Comparing Online Submission Managers

12 Jan

I’ve been publishing and submitting poetry (and short fiction) for over a decade and I’ve come across several online managers during this time (RIP Tell it Slant), so I thought it might be fun to review ones that I’ve used and my thoughts.

First up to bat is the classic monolith, Duotrope. Here you can find a long list of magazines, anthologies, or presses due to Duotrope’s length of time online (since 2005). When you see a publication listed on Duotrope, there is a sense of respect and pride that comes with that. Duotrope states they have 7,500 publications listed and also heralds that “Unlike other resources, we don’t wait for information to come to us. Instead, we check each active listing’s guidelines page for changes once a month on average.”

How does it handle? Last year, I tried out Duotrope for a free trial. Why? Because I was very interested in the all the data you can gather such as acceptance rates, the average length of time I will hear back from a publication, and I like how you can see so much in one glance.

I also appreciate that Duotrope takes note (in the top red box) of publications that charge fees but don’t pay writers. I like the features for submitting to agents but did not utilize this. The upcoming deadline calendar is a nice touch and could help you find something new, if you got something ready!

Overall, though, I was not a fan of finding new or unfamiliar publications to submit to. I like data, don’t get me wrong, but I was overwhelmed with how selective you can get. It was visually a lot to process. You can see how detailed you can get below:

The cost for Duotrope is $5 a month ($50 for a year) which isn’t awful by any means. I personally didn’t like it so ended up stopping after my free trial was over. If you like data and detail, you’ll probably like it.

Next up, we have Submittable! I use Submittable frequently since a massive amount of publications I submit to require you to submit via this manager. It is free for users but this cost moves towards the publication with publications sometimes saying things like “Submissions open until Feb 15 or until we hit our free monthly limit.” That can sometimes mean that you miss out if you aren’t fast enough.

I mostly have used it to find more open calls using the Discover tab. It’s a quick and easier visually but I do have to click to find out more information, though.

Although more visually appealing than Duotrope, I do frequently find inaccuracies. So many times I will click “no fees” for submissions only, after clicking the call and reading paragraphs of information, do I see the submission fee. The Discover tab has frequent tags such as “haiku” or “flash fiction” but they are limited (also, someone tell me why “tequila” is an option? This apparently is an untapped topic for future writing). I do like that you can save a submission for later.

The submitter itself leaves much to be desired. Often times I will have to click and dig around to remember the details of the call. Was this paid? Can I query? Sometimes the original call has also disappeared altogether so I’m left wondering what is going on?

Also, sometimes the list of rejections sucks to look at but that might be true of all trackers and on me.

Next up, we have The Submission Grinder (now just called The Grinder). It’s a no frills manager that helps you track what you submitted and how long it’s been out. You can also see public data on who is hearing back from who. You can literally see when magazines are sending out mass rejections (and take solace) or even toot about your own acceptance success.

I used The Grinder for a bit but, again, it struggles with helping me discover new publications. You can get detailed (not as much as Duotrope, but it is free) when trying to find a good submission for a piece.

I think I had a harder time using this one because it data is populated by users and it appears that most users are writing and submitting fiction (particularly genre fiction). It was hard to find poetry data and sometimes I would be the only and first poet to submit something like length of time to hear back.

Last up, is one that is newer to me and I’m just trying out, Chill Subs. I discovered this one when they sponsored a contest I submitted to. This is also a free manager which allows writers to create an author page (helpful for promoting books or other content). It does have the detailed submission finder:

Which I’m coming to accept that I just don’t like to use. But, luckily, they have a visual way to scroll through magazines as well.

You can quickly find out if they have open calls, how long you’ll wait, and if they pay (and that’s really the majority of the information I need). Like Duotrope, they also have a calendar for upcoming deadlines (which I think looks much better).

You can also play “rejection bingo” and earn “badges” on your profile for things such as finding website bugs or getting a high number of acceptances. Since they are newer, they have 1,000 verified publications (quiet a bit fewer than Duotrope).

So, there you have it! Let me summarize some quick takeaways.

  1. Duotrope is for you if you like TONS of data about TONS of publications. You’re okay with paying and need specifics to help you find certain publications or even agents.
  2. Submittable is for you if you like using the same SIMPLIFIED website you use to submit to publications themselves.
  3. The Grinder is for you if you like NO FRILLS, especially if you like live data and if you write genre fiction.
  4. Chill Subs is for you if you like VISUAL features to find publications and enjoy some gamified features like badges.

At the end of the day, pick which submission manager is going to work best for you! To this day, I still use an Excel spreadsheet to give me a very quick track of what is pending publication where but it’s always great to explore what other features are coming out on submission manager websites.

Did I miss any in my list? Any you would recommend or any personal experience you would add? Let me know below!

Two Poems in Purple Poetry Book

14 Dec

Mail day today! I got my contributor copy of the 2022 edition of Purple Poetry Book by TurnAround, Inc. All of the pieces feature survivors of sexual or intimate partner violence and 100% of the proceeds supports services for survivors. TurnAround, Inc. does so much for awareness and support for survivors and this is second time I have worked with them for Purple Poetry Book. I have two poems in this edition with “No Woman’s Land” starting off the book, in addition to my piece “An Account of a Woman’s Body”. “An Account of a Woman’s Body” was an incredibly hard piece for me to write and showcases my growth and understanding how sexual assault has unfortunately impacted most of my life.

