Paris Review, Shmaris Review

M.G. Tarquini writes:

"For those authors with few or no credits, are there certain lit
journals that make you sit up and take notice. That is, which credits
make you think - "Hey! Maybe this person can write!" Do you mind
listing them?"

And I say:
AgentC certainly does look closely at the literary magazines and journals listed in queries. Sometimes that will turn the tide for me. So here's the short answer to your question: The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper's, Zoetrope All-Story, McSweeney's, et al.
But those are the holy grail of pub credits.
There are other lit mags AgentC looks for, but those are the ones where she knows the editors, where her friends have been published, where she always loves the cover art, who gave her a free subscription once....it's an inexact science.
But what you're really asking here is "I want to submit to the literary magazines that agents like the most. What are they so I don't have to read 50 billion of them to figure out what they publish?"
Sorry, you've got to do some leg work. If you're sending crime fiction to The Paris Review, they're not going to publish it and you will have wasted your stamps. Go to the library. Read the journals that catch your eye. Submit to the ones you think your writing is most like. Then wait. Hey, no one said writing was easy, quick, lucrative, or satisfying.


M. G. Tarquini said...

Thanks, Agent C! Much appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Welcome AgentC! It's nice to hear from you

tammy said...

I'd like to add that if you write short fiction and find journals you enjoy, please consider subscribing to them. Particularly the independent presses that don't have university backing and need the subscriptions to stay afloat.

Anonymous said...

...please consider subscribing to them.

I whole-heartedly agree to that - it's a two-way street.

Outside the already mentioned big-hitters, the market for quality literary journals is not huge, but they're a valuable showcase for emerging talent. If we don't buy them, chances are they won't be there in future, and the ones that are left will be decreasingly open to unknowns; and as Miss Snark has advised, what better way to judge your own publishability than to look at what else is getting published?


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SherryD said...

I disagree with one part of your answer - writing (and especially getting published) is very satisfying.

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Anonymous said...

I've had an agent contact me based on a story I had in a smaller journal (The Gettysburg Review).

Anonymous said...

Interesting that posts critical of Agent C's tone and use of people's names when quoting questions has been removed. No doubt this one will be too, so read it while it's here. Is anything less than genuflecting not allowed at Snark Central?

Another Writer said...

I was surprised that more mainstream magazines like Glamour and Seventeen didn't make Agent C's list. So many successful writers of commercial women's fiction, from Jodi Picoult to Amy Tan to Curtis Sittenfeld to Joyce Carol Oates, published their early work in Seventeen (or the late, lamented Mademoiselle). I'm pretty sure Amy Tan actually got discovered because her agent read a piece in Seventeen, called her up and said, "Got any more?" If I were an agent looking for well-written, commercial fiction (as opposed to highbrow literary stuff), I would subscribe to Seventeen, and would be plenty impressed if a would-be client said she'd published there.