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Our Policies for Editors

Several years ago after we had completed college, Duotrope's founders edited a short fiction journal for a little over a year. The only reason we're mentioning this is because we want you to know that we know. We know your job is a largely thankless one with long, long hours dredging through the slush pile. We know that you get a lot of completely inappropriate submissions from people who haven't bothered to read and follow your submission guidelines. We know that rejection letters aren't easy or fun to write. We know.

How We Can Help You

We want our market resource to be writer-friendly and editor-friendly. We do a few things to keep it editor-friendly. For example, we do not provide your address for submissions (postal or electronic). Instead, potential submitters must visit your website. Hopefully this way they will actually read your full guidelines, as we encourage them to do before submitting. Also, since Duotrope is a searchable resource, most visitors here will only look at projects that match the genre, length, etc of their work. That should help cut down on completely inappropriate submissions. We encourage writers to find good potential matches for their work, instead of employing a Blitzkrieg approach.

We provide links to your subscription/purchase information and/or your donation information. We know you can't survive without support. A few times a year we also remind our subscribers that their favorite publications may not survive without their help. (If your publication is ever on the verge of extinction and needs subscribers or donations to keep it going, let us know and we'll help spread the word.)

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How You Can Help Us

If your publication is already listed, the primary thing you can do to help us is take a look at the listing and let us know if we got anything incorrect. Your guidelines page is the single most important page on your site to us at Duotrope. Always let us know if it changes locations. The best way to contact us is by using the "Report" links on the listing (found below the cover art).

Please consider linking to us and encouraging your submitters to report their response times (if your publication makes our Top 25 Response Times lists, it will provide you with extra exposure). We offer graphics (such as the one below) and HTML code here.

Listed at Duotrope

There are many other free and paid market resources available. You may even keep track of one or two of them and send in updates. The last thing you need is another market resource to keep track of. We have good news for you. While we do welcome updates from editors, you don't need to send us updates in order for us to keep your publication's listing here up to date. All you need to do is keep your online guidelines page up to date, and let us know if the page changes locations, and we should find the new information on our next check of your guidelines. To help us with this process, please do your best to follow our tips below.

Frequency of our checks of your Guidelines page(s): If you have all your submission information on one page and that page is compliant with our tips, we will check it once a month. If a submission guidelines page isn't compliant, it might be two months between checks. If you have important submission information spread out across multiple pages (such as a guidelines page on your official website and your submission manager page), we will alternate checking the pages, one a month. Note: Scholarly journals (that only accept academic or critical material) are checked every six months.

If you need us to make an update ASAP and can't wait until our next check of your guidelines, please just let us know what's changed. (See the "How to Contact Us" section below.)

Also, if you haven't heard from us in the past six months, please give us a shout with your current email address. Chances are, our email address for you is out of date.

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How to Contact Us

The best way to contact is by using our contact forms. Every active listing has a "Report" heading in the right sidebar below the cover art. Two of the options under that heading are to report a Correction/Update and to report New Cover Art. You can also access our Contact Forms directly, although it's faster if you go directly from the listing. Using our contact forms ensures that the request gets sent to the correct member of our admin team (the Duotroopers) for fastest possible response. If you send an update through email, there's a chance that there will be a delay in response or that we will never see it due to overzealous spam filters.

Requesting changes: We will not make any changes to our listing that contradict information on your official site. If you are making a policy change or adding new information, you will need to update your site before we can update our listing.

Requesting to opt out: If you don't want to have a listing on Duotrope, simply contact us and request to opt out of having a listing (see "How to Contact Us" above). When we remove a listing at the editor's request, the only information that remains on our site is the title of the publication/project and the fact that the editor has "requested not to participate." We cannot delete listings as they are tied into our members' personal submission trackers, and they provide us a record of the "opt out" request. However, "opted out" listings will no longer appear in our search results, and they also contain tags that instruct Google and other search engines to remove the page from their index. (We have no control over when the search engines will take action, though.)

An important note regarding Twitter, Facebook, etc.: While we enjoy online social networking, please do not send us updates or corrections through Twitter or Facebook. All official correspondence needs to be sent through our contact form.

An important note regarding mailing lists: Please do not subscribe us to your mailing list without our permission. If everyone did that, we would be subscribed to thousands of mailing lists! That just isn't right. We will not read messages sent to us though mailing lists we did not sign up for. (Would you read submissions sent through mailing lists? We thought not.) Please use other means to inform of us of updates, or keep your guidelines page up to date and we'll catch the changes on our next check of your page. In return, we will not subscribe you involuntarily to our mailing lists. However, we will email you directly a few times a year to check on the status of the listing. If you do not wish to receive these occasional emails, we will change the status of the listing to "Editor has requested not to participate."

