Writers tend to dream big. There’s nothing wrong with this, I dream of things that are far out of my reach because those goals bring about good motivation. However, when writers decide to publish, their thoughts go to the big leagues. They think of publications who are known for reaching an audience of thousands. No one dreams of publishing something they’ve worked so hard on in a magazine that may only reach a few hundred or even just fifty. I get it, people want their work noticed. They want to feel rewarded for a job well done, but small publications have feelings too and some wonderful readers.
I firmly believe in supporting the smaller magazines and literary journals. For one, they’re always looking to grow their audience and brand. By submitting and promoting your publication, you’re helping them gain a voice among the literary journal world. They’re also giving you a voice by printing your work. I’m not saying you’ll always get published, but you have a better chance when you’re submitting into a smaller pool.
The size doesn’t mean poor quality either. Literary magazines aren’t as commercialized as other forms of media so it’s more difficult for a journal to have a household name. The smaller publications usually don’t come with a cash prize either (they also don’t normally have submission fees, which is nice for the starving artists out there), but from what I’ve read, the smaller magazines have some of the best stories in them. These publications are fantastic at choosing work that’s gorgeous in it’s most natural and raw form.
There is nothing wrong with aiming for the big publications, but don’t be so quick to cross the smaller ones off your list. They’re just as important because they produce amazing work and deserve proper support. Give them a voice. Give yourself a voice. Support your art.