5 Literary Journals for New Writers, plus Cover Letter Help

Posted by David Sabol, GD Poetry Reader for 5.15 Literary Journals for New Writers, plus Cover Letter Help

As we all know, starting a career as a writer is pretty difficult. You’re a young writer who’s practiced your craft for years, writing page after page of work, until finally, you’ve written something that you feel the literary world needs to see… Now what? Most people don’t know where to go from here, whether they’re in high school or college. Most high schools don’t support creative writing in any substantial way, and if you’re not a creative writing major, you might not know how the process works or know which journals to submit to or how to write a cover letter. Gandy Dancer is here to help. In this blog, you’ll find ten literary journals that often accept unpublished writers, as well as a few tips on the submission process, all of which I hope will aid young writers on their journey to their first publication.

  1. Boston Accent Lit

Submissions page: http://www.bostonaccentlit.com/submit

This journal is digital-only, and, in their own words, is” a bit loose on the rules,” so don’t think twice about publishing something not in-vogue. In fact, Boston Accent encourages this! From their “About” page: “Boston Accent Lit aims to showcase work that is daring and innovative, as well as providing a platform for underrepresented voices.”

They are open to every style and format of poetry, with an acceptance rate of 12.24%. Believe me, this is relatively high, considering the more respected journals’ acceptance rate is usually less than one percent. It usually takes this journal around seventy days to respond to your submission, and they regularly do personal responses with suggestions on revisions.

  1. Maudlin House

Submissions Page: https://maudlinhouse.net/submissions/

Maudlin House is run by Millennials, which should be reassuring for young writers wishing to address issues that might be considered taboo by older generations. From their Submission page: “We admire all forms of transgressive, absurdist, and minimalist literature. “

This journal is a bit more selective than the first, as their acceptance rate is 6.99%. They “do not believe in silent rejections,” therefore they’ll always let you know if you’ve been accepted or rejected. This journal reviews and responds to work fairly quickly, as on average it usually takes them about thirteen days to reply.

  1. Zone 3

Submissions Page: https://zone3press.submittable.com/submit

Zone 3 is run by Austin Peay State University of Tennessee and is published in print. This is a more selective journal with an acceptance rate of 2.68% and it does take them around one hundred days to respond to submissions. Don’t be deterred by all that though, because there are opportunities to be had from this journal if you put in the work.

Zone 3 sponsors two book competitions, The Zone 3 First Book Award in Poetry, and the Zone 3 Creative Nonfiction Book Award.

The First Book Award in Poetry contest has a prize of $1000 and a publication by the Center for the Creative Arts at Austin Peay State University. All you have to is submit a manuscript of poetry from forty-eight to eighty pages long… and of course, compete with every other writer submitting. There’s a twenty dollar submission fee, though the fee includes a year subscription to Zone 3.

Their Creative Nonfiction Award yields the same prize and submission fee as the Poetry Award (one thousand dollars and a published book of your work and a twenty-five dollar submission fee). The manuscripts submitted must be 100 to 300 pages.

  1. Rising Phoenix Review

Submission Page: https://therisingphoenixreview.com/submissions/

This journal has a more refined focus, writing on their “About” page, “The Rising Phoenix Review is a monthly online zine dedicated to publishing poetry focused on the working class and other marginalized groups.” Make sure to check out their “Our Poetic Philosophy” to make sure that your work is a good fit for what work they prefer. Ascertaining the poetic philosophy of a journal really should be a practice for all journals. For example, an environmental journal wouldn’t want poems about the Syrian refugee crisis. Always make sure your subject matter is applicable.

There isn’t much information on the acceptance rate on this journal as it was only recently founded. This is a good sign for aspiring authors as a new journal is more willing to publish new authors. Apparently they “try to respond within forty-five days,” which isn’t too long of a wait.

  1. Five:2:One

Submission Page: http://five2onemagazine.com/submission-guidelines/

In their own words, “FIVE:2:ONE lives beyond the literary norm. We are quirky & weird. We are dark & strange. We are everything in between those 4 things and more….” Don’t hesitate to send your quirky stuff, as this journal truly is open to publishing the weird and wild. You can submit in any format featuring any subject matter.

This journal has the highest acceptance of any other journal listed at 17.02%. They usually respond in around seventy days, though they sometimes don’t respond to submissions they might not deem publishable.

Okay, you have five journals to start with. How do you go about searching for more journals to submit to after you’ve finished with this article? Have no fear: there are a few sites to help you with this.

  1. com

One well- acclaimed and widely-used site is duotrope.com, though it does require a paid subscription (There’s also a seven-day free trial). I can attest to this site being extremely helpful as it shows you numerous statistics about each journal. This is where I got all of the stats in the article.

  1. Poets & Writers: pw.org/literary_magazines

This site features a lot of resources for writers, boasting “over 800 literary magazines in [their] database.” There are lists of writing prompts, literary agents, available jobs for writers, and universities with creative writing MFA programs. There’s also a tab for connecting with other writers, where you’ll find a list of literary events.

Here are links to articles suggesting more literary journals:

  1. Every Writer’s Resource.com: http://www.everywritersresource.com/topliterarymagazines.html
  2. For writers of short stories:


  1. For a more comprehensive list renowned and indie journals alike: http://thejohnfox.com/2009/01/journals-accepting-electronic-submissions/

Here are some articles to help you with your cover letter, as most submissions require one:

  1. Writer’s Digest:


  1. PRISM Review:


  1. From the managing editor of The Missouri Review:


I genuinely hope this helped any new writers! Good luck out there in the publishing world!

Now get writing!

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