THE BEGINNING WRITER’S TOOL BOX, PART 1 – SUBMITTABLE

“The impulse to write things down is a peculiarly compulsive one, inexplicable to those who do not share it, useful only accidentally, only secondarily, in the way that any compulsion tries to justify itself. I suppose that it begins or does not begin in the cradle. Although I have felt compelled to write things down since I was five years old, I doubt that my daughter ever will, for she is a singularly blessed and accepting child, delighted with life exactly as life presents itself to her, unafraid to go to sleep and unafraid to wake up. Keepers of private notebooks are a different breed altogether, lonely and resistant re-arrangers of things, anxious malcontents, children afflicted apparently at birth with some presentiment of loss.” Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem



Well, here we are in a new year, a fresh slate, a soupçon of promise, a river of resolutions to overcome bad habits, engage in good ones, and meet personal and professional goals.  For many the latter means the affirmation of publication and a wider audience. Toward this end, among the tools available to writers is Submittable.

Submittable, a web-based software submission processing system that manages and organizes submissions, is a marketplace that is free to writers and artists. You can use it to search out publication opportunities. It hosts thousands of calls for submissions, grant and fellowship announcements, contests and other potential outlets for your creativity. Submittable serves publishers as well as writers and is supported by the fees publishers pay.

While comprehensive, convenient, and certainly affordable, it will still take time and effort for you to find the appropriate opportunities. We writers do need to read the publications and their guidelines. The guidelines are on Submittable but, unless the publication is free online, you will need to go to the library or buy the journals to study them.

If you didn’t know this before, I’m telling you now: don’t submit anything without making sure your material is a fit. Yes! This is a courtesy to editors and it is work, not necessarily work you welcome but work that is required. You might consider market research boring, but it can interesting, educational, and entertaining. You are after all reading some stellar material.

While the use of Submittable is free to writers, keep in mind that literary magazines tend to charge submission, reading, and entry fees. On the finance side of things, you still have that with which to contend and you might be well advised to come up with a monthly submission budget. I do. It keeps me out of trouble. When you make some sales, set aside that money – or some portion of it – to fund more submissions.

If you haven’t explored Submittable, I suggest you do so. This is one tool I use myself. I rather like it.

Note: Sunday Announcements: Calls for Submissions, Competitions, and Other Information and News will return to The Poet by Day on Sunday, January 13.

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Often information is just thatinformation– and not necessarily recommendation. I haven’t worked with all the publications or other organizations featured in my regular Sunday Announcements or other announcements shared on this site. Awards and contests are often (generally) a means to generate income, publicity and marketing mailing lists for the host organizations, some of which are more reputable than others. I rarely attend events anymore. Caveat Emptor: Please be sure to verify information for yourself before submitting work, buying products, paying fees or attending events et al.


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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

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