Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: Unusual viewpoints
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: I’m always reading new things, so this isn’t really an “admire most” list. This is more of a "currently paying attention to" list:
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: This answer changes with every new writer I read. Currently I’m reading Trevor Noah, Tabitha Blankenbiller, Robert James Russell, Pia Ceres, Melissa Yi, Alison Coffelt. Up next are J. Ryan Stradal and Sarai Walker.
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: In the prose department, we offer real, actionable feedback that you can put to use right away to make your story better. And in fiction, I work hard to ensure that the story you sent me is the story you want to tell. Our editorial guidance is proven: writers have gone on to win awards and be published in anthologies. We do this because we want to make a better literary ecosystem for everyone. That means helping to better work when we’re asked, and promoting great writers who might not get a chance at publication otherwise.
Our publication is 100% from our open submissions queue: we don’t solicit, to better even the playing field.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Please read our guidelines. Please download one of our issues and read it. Finally, please assume good intent all around. We do.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: Follows the guidelines
Introduces me to someone interesting
Isn’t devoid of plot
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: Our feedback option will give you commentary that can be described in a few sentences or a paragraph. Our critique option digs deeper, and gets more prescriptive. The two aren’t interchangeable.
(You say “most often get wrong,” and this is it, but it doesn’t happen very often. By far and large, our submitters are pretty good, except I don’t really understand why folks insist on triple-spacing their work when we ask for double-space.)
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: I typically read covers after I’ve read the submission. Credits might help tip the scale into “work with the writer” territory, but we’re into publishing new writers, so it doesn’t really matter. I don’t, however, care who you’ve had as a mentor in the past. I definitely don't need to hear your own assessments of your work, although I appreciate how hard it is to get that description nailed down.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: Full critique submissions are read to the end. For others, I read as long as it takes to pinpoint what’s not working, if anything, and why. (This is true, by the way, of agents, book editors, consumer magazine editors, and every other editing professional. Our time is valuable, as is yours.)
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: Putting together the magazine is an editorial task in and of itself, so if we have too many stories about one thing or another, that upsets the balance. It’s rare, but I may need to move a story over into the next issue.
With that said, there can be several steps before a story is accepted. I’ll wait on revisions from a writer before I give them my final yes. Some stories will go through two or three rounds of editing. I’ve never had a writer not happy with the results.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: I’ll often read a few stories first thing in the day. I’ll also assign some critiques and stories to my team of two readers, Michal Lemberger and Stefen Styrsky. Then I’ll read throughout the day, when I find myself with a minimum spare half-hour or so.
I don’t rush the reading, so I won’t dive into the pile if I don’t have a good chunk of time. I only read until I feel my attention slipping. Your work deserves the freshest pair of eyes possible.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: Pretty important, to us. Our strategy is to make literature accessible to everyone, which means embracing different media and publishing options.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: It depends on the story. Sometimes we accept a story with no changes. I’d say about half or more of the stories we accept go through some revision, and that some of that is substantial. We have a copy-editor on staff, and the writer gets approval of the galleys before we go to print.
Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?
A: Yes! Of course we do. Our website (www.tahomaliteraryreview.com) will tell you more.