5 Free Resources to Find Active Submission Calls

Hi all, and happy December!  I hope y’all have had a productive year with your writing projects.  For me, December is the time to reflect on my goals from last year and plan for the future.  This year I met my goal of 52 submissions (one per week) and I even managed to get a few acceptances out of it.  (Info forthcoming as the publications hit shelves… er, interwebs, etc.)

So this year I’d like to pay it forward by offering up some of my resources for finding publications.  As long-time readers know, I often post Publisher’s Spotlights to highlight recurring publications and the occasional one-off submission call.  You can look forward to more of that in 2019, but in the meantime, here are five resources that will help you find the perfect home for your work in progress.

1. The Submission Grinder (and Duotrope)

I did a full blog post on how to use The Submission Grinder to find the perfect publisher, and I recommend checking that out if you’re new to researching publishers in general.  For the rest of you, here’s a quick recap of what they offer:

  • Searchable database of current publishers, including an advanced search to match your WIP with the perfect fit
  • Research a particular market’s submission statistics, pulled from voluntary data submitted by users (this is free to view)
  • Log in to track your submissions and submit your data (this is also free)
  • Check out Sub Grinder’s FAQ for a quick run-down of how they operate

If you’re feeling fancy, you can also check out Duotrope, which has similar functionality.  Duotrope is a paid service but you can get a free trial if you want to compare it to Sub Grinder and see which suits you better.  For more on Duotrope, click here.

2. Submittable

If you don’t already have an account with Submittable, you should get one, for the following reasons:

  • Many publishers already use this system and require you to submit through it
  • It tracks your submission data automatically when you submit to publishers through it, as opposed to Submission Grinder, where you have to enter everything manually
  • It’s free

When you log in to your account, you will also get access to their “Discover” feature, which lists upcoming calls from various publishers.  That link won’t work unless you’ve got an account, but here’s what it looks like:

Submittable search
Yes, I realize it’s back-dated from last week, it takes me awhile to write a blog post.

You can filter down search results based on fees, deadlines, and search for publishers based on tags.  It’s not as advanced as Sub Grinder or Duotrope but you can follow publishers like you would on social media and save upcoming calls to check back on.  There’s a Submissions tab to track what you’ve sent to whom, and you can also save personal info in your profile so your bio/cover letter loads automatically in those fields.

The main page and “How it Works” section are tailored for companies looking to accept submissions rather than those who submit, so you’ll want to check out this page for more relevant information for writers.

3. Horror Tree

Don’t let the name fool you, Horror Tree isn’t solely for Horror markets, but it does lean heavily toward speculative fiction and genre calls.  Like the other sites on this list, it has the functionality to filter based on submission type and pay, but my favorite feature is the calendar view.

I need a deadline to function, so a lot of the time I will write a new piece for a specific submission call.  This is a great way to see at a glance what calls are due when so you can plan out your month and find new opportunities.  I often start here if I’m dealing with writer’s block and looking for fresh ideas and new projects.  Then, if the piece I write for a call isn’t accepted, I’ll circle back to the Sub Grinder to see who else might want what I wrote.

For more info on what they offer and their general mission statement, click here.

4. Master’s Review Blog

The Master’s Review is a publication in its own right that will get its own Publisher’s Spotlight next year.  They tend to be more literary and have a soft spot for emerging voices.  Each month they compile upcoming deadlines to highlight various opportunities for writers on their blog .

You can expect their January post in the next couple weeks, but in the meantime check out their post from this December to catch any last minute 2018 submission calls and bookmark their page so you can check back after the new year.

For more information about The Master’s Review, click here.

5. Freedom with Writing

What’s easier than a newsletter that e-mails writing opportunities directly to your inbox?  Freedom with Writing comes exactly as advertised: they send you writing jobs.  What kinds of writing jobs?  All kinds.  Publishers looking for articles.  Contests.  Fiction publishers.  Mileage may vary on this one just because what they send is so diverse.

My advice?  Sign up, delete the e-mails that don’t interest you and save the ones you do.  Here’s a link to one of their newsletters from this month so you have an idea of what to expect.


Hopefully those sites are enough to get you started with next year’s submission planning.  Got any go-to resources to share with the class?  Link them in the comments below and share the love!  Also, some of the calls linked above are good ’til the end of the month so see if any interest you and get those last subs in for December!

Have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Submitting, y’all!  See you in 2019!

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