How to Get Your Manuscripts Accepted for Publications

‘as much as we enjoyed reading your submissions and would’ve loved to features it, we are deeply sorry but cannot accept your work for our publication…’?

Editors when rejecting manuscripts

Yes, you sure know of that way publishers use in rejecting your manuscript.

As a creative writer, we all get tired of receiving decline mails from publishers or editors that ends with the above.

Many writers try their hands-on various publications, submit their entries for a good bunch of magazines/pubs, writing opportunities, competitions but a whole lot of these entries just get returned and unaccepted by these magazines.

We even share a lot of submission prompts on our WhatsApp channel which you can join for free today.

After examining and discussing with a good number of well published authors, poets and creative writers who have found home to a good lot of their works, this article is an elaborate answer to the prayers of many writers on how to get publishers to say yes to your manuscript, poem, entry and to increase your chance at getting published.

We noticed successful entries in publication usually leaves trails behind, they usually possess certain components in them. This makes the art of winning quite replicable.

With this article, we have prepared well-proven tips winning writers utilize in getting their works accepted by literary magazines, blogs and other publications.

We believe this article should be help to writers who love to enter for writings competitions, writers who wish to get accepted in several anthologies or compilations of written works, writers who wish to get featured on well-famed literary sites, journal writers and even content writers of various uses.

Kindly note that the success rate of this greatly depends on how much work is put into each process by writers.

How to Get Your Written Works Accepted by Editors for Publications

1. Take Note of Submission Guidelines: Follow the submission guidelines

Before writing or deciding to enter for any publication. Be it a school journal, a magazine, dailies or when making a submission for any writing competition, one should always be aware of the submission guides.

Every publication should have its specific work type, word limit and other specifications included in the guides they provide for entrants.

Majority of publication entries get rejected automatically by editors simply because the writer did not follow the set submission guidelines stipulated by the organization.

Most organizations usually include their preferred submission guidelines on their webpage or provide a link to it.
For some reason if it’s not available, you may look around their page-menus, it will most likely be there.

Here are some highly important check-points on submission guidelines to be well-aware of.

  1. Submission deadline:
    Be conscious of the date submission closure for each publication you are interested in submitting to.
    This is definitely the most important aspect of the submissions guidelines to note.
    If you miss a deadline, you’d need to wait for quite a while for the publication to open submission back up. In some cases, it takes a full season.

    After-all, no one would even bother looking at your work if it’s submitted even a day after the submission closure is reached.

    You should consider putting up notes in your physical/mobile calendars so you do not miss the opportunity.
  2. Check for Word limits:
    Check for word max accepted. For poetry, it’s usually in lines (max).
  3. Mode of submission:
    Being aware of the mode of submission. Some organizations decide to accept entries as documents, as a body mail, physical mails or even through a submission portal.
  4. Work formats:
    Some publications require submissions to be in certain formats before they are considered talk less accepted.
  5. Payment:
    Check to know if there are entry fees for the submissions or not.
  6. Their stance on simultaneous submissions:
    Some magazines do not allow simultaneous submissions. This means submitting the same content/work to various publishers at a given time.

While it is quite easy to ignore, it is better not to because your works get less appeal and less of a chance at publication by a magazine if the work has been published by another magazine or on another publishing platform e.g. literary sites or social media.

2. Understand the Theme Before Jumping On

This is quite the obvious, right?
But knowing is not understanding.

A lot of writers enter for publication a with a good knowledge of the theme or idea behind the publication they are entering for but they do not try to understand it.

To understand anything takes patience and a lot of interpretations.

If you can connect to what the editor is searching for in submissions, you stand a better chance at getting accepted in that publication than when you work ordinarily on a theme.

3. Halt: Don’t be so quick to submit

Take your time. You can still see the deadline, right?

The urge to want to continuously drop contents after contents with hopes that one will finally get accepted might be quite tempting, but it is better to take things slow.

Be intentional about your writings. Select few platforms you are interested in and work judiciously on their submission prompts to stand a better chance at getting accepted for publication.

4. Review before Submitting: Get Critiqued

Getting a critical evaluation from fellow writers helps you understand any issues the work might have and how to improve them.

Get a close community of trusted writer friends, send them the work you intend on submitting for publication.

Note: Getting a few numbers of eyes on the work is most advisable as this helps prevent your work from getting plagiarized by some random viewers over the internet.

You can also make use of writing community and critique platforms to sharpen up your writings.

5. Edit that Draft: Submissions with spelling errors many times are auto-disqualified

Many times, publisher frown greatly upon spelling grammatical or spelling errors in submission entries.

You wouldn’t expect an editor with over 700 entries for a publication not to frown at entries with ‘Am going out with them, we are go to cinnema’, now would yha?

All submissions to be entered for publications should be spell-checked, they also should get grammar-checked too.

Luckily, most word editors e.g. Microsoft Word, WPS, Libre Office, Google Doc have grammar-checkers already built-in. You just need to check and utilize the tool.

