Submitting a Short Story: Cover Letter

I’ve set a tentative goal to submit my suicide short story to about 2-3 literary magazines in late February.  It’s been through 8-9 drafts so far, but it feels like it’s almost there now.  I need to write the final draft in a week or two and then let it rest for a week or two before submitting.  It was my first real short story of original fiction (prior to this I had just written fanfic), and there was a lot of stuff about writing I didn’t even know I didn’t know.  Now I know some of what it is I don’t know, so I guess that’s progress, maybe XD  It feels kind of weird to still be working on this thing (though I took a 4 month writing/reading hiatus for my new job), but hopefully my next short story won’t need such a grueling editing job.  Although my next short story won’t be told from the POV of a dying man having delusions, so that already makes it easier.

Apparently you need a cover letter which freaked me out a bit because I don’t know of a good way to summarize my story or the reason I wrote it without sounding too emo or macabre.  It looks like you don’t need to go into detail though.  The story is more about finding peace and redemption than it is about suicide, but it’s a sensitive subject, and I don’t want to upset anyone with my cover letter.

I’m also in the process of coming up with a pseudonym.  For now I like the name Ella Hall, but that may change in a week or two.  I love the name Ella, but I’m not sure about Hall.  I’ll probably dedicate an entry to why I’m not publishing (more like attempting to publish XD) under my real name, but that’s beyond the scope of this entry.  For others who are curious or in the same boat I found some helpful articles on the subject.

Links to Helpful Blog/Articles About Cover Letters:

Writer’s Digest: Literary Journal Submissions 101

Freelance Writing: Cover Letters For Short Stories

The Review Review: Your Perfect Cover Letter

David Fitzpatrick’s Examples of Good and Bad Cover Letters

If anyone has another good resource about this issue, please share 🙂


List of Literary Magazines Accepting Blog-Published Fiction

Because I’m a newbie original fiction writer (been in fanfic for 5 years), I didn’t realize by publishing my short stories on the internet it’s much more difficult to get it published in a literary magazine.  I spent the past two days combing the internet for literary magazines that would accept blog-published stories.  I thought it would be easiest if I separate these journals by categories.   Also, since I primarily made this list for myself, it focuses on literary fiction but I included some sci-fi/fantasy which I will denote with ^^^.  Some of these also accept poetry, non-fiction, essays, genre fiction, etc.  Some accept anything.  Other want you to write stories with a specified theme.  You just have to read the guidelines carefully.

This is the source of where I found most of these literary magazines: Literary MagazinesTop 50 Literary MagazinesAbe Book’s Top Literary MagazinesEvery Writer’s Resource Top 10 Science Fiction Magazines.  Just as an FYI, most of the Top 50 want to acquire “First North American serial rights,” and specifically exclude any prior online publication.  This list is primarily composed of second or third tier literary magazines, but many of them are still very good.  I’d be thrilled to get published in anything XD  I will denote top tier prestigious literary magazines with ***.  This is somewhat subjective, but it shall suffice for the purpose of this blog post.  Also, many of these magazines are located in America, but they take submissions online and from all over the world.  Also, if I’ve made any mistakes please let me know.


1. “We acquire First North American serial rights.”  That means they do not accept previously published material because they are buying or taking the first publication rights.  Usually this means no prior publication, online or print.  Sometimes they don’t specifically state online publishing (like a personal blog) as an exclusionary condition, so I will leave that to your discretion.

2. Unsolicited material — Solicited material is writing that the literary magazine has commissioned or asked for from a writer they know.  Unsolicited is the opposite, meaning anyone can send something in.

3. Simultaneous Submissions — This refers to submissions to multiple literary magazines at once.  It can take weeks to months for a magazine to accept or reject your work, so if you submit to multiple magazines at once you increase your odds of acceptance.  But it becomes a tricky situation if you are accepted while others are still reviewing your work.  So the literary magazines that allow this want you to contact them ASAP if your story is accepted by another.

