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Editor Interview: Five South

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

A: Good stories.

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

A: Paris Review

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

A: Ray Bradbury, Charles Bukowski

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

A: Our distinctly West Coast meet East Coast vibe. We're low key and rough around the edges, but sophisticated and elegant.

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

A: We love reading stories that make you cry, teaches you something, and aren't afraid to rumble. We want smart and inclusive work that takes chances and doesn't follow the crowd.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: If Ray Bradbury and Charles Bukowski were writing partners.

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

A: Nothing. Five South submitters are intelligent, can read directions, and are often familiar with the industry's submissions standards.

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

A: Cover letters are fun, but not necessary. We like work to stand on it's own, but it's also nice to get to know the author. Previous credits do not make or break a submission.

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

A: After a while, you get a feel for where a piece is going. If a story doesn't hook me in the first few pages, I have to move on. I do make every effort to read every piece end to end on a case by case basis. First and foremost, I start reading with an open mind. You never know where I story might lead.

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

A: This depends on the story. If a piece really captures my imagination and needs work, I'll contact the author and workshop it. Developmental editing is one of my favorite things to do.

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

A: I check our Submittable daily for new submissions. I prioritize Quick Response submissions and work my way through submissions received by date. I put pieces into categories (opt to accept, opt to decline, etc.) and do some sorting and makes notes as I read. From there, I make final decisions and notify the authors either way. If I'm unable to make a decision right away, I'll let the authors know so they can decide to wait or move on.

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

A: Online submissions and social media are a necessary evil. They bring convenience, but have also democratized the industry which has led to a saturated market. It's harder to be seen. You also lose something when everything is cold and electronic. There's something magical about holding a submission in your hand and making notes in the margins. I believe in embracing technology without losing sight of traditions and warmth.

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

A: It depends on the piece. Most of what we receive is in good order and requires little to no developmental editing. We've been very lucky.

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

A: We're just starting out and yes, we will be nominating work. Absolutely!