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Editor Interview: Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores

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

A: High-vibe inducing tales

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

A: I admire indie writers, self-publishers and publishers who follow their hearts instead of trends while still maintaining high publication standards.

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

A: Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Margaret Mahy, Alan Dean Foster, Mary Stewart, Sam Taylor, Christopher Stasheff, some Roberts Heinlein and Silverberg...Hmm...Tim Powers, Lemony Snickett, Robin McKinley...and a library of others I can’t think of just now.

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

A: At Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores we’re looking to spread hope for the future and understanding between sentient beings through the ancient mediums of well-told stories and inspiring artwork. Like music to the ears and dance to the soul, we’d like you to leave our stories feeling a little lighter in spirit and warmer at heart. For that reason we do not publish horror and stories with themes of strong violence and hate.
We also believe in helping writers grow their stories by providing feedback.

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

A: 1) Don’t send us horror—ever—or dark fantasy/speculative stories without a hopeful and redemptive ending. We have nothing against these genres but they don’t serve the CRES mission of high-vibe inducing reads and have zero chance of being chosen for publication by us.
2) Read our submission guidelines. In particular, pay attention to the file formats, lengths for submission, story formatting and what we publish and don’t publish.
3) Don’t send us your first or even second draft of a story. At least get someone else to read it before sending it in.
4) Ask yourself if the story is adding anything new to the genre (especially if it’s a fairy tale) and if this version is the best it can currently be. If you answer ‘yes’ to both questions then please submit your story to us.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: My ideal submission leaves me feeling hopeful for the future and warmer at heart. It leaves me feeling that magic and solutions lie all around us. My ideal submission sticks in my mind for even a week or two, thinking about that inspiring character, the imagery, or about an aspect of culture/myth/folktales/science I’ve never considered or been aware of before.

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

A: Submitters sometimes don’t follow a Shunn-style of formatting and send in artwork or use strange fonts for effect. This makes for hard reading or no reading if our readers can’t open it. Same goes with sending in files in formats we don’t accept, so please double-check our guidelines.
We don’t require a story synopsis, but we do appreciate you telling us the length of your story in the submission form.
If you have to explain the context of your story to us in the submission form, then your story isn’t ready for us.
Last but not least, submit to the right department. AI's are always classed as science fiction.

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

A: All you cover letter needs to state is the title of your story, its length and whether it has been previously published. If you require feedback, state so clearly.
I don’t need your bio or list of publications and prefer not to read any of those if supplied. I don’t choose submissions by your previous work, only by my experience of it as I read it.

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

A: I can’t speak for other editors and readers when it comes to reading a submission to the end. Some do and some don’t.
Generally, I try my best to read a submission in its entirety, even if I’m not enjoying the story. If the story is too long and not well written, I’ll scan it through, but there have been instances when I could not bear to read a story to its end. Fortunately, those are few and far between.
Sometimes, I know immediately a piece is for CRES, other times I need to get a second opinion. One of the things I love about CRES is that everyone has different tastes and ideas on what makes a great story, and if it’s well written, is well received by our readers and falls within the CRES guidelines but doesn’t personally appeal to me, I would still recommend it to our editor because everyone has different tastes in stories.

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

A: Once a department editor puts a story under consideration or recommends for resubmission, our Editor-in-chief, Fran, reads it and decides if we will work further with the story.

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

A: The first day of submission is always one of anticipation—hoping it’s going to be a good submission round with a lot of submissions that you’ll enjoy reading, and maybe even finding that one special story that you’ll rave about for a while.
The second day of submissions onward is when things get more business-like and rejections of stories that are unsuitable for CRES start to go out.
Then it’s on to recommendations for re-submission, hoping you’ll have at least one story for consideration (sometimes we don’t) and seeing to sending helpful feedback when requested.
Nothing very glamorous in being an editor, but it’s worth it for finding those stories that shine out of the pile and make your day, or sometimes your month!

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

A: As a self-publisher myself, and with CRES being an online publisher at present, I think it’s vital that publishers and writers adapt and adopt new technology where possible.
I’m proud of CRES for incorporating technology and other forms for storytelling where possible with the artwork, podcasts/videos and additional Openmic website. It’s a lot of work, especially with volunteer staff, but in the long run I feel it will allow CRES to endure where others have not. We will know what works for our readers and what doesn’t. And that should be the main focus of any publisher anywhere in the world.

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

A: CRES seeks to work with authors to improve stories we’d like to publish. The extent a story is edited lies with our Editor-in-chief. This could range from developmental edits to minor copy and line-edits. Authors get to approve final edits.