Editor Interview: Underground Voices
Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: Hard-hitting, raw work.
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: Akashic books, Modern Drunkard Magazine, My Favorite Bullet, Zoetrope, Glimmer Train
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: Fiction writers we love: James Brown (Los Angeles Diaries, a memoir), James Ellroy, Jerry Stahl. Poets we love: Tony O’Neill, Patricia Fargnoli, S.A. Griffin
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: We’ve published work from writers in jail and from people who have been in and out of mental institutions. We want to cater to the ‘underground’ voices out there and share what they have to say.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: As with any literary magazine, please read a few issues. It's a good indicator as to the kind of work we prefer.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: We've had a few of those, where we've gone "wow" and then read the piece all over again.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: They submit too many poems and too much fiction. There's such a thing as overkill. We've had writers submit fiction that adds up to a combination of 70 pages. It's too much to wade through.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: We don't care about bios. In fact writers have the option of submitting bios with their submissions. It's the writing that matters.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: If it's fiction, our general rule of thumb is the first two pages. Though, we can usually tell by the first page, if it's a pass or not. If it's poetry, we tend to read everything.
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: We usually don't accept it as soon as we read it. We usually put it aside for a few days or a week, return to it, read it again, and then accept it. We feel if we're just as impressed the second time around, it's a keeper.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: Reading submissions, preparing the new issue with the fiction and poetry collections, formatting the issue, searching for a feature artist, sending out acceptance/rejection letters. Sometimes we publish work that has previously been published and is out on the market. In those cases, this involves contacting the publisher and requesting reprint rights.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: Modern technologies are the way to go and publishers should be current with all the options out there. Electronic submissions save paper and time. POD publishing options can offer great services. Nothing should be discarded. We're always open to change. We wouldn't have been around if it weren't for modern technology, so of course, we're big supporters.