Editor Interview: Dodging The Rain

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

A: Poetry with an edge.

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

A: Rattle, The Irish Times, Salmon Poetry and Tramp Press.

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

A: Simon Armitage, JK Rowling and Donal Ryan.

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

A: I think we are part of the new breed of Irish journals, particularly online, that are open and accessible for all. We prioritise the quality of the work we publish for our readers, thus are happy to consider previously published work (once contributors own the rights). It's about the quality of the work we bring to our readers, not where a writer (or their work) has appeared in the past. One of our selling points is that, as an online journal, we have a freer publication schedule. While we publish an issue every other month, we also publish 'flash posts' every week to maintain interest in our publication and, of course, to bring our readers engaging content.

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

A: Read our About page for guidance on what we're looking for, and our most recent posts. A major 'No' is contributors sending their work to the wrong place, and/or work that bears no resemblence to what we tend to publish. Also, please send us lots of work. Some contributors send us just one poem to consider. Sending more work (based on our guidelines, of course) increases your odds of success. We ask for 'up to 10' poems because we like to publish 3-5 poems per post.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Our ideal submissions are those that follow our submission guidelines (see our Submissions page), and are engaging from page 1.

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

A: As mentioned, they submit to the wrong place, or submit poems in separate documents, or send in a generic submission (i.e. one not specific to what we are looking for).

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

A: We ask for 'brief bios' -- short introductions to the author with relevant reference to any major credits they have, awards they've received etc. Some personal information is fine if relevant to the work submitted (or interesting/humorous!), but our posts are always about the writing, not contributor bios.

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

A: I try to read every line I receive; but what I wish to receive are poems that grab me early on and don't let go. If I don’t want to read on, I imagine the more casual WordPress reader won’t either.

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

A: Occasionally I will query a word or phrase with a contributor if I don't understand it and/or worry that it's something our readers won't understand, but generally our pieces are published 'as is' -- allowing for minor modifications to maintain Dodging The Rain's overall style -- e.g. formatting, dedications etc.

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

A: When I receive a submission, I skim-read it first to make an initial assessment as to whether I'm likely to publish it. If I think it's something we might publish, I flag it to remind myself that it's a quality piece. Soon after, I review all recent submissions in full. It’s rare that I change my mind on an unflagged piece. Generally these have the wrong style/voice for Dodging The Rain and while some may be good pieces in their own way, they just aren't for me.

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

A: Very important -- I think we should encourage writers to submit to us by making it as easy as is feasible for them to submit their work.

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

A: As mentioned, if we've accepted the piece, very little or nothing. If the piece needs major editing, it's unlikely to be accepted.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes; we nominate contributors for the Best of the Net anthology every year.