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Editor Interview: Once Upon A Crocodile

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

A: Funny stories & poems

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

A: Defenestration magazine, Quill & Crow Publishing, Right Hand Pointing, Unbroken Journal, One Sentence Poems

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

A: Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Tom Holt, Dean Koontz, Philip Pullman, Ursula K Le Guin, Roald Dahl, Spike Milligan, Stephen King

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

A: The e-zine contains humorous pieces from any genre (fantasy, sci-fi, mystery / thrillers, even horror) as well as humorous poetry. It is also the digital personification of a sentient crocodile, hence the title.

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

A: Please follow the guidelines and send work pasted into the body of an email. Attachments can carry viruses. Also proofread your story a few times so that it makes sense… and if it isn’t funny or humorous in some way, don’t send it to us. Thank you.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Either a piece of fiction (flash fiction or a short story up to 6000 words) or 5-6 poems no longer than 45 lines, edited and proofread to the best of your writing ability, which are funny. I like narrative voices similar to Terry Pratchett’s, Tom Holt’s, or Neil Gaiman’s, but you don’t have to sound like them. Just be witty, absurd, sarcastic, irreverent and downright silly.

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

A: They send me flippin’ attachments! Or they send something that isn’t funny at all.

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

A: Lists of previous writing credits don’t matter. I like to see work from both newbies and veterans in this business. A cover letter is a nice touch, though.

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

A: I always read pieces to the end and mull things over for a few weeks before picking the stuff I like best.

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

A: First it’s read for story / plot quality and whether it makes me laugh. Then it’s read again for typos / spelling mistakes / punctuation and grammar errors.

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

A: The e-zine has had eight issues so far, so we aren’t widely known. I open to submissions twice a year, once in summer and once in winter, and I usually close the subs window after 2 - 3 months. I post calls for submissions on various Facebook writing groups / pages, and every morning I check the submissions inbox, read everything that’s been sent to me and send off responses acknowledging that I’ve received them. Closer to the end of the subs window I start picking out what stories and poems I like - usually six or seven that work well together, and make edits in red font. I send acceptance emails after the subs window ends and ask the writers to check my editing suggestions and approve them. Then it’s on to the illustrating - I have to admit there’s only me working here!

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

A: I think electronic / online submissions and traditional paperback publishing are equally important, though electronic submissions and online publishing are easier, faster, and cheaper to do, which is why we are an e-zine. Social networking is how I get authors and poets to find the e-zine and send stuff to it, so without it I’d have no submissions!

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

A: I provide line editing and copy editing / proofreading. If a piece needs really substantive editing (rearranging sections and changing plot points, for example) it won’t be accepted, I’m afraid. The author (or poet) always gets to approve the final edits and ask questions / make suggestions.

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

A: I have not done this so far, but it’s something I plan to do in the future.