Friday, September 14, 2018

Carrie Clickard: Doing the Submission Shuffle (Part Two)

Is your writing cave a hot mess like mine is?

Well, you're in luck. Carrie Clickard is back today with the second half of her extensive look at the submission process—she promises to help us make a dent in those piles of original poetry. What's more, there's no denying that Carrie's posts are always fun!

If you missed last week's post—Doing the Submission Shuffle (Part One)—take a minute to catch up, but don't dawdle. There's heaps of great information to explore this week, too!

Take it away, Carrie—

Doing the Submission Shuffle (Part Two)

So you’re back for more, are you? Glad I’m not all alone in here. Then again considering how I look attempting the shuffle, maybe I should be. (grin)

Well, onward and upward as I always say. Last week in part one we covered some excellent printed resources and three of the big online submission aggregators that you can use to discover good poetry markets.  Today we’ll wander farther afield and find more treasure troves online.

Bloggers and forums

There are some remarkably kind-hearted bloggers who post writing opportunity lists monthly, do interviews with editors and agents, keep running track of contests, etc—all out of the goodness of their heart (plus the hope of more blog traffic and followers, naturally).

Publishing ... and Other Forms of Insanity posts an excellent list of calls for submissions at the start of every month. (General writing: not exclusively poetry or any single genre.) They also have sections for Agents seeking Clients and Editors accepting Manuscripts.

In the children’s corner, Literary Rambles is a well-established, superb source for deep digging and narrowing your list for submissions to agents and book publishing editors. Look elsewhere for specific magazine or anthology opportunities.

Author and puzzle maker Ev Christensen’s Writing for Children’s Magazines is a great resource for writing submission opportunities, market changes and generally excellent writing advice. She’s got great depth of experience and shares valuable material.

If you write speculative poetry (SF, Fantasy or Horror) try Ralan, who covers everything from magazines to anthologies to book publishers.

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) has a market listing page (not always freshly maintained) and a Facebook page you can follow without being a member.

On the darker side, Dark Markets or the Horror Tree both have market opportunity listings for anthologies and book publishers seeking poetry submissions.

Feeling overwhelmed already? Don’t panic. Whittling down which sites work for you will probably be quick work after your first visit. Then you can strike a few off the list and get on with other relaxing jobs, like writing your query letters. (Blergh)

Social media

Facebook has several “open call” or submission opportunity groups you can follow based on your preferred genre or poetry in general. A few of my faves are Poetry Submission Portal, Open Call: Science Fiction, Fantasy & Pulp Markets, and Open Call: Horror Markets. Because Facebook is Facebook, they don’t link properly here, but it’s worth your while searching for “open calls.” You’re bound to find at least one useful group to join/follow.

Don’t forget you can add your favorite submission websites and blogs on to your twitter feed too, as nearly all of them blast out to the Twitterverse. Not to mention following any key editors or agents you have on your “wanted list." Not all of them post about their publishing work, but many do.

Those of you working on full poetry collections or chapbooks should definitely catch the #MSWL (Manuscript Wish List) where agents and editors post their own “most wanteds.” The majority of posts describe MG/YA novels, but there are occasional mentions of verse novels, plus plenty of food for inspiration.

But a word of caution here (memo to me, memo to me). We all know how distracting social media can be. One wrong click and we lose an hour or more to amusing, nonproductive time-sucks. Not to mention the risk of stumbling over those emotional FOMO landmines where OTHER POETS are celebrating acceptances when our own email has been filled with reasons to:


Sigh.  Sure it only takes a few keystrokes to say a sincere congratz and move on. That is if you avoid my typical 15-45 minutes of wallowing in despair and the search for chocolate. 

The joys of community poetry sharing

If you’re especially lucky (or smart) you already belong to a poetry community like Michelle’s where you’ll find one of the best sources of writing opportunities—other poets just like you.  We’re all out there in the publishing world every day, seeking out and stumbling over opportunities: good established markets, interesting ezine startups, or that perfect once in a lifetime gem. Unless you spend all day everyday searching obscure blogs you’re sure to miss some of those great chances. That’s where poet to poet information can make all the difference.

