A Poet’s Guide To Successfully Submitting Poetry Online

When I first started submitting my poetry online almost two years ago, I was daunted by the submission guidelines and terrified my writing would not be good enough to be accepted at the beautiful magazines and journals I was interested in submitting to. One rejection used to be enough to send me running from submitting again for at least a month. Now my attitude toward rejections and my confidence in my writing is slowly growing.  

I have submitted to places I would never have dreamed of submitting to when I started writing. Upon reflection, I do not believe places like Mookychick or Black Flowers would have accepted my writing in the past. As a writer, a constant learning process is what has allowed me to grow.

I deeply enjoy sharing my poetry at online journals and magazines. I am able to share my work with new eyes and expand the circles of my community. Connecting with writers and forging new relationships is a refreshing way to look at my writing in a new way and learn from the techniques, voices, and styles of other poets.

For the purposes of this writing, I have used poetry as an example but I hope this advice applies equally well to bloggers looking to guest post or writers reaching out to magazines with their creative work.

Related: 4 Tips to Help You Write Better Poetry + Resources

For the beginning poet or the experienced writer looking to be re-motivated, here I share with you what I have learned after a year of actively sharing my writing at online literary outlets.

  • Do your best to send in writing you can visualize being shared on the site or in the anthology you are submitting to. Be honest, not wishful, with yourself when asking “if I were the editor of this place, would I publish the writing I am submitting?” If the answer is a nagging no, find the right place for your writing and do not waste time and words on a sure rejection. You and your writing deserve better. Naturally, you cannot make this call correctly every time but you can learn from your rejections.
  • Do not submit to every place you come across. Certainly, doing this you are more likely to be able to share your work on multiple sites, but do you even want your writing on said site? It is a place that honors words and shares those words with the right eyes? I have regrets; early on I took to submitting to journals simply because poets I knew had submitted to those places or I had stumbled across them and thought them fitting. Now I look to do better and submit to journals and magazines I will submit to again because the journal or magazine is a beautiful place that calls me and its readers back.
  • Push yourself. Leave your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to overcome a previous rejection by writing something that will be accepted. Try writing prose or fiction. Enter for a prize. Try doing a recording for a poetry podcast (I will be doing something quite like this in the near future and am nervous yet excited about it).
  • Upcycle. Take your rejected poetry and use the knowledge that something about it might be off to make it better. Change a line, a comma, a period, or the whole piece. Fuse two pieces together. Think of rejection not as a sign your poem was not good enough, but more as a sign you have not searched hard enough for the right home.
  • Organize. Keep a list of the places you have submitted to. On this list, include the names of the poems that have been accepted along with their place of publication and also a list of the poems that have been rejected along with the name of the place that rejected them. I do this in a Word document. Also keep a list of the places you want to submit to along with notes on any deadlines for themed submissions. At a glance you will know what you might write something new for and what you can resubmit.
  • Be willing to Learn. Discover what you enjoy writing about most. Reflect on what you write well. Expand on your strengths, but do not forget to exercise the places you do not feel comfortable in yet. Express yourself unforgettably.

With these six suggestions, I am hopeful you are encouraged to write more, to write less, to focus and push yourself, to love writing, and let words carry your essence to new eyes, ears, and hearts.

May the words flow!

What obstacles do you face in submitting or guest posting your writing? Tell me below!

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46 thoughts on “A Poet’s Guide To Successfully Submitting Poetry Online

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  1. LOVE this! It’s all great advice/truth, but your first point is the most poignant one for me at this stage in my writing endeavor. At first, I’d query ANYone I could, but the rejection (or lack of any response) was terrible, which is all part of the learning curve. Now, my priority is to fine tune my story, then find the right home for it. Thank you for the wonderful reminders.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great writeup, Jaya! Thanks so much for sharing it. I’ve been thinking about submitting some of my poetry for publication somewhere other than my own blog, and these are some helpful tips that will definitely help me on that wild ride. It’s very scary! Kudos to you for taking the plunge and congrats on having your work featured on so many awesome sites. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. love this! You can definitely apply these tips to any type of writing. When I was freelancing, it was difficult and scary to apply to jobs. I was always scared that I wasn’t good enough. But I built some great relationships with various companies because I went out of my comfort zone.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You have had a lot of publications of your writing and so sharing your experience and your advice is helpful for other writers who would love to be published. It is always great to have tips from people who have the experience rather than just their opinion; you have proven tips! This is a very detailed post Jaya, so helpful for other writers who are wanting to develop! Thank you for sharing Jaya.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a helpful post with so many great tips! I agree that finding somewhere you feel fits you and your writing is often the key part of submitting work.

    Tash – A Girl with a View

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you for sharing these tips, Jaya! I used to submit my writing years ago when I was in high school but not anymore. It’s not poetry but a short story. I hope I could write them again and submit them in the future 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for all the advice! I tried sending some short stories into a variety of competitions last year, and most were unsuccessful, but I think you’re right, that the process is more about perseverance and adaptation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Love this! One of the most important topics covered in my creative writing classes in uni was how to go about submitting your work to the right publications in the right way to ensure you’d be published! I’ve yet to take the leap myself, but I’m saving this advice for when I work up to it ❤️ Thank you for sharing, it’s so nice to see such a supportive attitude from one writer to another!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “..terrified my writing would not be good enough” – after all, we are not taught to handle rejections. But sometimes, rejection fuelled us to see how far we could go. Thanks for sharing! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  10. These are some amazing and helpful tips you’ve provided here Jaya. I completely agree with you on all of them. Of course you want to make your writing clear and understandable. You also want to make it so it catches people’s attention, so it’s interesting and makes the other person as a reader to carry on reading the piece of writing 😁

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I love these tips about getting your poetry published. You don’t want to get something posted for the sake of it being posted. You want to have value behind your publications. Totally agree with the visualization. Having your work published on a site with a good reputation is a big must! I like the idea of upcycling too. If you can make it better the next time around, why not? Thanks for sharing tips from your experiences!

    Nancy ✨ mdrnminimalists.com

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have started writing short stories on my blog. These tips are useful and helpful. (in case I wanted to get published) Thanks for sharing your own experience, struggles, and accomplishments with us.
    Sara xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thi is is really good advice. Thank you for this. I think I’m still in that stage of not thinking my writing style is creative enough or fancy enough. I still would love to learn more and strengthen my skills. I have been approached by magazines to write for them but I have not myself started to look for magazines or opportunities to guest blog. I am taking it one blog at a time. This post was encouraging though and I’m learning to be more confident in my writing each and every day. Thanks again for these tips.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. These are great tips for aspiring writers, sometimes changing just one line or even a word can make the world of difference. And pitching the appropriate pieces to the right publications is such a good tip for everyone in the writing community. Sometimes your style isn’t the right fit, and that’s totally fine!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for sharing this wonderful advice from the benefit of your wisdom and experience! I agree that it is so important to find the right publishing outlets where your words will be a good fit. And never be put off by rejection. I too have been guilty of this, but now I recognise my own style and have a better idea of where that style might fit!

    Liked by 2 people

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