Columns > Published on April 7th, 2017

Email Newsletters: A Writer's Best Friend

Header images via Pixabay & Andrea Piacquadio

Email newsletters—they're probably a thing you delete on sight and wonder why you just don't unsubscribe already. They've become so much junk, as expendable as LinkedIn messages, penis enhancement correspondence, and offers of beaucoup bucks from Nigerian princes.

Well, it turns out not all email newsletters are the rubbish of the internet. In fact, if you're a writer, there are several that could be your best friend in the whole world, if only you'd open them up and look at their content. Keeping up with these digital subscriptions will open up a treasure chest of markets open for submission, the latest articles and stories from your favorite publishers, publishing news, and new releases. Let's explore a few of the better ones out there below. Note that I tried to steer away from more obvious sources like big five publishers or big name lit mags, though a few did make it on the list for the sheer quality of their newsletters.

Away we go.


If you subscribe to this submissions tracking service, you can opt in for Duotrope's weekly "Fiction Wire," which, according to their website:

contains a list of markets that have been added or significantly updated here at Duotrope since the last newsletter. It also lists the themed publication deadlines that are coming up in the next several weeks.

If you have trouble keeping track of when markets open and/or close, or you just like a weekly reminder of upcoming openings, closing, and pending deadlines, this is an essential newsletter. It's also great for discovering new and new-to-you magazines you might not have encountered otherwise—searching Duotrope's listings can be daunting, and depending on your search criteria, some magazines might slip through the cracks. The emails can take some time to pour through, but it's worth it to find those diamonds in the rough.

Sign up for Duotrope's newsletter here.

The (Submission) Grinder

I think there's a divide between those that utilize this submission tracking service and those that use Duotrope, but regardless of which one you prefer, you can always receive the newsletters of both, especially since they function in very different ways. The best aspect of the Grinder's weekly email is that you choose what listings it shows you. From their website:

The newsletter is customized based on your genre and payment interests, so if you only want pro-paying science fiction markets (or whatever) that's what you'll get.

If you want information on markets tailored to your genre and preferred pay scale, rather than hunting through Duotrope's exhaustive weekly listings, the Grinder's the way to go, though of course, you might run into the problem of magazines slipping through the cracks this way. 

Sign up for the (Submission) Grinder newsletter here.

Horror Tree

If you're primarily a horror writer, this weekly blast of new horror magazines taking submissions will be right up your ally. They also showcase dark fantasy and some dark sci-fi markets as well, and also include essays on the craft of writing and flash fiction pieces directly in the email as well, so even if you don't write horror, there's something of value for you too. Bear in mind that Horror Tree is a curated list of magazines, and as such, you'll see a mix of paying and non-paying markets in their weekly lists. If your blood boils at the sight of a "contributor's copy" being listed as payment, you might skip this one. You can always search their listings directly on their website.

Sign up for the Horror Tree newsletter here.

Submittable Submishmash Weekly

If you've been submitting your work the last several years, it's pretty much a guarantee you already have a Submittable account, so why not receive their newsletter? This weekly email not only provides info on submission opportunities, but also writing contests, residencies, fellowships and creative job opportunities. There's also a section dedicated to bookish links from around the web, which range from silly and pointless to pretty damn cool—like this article from Open Culture on a YouTube video featuring 72 hours of ambient noise from Blade Runner.

Sign up for Submittable's newsletter here.


Just about every lit mag and publishing house offers a newsletter of some kind, but the frequency of their correspondence varies from publisher to publisher—some email you rarely, others email you all the time. Tor definitely falls into the latter category, but not in that annoying, spamming kind of way. Simply put, they publish A LOT of content, and their newsletter is a great way to keep up with said content, without relying on social media or browsing their site at any given time (though of course there's nothing wrong with accessing Tor articles and short fiction in either of those scenarios). Personally, so much of what I like and follow on social media gets buried under viral videos of people screaming in restaurants and shit about Donald Trump these days, and it's rare I specifically navigate to specific websites for my daily reading, so this and other newsletters like it provide a great way for me to keep up with what's new.

Sign up for Tor's newsletter here.


The team behind the Freewrite "smart keyboard" and the online writing platform Sprinter offer up a pretty solid newsletter, it turns out. Sure, there's the requisite news about the company's products, but they also share several links to various writerly articles—similar to Submittable's weekly offering, but with much more focus. Recent links include "The 8 Worst Things About Working At a Bookstore" from Book Riot and "Boost Your Productivity: Getting to the Core of Your Distractions" from Write to Done. Think of it as a curated ICYMI from writer-focused websites around the web.

Sign up for Astrohaus's newsletter here.

Got any newsletters you particularly love? Give them a shout out in the comments section below.

About the author

Christopher Shultz writes plays and fiction. His works have appeared at The Inkwell Theatre's Playwrights' Night, and in Pseudopod, Unnerving Magazine, Apex Magazine, freeze frame flash fiction and Grievous Angel, among other places. He has also contributed columns on books and film at LitReactor, The Cinematropolis, and Christopher currently lives in Oklahoma City. More info at

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