The submission process – in 6 steps

Submitting to any magazine is scary. You’ve worked to make the piece perfect but there’s the worry of rejection, the worry of never hearing back, there’s that little nagging voice that says “you’re not good enough” on constant repeat. You check your email every 30 minutes just for a response, desperate for anything.

This is how the Buck Off staff handle submissions in 6 easy steps.

1. Check email

For us, the first step is to check the Buck Off email (buckoffmag@gmail.com). Each of the editors will check it at least once a day. From there, we answer questions, delete spam or other housekeeping work.

2. Add to database

If there’s a new submission, we’ll mark the email for the other editors to see and then add the details to our database. Generally, the row reads: title of the piece, artist’s name, medium, space for comments, editor’s response.

3. Reading Day

Every Friday, the editors read all the new submissions and decide what course of action to take. If I like a piece, I’ll comment why and say “yes.” If I think a piece has potential but is not ready for publication, I’ll note where it can be improved and write “revision.” If I don’t like a piece, then it’s a “no” with scathing remarks detailing why it’s not for Buck Off.

*It’s important to note now, that often it’s each editors individual’s opinion at this point. I may love a poem while Editor Sandy dislikes it. Which leads to…

4. Discussion or BATTLE TO THE DEATH

Twice a month, the editors will meet to discuss the new submissions. This is often done on Skype since the three of us balance work, school or professional develop duties, social obligations and none of us live in the same city anymore.

These discussions can be rowdy. They always start the same, we’ll discuss the pieces no one liked and agree to send the submitter a rejection letter.

Next are the works everyone like and agreement to accept those works.

Lastly, are the submissions with mixed reviews. We’ll discuss them and debate the merits of accepting or rejecting. There have been times when one editor loved a piece and was able to argue it into being published. And times when the reverse happened: an editor fought to have a piece removed from the magazine.

Anything can happen and the may fortune be ever in your favor.

5. The acceptance/rejection/revision email

After the bi-monthly discussion/fight to the death, we send out letters of acceptance or rejection or an email asking for a revision.

Obviously, everyone wants the letter of acceptance but don’t fear the revision one. We had a writer (who shall remain nameless) submit a poem that just wasn’t fully developed. She had an interesting idea, great phrases and a bittersweet ending that gets my literary heart beating, but it was missing that oomph.

We asked her to revision, pointing out areas we thought she could improve. Two weeks later, she submitted a short story with the same themes as her poem and we accepted it. I don’t know the full details of what she did, but by revising and honing her craft a little, she became a published author.

If you get the dreaded rejected letter, really consider why. Did the piece have glaring problems – either grammar, spelling or shoddy brush strokes?

Did it not follow our guidelines? We’ve rejected pieces because the submitter failed to heed the directions.

Was the work underdeveloped? We don’t want blurry photos of clouds. Did the poem have any emotional weight to it? Send us work you’d bring to former teachers, art you’d share with the world – because that’s what we’re doing.

Our magazine is online and according to the site stats, has viewers from around the globe. We want to boast about finding the next Leonardo da Vinci, not be shamed by having the crappy work of someone who didn’t care.

If you do receive the rejection letter, use it as a chance to better your skill and submit again. The worst that’s going to happen is you get a “no” and that’s already happened. The only way to have a “yes” email is to submit, submit, submit.

6. Print and repeat

After we have a sufficient number of accepted pieces or it’s been a couple months and we decide to print with what we have, the editors will place the art online. From there, we’ll post on our social media that the latest issue is available.

We give ourselves one day to celebrate another issue and then we start the process all over again.

And that’s it: six steps between you and fame. Yeah, submitting is scary. But you’re a BAMF and nothing is going to stop you from seeing your name in print.

View our guidelines at Buck Off Magazine and submit now.

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