Julia Mallory of Raising Mothers Recommends...

As a writer, I will always encourage writers to shoot their shot when they are passionate about their work. As an editor, I will always encourage writers to familiarize themselves with the rules and work of the publication they are submitting to. Publishing is highly subjective, yes, but there are also some key considerations that may tip the odds in one’s favor. This might seem like basic advice, but if the publication has a clear theme, you want to stick to it as close as possible. Is there a strict or suggested word count? Stick to it even closer. As an editor, it can be frustrating to receive submissions that have completely disregarded clear guidelines.

And never underestimate the role that timing or the publication you submit to can play in a favorable outcome. Sometimes it’s the right work, but the wrong publication. Sometimes it’s the right publication, but the wrong work. Your work may be great, but other submissions might feel more in conversation with each other and shape the overall direction of editors’ choices. The final selections could be more reflective of a choir, whereas your submission situated you as a soloist—which doesn’t mean your song wasn’t mighty. Timing really can be everything.

I want to see writers win and provide a public home for their work: Publishing can ultimately be a mutually beneficial situation for writers and editors. I’d like to imagine editors everywhere saying to writers, “Help me help you!”

Julia Mallory, senior poetry editor, Raising Mothers