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Editor Interview: The Festival Review

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

A: The brightest new writers

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

A: Publication: The Paris Review
Publisher: Basic Books

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

A: Some of our favorite prose writers include American staples from Ernest Hemingway to Cormac McCarthy, as well as contemporary novelists in the vein of Yaa Gyasi, Jonathan Franzen, and Colson Whitehead. The poets that inspire us include such contemporary masters as Terrance Hayes and Anne Carson.

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

A: Our team sets us apart. The Festival Review boasts a crew of talented, curious, and driven editors whose goal is the publication and promotion of the brightest new writers working today, authors whose work is smart, clever, and above all a good story.

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

A: Read our previous issues to get a sense of our magazine's style, and write something that you're proud to publish.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: The ideal submission to our magazine is smart, clever, and ultimately surprising.

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

A: Two primary issues occur more than others: going significantly over the maximum word count, and submitting via email instead of the the proper submissions channels we have in place.

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

A: As far as cover letters are concerned, the shorter the better. We prefer 1-2 sentences, including a few previous publications.

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

A: We read every submission we receive thoroughly, but we can usually tell early on if a prose piece is not right for us. For poetry, this rule of thumb doesn't necessarily hold in the same way, as the best piece could be the last one in a submission of multiple poems.

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

A: Every accepted piece is reviewed by multiple editors before an acceptance is sent out. We also double-check with the author that the piece has not appeared anywhere else, online or in print, before we publish.

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

A: We strive to be as thorough as possible in our evaluation of submitted work. In our review of any particular piece, we have one of our editors carefully read and evaluate the work and assign it an internal grade. Depending on the assessment, certain pieces will be delivered to a second editor for review and given an additional internal evaluation. In some cases, a third or fourth editor will also read and assess a given piece, depending on the situation.

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

A: Without electronic submissions, the world of modern literary publishing would be quite difficult. Our magazine, in particular, depends on electronic submissions almost exclusively for all of our publishing opportunities. The ability to receive and evaluate written work with a team spread out from New York to Los Angeles is pivotal to our success. We also encourage authors to embrace whatever modern technologies will aid them in their career. For some, that's dedicating significant time to social media, while others devote more of their focus to electronic submissions. We believe in the marriage of both traditional and modern publishing practices to promote the best voices in contemporary literature.

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

A: The amount of editing required will always depend on the piece itself. That being said, we consider ourselves rigorous editors and spend considerable time with accepted pieces to help the author craft the best version of their work, which may entail substantive line editing and structural edits. Every accepted piece is proofread repeatedly before being published.

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

A: Moving forward, we plan to nominate selected published writers' work for awards, whether national or international, such as the Pushcart Prize.