Let’s talk publication.
If the first thing to come to your mind after reading the previous sentence is purely literary publication, then get ready to have your knowledge expanded. While it’s true that many literary arts magazines focus on prose or poetry, there are still many others in need of your artistic skills. This post’s focus will be on that side of the literary arts magazine world, though many of the links you’ll find will also provide information on guidelines for written work, if that’s of interest to you.
So what is a literary arts magazine? In simple terms, it’s a publication, either online or in print, that takes submissions from people. Some can be restricted to a certain area or school, while others allow people all over the world to submit their work. Some have set themes, like environmentalism or southern living, themes that change with each new issue (a Fall issue might have a Halloween theme, to put it simply), while others have no theme at all and simply ask for your best work.
In short, the world of literary arts magazines is vast, and offers a wide variety of opportunities for writers and artists to publish their work. The trouble is, of course, finding the right opportunities for you.
The simple act of a Google search, while not all-encompassing, certainly gives you a good start. But like many thing we’ve talked about in this blog before, the more specific, the better. And what could be more specific than a large database of literary magazines?
Newpages is, for all intents and purposes, your best bet in finding compatible magazines to send your work to. The database contains information on all sorts of magazines, from general purpose ones to alternative ones that deal with very specific themes. The great thing about this website, besides the sheer number of magazines to look through, is that it gives you more detailed descriptions of each magazine when you click on their names. It’s an easy and convenient way to check if a magazine is the right fit for your work, or, if you’re really smart about it, if you can easily make your work fit the magazine.
But not everything can be perfect. Newpages, unfortunately, is geared a lot more towards written work. The magazines themselves can have opportunities for artwork, but you won’t be able to search for those specific magazines without scrolling through all the entries. Tedious perhaps, but our advice is to simple do a word search for ‘art.’ Newpages makes a point of listing the kinds of works each magazine takes, so the word search should yield most, if not all, of the relevant results.
Of particular note to photography majors is the fact that many of these descriptions make a point to list photography separate from the term ‘art’ for some reason. So make sure to keep that in mind when doing a word search on the website.
So you’ve been to Newpages and you’ve found some magazines that will accept the work you have. Whether it’s prose, poetry, art or anything else, you’re now at a position where you can take the plunge and share with the world the fruits of your labor at SCAD, and get yourself some sweet, sweet recognition. Except you’re still not exactly ready.
You have to research those magazines a little more and find out what format they’re published in, and if it works for you.
One of the most important things you’ll likely find yourself debating is to go with an online magazine or a print one. Each option has its pros and cons.
Online magazines are generally easier to work with. Because the people in charge are already working in a digital environment, they’ll be more likely to accept submissions through email or other forms of digital submission. This saves you some money in shipping and makes it less likely that you’ll lose your work in the shuffle of submissions.
Of course, online magazines tend to be newer publications as well. There’s nothing wrong with starting out being published in a new magazine, but it’s easy for online magazines to come and go. Worst case scenario, you might find yourself linking to a publication in your resume or portfolio that either no longer exists or is obviously abandoned. For that reason alone, many people choose to go for print publications.
As advanced as the literary arts magazine world has had to become, print publications still hold a certain allure. Something about holding a physical copy of your work is just attractive to those who create art, and we’re sure SCAD students are no exception. And, to tell the truth, the fact that your work was printed in a physical magazine still carries a lot of weight, professionally.
Unfortunately, print publications are less likely to accept digital submissions, which means you’ll have to make a copy of your work and send it through snail mail. Depending on the size and weight of your submission, it could get a little pricey. Still, it’s a great opportunity to get noticed and a great resume item, so there’s no harm in going this route if you can afford to.
But what sort of magazines should you be looking to? We’ve come up with two examples of typical literary arts magazines.
First is Oxford American. This magazine deals mainly with writing and art that touches on subjects of the American South. Their submission guidelines are fairly open, especially for art submissions. There’s opportunities for photography, illustration, and fine art. Want even more reason to give this magazine a shot? The editor of Oxford American recently visited SCAD Savannah and remarked that he was always impressed with work from SCAD students.
In contrast to Oxford American’s longstanding reputation and years in publication, Paper Darts is a very new literary arts magazine. With only three issues published so far, it’s one of those publications that seeks out fresh talent and exciting new styles of art and writing. This is the kind of young publication that’s safe to start out with. It’s got a few issues under its belt, and the website design shows care and professionalism in all its details. What better way to start your career as a recognized artist and showcase your talent?
It’s a crazy business, publishing. There’s a lot of research involved, and it can be daunting your first time out. But for those of you interested in taking your hard-earned SCAD experience and using it to create a buzz for yourself, it’s a very lucrative step.