Friday, August 24, 2018

Tobi Alfier - The Pros and Pros of Submitting

The Pros and Pros of Submitting Everywhere You Can 
(after you read the submission guidelines).

from my Facebook page
I love being published in print. I love to read the people I know and see how my poem looks. Make a grateful post on Facebook with a picture of the journal, and a thank you to the editor. Then I put it on a shelf, in alphabetical order, and refer back to it once in a while.

Some poets I know, ONLY submit to print journals. True - you always have your own archive copy, the journal doesn’t disappear off the net one day, many academic institutions have print journals and it is a pat on the back to be included in them. Yes, I know all that. I agree but I don’t completely agree.

I am a shy person. Really, really shy. And also insecure. My worst fear, after being paged in the airport or supermarket, is someone saying “I liked her last book, but this one’s crap!” as they hurl my book into the trash. That is all true. But really, I’m proud of my poetry, and so very thankful I can write.

I used to go to a lot of workshops with participants from all over the country. Being online gives me the chance to say hi to them for free. Not every print journal is available in the bookstore, and it’s a way to keep in touch. It also gives them a submission opportunity they might not have known about.

Shy Tobi also moderates a LinkedIn group (Poetry Editors and Poets). It has…wait for it…33,655 participants! If they can read me online, I have some credibility that maybe I wouldn’t have otherwise. It is a great group, but everyone who’s ever been on LinkedIn knows there are occasional “difficult” people who make it their life’s work to make everyone else miserable. When I delete these nasty folks, I am supported by the rest of the group. I do think part of it is because they know I am struggling the same way they are, and they can read my successes, just as I can read theirs.


Being published online also makes you visible in a way that being in a print journal may not. An editor, reading my poems online, gave me the opportunity to be in a gorgeous anthology called “Lush”, published by Rufous Press…in Sweden! Though this press is no longer in business, the book is still available. It was a wonderful opportunity and very flattering to be asked.

Recently I was contacted by artist and poet Chuka Susan Chesney. She was published in Bindweed, an online journal in Belfast. She was looking for poets for a project and thought she’d look through a few issues and find a UK poet she liked. She found me. We’re probably an hour apart, in traffic.

And now, I have a new, very nice Facebook friend, and an opportunity to write for two stunning projects – “100 Vibrant Artists of Los Angeles and Poets”, and “Lottery Blues”. And if it weren’t for an online publication clear across the ocean, none of this would have happened.

Note: I hesitate to list my favorite journals. Everyone writes differently and everyone has their own opinion. I know the journals who will NEVER publish me, but that doesn’t mean they won’t publish you.

I’m not special, people. Being published online in some of the journals today is a great opportunity for the submitting poet. And you may end up in the right place at the right time. It is definitely something to consider as you grow your submission experience.

With over 23,000 literary journals listed in the United States alone, this small list is only a teeny peek at the different types of venues available for your work.

Cholla Needles  (print)


Bindweed (online & print)

Peacock Journal (online)

Stay tuned for next week for more submission opportunities!

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Tobi Alfier's most recent collection of poetry is Somewhere, Anywhere, Doesn't Matter Where. She is also co-editor with Jeff Alfier of the San Pedro River Review. Don't miss Tobi's columns on the craft of poetry: insert your email address in the "Follow By Email" box to the right of this article and you'll be notified every time a new article appears.

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