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Editor Interview: Chronically Lit

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

A: chronic illness writing

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

A: Electric Literature
The Rumpus

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

A: Sonya Huber, Leslie Jamison, Esme Weijun Wang

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

A: Chronic illness doesn't have to be the focus of each piece. Instead, it can permeate the background, impact the writing's logic, or just be there, as it often is in real life.

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

A: Please read some of the site first, along with all of the submission guidelines.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: I love submissions that don't adhere to the tropes we often see on TV and in movies. We don't need to feel sorry for your characters because they have chronic illness. We don't need to be inspired by them or view them as "brave." There doesn't need to be a cure or happy ending.

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

A: Submitting writing that's unrelated to chronic illness.

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

A: It genuinely doesn't matter. I make decisions based on the writing, not the writer's accolades. Whether you've never been published or you've been published 100 times, I will make my decision based on the piece you submit.

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

A: That varies. Sometimes I know fairly early on that a piece is not a good fit. Oftentimes, I'm compelled to read the entire piece. If a piece feels close, but not quite there, an editor will offer to work with the writer to help improve the piece if that interests them.

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

A: Good writing that most closely aligns with our mission is most likely to be accepted.

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

A: We used to use a submission manager, but because of costs, we now read all submissions via email. I work alongside volunteer editors. Tip: If you follow up on your email submission, that moves it to the top of the inbox, and increases the amount of time before it is read, since we go through them from oldest to newest.

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

A: Very important! As much as I love the U.S. Postal Service (long live USPS!), accepting submissions on paper feels very outdated. It wastes time on both ends, costs more money, and isn't as eco-friendly. I don't understand why any literary magazine would only accept paper submissions.

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

A: That varies. I've published work with almost no changes at all. I've also published work that looks very different from what was submitted. If I expect that I will want major revisions, I ask the writer if they're interested in that prior to accepting the piece. I think it's fair to share expectations upfront with each writer so we are on the same page.

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

A: Not yet, but I plan to!