Improve Your Chances of Getting Published

Natalie Frank, Ph.D.
5 min readSep 27, 2018
“view of floating open book from stacked books in library” by Jaredd Craig on Unsplash

When I first started submitting stories for publication, I figured I wouldn’t be considered for any of the more popular and competitive magazines. I set out to find possibilities that I thought I might actually have a chance at being accepted at.

First I read a ton of stories in journals, on websites and many that were self published. I decided on an extremely rough estimate of where I fell in terms of the strength of my stories. I figured it wasn’t entirely impossible that I was at the midpoint with about half of the stories submitted to journals that considered submissions from new writers better than what I wrote and 50 percent weaker than my stories.

I then looked at acceptance stats, to find journals that accepted 50 percent of the stories submitted. I thought that a 50 percent rejection rate was pretty high and I’d have a decent shot at acceptance at all those journals. Looking back at how naive I was makes me laugh.

The stats were clearly much more formidable than I anticipated. Not unusual, I found numbers such as the Number of submissions per year being 3000 with acceptance rates at .01 percent. In other words, out of 3000 submissions a year, a whopping 30 were accepted? I soon found that submissions for journals that were considered good choices for unpublished and emerging writers to submit to had anywhere from a 5 percent to 10 percent acceptance rate with one actually accepting 25 percent of the submissions they received a year. My heart sunk.

I wasn’t going to give up my dream of becoming a writer though, and so I became determined to figure out another way of determining journals where I could submit my work and actually be considered and even have a chance of acceptance. Thinking that brand new publications might have lower numbers of submissions since perhaps many writers hadn’t heard of them yet I looked for journals that were publishing their first issue. I still think this was a good idea and ultimately it did lead to not just my first publication, but my first paid publication. But it meant taking a bit of a different tack.

Don’t Discount the Personal When Trying to Get Published

I came across a journal called Weirdbook Magazine. The call said the magazine was returning…



Natalie Frank, Ph.D.

I write about behavioral health & other topics. I’m Managing Editor (Serials, Novellas) for LVP Press. See my other articles: