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Editor Interview: Three-Lobed Burning Eye

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

A: Stories monsters read.

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

A: Apex Magazine, Black Static, Clarkesworld, Clockwork Phoenix anthologiess, Electric Velocipede, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Night Shade Books, Prairie Schooner, Pseudopod, Pyr Books, Shimmer, Shock Totem, Tin House, Vestal Review, Weird Tales, anything antho edited by Ellen Datlow

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

A: Margaret Atwood, Ian M. Banks, Laird Barron, Clive Barker, Donald Bartheleme, Alfred Bester, Jorge Luis Borges, Ray Bradbury, Jonathan Carroll, Gemma Files, Charles de Lint, Roald Dahl, Harlan Ellison, Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Joe Haldeman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Robert E. Howard, Ursula K. Le Guin, Caitlin R Kiernan, Joe R Lansdale, Kelly Link, H.P. Lovecraft, Kurt Vonnegut, Andrew Vachss, Gene Wolfe

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

A: Three-lobed seeks stories that do not fit neatly into any genre category. Terms for this might be: speculative fiction, magical realism, slipstream, cross-genre, mulatto, pariah. We aren't afraid of a literary non-fantastic piece, as long as it's a good story.

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

A: Read more than two issues of our magazine. Write and submit something better.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: A story that makes me gasp or hold my breath, shows me something new and/or unexpected.

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

A: With our online form, someone occasionally forgets to include their email address.

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

A: Cover letters should be brief and professional. No spoilers. Ever. We're serious. We only want to know a few previous publications, and if anything in your training relates to the writing of the story. This information is considered only after the fact. The story is read and measured how it stands alone.

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

A: Quality writing often shows within the first few paragraphs, if not before. We read at least the first few pages, and if the story hasn't evolved by then, we're done.

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

A: A story may be good and publishable, but some consideration is given to the balance of the current and past issues -- have we published anything like it. We occasionally ask for rewrites or a title change, but only if time allows.

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

A: My pitbull stares at me with eyes asking, "Are you STILL on the computer?" and eventually settles to the floor, snoring. And I read submissions into the night.

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

A: For no more reason than to save natural resources, publishers should provide an electronic submission option.
Offering digital content is a great way for publishers to reach more readers. Every format is not necessary, but at least some html, pdf or epub stories. Quality of design and readability should be preserved in each format.
The future of the publishing industry will see a larger proportion of electronic readership, and print books are likely to become niche markets and limited editions -- which is no strange territory for genre publishers.
Three-lobed has been an online magazine since 1999, which saved print costs at the beginning. This was a difficult decision, as books are our first love: the design, the feel, and the reading experience — hence our annual print anthology. And the antho gets a single printing based on pre-orders only, so no leftovers. Our submission process has always been electronic. We may offer other electronic formats soon.