more O Henry and Pushcart Prizes than any other single magazine. They do not distinguish between any subgenres of fiction, but instead, look for “literature.” Check their guidelines here.
  • The Boston Review: Junot Díaz is their current fiction editor. Enough said. Submission guidelines are here.

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Science fiction writer Caren Gussoff lives in the Pacific Northwest with two cats and an artist. Her third novel, a post-pandemic apocalyptic little story, actually has a car chase. Publications, awards and mutterings are available at www.spitkitten.com

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