Luna Station Quarterly is a speculative fiction magazine featuring stories by emerging women authors.
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Become a Woman Who Submits to Literary Journals

by Cheryl Wollner

I am a woman who submits. I submit to literary journals and contests. I submit to end the gender gap in publishing, especially in the realm of speculative fiction.

If you are a female writer, become a woman who submits. It’s terrifying to put your work into unknown hands, but it’s worth it. You type in your bio, write and rewrite your cover letter, double and triple check that you’ve followed all the magazine’s submission guidelines. You click submit. Remember, you have a community of other writers who support you.

indexAnd in the long run, if women are to be recognized as authors of measure across genre, one of the things we can control are our own submissions. We can put our best work into editors’ hands. Based on 2011 statistics from Poetry, approximately 65% of submissions Poetry editor-in-chief Christian Wiman received were from men. This statistic does not provide information on how many of the 35% of submissions by women were published. With such a staggering gender gap, it becomes easy for editors to claim their journal isn’t discriminating against female identified authors. The argument goes: it’s not that there aren’t talented women writers; it’s that talented women writers don’t submit. I’m not saying that if more women submit their work gender discrimination in publishing will end, but it’s a start. It will ensure editors read more work by women and see the variety of work women can produce.

So, take the writing world by storm and become a woman who submits. Here are some of my suggestions on literary magazines (both speculative fiction and literary fiction geared toward feminism) to submit to. I’ve also included a few resources for finding literary magazines. This is by no means an exhaustive list of journals and I’d love to hear about any additions as we each press forward as female writers, readers or both.

The Spec Fic Market

In addition to our own beloved LSQ, here are a few other suggestions for speculative fiction writers.

  1. Tethered by Letters (TBL) seeks out emerging authors and has its publication, F(r)iction, specifically dedicated to speculative fiction. Another plus, if you become a member of TBL, by commenting on 10 posts or forum discussions online, you are eligible for free editing services.
  2. Lightspeed Magazine pays its contributors (they publish 4 new stories and 4 reprints with each issue). If that isn’t enough of an incentive, the magazine has proven itself as a publication interested in non-male voices, through their issues: Women Destroy Science Fiction , Women Destroy Fantasy  (which is available for purchase in person from Bluestockings, a feminist bookstore in NY) and most recently Queers Destroy Science Fiction. Lightspeed has partnered with Fantasy Magazine and Nightmare Magazine to bring you a one stop shop to submit across multiple realms of speculative fiction from sci fi to fantasy to horror.
  3. FemSpec: for academic writing on speculative fiction. Although not the place for your brilliant fiction piece, this journal, is focused on creating a feminist queer space for speculative fiction critique and reviews (again think academic writing). FemSpec might be the right place for your academic work.

You can trace where your favorite authors have been published to determine where your work might best fit. For instance, I adore Sarah Monette’s writing and by looking through her website I found a plethora of fantasy and horror magazines I had never heard of. From there it became a rabbit hole of digging up writing workshops and new markets. Pretty soon you wonder how you ever worried about getting published at all when there are so many magazines to submit to.

For additional markets check out The Review Review’sSpeculate on This! Lit Mags That Publish Speculative Writing.” You can also browse through any collection of speculative fiction stories and again, trace where their authors were published.

Women’s Presses

Here are a few feminist magazines and journals working, like LSQ, to further the work of female writers.

  1. Minerva Rising publishes fiction, nonfiction, poetry, photography and essays in celebration of women’s voices and female expression. And they pay: $50 for prose and $35 for poetry. Minerva Rising opens for submissions on the theme of sisterhood December 1st and close February 1st. They will also be seeking submissions on the theme of Fathers with a reading period from April 1st through June 1st. *the $15 reading fee goes towards both paying contributors and supporting various women’s organizations.
  2. The Fem publishes new fiction, nonfiction, poetry and art twice every week. This publication began in 2014 and runs on a platform of inclusivity and diverse representation. They accept submissions on a rolling basis.
  3. Room is a feminist space seeking women of color as well as trans and nonbinary individuals to submit fiction, poetry and art.

Additionally, if you’re not already a fan of New Pages, they are an incredible resource for all things literary. In one place, you can find a list of calls for submissions, contests, MFA programs, workshops and much more.

And please check out the inspiration for this blog post: @womenwhosubmit on twitter.

As we celebrate emerging female writers at LSQ, remember that we are the writers we celebrate! Now is the time to celebrate yourself and all the brilliance you create. Become a woman who submits and join the literary revolution.

A bit about the columnist:

Cheryl Wollner writes fiction, nonfiction and drama. She has studied in Istanbul, Turkey for history research and means to return one day to incorporate her research into her fiction. Her work has appeared in Wilde Magazine, the Southern Tablet, the Best of Loose Change Anthology, Aurora Arts & Literary Magazine, and the 42nd Annual Writer's Festival Magazine. She blogs at asexualfeminist.wordpress.com. Visit author page

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