Editor Interview: A River & Sound Review

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

A: Chuck Norris in Lit Form

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

A: Ploughshares, Bellingham Review, Brevity, Gettysburg Review, Mid-American Review, Natural Bridge, New England Review, Water~Stone Review, Red Hen Press, New Issues Press. The list goes on and continues to grow…with one exception: The Georgia Review.

Unless Stephen Corey wants to publish pieces from our entire editorial board. Then we totally dig those talented, smarty pants.

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

A: You know who isn’t my favorite poet? Jewel.
And you know which author our fiction editors don't like? Mother F-ing Snooki.

Realistically, it’s much better for our potential submitters to answer this one. If they don’t have favorites they can name off the top of their heads, odds are they won’t be a good fit for our journal.

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

A: We organize live entertainment shows available via podcast – think “Prairie Home Companion” with a Pacific Northwest bent.

And our staff is crazy sexy…like Christopher Walken sexy.

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

A: We love to be Alfred Hitchcocked.

If there are birds, there better be millions of them. And they better get into our brains one way or another.

If there is a rocking chair, it better hold a surprise.

If you take us to the French Riviera, try to seduce us. If that fails, turn to robbery. Or vice versa.

If you are going to stare into someone’s window, you better do it until you’ve convinced yourself, and us, that there has been a murder. And you better be dating a supermodel.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Our ideal submission manages to follow our guidelines, stun us with its literary brilliance, and come with a million dollar donation.

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

A: The most common error is submitters emailing us their work instead of using Submittable – our submission management system.

The funniest error, however, was when one submitter addressed their cover letter to one of our contributors. It was a David Lynch moment for me.

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

A: Social security number and birth weight should do. While you’re at it, might as well throw in bank account information and shoe size. We love to have our egos stroked and we will always take free milkshakes. Oh, and make sure to include titles of any and all papers you wrote that your mom hung on the fridge. These are the important things.

Less important things: contact information, short bio, and whether your submissions are simultaneous.

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

A: We read every piece to the end AND can generally tell if a piece isn't right for us within the first few stanzas/paragraphs. How's that for talent? Sometimes I can even tell just based on font.

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

A: Each genre consists of multiple co-editors and decisions are made within teams; we have no formal Editor-in-Chief. So the editors spend a lot of time discussing, dissecting, critiquing, and arguing over pieces. When all editors agree, the piece is accepted. If no agreement can be reached, we thumb war.

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

A: Let me just paste an email correspondence to describe what happens behind the scenes:
Co-Editor #1: Hey, I kind of like this piece. I hate to describe it this way but there are quaint moments that may elevate the poem.
Co-Editor #2: Gee, that's nice. So you're a quaint guy now?
Co-Editor #3: Yeah, nope. Not buying it. You, and the poem, are not quaint.
Co-Editor #1: Seriously, there is a quiet confidence to the entire poem that works.
Co-Editor #2: You know what I'm not confident of? Your ability to edit poetry.
Co-Editor #3: And your mom.
Co-Editor #2: So we are rejecting that poem.
Co-Editor #3: And your face.

Ad infinitum.

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

A: We believe that computers must be hugged. Make out with your phone as often as possible. And slip into something more comfortable for your iPad. It’s the only way to keep the relationship alive.