Writer and Editor shares personal method for ranking lit mags
I loved reading about your process, Erik. In addition to your thoughtfulness, it demonstrates how much work you put into your rankings, which reflect your credibility.
For transparency, this is an unsolicited endorsement of Erik's service "Submitit". He's a great editor who has pushed me to elevate my writing! I have two stories placed through his algorithm. Wish me luck!
Becky, thank you for all this good, readable information about literary magazines. You are really doing a service here.
Erik Harper Klass wrote: "PANK, once a solid journal, last I checked had a modest submission volume (121 reports), but a whopping 81% non-response rate. Not only did this drop PANK from my top tiers of journals . . . "
In the voice of P.T. Barnum: "There's a PANK sucker born every minute."
In this case, the starry-eyed newcomers who never heard the rumors about PANK -- or the die-hards who think PANK can fan itself back to glory if they just keep their fingers crossed.
Don't submit to PANK, writers. You're better than that.
Valuable information, good article. Thanks so much!
Curious as to how others rank the smaller college journals. I sometimes find very good writing in those. Rappahannock Review, as an example. Thoughts, anyone? Erik?
It's nice to see the other side of the moon. I found it useful even if I still don't know why ...
Interesting and reasonable. I wonder why the long-toothed journals also seem to be the most reputable? Could it be they're not subject or thematically focused on the political whims and flavors of the moment, focusing instead on quality craft--or do they most accurately reflect the political moment and are a clearing house for craft trends?
Another thing I check with litmags: what's the mix of writers that they publish? Mainly people with multiple books and prestige publishers? A high proportion of writers with a few relatively unknown credits? It's not necessarily easy to find the right balance. I've been published by unknown mags that in a few years built up a strong following. And I've been published by well-known mags that closed shop so I'm less inclined to include them as credits. There's so much guesswork involved, even with rigorous list-making and analysis. I'm happy when an editor, big mag or small, likes my work enough to publish it. Reputation and ranking: with enough perspective, not such a big deal. Consider all the fantastic writers of the past who published in obscure mags.
An interesting article. Thanks, Becky and Erik. I, too, need to see a masthead, but it doesn’t matter to me how many people are on it. What it comes down to is their taste. I know mags run by one editor that publish what I think are excellent stories, and mags with a masthead of many that publish less-than-excellent pieces (from my subjective perspective!) And despite an editor’s background, if their personal writing doesn’t appeal to me, I generally find that I don’t much like the pieces they choose to publish—and it’s always been a safe bet that they won’t go for my offerings either.
Thank you so much, Becky! You are so insightful and your observations are golden for writers who are submitting work.
Once a writer volunteers to read for a journal, a door opens in understanding the volume of work that is submitted and the financial realities of keeping a journal afloat.
This is very helpful. It’s always good to know how someone ranks literary journals. I’m not sure I understand, however, why Erik keeps his list of the top 130 journals private. Editors might disagree with his list? Of course, but who cares? I’m sure some of them don’t like Clifford Garstang’s rankings either, but again, who cares?
masthead masthead masthead, tnr 12 point industry STNDARD! STANDARD! i'm stopping athis point ...except to say, BOLLOCKS! have a nice day
Erik, A few questions: 1. How would you handle a story that the writer has already submitted and is waiting for a response? In other words, how do you avoid duplicate submissions? 2. Do your letters of submission come from the writer's email address and, if not, could the journals be suspicious of the service since most are also looking for readers? 3. Sort of a repeat: Can the journals tell that the submission is coming from your service and not from the writer?