Avenues to Publishing Your Work
by Terese Mason Pierre
As a Toronto Public Library Editorial Youth Advisory Group (EYAG) member, one of the most common questions I get from teens and young adult writers, whether they’re on the EYAG or not, regards how they can get their work published. They’ve edited their work as much as they can, they’ve been to writing groups and got feedback, their parents said their work was great — but now what? Where can they go?
Of course, as an EYAG member, I refer them to Young Voices. Young Voices is a suite of youth programs and initiatives, most important of which — at least for publishing — is the magazine [PDF]. Each year, Young Voices puts out an annual journal of youth prose, poetry and visual art. It’s free to submit to, and while there are deadlines, if you submit after a deadline, your work will be considered for the next issue.
Young Voices magazine has been around for over fifty years, and many teens have had their first publication here. Submissions are chosen by the EYAG, so the pressure isn’t that high; we love your work as much as you do, and we want to see you succeed. This year's deadline to submit work for Young Voices is April 3, 2018.
Young Voices also puts on an annual, free conference for youth in the fall, where artists and writers come to speak and share their techniques for development and success.
Toronto Public Library also offers a series of Young Voices March Break workshops for teens to hone their skills, get feedback and advice, and socialize with other writers. Writing is a solitary activity, but it’s so vital to find a community of likeminded peers with whom you can share, learn and grow. There are many events happening across the TPL’s 100 branches, such as:
Queer As Fab: Developing Your Voice As An LGBTQ Writer
Mon Mar 12 | 3 - 4:30 pm | Location: Pape/Danforth
Poetry with Lee Maracle: Talking Up Yourself
Tue Mar 13 | 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. | Location: Brentwood
Writing Workshop with author Stuart Ross
Wed Mar 14 | 1 - 2:30 pm | Location: St. Lawrence
Young Voices Workshop: Map it! with Tory Woollcott
Thu Mar 15 | 4 - 5:30 p.m. | Location: Sanderson
Check out all the library's March Break programs for teens!
That being said, Young Voices isn’t the only place where youth can get their work published. Toronto and Canada are ripe with literary journals with no age limits. I am the poetry editor of a new Canadian journal called Augur Magazine.
Augur Magazine takes work that is “difficult to classify.” The editors are looking for any kind of speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy) as well as fabulism, magical realism and dreamy realism — realism that borders on the speculative. They take fiction, poetry and graphic fiction at the moment, and they pay contributors for their work, which is an important part of being an artist.
Augur aims to publish 75% Canadian and Indigenous content, and also encourages work from people of intersectional and marginalized identities. Check out Augur’s Preview Issue to see amazing work, and go to their website to submit work for the months of February, June and September 2018.
If you’re looking for more places to publish your work, another good resource that I recommend is Twitter. I use Twitter to follow my favourite celebrities, my friends, and most importantly, literary journals and magazines. As I discovered, there are literally hundreds of journals and magazines, online and print, and many of them have a Twitter account as part of their social media engagement.
The great thing about Twitter is that once you follow one magazine, for example, Augur, Twitter suggests more magazines for you to follow. When you’re ready to submit your work, all you have to do is scroll through your ‘follows,’ find the magazine’s website and check the submissions guidelines. Sometimes, the magazines follow you back!
Getting your work published can be a long process, and you’re going to make some mistakes, but that’s okay! It’s part of the learning process. If you want to be a writer, then you know how much work it’ll take. Despite all that, though, nothing beats seeing your name in print, taking up a permanent space in the history of literature.