Let’s Sink Our Teeth into Some Submissions: Writing Prompt Wednesday

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Happy Wednesday, readers, writers, and shark fans!

I have a little secret: I know you have a project that you’ve been putting off. Maybe you’ve put off finishing it, or polishing it, or simply sending it off for consideration.

No matter what your situation, though, your work still isn’t on Lit Shark’s desk… and that makes us SAD.

If you have a piece you really care about that you’ve been thinking of finishing or sending out, we’d love you to consider sharing it with us.

Two Important Submission Tips

We certainly didn’t come up with these, but they deserve the shoutout! First of all, always pay close attention to the submission guidelines if the literary magazine, press, etc. has them available. We, for example, list how many pages we’re currently accepting for consideration, because we’re basically always at capacity. Other guidelines we’ve seen have included font size and specific fonts! These are easy guidelines to follow, and depending on the magazine or press, they’ll quickly earn you a disqualification, no matter how fantastic of a writer you are.

This brings us to our second tip, which specifically focuses on your submission itself. Make sure your actual submission document ONLY contains your submission (i.e., the poems you want the publication to consider) and nothing else, UNLESS that publication calls for more (again, read those guidelines!). Some publications, again, will disqualify you if they find, say, your name on your submission.

Lit Shark is dedicated to reading everything blindly, but we’re also dedicated to lifting writers up of all publishing histories and backgrounds. We know this means we’ll see work by some brand new writers—which means we’ll see some mistakes along the way. So if we get a submission that has a name on the submission, we will remove it ourselves and add the submission to a blind pile, so we can guarantee that the submission was considered purely for its quality first, followed by, “Oh yay! George (or Jane) the Amazing Writer We Love submitted this! How exciting!” We don’t want to accept a poem with that excitement in mind first, because it would cloud our judgment, as would a comment like, “I only had this one piece that fits your stupid theme, so I hope you like it.” That could be a whole other point by itself: Be Kind.

Notice… nowhere in these tips did we say, “You have to have an MFA” or “You have to have 50 publications to your name” or “You have to be related to Rupi Kaur or Stephen King” or even “Your work HAS TO focus on sharks in some way, because duh! Look at our name!” NOPE, none of the above. Just make sure you’re checking those guidelines before you submit, make sure your submission is JUST a submission (in most cases), and of course, be kind.

And our final tip of the day…


Don’t Forget to Submit to Lit Shark!

Don’t forget our opportunities! Submissions are due next month for our Spooky (Teeth) Issue, which is being published right before Halloween, and our final issue of the year is open to submissions, too!

Lit Shark: Issue 3: The Spooky (Jaws) EditionLit Shark: Issue 4

And don’t forget our first paid opportunity: Lit Shark’s Poem of the Month. You have until September 25 to submit for October’s Poem of the Month Contest, but submissions are accepted on a rolling (continuous) basis for subsequent contests. That’s right—JUST FIVE MORE DAYS to submit for this month!

Happy Writing, and Happy Submitting!

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. You will not be charged extra, but a portion of your purchase will help support Lit Shark’s causes in inclusive and accessible literature and writing resources, as well as our growing movement in conversation education, rescue, and revitalization.

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Written By McKenzie Lynn Tozan

McKenzie Lynn Tozan (she/her/hers) lives and writes in Europe with her family (originally from the Midwest). In addition to being the Editor-in-Chief of Lit Shark Magazine and the Banned Book Review, she is a novelist, poet, and book reviewer. She received her MFA in Poetry from Western Michigan University and her BA in English/BS in Education from Indiana University South Bend, where she began her work in publishing. Her poems have appeared in Rogue Agent, Whale Road Review, Young Ravens Review, The Birds We Piled Loosely, and Encore Magazine, among others; and her book reviews and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Green Mountains Review, Memoir Mixtapes, The Life Collective, Her Journal, Motherly, and more. When not writing, she enjoys reading, appreciating nature, and spending time with her husband and three children.

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