Avid submitters: Duotrope, everyone’s favorite free submission manager, is PAID-ONLY as of January 1st. Now, after you get over that initial panicked moment of despair, anguish, and terror, consider this: writers have been around since long before Duotrope existed. Persevere through this difficult twist by either coughing up $50 or utilizing that nifty tool, networking.
#1 Get Your Writer Friends to Send You Their List of Preferred Journals
If we writers have anything going for ourselves, it’s arguably that we’ve got each others’ backs. (Though I’ve heard unconfirmed reports that in MFA workshops, this is not necessarily the case.) Ask around in writing groups, workshops, creative writing departments, and book clubs: what journals do you read? If you’re asking people whose work or taste you already respect, chances are good that they’re looking at publications that you’ll respect too.
#2 Make a (Community) Master List
Excel junkies, this one’s for you. Bust out those spreadsheets and go to town. Organize by genre, deadlines, contests, fee-based submissions, color-coded by attitude, whatever. It’s worked for Duotrope. This is an opportunity for your Type A side to shine. And if this isn’t you, team up with your more office-supply-oriented writer friends. Buy them coffee; make them a quiche. Google Drive is crucial for this option.
#3 Socially Network
Remember when it was cool to hate on Twitter? Yeah, not anymore. Journals from all over the world tweet and retweet submission deadlines, contest parameters, new issues, cool articles by other writers, and loads of other pertinent (and impertinent) stuff for writers. We like @submittable, @pankmagazine, @revhousemag, @pshares, @thelitpub, @Neon_Lit_Mag, and about 30 others. Your best bet? Search for your fave lit mag. Chances are very good that they have an active account and follow other cool journals as well. Facebook and Tumblr are other great places to look for your favorite lit mags and find new ones.
The moral of this story is that the internet is a really big place, and there are tons of websites to meet all your writerly needs (like Juniper Bends!). WriteToDone releases an annual list of top writing blogs; The Paris Review is possibly my favorite for interviews, surrealist genre-melds, and reportage of random other writer news; and we here at Juniper Bends are implementing journal reviews and overviews here in the new year.
Of course, you can always neglect this list and cough up $50 for Duotrope services, but wouldn’t you rather spend that on shiny new books from your local indie bookstore? I think so.