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Editor Interview: Abandon Journal

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

A: Art created with abandon.

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

A: We focus heavily on the design of our journal, and we try to make it visually appealing and interesting to read online. We have several pieces that are somewhat interactive, which takes advantage of the online environment. Also we put in a lot of time and energy into sourcing the artwork that accompanies each piece, as well as the cover.

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

A: Everyone says read the journal to see what we publish. But since we want to publish work that has been created with “abandon” (see answer to next question), it shouldn’t really matter to you what we’ve published in the past. After all, we don’t really want work that we’ve already seen before. That being said, please do read and enjoy the journal just because it’s a good thing to do.
As for the best advice to the submitter, make sure that your piece fits within the theme (at least tangentially) of the issue. It’s probably not the best idea to just send us something you’ve sent to every other journal, because even if it kicks ass, we probably won’t accept it if it doesn’t fit within our theme.
Also, although we’re still a really new journal, we get thousands of submissions so our acceptance rate is under 2%. This means that you should only submit your absolutely best, most polished work. Proofread it, fix the errors, and so on. Standard advice, but still important.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: We want pieces that have been created wherein the author simply doesn’t care what other people will think about it. They’re not trying to impress, or trying to make a certain audience happy, they’re just writing what they want to write, or saying what they want to say. Even if some people won’t like it, or some people won’t get it.
We also like work that “abandons form,” which can mean something really experimental, or something weird and odd that nobody has done before.

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

A: Our guidelines and word counts are strict, so if it says 7,500 words, or 5 poems, that means don’t send us 8,000 words, or 6 poems. We also don’t accept multiple submissions from the same person (we do, of course, accept simultaneous submissions), so please don’t submit in different genres at the same time. We are a small group of volunteers and we have to manage our workload, which, as noted elsewhere in the interview, is vast.

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

A: Cover letters are fun to read when someone tells us how they found out about Abandon Journal, or tells us a little about themselves, but they in no way impact the judgment of a piece. We don’t read blind, technically, but we also don’t take into consideration someone’s previous publication credits, either. So if you’ve published a lot or a little, we’re happy to read your submission!

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 as much as possible of every piece before making a decision to reject it, though sometimes we can tell if it’s not going to work out after giving it a real and fair shake. That being said, if a piece contains offensive or hateful language, it’s almost certainly an automatic no, without question. That simply isn’t the piece for us.

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

A: We’ve seen absolutely great work that doesn’t fit the theme in any way (or, at least, in any way we can tell). So we do evaluate the quality of a written work, but we also make sure it’ll fit in the cohesive gestalt of each issue, and fits the mission of the journal itself.

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

A: We’re an online-only journal (for the moment), so modern technology is really important to us. We of course take electronic submissions, and we promote everything we do on a variety of social media sites. We’re talking about doing a POD print publication down the line, so there’s no problem with that, but we’re not sure that the traditional route of printing 10,000 copies of something ahead of time just to have them pulped in a few years is, for us (a free, and free-to-submit, journal), something that is economically viable.

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

A: Generally speaking, we do not edit a ton of the work we accept prior to publication. There have been times that we’ve asked for a line change or two, and there have been a couple of pieces that we felt were 95% there but needed a 5% edit, but for the most part, much of the work stands as the writer or artist created it. That being said, the author absolutely has final approval and final say over any edit, and we will not publish anything that the author has not approved.

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

A: Absolutely. We nominate for anything and everything we can, as long as we have the great work to showcase.