15 Journals with Guaranteed Feedback that are Open Now

Getting feedback from a workshop group or beta reader can be a great way to refine and polish your writing in preparation for submitting stories or poems to publishers.

Journals that have a feedback option, on the other hand, offer you a different kind of insight. It’s a way to hear straight from editors who choose the work for journals, anthologies, and other publications. At minimum, they’ll give you some insights about why they rejected the piece, and usually they’ll offer some other tips about areas you can improve, to increase your odds of getting an acceptance the next time you send it out.

You don’t necessarily need to pay for or request feedback to get these insights. Many journals send personalized rejections that include feedback when submissions were very close to acceptance. That’s not a guarantee you’ll get more than a form rejection, though, and often even when it is personalized, the feedback usually consists of just a quick sentence or two.

Markets that have a guaranteed feedback option will often get you more extensive comments, sometimes even down to line-level edits. They also usually cost money, with amounts varying widely between a few bucks to professional editor rates. There are also a few rare journals that send feedback with every rejection, although the “get what you pay for” rule often applies—journals with that kind of policy normally won’t go into the same depth with their comments as the markets where you pay for the service.

I’ve used paid feedback a few times when submitting and have found the comments helpful in getting stories to their final, publishable form. Here are a few publishers with feedback options that are currently open to submissions, followed by a few tips to consider before you send work to a journal’s feedback category.

3 Markets with Free Feedback

BlazeVOX Online Journal

BlazeVOX is one of those rare journals that provides feedback to all submitters. The feedback likely won’t be as in-depth as the paid feedback options, but it’s a free way to hear an editor’s thoughts on your writing.

Utopia Science Fiction Magazine

This is another market that gives feedback by default with all rejections, unless the submitter checks the box saying they don’t want it. The feedback will likely be fairly short and basic, focused mostly on why they made their voting decision.

Dawn Review

This one isn’t open quite yet but will be in about a week, and they’re one of the few guaranteed free feedback sources so I wanted to include them. They provide around 300 words of free feedback to any submitter who requests it.

12 Open Markets with a Paid Feedback Option

I’ve listed the markets with a submission deadline at the top, followed by the ones that are open year-round, listed in cost order from cheapest to most expensive.


Sixfold is a unique publishing model in that it’s an entirely submitter-voted journal. In each round, stories are read and voted on by other randomly-selected submitters—6 in round 1, 18 in round 2, and 54 in round 3. When the voting’s over, you get all the comments written by all readers. This can be an excellent way to determine how your story is reading to a wide range of perspectives at once.

The Masters Review

Feedback can be added to any Masters Review submission by choosing the “Editorial Letter” add-on. This consists of up to 2 pages of feedback about what they did and didn’t like, along with suggestions for revision and other places it might be a good fit. You get a single letter for $69, or three letters (up to 6 pages of feedback) for $179. Note that this is in addition to the $20 entry fee for the contest itself, making this one of the pricier options on the list. That said, this feedback also comes from guest editors, which for this round includes Kelly Link.


The $10 feedback option gives you overarching and line-level edits within 3 days. The $25 consultation service is more in-depth. Within 14 days, you’ll get line-level edits, 4 pages of focused feedback on the craft, voice, and style of the story, and personalized submission advice for journals with open calls that fit your story.

Spank the Carp

Submitters who choose their “tip jar” option get a 2-week response time along with feedback. No details on the format of the feedback are given on their site.

Broken Antler Magazine

You can get feedback from Broken Antler by dropping $5 in their “tip jar” via PayPal. There aren’t any specifics about the format of the feedback on their site.

Fahmidan Journal

There are several tiers of feedback available depending on who provides it. For $9, you can get feedback from their initial readers. $40-$70 gets you feedback directly from editors, including line-level edits as well as a 3-paragraph write-up of their overall thoughts.


No length or form of feedback is specified, only that it is “tailored and in-depth” and comes from the L=Y=R=A editors, who all have a background in literary theory and criticism.


The $12 “Basic Feedback” option gets you up to 500 words of general comments from the readers and editors, primarily focused on why they chose to vote yes or no on the piece. The $29 “Detailed Feedback” option goes into more depth, with a longer letter (1,000+ words) as well as links to craft articles and other helpful info.

Passengers Journal

There are three types of feedback through Passengers that you can request singly or together:

Note that this is in addition to their $4 submission fee, so if you choose more than one type of feedback the costs can add up pretty quickly.