Acknowledges Blog-Published Stories are Okay But Not Previously Printed

Glimmer Train***

Apocrypha and Abstractions — I think it belongs in this category?

Communion Literary Magazine

Cleaver Magazine

Literary Juice

Acknowledges Blog-Published Stories are Okay And Previously Printed


The Sun Magazine — Pays half as much for previously published material

Sleet Magazine


Does Not Specify and Does Not Mention First Northern American Serial Rights

Harpers Magazine***

The Yale Review***

Massachusetts Review***

Harvard Review***

Alaska Quarterly Review***

Analog Science Fiction and Fact^^^

Space and Time Magazine^^^


The Antioch Review***

Arcadia Magazine

Artichoke Haircut

The Atlas Review



Arts and Letters

The Moth

Hotel Amerika

Ecotone Journal

The Literary Review

Gargoyle Magazine

Sewanee Review

Wilderness House Literary Review

Idaho Review

The Hudson Review***

Hermeneutic Chaos Journal

Hanging Loose Press

The Greensboro Review

Green Mountains Review

Fourteen Hills

The Florida Review

Fiddleblack — Unsolicited manuscripts considered only for electronic journal.

The Bitter Oleander

TSR South Hampton Review

The Masters Review

Meat for Tea

Michigan Quarterly Review

New Millennium Writings

The Newer York

Ninth Letter


St Petersburg Review

Salamander Magazine

Santa Clara Review


Southern Humanities Review

Southern Indiana Review

Tampa Review

Conditional Acceptance if Blog-Published

Ampersand Review — Perhaps it’s not prestigious, but they have a great sense of humor and seem awesome :3

Four Chambers Press — Prefers unpublished work, but may take previously published work on a case by case basis.  E-mail to start conversation.

Bellevue Literary Review — Works published previously on personal blogs will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Vine Leaves Literary Journal — Gives preference to unpublished work, but accepts published work if disclosed with submission.

Talking Writing

Mentions First Northern American Serial Rights but Doesn’t Specifically Exclude Prior Blog Publication — Up To Your Discretion


Crazy Horse



Literary Magazines Taking Blog Published Short Stories

So I spent the past two days combing the internet for literary magazines that would take short stories previously published on blogs.  I deleted my stories, but they are still available in cache form, which apparently takes weeks to months to disappear.  And I thought about it, and realized I couldn’t submit my blog published short stories to any magazine that specifically says no prior online/blog publication.  Even if I can’t find any trace left, it goes against the principles of their literary magazine, and I would likely be consumed with guilt.  I stole a penny from a friend at 5 years old and felt guilty for the next 5 years.  By guilty I mean I had trouble sleeping at night because I felt so awful about it.  I like being able to sleep at night.  Also, if they managed to be super tech saavy, they would probably add me to some blacklist of dishonest writers.  But some of them don’t specify, so I would feel okay submitting to those.  It’s okay to publish short stories on literary critique sites like “Legendfire,” because they are password protected.  There are no signs of my stories on Legendfire because of that, so I deleted them off of that site for nothing XD  Actually, I think you can publish your short stories on your blog if they are password protected (a feature WordPress allows), and I might look into that so friends can read it.

Anyway, I compiled a list of like 50 publications that either say it’s okay if your story was blog-published, don’t specify, or say it’s conditional.  Some say they may consider it depending on the story, meaning if your story is super amazing they might be willing to accept it.  I can publish links to these publications if anyone would like me to.  I was going to do it, but it seems pointless if no one is interested but me, lol.  Some journals are more notable than others, like Glimmer Train.  You can kind of tell the quality of the journal based on their internet site.  Not always.  There are various measures of what makes a literary journal more prestigious than others, but I bookmarked so many of them it was hard to keep track.  All of them recommend reading their latest issue before submitting your pieces for publication, so you can tell the quality from that.  Many of them either have archived issues, or a few selected stories on their website.