Follow the Guidelines
essay submissions

Follow the Guidelines to Success

Guidelines. Follow the guidelines when you submit. They’re an important part of any literary magazine. You want to have your best shot at getting your work published, so read any guidelines carefully. We (meaning Gyroscope Review) didn’t make up frivolous guidelines. They were cultivated over time with a goal in mind—making the editor’s job easier. Hey, why do YOU get it so easy you ask. Well, we understand you should be tailoring your submissions to each magazine’s guidelines for each submission. That’s work. We’re poets ourselves, we understand. 

There are only so many hours in a day. We also work full time, have family to take care of, and don’t get paid to do something we love – read poems and send them out into the world through the magazine. Just 15 days into the submissions for the Fall issue, we have 350 poems to read. Multiply that by our 8 week submission period, and you see the problem. We want to give each poem the loving attention it deserves, so anything that makes it easier to read helps tremendously. So please follow the guidelines.

Observe the standards

We have specifics in the guidelines. They may seem nitpicky, but they’re not to us. Standard fonts, standard settings, no weird mark up because it makes for better/easier reading. Then when we do go to put the issue together, it goes much faster than changing everything from an obscure font, reformatting, and stripping out weird Word mark ups. Believe me, Word doesn’t want to let go of some of the strange dots and underlines at times. And please, please, don’t use handwriting font for your submission. It may look cute, but it’s hell on eyes. 

Other things you can do is read our back issues. They are available on the website, free of charge. It will give you an idea of what types of poems we publish. You can see who we’ve been publishing and maybe take a peek at their other poetry out there on the Internet. If we say we’re not fond of rhyming poems (unless done really well) or poems about the process of writing poetry, we mean it. Likes and dislikes are part of any poetry magazine. It’s a subjective thing but we’d rather be upfront about it. 

Say Hello

One way to find out editor likes and dislikes is to read our Masthead. Editor bios and preferences are listed there. There are editor interviews scattered around the Internet by Duotrope, Trish Hopkinson and others which gives you a deeper dive into editor preference. Links to the interviews are available on the website. The Masthead also lets you know the editor’s names. Using our names is friendly, but not necessary. While addressing the cover letter to “Poetry Editor” doesn’t phase us, “Dear Sirs” gets some side-eye. 

One thing everyone hates is cover letters. I hate them too. I never know what to say. Serious or flippant? What to be? Be professional, but have fun. We’ve tried to make it easier in our guidelines by giving you some topics to write about. Pets, plants, vacations and hobbies. We love to get to know our poets personally. If you don’t have a lot to say, don’t sweat it. We don’t judge you by your cover letter. You don’t need to put your credentials there, that’s what the bio section is for. 

Follow the Guidelines

Note if a magazine accepts simultaneous submissions. We do, some don’t. This is a hard enough business without having someone exclusively hold your hard work for months on end. We encourage simultaneous submissions. Just please let us know if something gets accepted elsewhere so we can mark it in our file. There is nothing more disappointing than accepting a poem and finding out it’s already been accepted elsewhere. Don’t make us cry.

Reading the guidelines and following them helps the editors evaluate the poems quicker, which means we can get back to you quicker. Remember, we can’t always send a personal response, but when we do we mean it. Don’t take rejection personally, it’s part of the process. Replying “Your loss” or “Thanks for nothing” doesn’t make us look favorably on you. Let’s be courteous to each other, we have a lot in common. We all love poetry and want to see it thrive. Make sure you are giving your poems their best shot at publication by presenting them in the manner requested. The editors thank you.  

More on Publishing:

Throw Your Heart Into the Fire

A Day in the Life of an Editor

Graduate From Unpublished to Published Poet

Outside Links

Lit Mag Submissions 101

Poets & Writers Lit Mag Database