Skip to Content

Editor Interview: The Writers Circle Anthology Series

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

A: Awesome anthologies!

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

A: Invisible Publishing is one of the big ones that my editing partner and I both really admire. I don't think we've actually read a book they've published that we haven't at least remotely enjoyed. You can tell that everything about their process is so important to them. Whether it is finding the right voices and stories, or it's the covers and internals that their designer Megan pours her heart into. It's no secret that I truly admire this publisher and based a lot of the foundations of Prime Press around the example that they set
A publisher that I've recently had on my radar is Vivek Shraya's imprint VS Books. I read Shut Up You're Pretty by Téa Mutonji and it blew me away. I think I'll be keeping an eye on this imprint for sure.

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

A: Teri Vlassopolous is one of my big favourites. I loved her collection of stories called Bats or Swallows and her novel Escape Plans (both books published by Invisible) which was expanded from one of the stories in the collection. I liked them so much that I even wrote a paper on them in my undergrad. I think that Teri is just so good at depicting unpleasant situations pleasantly. Like, she makes trauma and grief just seem so normal. I've got other collections that contain some of Teri's work, and even a nice little chapbook that I still need to dive into.
Téa Mutonji has recently become a favourite writer of mine. I think I love her work in Shut Up You're Pretty for a lot of the same reasons that I love Teri's work. Téa is writing on subject matter that might usually cause a panic attack for me, but I feel comfort instead. I'm so excited about what she has to offer to the literary landscape in the future.

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

A: Since we are such a small publishing venture (just the two editors), I think we try to be a lot more transparent about what's going on. It means that sometimes we might get a little overwhelmed and experience some delays, but we try to be open with our contributors about why this is happening. We want to make sure everyone involved knows what's going on.

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

A: This is cliche, but maybe read the other stuff we have published to get an idea of what we like? The first anthology is sold everywhere, and the second book is coming out on March 31st, 2020. Our anthologies so far have contained a real big variety in writing styles and genres.
We're changing things up in the future, as one of our upcoming anthology projects is going to focus specifically on horror stories for an age demographic of 9-12-year-olds.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: I've found that sometimes people don't really pay attention to the theme or guidelines for our anthologies when they submit to us, and that's sort of upsetting. So, I guess I really like a submission that acknowledges our theme, or parts of the submission guidelines. It makes me feel they care enough to consider the theme before submitting, and know what's expected of them in the submission process.

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

A: This answer kind of shares some qualities with the one on what an ideal submission looks like, but again I'd say ignoring the theme or submission guidelines. Some of that might be the fact that our theme so far has been writing around a single word, so it's a little more subjective, but I think that at times this gets completely ignored. In the future, I'd like to see if I could find the most effective way to make sure that people can more consistently get in line with the submission guidelines. I think some of the onus is definitely on me for this.

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

A: Not really. I mean, it's nice to get to know the author a bit, so I mostly just care about a small description of them and maybe their past work.

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

A: It depends. Some pieces I'm not sure about, so I stick with it and read the entire piece to make sure. Others pull me in and I don't even notice I've been dragged through pages of story, and there are even a few that I've stopped reading a few pages in because I could tell it wasn't right for our books.

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

A: Just a single read from my co-editor and I. We write down our "Yes" and "No" picks separately and then come together for a meeting. It's great when we agree, but then we have discussions on ones where we differ in opinion and eventually come to a final decision. I've been known to reread sections of a piece that we aren't sure about, but never the entire piece more than once during the submissions phase.

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

A: Right now, we do everything over email. So, I generally take the emails that come in and group them into a folder for submissions. We generally have an Accepted, Maybe, and Rejected folder that we work with beyond the initial one. This lets us move submissions about as we compare the results from our individual reads. Would be nice to have a submissions software someday, aha.

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

A: Very important. I mean, we only publish traditionally right now, with paperback copies of the books. We tried to do an eBook for the first book, but the thing is a nightmare. Since it's just Abigail and I, for now, it's not something I really have the time for and I surely don't have the cash flow to hire someone. I do all of the manuscript formatting and cover design on my own, so I wouldn't be able to handle that much more. Beyond that though, we only do email submissions, we have a Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and we do POD so that we don't need to have boxes of unsold books in our tiny apartment. A lot of the tech and software out there helps us to operate on even the most basic of levels.

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

A: Currently, we go through one round of edits and then we let everyone take a peek at the final manuscript for formatting reasons, etc. The one round of edits is mostly to check for the odd spelling mistake or areas where sentence structure could be improved. Then the final manuscript review is because sometimes the transition from 8.5" by 11" Word document to smaller pages with book formatting doesn't always translate well.

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

A: Currently, no. That sounds like a good idea though, and it's something I might need to look into in the future.