Insights on Submission

by Megan Mahoney

February 8, 2020

Eastern’s Inklings Literary Magazine is currently open to submissions! Not only are we open to undergraduate students from Eastern, but this year, we’re also accepting work from all undergraduates. Interested in submitting? We’re open until March 13th, so just follow this link: https://inklings.eastern.edu/submission-guidelines/ Meanwhile, here are some tips and tricks to make sure your submission shines!

1. Check the Guidelines

Formatting is important for the readers and editors to be able to evaluate your work. Rules about line-spacing often allow readers to process your work more easily, for example, and while you might have a very important artistic reason for using Wingdings as your font, the editors might not know that. Editors expect that you respect their guidelines, and if you don’t respect their time, they likely won’t be favorably disposed towards your piece.

2. Hook the Reader

You probably heard it in high school: make sure you have a jazzy title and a great opening. However, while your high school teacher was required to read your paper, literary journals are not required to finish work that bores them. Make sure your title is unique and relevant to your piece, and make sure your opening lines pack a punch.

3. Avoids Cliches and Melodrama

There’s nothing new under the sun, I know. But some things are newer than others, and a story that has the line “She shot daggers at me with her eyes” is a lot less interesting than “I was an ant crushed under the unceasing red of her Louboutin heel”. Plot is important too; if your story is propelled forward by a variety of gratuitous murders, that’s melodrama. Focus on developing character and relational conflict. 

4. Submit Multiple Pieces

Inklings invites participants to submit 3-5 poems, one fiction or nonfiction piece, and up to 5 works of photography and visual art. The more you submit, the better your chances are of getting work published in the magazine. Sometimes pieces are rejected because they don’t fit the theme of an issue or because there are already very similar works like them being submitted, so submitting multiple works helps to boost your shot at getting chosen.

5. Read the Archives

Reading work previously published by the magazine will give you a good sense of what editors are looking for. While this can help you determine what magazines like, don’t be discouraged if your work is slightly different than what has been published in earlier years. Magazines are always looking for something unique. However, with that being said, if two of your poems are metered sestinas and you see that the majority of poems published last year were experimental unmetered lines, maybe throw in a couple of your unmetered poems as well.

Best of luck to everyone submitting! If you have any questions, you can visit our website https://inklings.eastern.edu/ or leave a comment on our contact page. 

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