Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: There are so many we like and subscribe to.
Print journals we enjoy include Tin House, Crazyhorse, Glimmer Train, Harper's, The New Yorker, McSweeney's, Zoetrope, and The Missouri Review.
Online journals we frequent include PANK, Word Riot, Wigleaf, Monkeybicycle, Cease Cows, Jersey Devil Press, Bartleby Snopes, Hobart, Frigg, Necessary Fiction, Split Lip, Defenestration, Electric Literature, SmokeLongQuarterly, FLAPPERHOUSE, and decomP, just to name a few.
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: Currently we are bedazzled by George Saunders, T.C. Boyle, Jennifer Egan, Adam Johnson, Diane Cook, Neil Gaiman, Kurt Vonnegut, Stephen King, Lydia Davis, Lorrie Moore, Roald Dahl, Mark Twain, Hunter S. Thompson, Gary Lutz, Chales Bukowski, David Sedaris, Charles Yu, Steve Martin, B.J. Novak, Gary Moshimer, Italo Calvino, John Steinbeck, Anton Chekov, O. Henry. There's hundreds more.
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: We like stories with a dark sense of humor, stories that are both quirky and murky. We want to make readers laugh and feel uncomfortable at the same time.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Follow the guidelines, read some of the stories we've published in the past, etc, etc.
We have a recommended reading page, filled with stories published elsewhere that we especially liked.
We also have some editor selection/best of pages, filled with some of the favorite stories we've published ourselves.
Read these things first. The stories we publish are more about a tone of voice than a subject matter.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: It grabs my attention from the very first sentence, and has me hooked by the end of the first paragraph. I literally cannot stop reading. It is funny and unusual and unexpected. It has vivid characters and conflict and tension, and also some sort of meaningful story arc with a satisfying resolution. All in 2000 words or less.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: We are looking for the perfect combination of a quirky/murky voice and a compelling story. Often people submit humorous pieces written in the correct tone, but the piece is just a funny anecdote that doesn't tell a story. We want some sort of arc and meaningful resolution at the end. We do accept creative nonfiction as well, but also expect it to deliver some sort of story-like resolution at the end.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: I used to think the simpler the cover letter the better. But having read my fair share now, I must admit I enjoy reading a carefully or humorously written cover letter very much. If you can get my attention before I even read the story, it makes the submitter a little more memorable. Publication credits mean very little. We do not ask for a bio beforehand, but people are welcome to send one. Really, it is the story that will do all the talking.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: Having an engaging first paragraph is very important in short fiction, but sometimes a great first paragraph doesn't deliver a great story. Each piece gets read completely at least twice before being rejected or accepted. Sometimes we have to read a piece four or five times before we decide. If we reject a piece we try to offer feedback if we can.
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: If we like a story we contact that author and send our Writer Agreement. If everything is copacetic, we publish the story.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: We all have day jobs and writerly aspirations ourselves, and get to sit down and read submissions at irregular intervals. Promising submissions are discussed between the editors and concessions are made, sometimes after fisticuffs.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: As a primarily electronic publication, we are totes down with modern tech. The way information is transmitted is changing and publishers need to change also.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: We might do a little line editing with punctuation, or change the spacing between paragraphs for the web. We always send a proof of the story to the author before it goes up on the website, and an author can change anything he or she wants at that point. The author always has the final say.