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Editor Interview: The Aryamati Poetry Prize

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

A: Political poetry/ stories

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

A: streetcake magazine (Ed Nikki Dudley) is very dedicated to promoting and uplifting her experimental writers, increasing their confidence.
Butcher's Dog (Ed Jo Clement) has both high production quality and attention to detail.

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

A: My favourite writers (outside of Fly on the Wall authors!) are Miranda July and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - both very different in style!
Artists I like Tracey Emin, Francis Bacon and David Hockney.

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

A: I don't know another publishing press which applies an ethical standard to every part of the process. From our selection processes, to our pay, to our paper quality and shipping practices, we hold ourselves to a standard of ethics, sustainability and accessibility. We believe that words have the power to effect change which is why we want to publish works which are socially-conscious or politically-engaged.

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

A: If submitting to the Aryamati Prize, try and make it as personal as possible. Specific focus in poetry is a wonderful thing, especially when writing on a theme of peace and social change, because that means something different to each person. I highly recommend you read our books as it is very unlikely you'll have an understanding of the style and content we are seeking if you do not do this.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The idea submission for the Aryamati Prize has...
- Metaphors with dual meaning
- A sense of atmosphere, likely via engagement of the 5 senses
- An awareness of line breaks for form and effect
- A distinct voice and interesting language choices

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

A: The Aryamati Prize is judged by two women, which can be seen via our Masthead, however we always get 'Dear Sir...' emails!
People often submit too early, even though opening dates to the competition are displayed in bold at the top of the web page!
The only other usual thing is for a writer to contact me after a month to ask about their outcome, when the competition has not yet closed. I respond personally to all, but only after deciding the competition as a whole, which requires reading of all entries alongside each other.

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

A: Cover letters do matter to me - but not essays. Essays of personal achievement or poem explanations actually put me off!
I would love to have a reason why you want to be published by FOTW Press and where you have been previously published (your top 3).
You can chat about a FOTW book you've read and enjoyed as extra if relevant.
That's it: let the writing do the talking!

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

A: If a novel, I request more based on a 10 page sample.
If a short story collection, the first 3 stories usually - but I will read all, as I sometimes give individual story contracts.
If a poetry collection, the first 5 poems usually and then I'll read ahead to see about the theme progressions and the closing poems to see if there is promise.

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

A: For book publication, we usually have 3 digital proofing sessions between myself and author, then a physical proof before the run.

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

A: I like to allocate an uninterrupted afternoon to reading submissions - not always easy with emails and existing projects for the Press!
I'll colour code manuscripts and record why I liked it.
In the end, I'll have a google drive with my maybes and I'll share the files with my team members so that we can discuss.

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

A: I feel very important to do both to some degree, for accessibility to all!
We wouldn't have the vast international readership we do, without social media.
We also use POD for international accessibility and to ensure we don't over-print and save paper.

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

A: We provide substantive editing, line editing, copy editing, and basic proofreading. The author does get to approve the final edits and reject any changes they disagree with, aside from grammar and spelling changes.

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

A: We do - we ask the author if there are regional awards we may not know about, and we also enter our authors into 1-3 prizes per author (as this often depends on Press budgets).