So here is an assortment of (mostly children's) poetry markets we’ve run into:

Highlights, High Five & Hello

Cricket Media literary mags plus Muse and Ask

Cricket nonfiction – Click, Cobblestone, Dig, Faces

US kids – Jack & Jill, Humpty Dumpty

Wee Tales

Fun For Kidz – limited poetry opportunities

Hunger Mountain

Kids Imagination Train

Guardian Angel Kids


The School Magazine of Australia

Enchanted Conversation

Goblin Fruit

The Caterpillar

The Moth

Frostfire Worlds

Tin House

Pedestal Magazine


The Three Penny Review

Clubhouse Jr. (Christian)

SHINE brightly (Christian)

Sparkle (Christian)

This is by no means an exhaustive list, just some of the well-knowns, plus a few personal favorites. If we’ve missed your favorite or you have a new market to share, please chime in. Jump into the comments and tell us about it.

An annoying note about record-keeping

The possibility of being published can be so exciting at first that you may find yourself getting a little carried away:

And then what happens? You find out you’ve simultaneously subbed to markets that don’t accept simultaneous subs. And you’ll have to eat crow with an editor if one of the two gets accepted and you have to withdraw from the other. Editors remember that stuff, don’t think they don’t—especially if they really liked the piece you just took away.

So how do we avoid the awkward submission stumble? Yes, you guessed it—boring file keeping. Whether you do it on paper or digitally, you need to track what you sent where and their responses. The only thing more embarrassing than having a poem rejected once is having it rejected twice BY THE SAME EDITOR WHO RECOGNIZES IT.

So you NEED a system. Any system that works. If you like tactile, give each poem a 3x5 card and put them in an “at home” or an “out seeking work” pile. Each time you sub a poem log the editor and publication name. Date it and move it to the out pile. When the response comes in, log yes or no and the date and move on. You can do the same with a file folder. Going larger lets you incorporate printed responses as well as contracts, and even tear sheets from the printed publications. Basic systems have the advantage of being low-tech, fast to set up, inexpensive, and easy to maintain (if your house is cat and toddler free). Plus it looks like you’re accomplishing something even when you’re not. (wink)

But the longer you sub and the more pieces you have to sub, the more you’ll need a digitally searchable system you don’t have to dig through. There are probably a hundred ways to digitally track your subs. You can use one of the pre-designed online sites, like Duotrope, The Submission Grinder, or Submittable. You can buy submission tracking software. Freelance Writing Jobs and the SFWA both have useful articles comparing the software out there. Any digital software will give you the advantage of searching your submissions without reading through hand scribbled notes or cross comparing folders. You can also submit “on the go” from anyplace you have computer access. And since they’re already created and used by thousands of writers, you can start quickly with a pretty short learning curve.

Why then, you may ask, would I use NONE of those convenient digital goodies? Why for the love of haiku would I take the time to make my own laborious spreadsheet system?

No, I’m not totally bonkers. Because none of them have all the little idiosyncratic fields that I want. Sure most of them have fields to log whether the rejection was personal or whether a piece was shortlisted. But where do I note that the form rejection letter the publication used had SIX typos? (Salve to my ego- hah!) Where can I record that the editor is obsessed with hamster cosplay? (Future writing prompt?) Not to mention places for actual interactions with editors after acceptances. Was the contract problematic? Did the author copies arrive promptly? Do we both love sushi-flavored toothpaste? You know. Important stuff. You’ve got yours, I’ve got mine. So, yeah, I make my own. Don’t judge me. (grin)

Ye stars and little pixies! You’re right, I’ve been doing a LOT of talking. Feel like taking a turn? I’d love it if you jump into the comments and share your own favorite places to submit poetry. Feel free to tell us your thoughts and opinions on either part of our Submission Shuffle posts. Or let us know, gently, if we’ve got something wrong. (Gulp. Embarrassed foot shuffling.)

Then get out there and get subbing. As my mom said all the way through my high school years:  “Nobody can publish that poem until you let them read it.” And as usual, Mom knows best.

Bon chance to all of us! May our submission responses be filled with:

 See you all in print!

Wow! Thanks once again, Carrie, for all the wonderful tips, resources, leads, and encouragement. Now look out you hot mess of pending submissions future acceptances—here I come! 

