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Editor Interview: Sponge

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

A: Australasia/pacific scifi

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

A: Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Margaret Atwood, Philip K Dick

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

A: We publish science fiction from New Zealand, Australian, and Pacific authors. Currently there aren't very many journals in this space and it can be hard to get science fiction about Australasia and the Pacific published

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

A: Do it! We endeavour to give feedback to all those who submit so you will never be left in the dark about why we did or did not pick your piece. Lots of authors have resubmitted pieces to us after working on some of the feedback we gave them and had their stories published. We like to think of our authors as our family. Our relationship with you is really important and we strive to do our best to add what we can to the relationship even if we can't publish a particular piece.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: I like submissions that are intriguing and different. That play with form or have layers to them that reveal themselves the more often you read them.
At the same time, sometimes a really simple story told well is the thing that makes me excited. Especially if it feels like it is coming from a Australasian or Pacific voice. It's great when people explore classic scifi stories or tropes set in this side of the world

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

A: I would say most often it's sending stories that aren't complete. They are missing and beginning or a middle or - most often - an end.
I don't mind this too much - I think it's a natural part of sending off an early draft of a story. I encourage those authors to work on the story a little bit and resubmit. They often have good ideas, characters, and arcs, but are too fresh from the keyboard.

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

A: I tend to ask nothing but a name, though I sort of wish I knew more sometimes.
It's really nice that we get our authors to record audio of their stories because I get a little window into who they are.
I think a good story speaks for itself though, and the reader usually doesn't know anything about the author so I think it makes sense for it to be that way for the editor too.

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

A: Most of the time I read the whole piece. We don't allow very long stories on the site so it's rare I get a story long enough to justify not reading to the end.
Usually I can tell within a few paragraphs whether a story is going to be good or not. I tend to shortlist 10 or so stories for each issue and then pick about 6 from that list.

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

A: I think this is super important. With Sponge I wanted to make it as accessible as possible so we have a highly designed PDF, plus an ePub, Mobi, and audio version of the journal, as well as the website itself. It takes a bit of work but it gives our readers a lot of flexibility

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

A: Usually I do not do very many edits. I will suggest small changes and parse them by the author. Occasionally I may suggest a large change, such as a different ending, but this is rare

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

A: I have nominated stories in the journal for Australasian prizes before