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Optimizing the Listing for our Search Results

Please see our Glossary for a complete listing of the Genres, Subgenres, Styles, Poetry Forms, Audience, Topics, and Art Media & Styles that are currently available for the listing and let us know which options apply to your publication.
You may also select "open to all/most" as options for any of those categories, but please also inform us of your favorites so that the listing will have a better showing in search results for those. (Note that you cannot request more than half of the available options for subgenres, writing styles, topics, audience, poetry forms, art media or art styles. Remember, these are meant to represent your favorites.)
Also, if there are any categories that you are absolutely not interested in, let us know and we will add them to your exclusions list.
Finally, if we list your payscale category as "Unknown," please let us know what your pay rates are.

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Participate in our Editor Interview Feature

If you are an editor for a publication that's been listed with us for at least six months, you can request an Editor Interview. This feature helps writers get to know you and your publication — your likes, dislikes, etc. Participating in this feature will (1) help you get noticed, and (2) help ensure that people send you more appropriate submissions. What's to lose, except a few minutes of your time? (Fledgling listings and new listings will receive their interview invitations after being listed with us for six months.)

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The About Statement

Ideally, the About statement should answer the question "Why does this project exist?" We will not write this statement for you. It must either come directly from the editor or be posted on your website. Also, we will edit About statements to exclude the following:

  • Information already covered in other sections of the listing (lengths, submission periods, etc.)
  • Links or special formatting.
  • Payment or award specifics.
  • Time-sensitive or temporary information (such as current themes, deadlines, judges, etc.)
  • Information about other projects that we list separately.

We may edit for length. Also, we will not post About statements written in ALL CAPS. Finally, we discourage discussing the history of the publication in depth or providing long lists of previous contributors.

We will also include your Country and Year Established in the About section. For us, Country is where the publication is located. (In cases where this may be unclear due to having an international staff, it's the country whose laws apply to the publication.) Year Established is the year the publication was founded (i.e., started accepting submissions or began funding efforts) when known; it's not necessarily the year of first publication.

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Cover Art

What is "Cover Art"?

For our purposes, "cover art" is an image that represents a recent publication. We do not post logos, posters, or other promotional art.

For Print publications, we use the front cover of the most recent issue or book published.

For Electronic publications...
If the publishers create a "cover image," we can use that as long as the image includes the title of the publication, and if it's a periodical, the issue number or name as well.
Otherwise, we'll take a screenshot of the most recent issue.

Other Image Requirements

  • The minimum image size we can use is 300 pixels in width, although at least 400 pixels in width is preferred.
  • The maximum file size we can use is 2 MB.
  • Image files only. No PDFs.
  • We will only use "flat" images. 3D representations of the book, or photos taken at an angle will not be used.
  • We will crop out any borders and drop shadow effects around the cover art and would prefer if images submitted to us did not have any borders and/or drop shadow effects.
  • We won't post pre-release cover art. The issue/book must be out.
  • The image must represent the project that we're listing. For example, if the listing is for a specific anthology, we will only post cover art for that anthology. We won't post the cover art of a novel published by the "parent" press.

Requesting Cover Art Updates

We check for new cover art a few times per year for each active listing.
We're also happy to update the image when someone lets us know that new cover art is available (no more often than once per month, please).

To request a cover art update, go to the listing. Under the "Report" heading (right sidebar), click the link to Report New Cover Art. Then fill out the simple form, which allows you to either send us a link to the cover art or upload the cover art directly to us.
If you do not have a link to the listing, start here instead.
Please do not email us cover art.

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When applicable, there is a "Support this Publisher" section on the right side of the listing (below the cover art image). Let us know if there's a web link where people can financially support you: subscribe, buy your books, and/or donate. The link must be to a page on your website, not a third-party site like PayPal, Kickstarter, Patreon, etc.

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The Response Times Section

The response times statistics are compiled from response reports sent to us through our submission tracker by subscribers. They are not provided by the publication's editors/staff or by Duotrope's admins. We cannot edit this information because it affects our members' personal submission trackers.

An important note if your publication has a policy of not responding to all submissions: While adopting such a policy does not disqualify the publication from having a listing on Duotrope, you should be aware that it is unpopular among writers and it may negatively impact the response times statistics for the listing. Historically, publishers listed with us that have this policy tend to end up on our list of the Slowest publishers (because writers wait a long time — sometimes years — before "giving up" on their submissions) and/or on our list of Unresponsive publishers (because they flag the submission as Lost or Never Responded). Many online submission manager systems — including Duosuma, Duotrope's own submission manager — can help you avoid this policy by automating (or at least speeding up) the task of sending form rejections.

No cheating! If you attempt to manipulate our submission statistics by reporting submissions for your own publication, you will be banned from using the site, and the listing(s) will be permanently removed.

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We do not list pay specifics. Instead, we list which general payscale category your publication falls under. For publications that do not pay in real-world currency, we do not differentiate between those that offer contributors' copies and those that do not.

A note about currency: When listing payment details, please be sure to include the currency. Duotrope is an international resource, and your submitters may be from different countries. (It is especially necessary to differentiate between US/Canadian/Australian dollars.)