Apart from these primary word editors, there are Grammar programs such as Grammarly, Pro-Writing Aid. These (online) tools aim to improve the quality of writings.

They go beyond mere checking for errors, but also work on improving your phrases, eliminating grammatical errors and providing a better manuscript. They are way better than the word editors because they are modern and so are their grammar improvements.

Saves a ton of cash too. Works in place of paying for the services of an editor.

6. Consider: Enter for what you love

The best way to go around any submissions is to enter for what you love and enjoy reading from.

This way, you’d feel more enthused about getting published by them rather than wasting time trying out magazines that you do not read or have interest in.

Of course you should try out newer publications too, but you’d be just be what is it again?
Trying them out.

7. Deadlines: Never forget your deadlines

Just re-iterating the first point.

It may surprise you that a lot of us would’ve prepared our materials but would not submit them till later when submission entries are no longer being accepted.

And yes, I said a lot of us.

Take good note of it.

8. Check their previous publications:

Remember when I said winning leaves a trail?

This is really where it comes into play.

You should search through the archives of your well-loved magazines to get an idea of what kind of works they like.

Submitting an epic poem to a magazine that only publishes sonnets won’t get you or the magazine anywhere.

9. Start Small: There is a higher chance of getting accepted by growing platforms

Sure, there really is no poet, writer who wouldn’t love to have their poems published on the biggest sites Saraba Mag, pw.org or even poets.org? Or their journal entries accepted by the biggest journal/paper brands in the world?

But the bitter truth is that well-famed magazines and journals are not usually the best fit for growing authors who are seeking their first or next publication acceptance.

Instead of entering and getting your works beaten by other seasoned writers, find smaller pub and zine firms to enter for.

You stand a better chance at getting accepted in smaller or developing publications due to the less population and competition that stands in your way. Learn more about getting published. Tweet this

For instance, you stand a better chance at getting accepted in a community newspaper than in a nation-wide newspaper.

After getting accepted in a good number of less-famed publications and you’ve built a strong foundation, you may then go towards sending your entries for the bigger publishing houses. But even as at then, you still may not get accepted.

Well, that’s life.

***

This is not outrightly telling anyone to maim their ambitions of getting published by bigger media houses, we are just sharing the best tips for the universal public.

10. Keep track of your submissions

Now that you’ve hit send and your work is in for review by the journal’s editorial team and hopefully your wish that it gets accepted and published.

The next step is to keep a tab on submissions. You may create a Spreadsheet to help with this.

Some marks to check on your tracking document

  • Name of journal/magazine submitted to
  • Works submitted (types and title)
  • Date submitted
  • Response by publishers (Acceptance/Rejection)
  • Feedback from editors
  • Date to submit a query (A query is necessary in some cases where the writers have any issues or feel they have issues with the judgment passed.)

11. On Rejections: They still will come

Even with all the steps well-taken and followed, nothing guarantees that all submissions made will get accepted.

Everyone fails sometimes.

When a submission is rejected, don’t take it too hard. It doesn’t mean you’re bad at writing or that you may never get accepted for publication.

Many times, editors try to dish out advice to entrants on how they can improve the quality of their work and even encourage rejected entrants to try for the next issue.

Learn to embrace the critique given by editors.

Sometimes, great works get rejected not because they are not fit for publication but also that they came in too late and the slots were filled. A whole lot of other reasons contribute to why works get rejected.

12. Don’t give up: Even if this fails, another trial might not

Apart from the case of organization who instruct entrants/writers not to enter for their next issue or prompt. There really is nothing that stops a writer from retrying for the next issue or a journal prompt of the same organization.

Sure, rejection letters may come more often than acceptance letters from your beloved magazines and this will break your heart. This however doesn’t imply you are a bad writer.

It may just be that your work doesn’t fit what they are looking for, yet!

Side Notes to keep for writers who wish to enter for writing prompts

Do not enter for every call for submission or writing opportunity you can find.

The best way to go about submissions is to have a good number of magazines/e-zines, literary blogs, publishing houses you are interested in.

i. If one rejects, another might accept.

This is one thing writers need to keep in mind. That one editor rejects your work or considers them unfit for publication on their platform doesn’t mean another would see it that way. People vary, and so does our opinion on things.

ii. You can still achieve success without getting accepted by publications

Sure, getting accepted into great publications get a lot of eyes on an author and increases their authority in the space, however not getting in doesn’t mean you can not reach that status too.

iii. Keep on submitting

Here is the final piece of the cake.

No matter the number of rejections you receive from editors telling of how your works needs improvement every time, no matter how many times you feel your heart sink when you receive that well-crafted decline mail.

You should keep on submitting your works till they find a home in a publication.


It doesn’t even have to be by a magazine, if you have a story you want to tell so much yet are being denied of it, tell it yourself. In case you never were aware, you can get your works published by us. (eBooks only for now), and it sure comes with a lot of special bonuses.
Visit our services page to learn about publishing with us.


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About Emmiasky

I am here to use my ART as a mean to make IMPACT in the world. Join me in doing so.

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