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Editor Interview: Think Journal

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

A: Balance of form, content.

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

A: The Dark Horse, Blue Unicorn, The Flea, Autumn Sky, Soundzine, The Raintown Review and more!

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

A: Poetry (in no particular order): Philip Larkin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Richard Wilbur, Anne Stevenson, Jennifer Reeser, Victor Hugo, P.B. Shelley, Edgar Allen Poe, Weldon Kees, Lorca, A.E. Stallings, David Mason, Joshua Mehigan, Bill Coyle, and more!
Short story/ Fiction: Flanery O'Connor, D. H. Lawrence, Cormac McCarthy, Connie Harrington, Ernest Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, Frank Conroy, James Baldwin, Joseph Conrad, John Fowles, and others.

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

A: The focus on achieving a balance between form and content. Also, I take a fine-press printing approach to the typesetting and page layout, and treat each page as a mini-work of art.

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

A: To submit work that follows my basic guidelines: the balance between form/structure and content. Experimental fiction pieces and poetry can fall into this category. Even free verse can have a structure.
As to what style I look for, generally my rule is simplicity. This applies to both fiction and poetry, in somewhat different ways. I prefer to read fiction that deals with the essentials, in a sparse, almost impersonal way; where each word is important to the whole. I do not like to read a lot of details and no action. When it comes to poetry, I like to see that the words have some connection, some rational train of thought. I also like to see some sort of turn in the poem, a good beginning and a good ending. Basically, an entire unit, one that is purposefully presented.
Please read the guidelines and an issue or two. At least check out the table of contents from previous issues and a few samples that are available on the website. You should also read other literary magazines (online and print), as well as reading contemporary writers!

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: For poetry and fiction: An ideal submissions would include information about how one found out about the journal, mention one of the aspects of the journal that made them think their work would fit here, and to follow the guidelines as to providing contact information, quantity of poems or number of words for fiction.
For essays and reviews: I prefer a query letter to be sent first.

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

A: Sending work that is obviously a wrong fit, sending too many poems or too often.

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

A: I care about a cover letter, but I care more about the quality of the work and less about the writers publication credits.

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

A: For poetry, I can tell in the first few lines whether it is a "no." I generally know immediately if it is a "yes" or a "no." The "maybe" pile is the most difficult, and I will re-read many times to make a decision. With fiction, I can usually tell within the first paragraph whether it fits or not, though I try to read as much as I can, so I will go on reading after I think it is a "no" just to be sure.

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

A: Every piece that is accepted carries a responsibility, and I keep a mental checklist of various aspects I look for in the work, the number one being some sort of form or formal structure; I also consider the content and whether the work is unique or compelling in some way.
I also like to consider whether it fits with the overall tone of the journal, and sometimes specifically for a common element in an individual issue.

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

A: Well, I have a few jobs, so being an editor is not my 9-5 sit at a desk job. Though I do still sit at the editorial desk daily, and every day is a new adventure. Some daily tasks include: correspondence, administration work like tracking submissions and subscriptions; the design and typesetting of the journal, designing ads and promotional materials, working with new fonts, updating the website, reading submissions, organizing the work that has been accepted and the order in which it will appear; out of the office there are conferences, classes, poetry gatherings, writers workshops and writers groups and more that I attend to network and spread the word about the journal. I'm probably missing a few things, but I think you can see it encompasses varying duties.

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

A: I think that print publications in general are facing a new world and a new reader. Why buy a book when things can be found online, for free? You run the risk of losing a reader if you do not provide free online content, because they have thousands of other publications at their fingertips to provide what you are lacking. There have been many articles recently questioning whether the print journal is dead. The successful journals are those that embrace the benefits of both print and internet by offering complimentary content online while continuing with a print publication. Ultimately there is an argument out there that print is more serious than material online, it is permanent and it demands more of the readers attention. I admit to being one of the classic book lovers, who prefer reading a physical book than reading on the screen. However, with accepting online submissions, I do tend to read the majority of them on the screen to save paper usage.