Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: Seaside writing.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: To embrace the criteria, allowing them to act as prompts rather than restrictions.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: The ideal submission to Seaside Gothic is singular—either a single short story, a poem, a creative nonfiction piece, or a collection of images that work as a whole—and is original in its approach. It should meet the three criteria of seaside gothic literature: being led by emotion, addressing duality, and connecting to the edge. It should not be reliant on cliched tropes but be astounding in its creativity. It should surprise me.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: The main error I see in submissions is that the submitter has not properly read the guidelines. Either the word count is too high, the piece does not meet the specified criteria for the magazine, a biographical statement or profile image are not attached, or more than one piece of work is submitted at once. I am relatively forgiving, however, and will still read submissions even if a few rules are broken as for me it is about the work itself.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: I am not particularly interested in cover letters as I read submissions before I open their associated emails. The magazine requires a short biographical statement and a profile image so I expect these to be attached or included, but otherwise I am happy with a brief hello. I've rejected submissions from well-known established names then accepted work from writers with no publication credits. The submission should speak for itself.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: I read the entirety of every submission, as even if it doesn't appear to be suitable within the first few paragraphs it may surprise me by the end. I have accepted pieces on this basis. First lines are important, but so are last lines and every line between.
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: Every submission needs to meet the three criteria which define seaside gothic literature, which are specified at the point of submission. As well as this, for a submission to be accepted it needs to feel authentic, as if the writer has ripped it from their very soul, and it has to make me fall in love with some part of it.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: The magazine only accepts submissions for one week per quarter, and a lot come through during these short reading periods. I begin reading as soon as submissions come in, and a few I will accept immediately before the window has closed. Others I will consider and come back to, at times reading them again to reach a decision. If I'm not sure about a submission I let it sit on my mind for a week or two. If I cannot stop thinking about it then I know I need to accept it, even if that means a long road of rewrites ahead. If a piece doesn't fit the magazine but I really like it I will often give feedback as to why I am rejecting it.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: This entirely depends on the piece itself, but I work on the basis of falling in love. If I love a piece as it is then it will remain unchanged, whereas if I love the idea of a piece but the craft requires refinement then the edits can be substantial. Any revisions other than the smallest of corrections will be discussed and agreed with the author, and where extensive work is required the piece may go back and forth several times. That said, I expect a submission to be of publishable quality whether it requires edits or not.
Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?
A: Seaside Gothic nominates work for the Pushcart Prize, along with other specific awards where applicable.