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Editor Interview: Flash Fiction Online

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

A: Flash--500 to 1000 words

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

A: Flash Fiction Online publishes only stories in the 500-1000 range, and we are unique in that we accept work across both speculative and literary genres. We want stories that showcase the dynamic work that writers are doing in this niche of "short-short" fiction, and we pay our authors professional rates.

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

A: Read the guidelines, and read an issue or two to know the sorts of stories you're up against.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submission would be one that is dynamic -- that grabs us from the first line and compels us to keep reading. We are looking for complete stories with crisp prose, well-developed characters, compelling plots, and satisfying resolutions. We want stories that engage our minds and emotions.

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

A: Please remember to omit all identifying author information!

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

A: Because our First Readers evaluate stories without access to the author's name or cover letter, lists of previous publications in the cover letter don't really matter.
If the submission explores the perspective of a character from a marginalized group, we appreciate knowing if the story reflects the author's experience as someone who is also part of that group (#ownvoices).

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

A: I can generally get a solid impression from the first paragraph, but I also have had stories take me by surprise, so as long as the prose shows some skill, I will try to read to the end. Generally, though, if it can't hold my attention, that's a good sign that it won't hold our readers' attention, either.

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

A: Our submission system involves a few steps:
1) A small group of our First Readers read, vote, and comment on each story
2) Our Senior Editors pull stories from those the First Readers championed to be included in winnowing
3) In winnowing, the entire staff reads and discusses these "top-tier" stories
4) The Editor-in-Chief makes the final selections.

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

A: I love a good paper book, but particularly with short fiction (and "short-short" fiction, like flash), it's important for publishers to adapt to the changing ways that modern readers are consuming media. Flash fiction is the perfect format for a quick read on your phone while you're waiting for a bus or stuck in line somewhere, and making our publication widely accessible is very important to us.

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

A: Yes! We nominate for the Pushcart Prize, and we nominate speculative fiction works for various "Best of" anthologies. Flash fiction is often overlooked in awards--a mindset we'd like to change!