A few words on submitting your work to a zine . . .

kathryn_thumb I am so pleased to have Kathryn Magendie as our guest author today at helluo librorum. Kathryn is the author of the novel Tender TG Jacket Graces, and she is also the Co-Editor/Publisher of the Rose and Thorn ezine. Kathryn manages multiple blogs and web sites with her exuberant charm, but I fell in love with her writing style when I read the first page of Tender Graces.

If you have any questions for Kathryn, please submit them in the comments and she’ll be around this week to answer them for you.

A Few Words On Submitting Your Work to a Zine . . .

by Kathryn Magendie

So, you’ve written your story and are ready to find a place for it. Where to begin when there are a gazillion places to submit to? Your brain fizzles and pops, then shuts down. You take your beautiful story and file it under, “I have no idea where to submit this piece and who wants it anyway? I’m sadder than sad, bluer than blue. I think I’ll go eat worms.”

I’ve been there, my friend. I wish I had a magic answer for you, one that would make all your literary dreams come true. If I knew this, I’d bottle it and sell it for nineteen ninety-five (But wait! There’s more! Buy one All Your Literary Dreams Come True and receive another one free!).

What I can do is give you a few tidbits from a zine editor’s point of view, and as well, invite you to submit your poetry or prose to Rose and Thorn ezine. Angie Ledbetter and I are the new Co-Editors/Publishers of R&T and we’re excited to read your work. Why couldn’t it be you? You will never find out unless you submit. While I can’t guarantee you publication, I can guarantee you your work will be read and considered by editors who care about and love this business. We think we’re pretty sweet, unless . . . well, see ARGGHH below.

Now, imagine me looking at you with a friendly but stern expression, have the image? Good; listen carefully: If you want to be taken seriously when you submit to a publication, please for all things holy and unholy and everything in between, please read the guidelines and please take care to polish your submission as best you know how. Nothing gives the editor a lip-quiver of frustration as when a writer doesn’t take the time to read the guidelines or sends in sloppy work. Here’s what I say when a writer disrespects the publication (and thus his/her profession), “ARRGGGHHHHH!” Just as bad are the writers who obviously send their work to a gajillion publications at once hoping something will stick. ARRGHHHH!

For the writer who takes the time and care to properly submit his/her work, their chance of publication is 99.99999% greater than the writer who slap-dashes his/her work around without respect to the editor(s) or the publication. In sum: the writer who reads the guidelines and submits properly and respectfully will be the writer whose work is read (at least by this editor).

Story written, polished shiny, research done and you’ve compiled a list of places you believe are perfect for your story (or that one perfect place), you read the guidelines and you follow them carefully, you hit “send,” your story zooms off to the editor(s). Now what?

You wait. And you check your email quite a bit. And you second guess yourself: Stop it! While waiting, keep busy. Practice your craft. Submit another piece somewhere else. Do more publication research.

If you submit to Rose and Thorn, your story will be read timely, but be patient. Remember, editors are human; no really, about 88.5% of us editors are human! Don’t you want the editors to take their time to read your story? Well then, they’ll also be taking their time reading a kabillion other submissions (except for those who didn’t follow the guidelines or slammed a bunch of submissions at once or were sloppy—ARGHHH!)

Several things will happen, and what happens and how depends on each publication and its editor(s). Either you’ll be rejected right out (and some publications do not send rejections; you just do not hear from them and that is considered a “rejection”), you’ll be rejected but with some great encouraging comments, or you’ll be accepted. If you are rejected, it is not personal, but it will feel as if it is. You also may never know how close you came to being picked.

I do want to tell you: if you ever receive an encouraging note from an editor to submit again, do not make the mistake of rushing to send something else right away. Be patient and make sure the next piece you send in is just as stellar…don’t worry about the editor forgetting you; just remind them of their encouraging comment when you resubmit.

If you have been accepted, then do a jig…yeehaw! And then wait for instruction from the editors, follow those instructions and you will be loved by 99.9% of the editors!

It’s easy to be discouraged in this business, and only the stubborn and the tough-skinned survive. So thicken up that skin—gator tough! And stiffen up that back—Atten-chun! Do your research, read those guidelines, submit, and keep your hopes high. Whatever you do, do not give up in the face of rejection, for if your work is good, it will be noticed, and it will find its place. I am 99.9.9% sure of that.

