Editor Interview: Conte

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.

A: Vibrant, diverse, new.

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 26 May 2010 Read other answers to this question

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?

A: At the present moment, narrative writing--particulary narrative poetry--isn't in vogue, so this is a tricky question; irony, hybrid forms, and a general skepticism of an authoritative voice are all markers of our period style. That being said, however, Conte is unique for two main reasons: 1) there is no other online publication (that we're aware of) devoted exclusively to narrative writing in all of its myriad forms, and 2) we are deeply committed to publishing a reader-friendly and aesthetically-pleasing magazine that replicates, if not exceeds, the experience of reading a print journal.

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 26 May 2010 Read other answers to this question

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: As predictable as it sounds, the best way to learn if any magazine is a good fit for one's writing is to read that magazine. Read a recent issue from start to finish, or skip around in our archives...a studious half-hour's worth of skimming will tell you if your poem or story will catch our eye. (And since our magazine is online and free, there's really no excuse not to!) It will also make you a more savvy submitter--you can mention that so-and-so's poem really blew you away, or that you think it's unfair that we publish more fiction than non-fiction, so we should consider your memoir excerpt in the name of equality. Writers sometimes forget that editors are people, too; we read submissions as objectively as possible, but a submission from a writer who has a basic understanding of the journal in question will invariably start out on better footing.

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 06 March 2013 Read other answers to this question

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal Conte submission begins with an eloquent but concise cover letter containing the following: where the writer learned of our magazine, why that writer is submitting to us, a brief bio note (not one sentence, not a life story), and an explicit statement if the work is being simultaneously submitted. The submitted file should be formatted cleanly and simply, so the focus is on the work itself. Like all editors, we receive our fair share of nonsense, so taking the time to be professional will help your work stand out in our digital slush pile.

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 06 March 2013 Read other answers to this question

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: We're pretty forgiving at Conte; ultimately, the writing speaks for itself. We like witty cover letters as much as we like tautly stoic ones. That said, however, the things that are "wrong" when submitting to Conte are probably universal DO NOTS for writers seeking publication, most of which are blatant violations of our guidelines. Please avoid sending your work to us via standard mail or email, as we have never considered postal submissions and ceased considering email submissions when we converted to Submittable in September 2011; we will delete such work unread. Similarly, please do not submit more than once per reading period, and avoid sending us genre writing (children's literature, light verse, erotica, etc.) because you are wasting our time as well as your own.

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 06 March 2013 Read other answers to this question

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?

A: Cover letters are a tricky thing. Say too much and you may appear arrogant, say too little and you may look rushed, lazy, or *GASP*, that most dreaded of all things, an unpublished writer. The best rule of thumb we can offer is to share 3-5 sentences about your accomplishments and credits, if you have them, and make it sound like an objective summation rather than an autobiography. For example, simply stating "My stories have appeared in A, B, and C" says infinitely more than bragging about the prestigious faculty you studied with in graduate school. If you've never been published, please don't try to hide it; being an unpublished writer is not a mark of shame, and honestly, we're thrilled when we get the opportunity to share a new voice with the world. Finally, don't ramble about the inspiration behind your work, or offer us a thematic summary of your submission...if it can't stand on its own two feet, we don't want it.

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 26 May 2010 Read other answers to this question

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: The editors at Conte make every effort to read submissions in their entirety. As writers ourselves, we consider it a matter of respect, even if the work isn't a right fit for us (or is just plain bad).

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 26 May 2010 Read other answers to this question

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?

A: Conte is passionately committed to bringing the worlds of writing and technology together. When our debut issue published in 2005, the internet was a radically different place. In the past decade, we've grown by switching our main site to a blog, adding links to additional resources for writers, sharing audio recordings of author readings, and streamlining our submissions process through Submittable. In the coming years, we hope to continue this innovation to enhance what Conte can offer its contributors and readers. We've never believed that online publishing is superior to print--after all, we're cousins in the grand family of language--but we have tried to exploit the digital medium as we grow, one issue at a time.

Adam Tavel, Poetry Editor on 06 March 2013 Read other answers to this question