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Editor Interview: Porter House Review

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

A: Bold and incisive writing

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

A: American Short Fiction, Black Warrior Review, Booth, Copper Nickel, Foglifter, Joyland Magazine, Passages North, Split Lip Magazine, The Offing

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

A: Bryan Washington, Jesmyn Ward, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, Yiyun Li, Melissa Febos, Karen Russell, Danielle Evans, Stuart Dybek, Rachel Cusk, Leslie Jamison, Ada Limón, Morgan Parker, Danez Smith, Taneum Bambrick, Heather Christle, Garth Greenwell

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

A: We enjoy work that honors traditional form, but also appreciate writing that blends and bends aspects of genre and form. We also cherish the art of curation and seek to publish work we're truly passionate about and invested in, which is why we typically publish fewer pieces over the course of a season or year. Our hope is that readers enjoy spending time with our carefully selected stories, essays, and poems.

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

A: Like most publications, we recommend perusing our journal's archive to see what we've published before. In particular, it's helpful to see what we've published most recently.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Our ideal submitter has carefully read our submission guidelines, included a professional and inviting cover letter, and has submitted a piece that excites and intrigues our readers from the get-go—the writing is polished and inventive, and the piece feels like it was always destined to appear in Porter House Review.

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

A: Visiting our Submittable page is the best way to stay updated about what the journal is accepting, as we often open and alternate different submission calls throughout the year. Submitters also occasionally submit work in the wrong genre; these submissions often go unread or are rejected outright. Our best advice: read our submission guidelines carefully and follow our Submittable page.

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

A: While we appreciate learning more about submitters—including their publication history—in the end, we care most about the energy and quality of the writing. However, we do find cover letters to be helpful tools for creating a more inclusive and expansive catalogue, which our journal is committed to now more than ever.

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

A: We try to read each submission carefully, but if it doesn't catch our attention after a few paragraphs or lines, we can usually assume it's not right for us. Luckily, every submitted piece receives at least two reads from two separate readers or editors, so there's always room for further conversation about pieces under consideration.

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

A: Typically, all submitted work receives at least 2 preliminary reads before moving to the next and final stage of review by the main section editor, who ultimately decides if a piece is accepted.

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

A: Our section editors monitor the submissions we receive on a daily, but more commonly, weekly basis as they delegate new submissions to our reader teams for review. In addition, editors frequently communicate with upcoming contributors to complete publication contracts and exchange edits, usually in coordination with the journal's copy editor. Finally, editors often collaborate with the journal's public relations team on a weekly basis to plan promotion efforts for upcoming releases.

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

A: Porter House Review prizes accessibility and continues to work toward creating a more accessible and inclusive platform. In that spirit, we embrace new publishing tools and technologies because we believe they allow more writers and artists to participate in community. For instance, using social media platforms has allowed us to further promote the writers we publish and host online readings with writers near and far.

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

A: Our editors work closely with writers to edit and prepare their pieces for publication in their best form. Depending on the piece, editors may suggest more substantial editing, but often they merely suggest minor structural or line edits. Once a writer has reviewed and approved these preliminary edits, the piece is then copyedited and sent back to the writer for final approval before publication.

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

A: Yes—we nominate work for most major awards literary magazines are eligible for. Thus far, work in Porter House Review has been recognized by Best of the Net, Best Microfiction, and PEN America. Porter House Review was also selected as Best Debut Magazine by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) in 2020.