Does it Pay to Submit?

So you’ve done a thing; the muses have blessed you with inspiration and you have invested your heart and soul into an act of creation, but now what?

If you’re like me, you’ve got a plethora of notebooks and folders on your hard drive of written works and a wall full of drawings and paintings that I just don’t know what to do with. I love these projects, I spent a lot of time and mental energy on them. They’re basically my intellectual children and I don’t want to just abandon them.

I’m proud of my creations and would like to show them off, but my wall only has so much room.

A few semesters ago, a professor encouraged me to submit my work to the Kolob Canyon Review, an Undergraduate Literary and Art journal being run right here on the SUU campus.

But I had to ask, “Would they really accept me?”

Well, they did and it started me on a whole new journey of artistic discovery.

It turns out there are books, journals and competitions galore specifically for undergraduates and their creative works. These opportunities cater directly to those who are trying to experiment while in school and want to discover their own artistic destiny. They are reputable publications with the goal of helping the struggling student gain confidence in their artistic abilities.

So, now that you have this art how can you submit it?

The first thing to do is to find a place that you would be proud to see your art baby. Research the publication or competition and find out what kinds of work they have accepted in the past.

Start local: The KCR is right here on campus, Dream Write Learn is run by a local businesswoman; The Southern Quill is based in St. George, Metaphor is up at Weber State, in fact, almost every undergrad university has some type of publication.

Many of these opportunities extend to visual arts as well. A lot of literary journals and magazines feature photographs, paintings, graphic designs, ceramics and more.

Additionally, artists around the world host galleries and competitions where local or international artists can give their works a chance to shine. Senior photography student Kelly Chuning has found a lot of success by submitting her photographs to international competitions and you can too!

I mean, I know that it’s basically work to find the opportunities and then research it, write cover letters, bios and abstracts of your work. But it’s always worth it when you get that email that says they want to accept it.

The instant pride and gratification of knowing that someone else appreciates your art and wants to share it with even more people can’t be accurately described. There is nothing like the validation of seeing something you created and put a lot of love and effort into, being published on a page you can hold in your hand and say, “I did that.”

Payment can also be another benefit. Some publications and competitions offer monetary rewards to artists. This is not a guarantee, but every penny helps when you’re surviving on a shoestring budget.

I know it can be difficult to send your art out into the world when you’re never quite sure that it is finished. But don’t be afraid to
show your talent. These opportunities are there, just reach out and grab them.


Undergraduate Literary Publications:

Kolob Canyon Review — Southern Utah University (Writing and Visual Arts)
The Southern Quill — Dixie State University (Writing)
Metaphor — Weber State University (Writing & Visual Arts)
Plain China — Bennington College (Writing)
Prairie Margins — Bowling Green State University (Writing & Visual Art)
The Albion Review — Albion College (Writing & Visual Art)
The Allegheny Review — (Writing & Visual Art)
Susquehanna Review — Susquehanna University (Writing & Visual Art)
Catfish Creek — Loras College (Writing)
Outrageous Fortune — Mary Baldwin College (Writing)
Red Cedar Review — (Writing)
Mangrove — University of Miami (Writing & Visual Art)
Polaris — Ohio Northern University (Writing & Visual Art)
The Blue Route — Widener University (Writing)
Collision — University of Pittsburgh (Writing & Visual Art)
The Sigma Tau Delta Rectangle — International (Writing)


Story by: Alexis J. Taylor
photo b: Alexis J. Taylor