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Setting up your Literary Journal with Submittable
Setting up your Literary Journal with Submittable

Set up your Literary Journal's discounted plan and start accepting submissions.

Pam English avatar
Written by Pam English
Updated over a week ago

Congratulations on signing up to use Submittable. Our Basic Plan is tailored for smaller organizations looking to make the best use of Submittable on a smaller budget.

This article will walk you through the basics to get off and running with Submittable, including how to:

Adding Team Members

Adding team members, such as administrators, reviewers, and/or judges who you will collaborate with, is an important step. If you're going to have a group of people as reviewers/judges for your incoming submissions, you'll want to create your team right off the bat.

  1. Click More from the top navigation bar, and then select Team.

  2. Click Add Team Member. Enter the name and email address of the team member, and optionally their title.

  3. Select the team member's Level.

Levels 4 and 5 are administrators, who can create forms and projects in Submittable, as well as administrate account billing, invite other team members, and view all submissions without being specifically assigned.

Levels 1, 2 and 3 are reviewers, who are only able to interact with submissions that are assigned to them.

For more details about the team permission levels in Submittable and their significance, read this article.

Click Add Team Member again. The new team member will receive an email letting them know that they have been invited to be a reviewer connected to your team account. If they already have a Submittable account, they’ll be automatically added to your team. If not, they'll be able to quickly join Submittable via the email link in your team invitation.

Building your first Form

In order to launch a Project, you first need to create Form(s) to place inside your Project. Forms and Review Forms hold the content of what your submitters will see when they submit to your calls, as well as the content your reviewers will see when completing their submission reviews. You should think of Projects as a house that Forms live in. This means that you can move Forms in and out of Projects as needed, without changing the name or structure of your Project.

Creating a form

  1. From the main page in your Submittable account, click Forms at the top navigation bar.

2. Click + New Form on the right side of the page.

You’ll be brought to our drag and drop form builder.

3. Name your form. This will be the name you see when you're choosing a form to place inside your Project.

Submission Name

Adding a NameField gives you the ability to view and organize submissions by a unique identifier/title such as the applicant's name, the title of the submission, or the name of an organization. To do so, check the Add Submission Name box, and in the box that says Submission Name Question, specify what you would like the submitter to enter as the name of their submission.

If you have any details or instructions to add, you can do so in the box that says Additional Instructions for Submitter (optional).

Note: if you do not add a Submission Name, a numerical value will automatically be applied to each submission as the submission's identifier.

You have the option to add a submission fee to any form. Adding a Submission fee generates a required fee that will apply to all submitters. You also have the ability to create additional fees on a per response basis throughout your form using our Smart Fee system. To add a submission fee, check the box, and specify the amount of the fee and the currency type. Add a description of the fee below in the Description box.

For more information about what Submittable charges to process fees, click the Information icon on the right.

Next, decide which Form Fields you would like to add to your form. Select a field from the options on the left, and drag them over to your form on the right. Available Form Fields are:

  • Name: To request a first and last name

  • Address: To request an address

  • Short Answer: To request a short text answer

  • Long Answer: To request a long text answer

  • Dropdown List: To allow a single selection from a list of options in a dropdown menu

  • Single Checkbox: To allow a single selection from a single option

  • Multiple Response: To allow for multiple selections from a list of options

  • Single Response: To allow a single selection from a list of options

  • File Upload: To request a file to be uploaded (you may specify accepted file types out of over 50 possible options)

  • Table: To embed a spreadsheet for the applicant to fill out

  • Number: To request a number only

  • Date: To request a date only

  • Email: To request an email address only

  • Website: To request a web address only

  • Phone: To request a phone number only

  • Reference Form: To request the applicant to give a reference

  • Divider: Inserts a horizontal line between fields to help visual delineate a section change in your form.

Each form field includes a variety Field Options. View the field options by selecting the field in the form builder, and then selecting the + Field Options button at the bottom of the field. The available Field Options are:

  • Response Required: Require a response to the field.

