Writers are always looking for new creative opportunities. Finding places to submit your work is overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be any more.
What if I told you there is one website with thousands of opportunities to submit your creative work. It’s true. Whether you write poems, short stories, books, screenplays, or music (yes, music too!) you can find plenty of places to submit your work.
And you can set up an account for FREE.
Where is this magical place I speak of? Submittable.com.
Over the past year, as I submitted stories online, I was introduced to this awesome resource. A lot of publishers are jumping on the Submittable bandwagon. If you submit to enough places, you’ll run across this submission platform sooner or later.
What I like most about Submittable is the way it keeps a record of all the stories you’ve submitted, as well as rejections (okay, that isn’t so great), and stories that have been accepted by publishers. There’s even a tab to withdraw a story, which is great if you send out one story to multiple places. Once your story has been accepted elsewhere, you can withdraw it from other places you’ve submitted to.
Discovering Places to Submit Your Work
When you log in to Submittable you will see four tabs at the top: Discover, Saved, Following, and Submissions. This first tab, Discover, is so useful.
As writers we don’t always know where to begin looking for places to submit our work. There are lots of scam sites out there (that subject alone is worthy of its own post). There are also tons of well-known and maybe not-so-well-known places where you can submit your work. The Discover tab helps you find places that are accepting submissions.
But it gets better than that.
You can end up spending a lot of money submitting your work if you aren’t careful. A lot of places cost anywhere from 2 to 20 dollars to submit. I look hard at any of the more expensive places to see if it’s really something I want to submit to. But mostly I try to find places that have no submission fee. And Discover helps with that. So here’s what the Discover page looks like.
You can see at the top the four tabs I just mentioned. Right now, I am on the Discover tab, so it’s highlighted. There is a search box where you can type in what you’re looking for. If you know of a specific contest that is in Submittable, that search box is great. Or you can type in any search terms and see what comes up.
Under the search box are the filters. Currently, I don’t have any of them highlighted. Once you highlight one (or all) of them, they turn blue like this:
I start with the ‘no fee’ filter highlighted to see what comes up. You can also look for contests or websites that have deadlines or no deadlines. You can play around with these filters to see what comes up. If you want to remove all the filters, just click the ‘clear filters’ button to take you back to a clean slate.
Once you click filters, Submittable automatically brings up any items that meet your criteria. So now I’ve got some options. Let’s say I want to take a look at this one:
When you click on the entry, a box pops open telling you more about the website, gives you a link to their site, the requirements for submission, and other useful information.
When you’re finished reading you can close the box to go back to your search results, save the submission or click the ‘submit’ button which will take you, obviously, to the submission page.
Following on Submittable
No doubt you are going to discover lots of great writing websites that you want to keep track of. That’s where that lovely ‘Following’ tab comes in. Let’s say that I want to start following the Shift journal. While you are in that open dialogue box, you’ll see a little drop down arrow next to the name. When you click on that, a box pops up that looks like this:
All you have to do is click the ‘follow’ option and the site is now saved in your ‘follow’ tab. That makes referring back to sites you like easy and quick.
A quicker way to follow a site is to click that little gray ribbon to the left of the site name. To unfollow, just click the ribbon again or go to your ‘following’ tab and click the ribbon there. Easy peasy.
Saving on Submittable
As you scroll through your search results, there will be lots of contests and online journals that you want to take a closer look at before deciding which ones make the cut. That’s where the ‘saved’ button comes in. You can see in the photo above that I saved the Shift entry. But let me back up.
Next to each search result is a little gray box like this:
Just click that button and it will save that entry to your ‘saved’ tab. Once you’ve saved all the entries you want. Just head over to the saved tab and you can begin going through your selections more closely.
I’m sure you’re asking what that draft button is. Any time you begin the process of submitting to a site, you will see that ‘draft’ box until you have completed your entry and clicked the ‘submit’ button. Pretty neat, right?
So Much More
Head over to Submittable (after you finish reading this article, of course) and poke around. There’s a blog you can read and a newsletter you can subscribe to so you can get new writing opportunities right in your inbox. Seriously, Submittable is an awesome resource.
One Final Note
Although Submittable is being used more and more these days, there are still places that haven’t taken the plunge. You can only track submissions and look for new places to submit your work if the place you send your work to uses Submittable. Seems pretty obvious, but just thought I’d throw that out there anyway.
It’s Your Turn
Where do you submit your creative projects? Share your resources in the comments.