Skip to Content

Editor Interview: decomp journal

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

A: Compelling work

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

A: A cappella Zoo, Barrelhouse, Canteen, Electric Literature, GUD, Hobart, Juked, Keyhole, > kill author, McSweeney's, Monkeybicycle, New York Tyrant, Night Train, NOON, PANK, Salt Hill, Unsaid, Wigleaf, Word Riot, Writers' Bloc (Rutgers), and about a hundred others.

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

A: Donald Barthelme, Richard Brautigan, Joe Meno, Haruki Murakami, George Saunders, Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Vonnegut

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

A: I think we publish a range of very different things, so you never quite know what you're going to read.

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

A: Read some of our recently published work to get acquainted with our pub. Don't tell us about the story or poem in the cover letter; the piece should carry its own weight.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submission is one that adheres to our guidelines, but, as far as prose is concerned, arrests me with character, plot, use of language, or a combination of those three.

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

A: Now that we're using Submishmash, we don't get too many errors, though there are those few who mislabel their submission(s). For instance, they'll label Poetry as Art, Prose as Poetry, or whatnot, which delays the process because different editors receive different genres, so when I send that mislabeled sub their way, they too will think it's an error at first. And some don't pay attention to our 3,000-word limit.

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

A: Cover letters are always good. Overall, we prefer brevity, but a thorough bio is appreciated.

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

A: I told my prose and poetry editors to read as much or as little as they want--until they can comfortably reach a decision. If they recommend a piece for acceptance, I read it in its entirety and make the final decision.

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

A: It's rare that I offer any personal feedback, but if I feel strongly that I can help make a story better, I'll suggest changes. I've worked with a few authors like this, but I always offer to help up front. It's better not to ask if an editor doesn't bring it up.

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

A: Upon receiving a submission, I'll assign it to either Jared Ward (prose) or Jac Jemc (poetry). If Jared/Jac recommends the piece(s) for rejection, I decline them. If Jared/Jac recommends the piece(s) for acceptance, I read it/them and make my own decision. Usually I agree with Jared and Jac, so there's a good likelihood that if they want it/them, I will too.

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

A: I think it's important to embrace modern technology. You gotta stay current. We're working to do this.