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Guest Post: The Perks of Literary Magazines by Deborah Rocheleau

We're so pleased to feature this guest post by Deborah Rocheleau about writing YA for literary magazines. Deborah is a writer, language fanatic, and student of Spanish and Chinese. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming with the Tin House Open Bar, Flights, 100 Word Story, Boston Literary Magazine, and decomP magazinE. She is currently writing a contemporary young adult novel. Learn more about Deborah on her website, twitter, and facebook.

The Perks of Literary Magazines 
by Deborah Rocheleau 

 Maybe you’ve heard of literary magazines. You’ve been told they’re a great place to build your writer’s bio, hone your craft, and get experience in publishing. For YA writers, however, the expanding market for young adult short stories provides a world of opportunities to grow your readership. Here’s a guide to help you get published and make the most of it when you do.

Where to Submit:

With the rise of young adult literature, literary magazines targeted at teens are popping up everywhere. The Young Adult Review Network (YARN) is an online venue for short stories and poetry with work from YA authors such as Ned Vizzini and Sara Zarr. Similarly, Cicada and Sucker Literary are two print magazines devoted to young adult literature in any genre.

In addition, some adult literary magazines, such as Hunger Mountain and Lunch Ticket, now feature sections devoted to young adult literature. One such magazine, One Teen Story, the sister publication of One Story, includes one story per issue by teen writers and YA authors alike. Past contributors include Gayle Foreman and Matt de la Peña.

More and more YA specific markets are popping up every day, including many focusing on genre fiction such as science fiction and fantasy. You can find them through blogs, databases such as Duotrope and Writer’s Market, or through a good old-fashioned search engine. One great way to find new markets is to “like” or “follow” on social media the ones you’re already familiar with, as they’ll often post about similar publications that might also fit your work.

In your internet searches, don’t forget to check out YA anthologies as well. These are a great way to showcase your work alongside fellow writers in a book form, perfect for giveaways and gifts to loyal fans. Always make sure to do your research, however, to make sure a publication is the right fit for your work, and be wary of anyplace that charges you to publish your work. (For more info on how to write short stories for these markets, check out the past post on this blog, “The YA Highway Quickstart Guide to Submitting Short Fiction.”)

 Ways to make the most of it: 

 Beefing up your bio isn’t the only perk of publishing in literary magazines. With a little creativity, you can reach all sorts of readers, and win over the ones you already have.

Never underestimate the power of internet exposure. Many journals feature select or all their stories online, perfect for linking to blogs and websites. In addition, the social media feeds of many literary magazines are full of support for those previously published in their journals. Catching an editor’s eye not only gets your work published, but the connection may prove valuable throughout your career.

You don’t have to wait for readers to stumble upon your stories, though. Post links to them on your blog. Order extra copies of the issue that includes your story (magazines often provide a contributor’s copy or copies at a reduced rate) and host giveaways. Tweet it. Post it. Like and Favorite it. This not only supports your writing, but the venue in which it’s published.

Want to connect your short stories even more closely to your book-length writing? Why not write a story based on a character from a longer work? You don’t have to stick with your protagonists, either. Why not give a side character the limelight? Expand an interesting subplot? Bring an unused backstory to life? Writing tie-in stories to longer works is a great way to hook new readers while offering current fans new “deleted scenes.”

Lastly, some magazines publications come with the immediate perk of payment. While many magazines, especially newer ones, don’t pay in money, (Cicada and One Teen Story do!) the exposure and credentials these publications offer make them definitely worth the effort of submitting. Of course, if you’re interested in making a little money off your stories, just check the submission guidelines of the publication you’re submitting to. They’ll mention if they pay. Rates can range anywhere from 25 cents per word (Cicada) to $500 (One Teen Story) to contributor copies.

Show Your Support:

Finally, be sure to show your support for any venues you follow by sharing stories you like on social media. Introduce your readers to a fellow YA writer. Post a link to a story that touched or tickled you. If you’re lucky enough to be published, share your own stuff and let readers know where it can be read or purchased online. If YA writers and readers support and enjoy these markets, YA literature will continue to thrive.

So why not turn that unused subplot or that cut character (all those darlings you had to slaughter) into a short story? Why not publish and offer them as bonus material to your readers? After all, writing is about more than the prestige of publication. It’s about sharing your stories with the readers who will be changed by them.

What about you? Have you been published in a literary magazine? What are some ways you’ve used publication to promote your work? Share your ideas in the comments.
Kristin Halbrook

Kristin Halbrook is the author of the critically-acclaimed young adult novels Nobody But Us (HarperTeen, 2013) and Every Last Promise (HarperTeen, 2015). She likes many things.

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Item Reviewed: Guest Post: The Perks of Literary Magazines by Deborah Rocheleau Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Kristin Halbrook