Carrie L. Clickard is an internationally published author and poet, with books published by Simon & Schuster, Holiday House and Flashlight Press.  Look for her latest rhyming picture book from Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books, Thomas Jefferson and the Mammoth Hunt: The True Story of the Quest for America's Biggest Bones, on January 1, 2019. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies and periodicals as well, including Spider, Muse, Highlights, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Havok, Myriad Lands, Clubhouse, Spellbound, Penumbra, Haiku of the Dead, and Underneath the Juniper Tree.

Browse through all of Carrie's posts on Today's Little Ditty HERE, or if you're specifically looking for her Rhyme Crime Investigation series, you'll find those posts collected HERE.

We're halfway through September already, and halfway through our DMC challenge to write what I'm calling a #QuestionPoem. Read Naomi Shihab Nye's Spotlight ON interview for more information about this month's challenge. Daily ditties featured this week were by Heidi Mordhorst, Sherry Howard, Brenda Davis Harsham, and Robyn Campbell. Read more poems (and post your own) on our September 2018 padlet.

Children's author and writing teacher Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting this week's Poetry Friday roundup at The Poem Farm.


  1. Nice list of places to submit poetry. My issue is sitting down and writing - but it's always more fun to dream about where they'd go when you finish, right?

    1. Agreed -- and I also enjoy making a tidy to do list for the future that makes me feel productive, and then I can procrastinate for days ... or weeks. (grin)

  2. Carrie and Michelle - thank you so much for both parts of this awesome resource. I'd love Ve to be able to add something but Ihink you've got it well covered. Thanks again

  3. Thanks, Carrie & Michelle, this is wonderful. I know some of the sites noted but not all, & the part about organizing is most helpful. That is my biggest challenge (besides writing).

    1. Organization is my nemesis too --- anybody who has peeked inside my closets can confirm it.

  4. Thanks for such a comprehensive list! I'm aware of many of these, but several were new to me. Time to get subbing!

  5. Thank you for this :-) I tend to not be very organized (understatement!), so I really appreciate your suggestions.

    1. Every time I organize I lose something. It's like reverse karma. Wink.

  6. Terrific assemblage of resources, Carrie - thanks to you & Michelle for sharing! :0) (& glad I'm not the only one with a messy computer. Okay, desk. Okay, entire office....)

    1. I still have a Garfield the cat sign from college that reads: A tidy desk is the sign of a sick mind. (grin)

  7. Oh, my goodness! I tried skimming this article over my breakfast cereal....and nope. This is one I had to come back and read carefully. Carrie and Michelle, this is a pure jackpot of love you've woven together. And, it's full of both your good natured humors and fun. Seriously, you two should collaborate on something that gets subbed out. You have done an amazing job of curating extraordinarily helpful and current information. This blog post should get an award...or a raise!

    1. Aw, shucks, thanks Linda. I think Michelle and I might have toooooo much fun on a project together --- all laughing no writing. Grin.

    2. I agree with Carrie about the fun we'd have working on a project together, but this blog post is all hers, Linda. She gets 100% of the credit for helpful curating, good-natured humor and fun!

  8. Great article! Thanks for the resources, ladies!

  9. This is a blog post I will save and refer back to often. Thanks!!!

  10. So much goodness here, subbing info, organization, and more! I can definitely relate to a need for better organization–I have yearly subbing folders going-then divided by month, but a spread sheet sounds like a good place for extra/misc. notes–now just need the time to set it up… Thanks Carrie and Michelle :) P.S. loved all your dancing pics!

  11. I have a submission/query database, a work-in-progress list and still my piles have piles. Great list of possible places, Carrie, thanks!

  12. Oh my goodness, thank you so much for these two posts! I will be referring back to them often. Another online/ebook magazine in the MG department is Spaceports and Spidersilk - the do fantasy and sci-fi for kids.

  13. Carrie and Michelle, again, thank you, thank you, thank you for this fabulous assembly of wise advice and valuable resources. You can bet I'll be coming back to reference both posts again and again. Now it's time to keep writing and to start submitting!

  14. Wow. Thank you both for this comprehensive and generous list. I, too, struggle with keeping any sense of order...but I keep trying. Much gratitude and happy week! xx

  15. Thank you Carrie and Michelle! Parts 1 & 2 were both so helpful. I may try the more basic file folder or 3x5 cards - technology stresses me so much! Both blogs got me encouraged and excited to get busy with submitting. Writing is my love but “gotta get ‘em out!”