  • Inline: Displays fields with multiple options horizontally rather than the default, vertically

  • Concealed Response: Hides this response from team members at or below a level to be specified later for anonymous review or elimination of bias

  • Auto-Label: to automatically label a submission with a particular selection, either with the field value or a custom internal-use label

  • Enable Branching: Enables form logic for that field, which will dynamically open other fields based on an applicant's responses.

  • Add Payment: Associates a payment with the form field

Note: some field options are premium features which may or may not be available in your account. To upgrade or inquire about premium features, please contact account management at

Formatting and finalizing your form

There are a few Form Fields which help to format your form.

  • Text Only: Add a field that contains only instructions to your form. Reuires no response from submitter.

  • Divider: Separate sections with a dividing line.

Some additional tools are available to help you format your form.

  • Duplicate: To duplicate and edit a field, select the field you wish to duplicate, then select the duplicate option in the top right corner.

  • Delete: To delete a field, select the field option, then select the trash icon in the top right corner.

  • Reorder: To reorder fields, simply select the field you wish to move and set your cursor outside of any text boxes. Then drag and drop the field to your preferred placement.

Other tools are available to finalize your form.

  • Auto-save: Your form will auto-save every few seconds, so you don't need to worry about losing your work.

  • Preview: To preview your form, select Preview in the top right corner of the screen. This will show you what the applicant will see when they fill out your form.

  • Save: When you're finished, click Save.

Configuring the Look and Feel of your Submittable page

By default, your organization’s name will appear at the top of your form in black text. Configuring the Look and Feel of your Submittable page is how you can customize your Submittable webpage to highlight your organization or brand.

To begin, go to the More tab at the top navigation bar, and select Configurations.

Then select Look & Feel.

As you make changes, you can refer to the Quick Preview on the right to see what your Submittable page will look like.


You can upload a header image to replace that text. Header images are 982 x 220 pixels, and for best results, make sure the image you select is at least 400 x 90 pixels. Accepted file types are PNG, JPG, and GIF.

The tool will automatically resize any image that doesn’t fit, and you can grab the edges of the active perimeter if you’d like to crop your header. Click save.

If you don’t add a header image, you can change the text and background color of your organization name.


You can change the background color of your page as well. Enter a color using a hexadecimal value, or click on the box to select a color from the popup color wheel.


You can customize the text throughout your page by selecting a text color and font.


Change the color of the links and link rollovers on your form with the Link Color option.

Submit button

Finally, you can change the text of the Submit button to say something that makes more sense for your opportunity, such as "Apply" or "Enter Contest".

Customizing your email templates

Response templates give you the ability to customize the responses that your applicants receive at various points in the review process, such as when their application is received, and when it has been accepted, declined, or completed.

In the top navigation bar, click More, select Configurations. Then, on the left hand side of the page, select Response Templates.

Submittable provides by default a generic response template for when a submission is first received, as well as accepted or declined. You can edit these default templates by selecting Edit on the right.

Or create a new template be selecting Create a response template. Response templates are a flexible and highly customizable tool, and you can create templates that correspond to the exact needs of your process, such as requesting a reference or progress report.

Double-click the placeholder tags provided at the bottom to pull personalized data into your template.

Click Save when you're done.

For more information about response templates, read this article.

Creating your first Project

A Project is the stage when you configure General settings, Assignments and Notifications, and your Review Workflow so you’ll be ready to send your opportunity into the universe.

General Settings

You'll have the option to configure a number of general settings that pertain to your project.

  • Name: Enter the name of your project. This is the link that your applicants will select from your Submittable page when they are choose to apply.

  • Guidelines: Enter any general guidelines that you need applicants to know before submitting, such as what type of content you are looking for, or who is eligible to apply. You can use rich text formatting here, such as headings, bold, italic, or underlined fonts, bulleted or numbered lists, or a quote call out or hyperlink, by selecting the icon from the top menu. You can also include photos or videos.

  • Form: Select the form that this project will utilize. (This is an important reason you need to have your form created before you create your project.) You can reuse forms for as many projects as needed.

  • Starts On: Select a date to begin accepting submissions. If you do not select a start date, your project will automatically go live once completed.

