The Short Story Writer’s Literary Journal Database

Hello Fellow Writers!

Ever feel like you just don’t know where to submit your work and perhaps more than a little overwhelmed trying to navigate through the submission guidelines of literary journals?

After many weeks (and many hours), I have finished compiling what I hope will be a massive time-saving and publication-generating resource for all of us.  Attached to this blog is a Word document which lists all the journals provided at the end of the 2014 Best American Short Stories anthology edited by Elizabeth Strout.  The Best American series provides a wonderful kind of phonebook at the end of the book listing all the American and Canadian short-fiction publishers.  What I have done is go through this list, visit each journal, and gather the information that writers need up front: reading periods, word limits, submission methods, and any specific aesthetic interests noted on the submission guidelines website.  At the end of the database is a list provided by Clifford Garstang at which compiles the Pushcart Prize nominations for the last 10 years, thus showing writers who is pushing work forward for additional awards.  Thank you, Clifford!

Before moving on to the nuts and bolts of this list, I want to share a blog from Ploughshares.  Sarah Banse writes in her post “From the Slush: Have you got what it takes?” about the process (yes, it’s a process) of getting rejected.  In this post, she shares stories about writers being rejected and what we can do to help our “odds.”  Ultimately, art is subjective – some might even say arbitrary.  What appeals to one reader will not appeal to another.  Publishing is a little like playing the slots – hundreds of quarters go into that machine with one, maybe two, jackpots.  But this is what we love to do, right?   Here is Sarah’s blog: Ploughshares Blog: From the Slush Pile

How to Use this List:

~Journal names highlighted in purple came directly from the 2014 Best American Short Stories anthology.  Unhighlighted ones are ones which I have come across in my own searches and submissions.

~Yellow highlights – mail only

~ Red highlights – no simultaneous submissions

~ Green highlights – only accept work from specific groups – i.e. women writers, those living in a specific region, etc.

~ The information that was available is provided here.  At times, journals did not indicate when reading periods ended, if there were fees, or what their word limits are.  For instance, if a journal is nor currently reading, information about fees was not always available.  I put together what was readily available without having to create accounts or log in to additional submission managers.

What this List Doesn’t Do:

~While thorough, this list is by no means comprehensive and utterly complete.  There are probably hundreds, likely thousands, of other journals out there.  Feel free to respond to this blog with more suggestions, but please take a moment to provide the important stuff – reading period, word limits, fees, etc..  Another good resource is to join the Call for Submissions group on Facebook: Call for Submissions.  I also recommend joining AWP so you can access their Writer’s Calendar, which includes calls for submissions and contests.

~This list does not indicate aesthetic (unless the submission guidelines specifically indicated it).  It is still each writer’s responsibility to submit their work according to the journal’s individual aesthetic and interests. 

~ This list doesn’t include the big names – The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Harper’s, etc.  We all know them and we all also know that fiction is nearly all solicited and from writers whose careers we covet.  I did include the biggies who publish work from emerging writers, such as Glimmer Train, Tin House, and Ploughshares, just to name a few of my faves.

~ This list is not for non-fiction or poetry submissions.  This list is solely based on the guidelines provided for short story/fiction submissions.  That’s what I write and submit, so that’s what you get.


Literary Journal List