Saturday 21 October 2023

Breaking into the US market

I sometimes send stuff to US paper journals. I don't know my way around very well, and depend on online ranking lists etc. As in the UK, US paper magazines are disappearing (e.g. Tin House and Glimmer Train - 2 of the top 5 in one list), and the online replacements don't have the same impact. I think more of their journals are university based. And there's the pay-to-submit issue.

I have trouble understanding currently fashionable US poetry, so it's the short story market I focus on. There's a wide range of journals. The most recent one that I was in paid me $20 for a piece of Flash and sent me (expensively, unexpectedly) a contributor's copy, cover price $18. But it's only 290th in one list I found, and in another list it's categorised as Tier 4, Respected: usually small circulation, one or more “notable” prize mentions, sometimes payment.

Anyway, I'll continue trying. I use John Fox's list, Erika Krouse's list etc, which are based on BAP (Best American Poetry) and BASS appearances. A Pushcart nomination would suit me just fine. I check my pieces for UK references before sending off and find that most have something I need to change - local colour is all very well, but obscure nostalgia is deadwood.


  1. Hi Tim! I'm an American poet who saw your post on Dave Bonta's blog roll write up.
    I just wanted to say, a great resource (I used to write for them) is even an older copy of the Poet's Market, used. They have great articles on submitting, weird rules, and lots of listings that may not all still be current, but it will be a great resource for you breaking in.
    I don't rely on those ranking systems - and I've been published in places like little local zines to Poetry, American Poetry Review, etc - because it doesn't really reflect what I myself like. I try to submit to places that publish poetry I myself like to read - and even if they don't publish me, I feel like I'm supporting a lit mag I like. I've been at this a long time (more than 20 years) and I want to say good luck! I think American lit mags could use more poetry from other countries. Now more than ever, we could use a broader viewpoint. Wishing you success! Jeannine Hall Gailey

  2. Thanks. I've been at it about 30 years. Mostly UK. I've been in US webmags but I'm old enough to like the idea of being published on paper. I'll fire off a few stories and see what happens.