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Editor Interview: Imagine Magazine

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

A: student experiences

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

A: The New Yorker; The Atlantic; The New York Times

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

A: n/a

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

A: Imagine features student-written articles alongside expert opinion and advice of interest to talented middle and upper school students.

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

A: Look at our website to determine if you have had an experience related to the theme of one of our upcoming issues; if so, send us a query outlining your proposed article.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Once a proposal has been accepted, the ideal submission is a first-person narrative in which the student describes his or her experience, providing compelling detail and anecdotes that draw the reader in. Typically, the writer has learned something valuable from his or her experience and is excited and compelled to share it with others.

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

A: We are not looking for opinion pieces per se, or for students to investigate an area of interest that they then plan to write about for the magazine.

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

A: We look for a query rather than a cover letter, and we do not accept manuscripts. Rather, we prefer to work with writers from the beginning to avoid unnecessary re-writes. A list of previous publication credits matters only insofar as they may give us an idea of the level of sophistication and/or expertise of the writer.

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

A: We do not accept completed manuscripts.

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

A: Because we work closely with our writers from the beginning, they are an integral part of the editing process. We find that it is often a very positive learning experience for students.

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

A: When I receive a query letter from a student, I first consider whether it is well-written: Is it compelling? Has the writer attended to basic details such as grammar and spelling? Are their ideas cohesive? I then consider their proposed topic to see whether it fits with our publication in general: Is this the type of thing we've featured before? Is it something that our audience is likely to find interesting? I look at our upcoming themes to determine if it is a match for any of them. Because we also publish occasional non-focus articles, a topic that doesn't fit neatly within one our themes isn't disqualified, however. If a query meets the above criteria, I will share it with the editorial staff during our issue-planning meetings, where we will determine if it fits well with other content we have planned for a particular issue. If a query is particularly strong but won't work in one issue, we may save it for consideration in a future issue.

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

A: While I think it is vital to be aware of current trends in technology, I also think it's important to consider one's audience and what they prefer, as well as the specific publication and its goals.

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

A: Depending on the quality of the draft, editing may be substantive and may include line editing, copy editing, and basic proofreading. We often ask our writers questions that help them to see where more (or clearer) information is needed. Because student writers are involved in the entire editing process, they contribute to and read each draft as it is fine-tuned, and so are aware of the final product. Professional contributors get to approve final edits.

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

A: No, we do not. When we hold writing contests, if we find the quality of a piece to be outstanding, we may encourage the student to further develop the piece.