Rose and Thorn would like to invite you to submit your work to our zine. Prose submissions reopen on September 14. We are in the process of redesigning our website and our newsletter, and as well, we are developing new guidelines for poetry and prose, so stay tuned! We look forward to reading your work; and that is no lie, my friends, for we love writers, language, words, and good stories, essays, and poetry. And folks, for those of you who know me, you know I’m no ogre, right? That I’m at least 97.9% nice, right? So, imagine my lil ole face smiling at you as you hit that “send” button to have your work wend its way on to the editor of the publication you desire your work to be published in.

Good Luck!

You can follow Kathryn on Twitter @katmagendie

Web pages: Write on My Mountain ; Tender Graces ; Howling From My Mountain: A Writer’s Words ; The Rose and Thorn Co-Editor/Publisher’s Page.

You can find interviews with Kathryn about her debut novel Tender Graces at:

Riding with the Top Down

Ami Spencer’s Write Out Loud

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About katmagendie

Amazon Best Selling Author, Publishing Editor of Rose & Thorn, former Personal Trainer. Published novels: Graces Trilogy: Tender Graces, Secret Graces, Family Graces; Sweetie; novella Petey released in anthology Firefly Dance. The Lightning Charmer to be released fall 2013.
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12 Responses to A few words on submitting your work to a zine . . .

  1. stephencraigrowe says:

    This is a very informative and well written article. It is ever a pleasure for me to read anything that Kathryn has written. Thank you for posting this and as ever be well.
    Stephen Craig Rowe

  2. Windy Lynn says:

    Thank you for helping new writers get the submission process correct with this article, Kathryn! When I speak to writer’s groups around the state, I emphasize the three “Ps:”

    Be Professional
    Be Persistent
    and
    Be Patient

    Congratulations on all the changes at Rose and Thorn. I’ll send some writers your way this month and submit a piece myself!

    Windy Lynn

  3. katmagendie says:

    Hello Stephen! Thank you for all you do, and your support.

  4. katmagendie says:

    Windy Lynn – thank you; and I like those P’s!

  5. kaykaybe says:

    Thanks, Kathryn! I’m polishing my first short story and trying to figure out how this all works. It’s nice to be reminded that editors, agents, etc like to read:) -Kelly Bryson

  6. katmagendie says:

    Kelly, we sure do – Angie and I are both writers/authors, as well as editors, and are looking forward to reading submissions when they re-open! Good luck on that story!

  7. Teresa says:

    Kat, I want to thank you so much for your post and for sticking around to answer questions. I’ve got a quick question: what genres does the Rose and Thorn accept?

  8. kaykaybe says:

    Kathryn, are you still around? I wondered if you would mind sharing how you got involved in the Rose and Thorn? And what kind of a time comittment that is. Just curious. Thanks! -Kelly

  9. katmagendie says:

    We like an ecclectic mix; however, what we do not care for is:

    Romance (as in “bodice-ripping romance” – there are stories about relationships or love or couples that rise above the cliched bodice-ripping romance), erotica, political/religious rants, or gore.

  10. katmagendie says:

    Hi Kelly!

    Years ago, my good friend Angie Ledbetter enticed me into volunteering at R&T, so I contacted Barb Quinn, the founder of R&T, and came on board as a “helper” – then as an assistant editor, then senior editor; about a year ago Angie and I became co-managing editors, and now we are Publishing Editors.

    It’s been a learning experience, my editing skills have sharpened, and I’ve met some wonderful writers – some who’ve become great friends.

    As for as time – it varies according to what a staff member commits to; however, most of our staff have other obligations (jobs, family, etc.).

    If anyone is interested in volunteering, contact us at
    rose-andthorn@live.com, let us know where your areas of interest are, and how much time you can realistically commit to a zine!

  11. katmagendie says:

    PS – I forgot to mention! Before vounteering with them, I submitted a short story called “The First Day of Any Possibility” and R&T published it . . . soon after that I began volunteering.

  12. Pingback: An Interview with Kathryn Magendie « helluo librorum

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