  • Expires on: Select a date that your opportunity will close to submissions. If you choose to leave this blank, your project will be available indefinitely.

  • Hidden: The hidden box allows you to prevent the project from being listed on your organization’s Submittable page. Submitters will only be able to apply by receiving a direct link. This is a good option for opportunities which are not meant to be publicly available.

  • Limit Multiple Submissions: To limit each submitter to a single submission, check the Limit Multiple Submissions box.

  • Join Discover: Discover is Submittable’s public library of calls for submissions trafficked by our robust community of creatives and opportunity seekers. To make your project discoverable to tens of thousands of Submittable users, simply enter a few tags so that they’ll be able to find you in a search. You can use tags such as "poetry", "contest" or "grant". Begin typing the desired tag and select it from the dropdown menu to apply. If you wish to use a tag that you cannot find, contact to suggest a new tag.

  • Live: The Live checkbox makes your project live. By default, you want it checked. (Note, even when checked, the project will not go live until the Start date you designate). If for any reason you need to take your project down in the future, simply uncheck this box to override all other settings and make the form unavailable.

  • Archive: Archiving the project is a step you can take when your call is complete and you are ready to remove it from your Submittable page. Note, this option does not also archive submissions. It’s important to review all submissions, assign a terminal status: accepted, declined, or complete, and archive all submissions before archiving your project.

Assignments & Notifications

The Assignments & Notifications tab contains a number of configurable tools pertaining to communicating with your and your submitters.

  • Concealed Threshold Level: When designing your form, you have the option to mark certain fields as "concealed". These are generally fields that you may wish to hide from reviewers in order to preserve anonymity and eliminate bias. Setting the Concealed Threshold Level is how you’ll determine which team members will not see fields designated as "concealed responses". For example, if you want to conceal certain. fields for all level 1-3 reviewers, but have them remain visible to all admins (Level 4 and 5), you would set the Concealed Threshold Level to 3.

  • Default Note Visibility: This setting allows you to adjust which level of team members may view the notes on submissions. The system default is that notes are visible to all team members assigned to the specific submission. You can alternatively change the setting to make notes visible only to the person who created the note, or to and Levels 4 and 5 administrators.

  • Auto-Assigned Team Members: Auto-assign is an extremely handy tool that automatically assigns team members to a submission. This option allows you to determine who among your account's team members will in the pool of auto-assignees for this particular project. Select all to make all team members eligible for auto assign. (On the next tab, you can turn auto-assign on or off for each stage of your review process.)

  • Receive an email alert for each submission?: Checking this box will trigger an email with every new submission received to all of the pool of auto-assignees. If there are no auto-assignees specified, the email will go to the main organization email address provided. Unchecking this box will turn off these emails.

  • Choose an auto-response: If you customized an Response Template to send to submitters as a confirmation of receipt, select your template here. If you make no change, applicants will receive a generic message confirming their application was submitted.

  • Success URL: The success URL is the ability to redirect submitters to a particular web location after they submit their application. By default, they will be routed to your organization’s main website page. Enter a different website address here to change that default.

The Review Process

The final step in creating your Project is setting up your review process. There are several different types of review processes in Submittable. The Basic plan comes with Submittable's Yes/No voting capability.

  • Yes/No/Maybe Voting: If you purchased a Basic account, you have basic up/down, a.k.a. Yes/No/Maybe voting. (Although you will have access to the Review Designer tab in your Project, you will not be able to use any review forms in your account unless you upgrade.) Once you start receiving submissions, reviewers will have the option to give them a yes, no, or maybe vote - you don't have to do anything further at this stage to set up that review process.

Interested in adding a Custom Review process, or Multiple Stages or Review to your account? Contact our Account Management team here.

Launch Your Call

When your Project is finalized, you're ready to launch your call for submissions! On the Submissions tab in your Submittable account, click the View Your Site button in the top right to be taken to a page that lists all of your live Projects. Share this link or click into a Project to share a link directly to that opportunity.

You're now ready to go with Submittable! Have fun.


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