Editor Interview: Riggwelter
Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: What we like, any style.
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: BOAAT, Copper Canyon Press, Glass, Ghost City Press, Indigo Dreams, L'Éphémère Review, Picaroon Poetry, Platypus Press, Prole, Rust + Moth, Three Drops Press, Thrush.
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: I don't think it's particularly useful to list the dead.
Poets: Simon Armitage, Kate Garrett, Helen Mort, Claudia Rankine, Richard Siken, Danez Smith, Ocean Vuong.
Fiction Writers: Margaret Atwood, Jennifer Egan, Siri Hustvedt, China Miéville, Laline Paull, Jeff Vandermeer
Visual Artists: Chiara Bautista, Roberto Ferri, Tom Gauld, Dawid Planeta, David Schermann, Christine Wu
Essayists: Hanif Abdurraqib, Roxane Gay, Owen Jones, Alice Lesperance, Mike Rugnetta.
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: I don't mess about with the turn around times. There's only me on staff and I tend to read things as soon as I see them in the inbox and get back to submitters straight away. Generally speaking, most people get a response within 24 hours. I also wouldn't turn something down that I like because it doesn't "fit with the aesthetic of the journal". Riggwelter is unthemed and I consider it my job as an editor to put together a coherent issue out of the pieces of work I've collected for it. If I like a piece, regardless of style or subject matter it is in. The result is a journal that offers a very diverse selection of work each month.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Nothing you can send me is too weird. Send me your most experimental stuff - I love that sort of thing - and don't apologise for it. Don't send me what you think fits with what Riggwelter has previously published, send me what you would like to have published. Don't hold back.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: The ideal submission includes a cover letter, by which I mean a brief hello, and a request for feedback if the submitter would like some. The submission is attached as a .doc or a .jpeg and there is a third person biography of 75 words or less included in the body of the e-mail. The submitter does not misgender me (my pronouns are they/them and my title is Mx. or Editor, all of which is information available on our website). They don't throw a hissy fit if their work is declined.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: They think Riggwelter responds "too quickly". If you submit to a journal with a turnaround time of 30 days, despite the illusion, your work has not been considered for 30 days. It's been considered probably for about fifteen minutes, total, and the rest of the time it spent waiting in a queue. I can guarantee you that your work has my full attention for that time and if I reply in fifteen minutes, it is because I have seen your work and made a decision and didn't want to waste any of your time, whether it was an acceptance or a rejection. If it is a rejection, this frees up your work for submission elsewhere, which is my way of treating you with respect. I don't want to sit on your work and leave you in limbo unnecessarily.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: A brief biography of 75 words or less, containing anything you want Riggwelter and its readers to know will suffice. Please let me know if you use a pen name or if any of your work has previous publication credits. Anything else is unnecessary, but if you want to tell me anything else, you can do.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: Unless it obviously doesn't adhere to our guidelines (i.e. about length or language), I read a piece all the way through at least once.
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: None. It's currently just me on staff, so if I like a piece, I submit it. If I do like a piece, I generally read it a couple of times just for fun.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: I'm currently working on my MA and not in employment, so generally the first thing I do is check the Riggwelter inbox. I then go about my day writing my own work, doing some reading, updating Riggwelter's social media accounts. If I have anything scheduled to go up on Riggwelter (an issue, an essay, a review), I generally put it up after lunchtime and if I have an issue to assemble that gets done in the evening - assuming I'm not out.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: Very important. If you're not online and don't take online submissions, your journal is an old dinosaur. You know what happened to dinosaurs. It's all about accessibility and reaching the widest popular audience and technology like the internet is the main stay of mass communication.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: I don't edit work, aside from proof reading. I do a grammar and spelling check (although I don't change it over to UK English if they us US English etc.) and I put it into Riggwelter's style sheet. That's about it. If I thought it needed any other edits before I would publish it, then I wouldn't accept it. If people want feedback on their piece and to resubmit an edited version later, that's very much their decision.
Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?
A: Yes! We've nominated for the Pushcart Prize so far, but in future we also want to nominate for the Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions and the Forward Prize for best individual poem.