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Editor Interview: Epiphany: A Literary Journal

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

A: Fiction nonfiction poetry

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

A:
N+1, Loaded Bicycle, failbetter, One Story, Fence, Agni, The Kenyon Review, The Greensboro Review

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

A: FICTION Lydia Davis, Alexander Maksik, Jane Hamilton, Joan Silber, Andee Lockwood, Jorge Luis Borges, Toni Cade Bambara, Albert Camus, Dale Peck, Edward P. Jones. Grace Paley.
POETRY James Wright, CP Cavafy, Edward Hirsch, Sappho, Robert Frost, Sarah Stern, Marie Howe, Sharon Olds, Charles Simic, Nasrudin, Derek Walcott, Emily Dickinson, Barbara Howes, Phillip Larkin, Geoffrey Chaucer, Martin Edmunds
NONFICTION E.B. White, Anna Kushner, Harilyn Rousso, Joan Didion, Sherwood Anderson, George Orwell, Wendell Berry, Sabine Heinlein, Raymond Queneau, Adrienne Rich, Edmund White.

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

A:
We give considerable space to our contributors. In one issue we have published two of David Updike's stories. In another issue we published three chapters of Domingo Martinez's memoir The Boy Kings of Texas. We have also published successive chapters of A.B. Meyer's memoir Keep This Fortune in successive issues. We published poems and an essay of Derek Walcott. We published a 34 page poem Talking Head of poet George Franklin. Generally we give lots of space to poets approximately 5 to 10 pages per poet.
We follow and promote all of our writers well past their publications.
We provide five complimentary copies to contributors.
We are distributed in Barnes and Noble as well as many independent bookstores.
We read everything carefully which is why we are slow.

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

A:
Read literary magazines. If you are interested in publishing in Epiphany consider subscribing and reading it carefully. This will deepen your understanding of what we do and of contemporary letters. Build a relationship with us on Facebook or Twitter. Have two people read your work before you submit. Not your writing teacher. Not your husband/wife. Not an old friend. Try someone -- not necessarily a literary type-- who you think might enjoy reading the story and who you think has good judgement. Finally don't let rejection get in your way. We get thousands of submission and simply cannot accept all the strong work we get. If you want to be a writer write, but try to remember that writing is an ongoing collaboration and those that read your work can help to fuel your fire.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A:
A previously unpublished writer with a killer story that gets a buzz going.

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

A:
Some of the work we get is sloppy not only because it isn't proofread, but the writer simply doesn't understand our magazine because they haven't read it. We get crime fiction, journalism and even erotica none of which we publish. Read the magazine. Email us if you have a question about a story, poem or essay.

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

A:
Never tell us what the story is about or why we might like it. It helps to give us your past publishing record, your education, who you have studied with, but that won't make what we read any better or worse. It's about the quality of the work. It's pleasant to read a nice introductory letter.

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

A:
Each piece is different but as a rule if the first paragraph is good, I'll read the second paragraph and if the second paragraph is good I'll keep reading. Conversely, we certainly have gotten rough diamonds that start out badly but get read all the way through. Those get sent back for rewrite and eventually get published.

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

A: If the piece is good but not "clean" we ask how much work it will be to get it into shape.

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

A:
Read, read, read. Email. Tweet. Talk to the managing editor, the writers, the interns and try figure out how to sell this magazine.

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

A:
I think modern technology in very important as it has helped journals develop a reading audience.