Skip to Content

Editor Interview: CafeLit

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

A: amazing short stories

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

A: Unthank, Cut, Bloomsbury,

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

A: Will Self, Maeve Binchy, Charles Dickens, Aidan Chambers. Neil Gaiman,

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

A: The fact that each story goes with a drink and is therefore suitable for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon break.

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

A: Read the guidelines carefully. We publish every day and publish the best story submitted on that day. All things being equal we'll choose the one that is the most helpful to us. For instance today we had three equally enjoyable stories so we picked the one that was formatted correctly.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: It will be between 50 and 3000 words long. It will have the title at the top, the by-line underneath and the suggested drink under that, all centered. The text will be single-spaced with paragraphs indented. It will contain a third-person bio, not more than fifty words long and a link to a blog or web site. The story will be well structured and have a believable and satisfying ending.

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

A: They miss out the bio or the ending is weak.

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

A: The most important points about their writing. Hence the 50 word bio.

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

A: As our submissions are on the short side we tend to read all of each submission. If we have a long story and I'm not grabbed by it after the first scroll down I may reject it.

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

A: If it's publishable we also consider whether it contrasts well with recent publications. If we've published several dark stories we would now like something a bit lighter. if we've recently published some very short pieces, we'd now like something a little longer. We also like to publish seasonal pieces but we need these at least a week in advance.

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

A: I'm also a writer so I write in the mornings and edit in the afternoon and sometimes the evening. Decisions about CafeLit are normally made about 2 p.m.

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

A: We use all of that: e-submission, print on demand and social networking. We don't in fact accept hard copy submissions. We use print on demand proudly. Why print a book before it's sold? Most of our advertising is through social media.

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

A: Once for the CafeLit web site. This is a simultaneous copy-edit / proof read. Twice if it's for one of our anthologies - a copy -edit followed by a proof read. Three times for novels and single author collections: structural edit, copy / line-edit, proof-read. In fact, we proof read each full book three times. This is done by the author, the original editor and one other editor in-house.

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

A: A few. We'd like to do more.