The color purple is used to recognize inter-partner, domestic, and sexual violence and TurnAround, Inc. encourages supporters to don the color in solidarity.

Two Poems in The Sour Collective

14 Dec

Issue #14 from Sour Collective is out today and feature work on the topic of Healthcare. The subtitle “Thank You, Healthcare Workers” explores the reality, burnout, and self-care of healthcare workers of all varieties. I have two poems in this edition “My Sleep Paralysis Demon is Malpractice” and “Pandemic Psycho-Therapy.” Both of these pieces explore how COVID impacted my career in social work and the collective exhaustion many healthcare and helping workers experienced during this time.

The Sour Collective is a gorgeous print-only magazine. It’s polished, clean, and even can be order in gift packages or as a monthly subscription! You can purchase a copy and read my work (and others!) at their store.

Tracking Rejections: 2022 Review

7 Dec

Just like how Spotify makes a yearly “Wrapped”, or review of your listening habits for the year, I decided to make one of my own for literary submissions. I track all my submissions, whether it be for a single poem or a contest or a book submission, via spreadsheets.The publications range from large publications to small e-zine passion projects. I collected all the data from 2022 to share!

As you can see, rejections make up the biggest percent (in red), while rejections follow behind (in green). The orange is AWAL, meaning publications that have become defunct or there’s radio silence on all platforms from them. I always have a few of these each year, often from smaller and newer publications but not always. Lastly, in white are submissions that are still pending and I haven’t heard back from yet.

I often hear from budding writers concern about rejection. People will say, “I don’t want to submit because what if they reject me?” My response is to submit anyway! It is very common to have ten magazines reject your work but one that will absolutely love it and give it a great home. So much of an acceptance is based off the interests and preferences (and mood!) of whichever editor is reading that day.

What does your submission wrapped for 2022 look like?

Pushcart Prize Nomination

21 Nov

I am incredibly humbled and beyond thrilled to announce that my poem “The Conquest of Hoarding” has been nominated by Oyster River Pages for a Pushcart Prize. The Pushcart Prize is an honored award to receive in literature for any writer. I definitely cried happy tears when I read the email this morning and I’m still in shock and disbelief! My fingers are crossed to hear back from the final announcements but just being honored is a great privilege.

You can read my poem at Oyster River Pages along with other great pieces published in the 6.1 edition.

Chapbook out with Bottlecap Press

27 Oct

Incredibly proud to announce my chapbook through @bottlecappress, An American Mujer!

This chapbook is a collection of poetry, non-fiction writing, and visual found poetry collage and explores the experience of growing up as a queer Mexican-American woman in the Midwest.

Several of the pieces in here found their first homes through @spooniepress @orangepeelmag @renardpress @rccmuse @spotlongreview @openmindsquarterly So shout out to the wonderful editors who first guided these poems into the world!

You can purchase a print or digital copy from Bottlecap Press’ site:

Thank you for any support you can give!

Podcast Interview & Haiku Reading with The Culinary Saijiki

19 Oct

This weekend I met with the mastermind behind The Culinary Saijiki, Allyson Whipple, for an interview on her podcast. I read haiku, mostly related to fall cooking and Mexican sweets. In the episode I talk about my own mixed Mexican-American heritage along with bilingual poetry. We talk about our immigrant heritages and how culture persists through food language.

You can listen to the podcast here:

You can find more food haiku and Allyson’s podcast and blog at her website:

Finalist for Onwords Press Who Freakin’ Cares Poetry Contest

14 Oct

Very proud to announce that my poem “A Digital Obituary” is a finalist for Onwords Press Who Freakin’ Cares Poetry Contest.

Please vote for my poem by going to Onwords Press‘ website and clicking the heart on the top right of the page. Link here to vote and support me->:

This is a poem I wrote after the sudden death of one of my friend’s and trying to process the grief and shock those first few days.

On a completely different tonal note, I did have a chuckle at the editors response to reading it: “The One That Made Us Go, ‘Oof, fuck'”.

Two Poetry Prizes from PSI

9 Oct

The results for the 44th annual Poetry Society of Indiana contest are live!

My poem “Poetic Paramour” won 2nd place in the PSI Love of Poetry Prize and my poem “A Forager’s Haiku in Seasons” won 3rd place for the PSI Membership Prize.

These poems will be featured in the Ink to Paper Anthology, Vol 7 later this year!

Two poems in Free Verse Revolution Literary Magazine

23 Sep

Check out two of my poems published in Free Verse Revolution Literary Magazine @freeverserevolutionlit Issue VII: Tahmina (love and loss). My poems “To The Last Days of Dialysis” and “Death of a Mourning Dove” detail my personal experiences with loss and grief. There is some wonderful writing in this issue and it is gorgeous so check it out!

You can download a digital version or purchase a print copy here:

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