After Dinner Conversation

When you choose the feedback option from After Dinner Conversation, you select the editor you want to receive comments from. Each has their own rates, which are listed on their individual profiles along with their typical turnaround time and the type of feedback they provide. Usually, this consists of comments within the work along with a write-up overview of the story’s issues or places that can be improved.

Black Fox Literary Magazine

Feedback comes in the form of an editorial letter written by one of their team. The aim of the feedback is, as they say, “to help you better understand your writing by providing suggestions on how to strengthen your work.”

Craft Literary Magazine

Feedback from Craft includes both line-level margin notes and a two-page letter that discusses the writing’s strengths and areas for improvement. You can choose a single letter for $59-$99 (depending on the story’s length), or get 3 letters at once for $149-$249.

A Few Tips Before You Submit

The first thing to keep in mind: submitting a story to a journal’s feedback option isn’t the same thing as paying a professional editor. The journal editors want to help you improve the story, certainly, but that’s not their primary mission. Their first goal, always, is choosing work for their issues, and that’s the perspective they bring to your piece when they’re reading.

This has pros and cons. On the “pro” side, it’s a very useful insight into the minds and decision-making of a particular editorial team. If there’s a journal you really want to get published in, you can find out more about what they’re looking for by soliciting their feedback.

On the flip side, it means their comments aren’t necessarily neutral. They’re not just looking at the story as a self-contained entity—they’re reading it through the lens of what they want in the work they publish. This may or may not be the same kind of thing that other editors look for.

With that in mind, here are a few tips I’d offer to submitters when you’re deciding whether to pay for feedback:

1. Only send to markets that you’d be equally happy to get an acceptance from.

There are a few journals that separate their feedback from their slush pile—in other words, feedback pieces aren’t considered for publication. For most markets with this option, though, it’s a regular slush pile category. That means you could get an acceptance if they really like it, and in that case you probably won’t get the feedback you paid for.

Some places do refund the feedback fee for accepted works, but others don’t. Either way, though, if you’re 100% sure that the piece is a strong fit for the market, and is ready to publish, then sending it through their usual submission channels is a cheaper way to go about it.

2. Make sure the story is as polished as you can make it before submitting, even for a feedback option.

When you send work to journals, your ultimate goal should be to get it accepted, even when you’re using the feedback option. A good test to use: is the story in a form where, if it were published today, you’d be proud to share that news with your friends and family? If strangers read it, would you feel like it’s a good representation of your skills and voice as a writer?

If the story is still in an early-draft stage, it’ll be best served by a different type of editing, whether that’s free feedback from a workshop group or beta readers, or the paid services of a professional editor. Sending a piece that’s fully-polished will get you to the kind of feedback that’s most useful from journal editors: the nitty gritty, last little details that make a difference between a “no” and a “yes.”

3. Only request feedback from markets whose aesthetic and audience match your style.

Like I said above, the editors are going to give comments through the lens of the type of work they publish. If you send a sci-fi short story for feedback from a literary-only publisher, you might not get the most useful input—they can still point out any general flaws with things like character development or voice, but they don’t know the genre’s tropes and expectations well enough to give you advice on them. They may even call out some things as flaws that are actually ideal for the genre you write in.

Remember: editors are not infallible, publishing is highly subjective, and not all feedback is helpful. A literary journal editor is going to offer feedback based on what they look for when choosing work. Applying their feedback will likely make your story or poem read more like the things that market publishes. If that’s not what you want to write, this isn’t necessarily going to be useful, and could even take the piece in a direction you don’t want it to go.

4. Use feedback to identify the hidden snags holding a piece back from publication.

Here’s something I imagine most writers can relate to. You’ve written a piece and you think it’s solid—it’s been through several editing drafts, your beta readers all love it, and you feel like it’s ready to find a forever home. So you send it out, only to get quick form rejections from every market.

There are a lot of reasons this can happen, and not all of them are related to the quality of your piece. But it can be very difficult to figure that out. Getting feedback from editors can be a big help here. You can hear straight from an editor why they said no. If it’s an issue with the piece, they’ll give you advice on how to fix it. If it’s more of a market fit problem, you can adjust how you choose the places you submit the work, and some will even suggest other places they think would be a better fit.

A final caveat, here: remember that you should always research a market thoroughly before you send your work to them. the shotgun approach can accidentally work, but you’ll get much more useful comments (and a much higher chance of acceptance!) if you send your stories our purposefully, after having read other things the market publishes.

All that said, I hope some of yinz find a market on the list above that is a perfect fit for you!

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#Feedback #Submissions #Publishing