7 DONTs of Submitting

We get a lot of submissions for each issue of Gutter Voices. We’d love to accept everything, but sadly we can’t. While rejections are tough to decide on and even tougher to deliver, some are made slightly easier than others. We’ll always pick what features in our magazine based on the writing above all else, but if you make our life difficult then we’re naturally going to approach reading your work in a slightly negative frame of mind.

So, here are 7 things we would recommend avoiding when submitting to us or anywhere else.

DISCLOSURE: THIS IS LOOSELY BASED ON THINGS WE’VE WITNESSED BUT ALSO ON THINGS WE’VE HEARD AND READ. THIS IS NOT TO SINGLE ANYONE OUT OR SHAME ANYONE, IT IS WRITTEN WITH THE MINDSET OF HELPING WRITERS IMPROVE THEIR POSSIBILITY OF PUBLICATION.

It is always most important to adhere to an individual publication’s guidelines and submission requirements, but there are some general rules of engagement that are safe to follow.

With those T’s & C’s out of the way…

  1. Don’t forget to title your documents. Receiving a document ‘Untitled’ doesn’t help us engage with your piece and it certainly doesn’t make it memorable. Worst of all, it makes the administration that little bit slower. If there’s anything we hate, it’s administration. Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. If in doubt, title your document as Title of Piece – Author’s Name.
  2. Don’t submit to the wrong publication. Pretty simple, really. Make sure you’re submitting to the intended publication. Nobody wants to be the one starting their submission to us with “Dear Nutter Voices”
  3. Don’t go over the word count. This isn’t college where you have a 10% leeway. Some publications will be lenient, but a lot won’t be. If you’re advised your short story needs to be no longer than 2,000 words, don’t send in a 2,500 word short story. Often this is due to formatting or publication length reasons. Other times it is from a reading perspective. If your story is an extra two pages than it should be, that could be an extra five minutes reading for close reading. If 50 submissions do that… you can see how time adds up fast. Time is valuable.
  4. Don’t send in an inappropriate genre. We don’t work off of genre or themes in advance, we form each issue as the submissions come in. However, a lot of publications will be strict (e.g. “No Horror”) and you should follow this. If you submit something to a publication that they are strictly against, it will be a guaranteed rejection no matter how good it is.
  5. Don’t have an attitude. If your piece is rejected, it’s okay to ask for feedback. If the publication says they can’t or won’t provide feedback, respect that and move on. It is not their job to give you feedback. Similarly, if you are rejected, don’t lash out or start an online tirade. You don’t know who is connected in this industry and what could hamper your career in the long run.
  6. Don’t submit to only one place at a time. We would love exclusivity but we can’t expect you to wait that long to hear back. Submit often and submit everywhere. If you get accepted elsewhere, be polite and let the rest know that you need to withdraw your submission. No one will hold that negatively against you. If the publication is supportive of writers, they’ll be happy for you!
  7. Don’t forget to subscribe to Gutter Voices on our homepage so you get every issue to your inbox and don’t forget to support us on Patreon.

See how we lured you in with the title, then only gave you 6 tips? Does that make you mad? Do you feel betrayed? Are you going to start an online tirade or email us in your frustration? No..? Well done, Padawan, you have graduated and are ready to submit.

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