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Listings Declared "Believed Defunct", DNQ (does not qualify) or Removed

"Believed Defunct": On occasion, we may declare a listing "believed defunct." Rest assured, we never do this without attempting to contact the editor and giving them ample time to respond. If you have a publication that has incorrectly been declared "believed defunct," please contact us immediately so we can rectify the situation as soon as possible, and rest assured that we did attempt to contact you before taking this action.

Disqualification: If a publication's policies change in such a way that they longer meet our criteria for listings, we will change the listing's status to DNQ (does not qualify). We will not necessarily contact the editor when this happens.

Important note: Keep in mind that two of the requirements for maintaining a listing with us are (1) a current official website with up-to-date guidelines posted at all times and (2) signs of regular publication. If we can't verify that the publication meets those standards, we will begin the process of either disqualifying or declaring the publication "believed defunct," depending on the circumstances. We check each active listing's guidelines information once a month (if compliant and not a scholarly journal), and we run extensive audits of each active listing at least twice a year. (Learn more about those processes.) We make every attempt to proactively keep our listings as accurate as humanly possible, but we can't maintain those high standards if the publication's website isn't kept up to date.

Three Strikes Rule: If a listing gets disqualified and/or declared "believed defunct" three times, the publication will be permanently disqualified.

Permanent Removal: We reserve the right to remove a publication for any reason at any time. In our history, we have only done this on rare occasions, and it is not an action we take lightly. When we do remove a listing, we may not contact the editor regarding the removal. (Also, as with "opt out" requests, when we remove a listing, we keep a "breadcrumb" listing that simply states the title of the project and the fact that it was removed. We cannot delete listings because they are tied into our members' personal submission trackers. The listing will no longer appear in our search results, and the page will also contain tags that instruct Google and other search engines to remove the page from their index.)

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Some Important Tips for Your Guidelines Web Page

We run a harmless bot* that checks your official guidelines page (the bot cannot load or run Javascript or other scripts). We run these checks once a month for compliant pages, every other month for non-compliant pages, and biannually for scholarly journals. To help us ensure that our listing for your project remains as up to date as possible, please keep the following suggestions in mind when designing/updating your online guidelines page. We cannot emphasize enough how much this helps us!

  1. Separate page: Keep your submissions information on a separate page from your other content. (If you have more than one publishing project — such as a journal and a contest, or a press and an anthology — we'd prefer each one to have its own guidelines page.) This page must be easily accessed from the home page of your official website, and it must be located on your website or on one of our approved submission managers (see our listing criteria for the current list).
  2. Single page, permanent location: Each project should have all its guidelines information on a single page with a permanent location. Do not have your submissions information spread out across different pages or blog entries, and please do not have a different web address for submissions information with each issue or announcement. Remember that others may bookmark your submissions page, too. If the location changes and the previous page still exists, they may only see outdated information.
  3. Openings, deadlines, and themes: Include your submission period opening and closings, deadlines, themes, etc. on your guidelines page, even if you also post these announcements on your news page or other page.
    Listing dates: When listing dates, be specific and use an international-friendly format. For example, "January-March" is not clear and could indicate either January 1 through March 1 or January 1 through March 31. We have no way of knowing which you mean. Likewise, if you list dates with just numbers, such as "7/1," it can cause confusion as to whether you mean July 1st or January 7th. Finally, be sure to include the year, unless you have the same submission period(s) every year.
    Listing times: If you have time-specific deadlines, please mention both the time and time zone.
  4. HTML or PDF only. No forced downloads. We only accept submission guidelines in HTML or PDF format. Also, the site must not force downloads of PDFs (instead of displaying the PDF in the browser).
  5. No Flash, text as images, Javascript, or embedded media: Do not embed your guidelines in an image, Flash presentation, have them rendered through JavaScript, or post your guidelines as embedded media (such as audio, video, or non-HTML document types). This will also help search engines such as Google find and spider your content and may help visually impaired people access your information as well. If your content is embedded in a graphic, Flash presentation, Javascript, or non-HTML media, we will be unable to provide an accurate listing without you sending in updates.
    ATTN customers: generates most site content using Flash, so this applies to you.
  6. No frames: Frames make it hard for us to find your actual content (search engines may have a difficult time finding your content, too). Depending on how they're implemented, it may even be impossible for our bot to get the correct information.
  7. Open Access and Reasonable Loading Times: Your submissions page must allow access to our bot and must respond within 5 seconds.

If you follow those tips, it will be much easier for us to keep your listing up to date. If you don't follow those tips, we may not be able to provide an up-to-date listing without you sending in updates, and we may reduce the frequency with which we check your page. We truly appreciate your help with this! Thanks!

* The bot checks the current guidelines page text against the previous content and alerts us if any changes are detected. All flagged changes are manually checked by a member of our staff.

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If Your Project Isn't Listed

Please read our Criteria for Listings and all the information on this page before Requesting a New Listing.

Questions, comments, suggestions

We welcome your questions, comments, and suggestions on how to make Duotrope more editor-friendly.

Keep up the great work!

— The Duotroopers