Posted by: Lisa Calderone | February 27, 2010

Marketing Tips For Literary Journals: Part II

Here’s a list of marketing tips & tricks from the 2nd half of my interviews with editors. I’ve roughly organized them under categories this time. For Part I, click here.

Community Building

  • Build community around the journal by creating personal, ongoing relationships with contributors 
  • Send one e-mail a month to your e-list – no more or it gets too much, no less or they forget about you. Weekly is too much; monthly is appropriate.
  • Build your audience organically by having some patience and letting people come to you; don’t overdue it with email blasts and online publicity
  • Encourage editors to respond to emails in personal ways, including signing their own name when rejecting submissions
  • Build a sense of trust among other literary journals, and focus on cross-promotion not just of your journals, but of the artists and writers for whom you share a mutual appreciation

Blogs & Social Networking

  • Blogs are flickering fireflies of promotion; make connections with both new & established ones
  • Tap into the blogosphere with a niche genre
  • Use your blog for in-depth content – book reviews, interviews, spotlights on contributors
  • Create a Facebook page for the journal & encourage your editorial board & contributors to use their personal FB pages to announce new issues
  • For online journals, use social networking & interactivity tools to find a way for readers to be able to discuss what they’ve just read 

Word of Mouth

  • Mail your call for submissions to all department heads you can get email addresses for
  • Make sure your faculty who have connections talk up the latest issue among their writer friends, colleagues, and in their classrooms
  • Some of your better known contributors will bring a lot of people to each issue, with their mailing lists, students, and colleagues, plus in Google searches of their name
  • Pitch to Poets & Writers & try to get special issues reviewed in other popular literary outlets

 The Real World

  • Give the journal some sense of presence in the world by holding readings and events in the community
  • Attend conferences and book fairs, most especially AWP’s book fair, where you have a captive audience actively looking for new journals to read and submit to.
  • Put up posters around campus
  • Hold poetry slams and other student readings at the local bookstore, library, or other literary outlet
  • When your literary journal is established and has built a solid reputation, pitch it as a learning tool for English courses in high schools and undergraduate programs
  • Sponsor live events open to the public, inviting artists in multiple genres together; these will help you connect to your readership and create a lot of energy around each issue. 

Novelty Ideas 

  • Provide your contributors with announcement cards that they can spread around
  • Make a hand-made version of your first online issue, which you can pass out at local readings and at the local book fair. Make about 500 of these mini-mags (2 in x 2 in). People enjoy the novelty of these hand-made items, which will drive traffic to your site & they can keep as a momento.


  1. Thank you so much for writing these! I just signed on to be the PR consultant for my university’s literary magazine, and I believe your articles will be a massive help!

    • Glad this blog is still a help to others, Ashley. Thanks for reaching out! How is your university’s lit journal coming along? Please make sure to post a link here 🙂 – Lisa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: