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Editor Interview: Washington Writers' Publishing House Prize

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

A: Quality DMV-based lit

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?

A: Red Hen in Los Angeles. Unnamed Press, also in LA. Akhashic Press in Brooklyn. SFPW in the Dc-area even if ‘SF’ stands for Santa Fe!

Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?

A: I read widely —I studied with Raymond Carver and still hold his writing close to my heart. But these days, I like a lot what many writers are doing with flash and form to experiment and stretch the short story genre.

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

A: WWPH is a 47-year old cooperative press —all our members pay it forward by publishing with the press (winning one of our three contests in poetry, fiction, or creative non fiction and then volunteering for at least two years with the press, though many stay on longer!) We also are a regional press —publishing only writers from DC, Maryland and Virginia. Like many small presses, we are a literary press, though, we widely define that—we are looking for complex characters, a strong sense of place, and voices that are diverse and inclusive.

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

A: Of course, read our recent books, notably, our 2021 anthology, This Is What America Looks Like: Poetry & Fiction from DC, Maryland and Virginia.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Best to read our recent winners!

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

A: They are not residents of DC, Maryland or Virginia. They do not look closely that we are a cooperative small press. They submit work that does not have the strongest poems or short fiction at the front of the book —we have multiple volunteers, all seasoned published writers, not interns, read each submission—but your work still must ‘hook’ our readers.

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

A: All submissions are read blind. However, previous publishing credits should be included as part of the manuscript, if the work is a collection of poetry or short works (I.e. if the poems or short works have been previously published let us know where and when in the manuscript). We are thrilled to publish debut authors but also happy when we have a new work by a more established one.

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

A: We make every attempt to read through the entire work, and certainly do so for the finalists of our manuscript contests.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: We narrow the field to a top 5-10 manuscripts and re-read and re-evaluate those select choices closely —again, keeping it all as a blind submission process.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: Our manuscript contests run September 1st through November 1st. Winners are selected and announced by March. During the year, I also co-edit WWPH Writes, our bi-weekly literary journal, which is free to submit to for any DMV writer.

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

A: We still believe in print, though, our fiction and creative nonfiction books will also be released as ebooks. In addition, WWPH Writes is an online journal. We embrace electronic submissions and are always looking for ways on social media to expand our audience!

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: All winners of our manuscript contest work with a fellow WWPH writer on edits. Authors approve all edits, including final edits. All work submitted to WWPH Writes is subject to a close reading and working with the editor.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes!