Editor Interview: Smoky Blue Literary and Arts Magazine

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

A: all genres, all styles

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

A: Glimmer Train, Puerto del Sol, The New Yorker, among others

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

A: Flannery O'Connor, Yusef Komunyakaa, Shakespeare, Donald Barthelme, Sylvia Plath, David Foster Wallace, Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss), William Carlos Williams, Nikki Giovanni, Lewis Thomas, Edward Albee, Amiri Baraka, E B White, etc.

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

A: We accept writing and art/photography in any style, genre, or subgenre. While we welcome submissions from anyone, we especially encourage work from those living life's second half.

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

A: Read the past issues to see if your work "fits" (although we welcome all types, styles, etc.). Then produce a polished, vibrant, surprising piece of art that you're proud of and want to show to the world.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submission can be many things: shocking, current, nostalgic, literary, experimental. The only constants in what we seek are that elusive word "quality" and Pound's dictum to "make it new."

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

A: We occasionally have someone who submits more than the maximum allowed per issue.

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

A: We would like a short bio included that we may edit and include after the contributor's work. It should list publication credits, although we may limit how many of those credits we list.

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

A: A team of readers (for example, fiction staff) completely reads every submitted work (without authors' names identified). That team then individually ranks all works numerically. They then meet to discuss and decide which works should be included for publication. Only the editor knows the names of submitters.

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

A: The editor reads and reviews all works, and he may consult with the teams before making a final decision on what gets published.

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

A: There's a lot of reading of submissions, a lot of formatting submissions, a lot of distributing submissions via Dropbox to the staff, some consultation on submissions (especially on technical questions). And, of course, an editor must maintain deadlines to get the issue online by the publication date.

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

A: I think it's vital. As a 66-year-old (who once taught computer tech in the 1980's-90's, its infancy), I try to keep up with all the latest. I'm sad to say I'm not as up-to-date as I'd like to be. No Twitter handle. No Instagram. But I'm working on things, and I'm anxious to learn from my more astute IT friends.