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Editor Interview: 7th-Circle Pyrite: A literary journal celebrating worlds beyond

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

A: Ascension above mundanity

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

A: The publications that operate in this region of the literary world exist only because of the contributions of the writers who support them. For that reason, I don’t admire any publications. Instead, my admiration is for the writers whose works collectively support our efforts to publish.

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

A: We are privileged to have the capacity to publish both writing and artwork. Poets and fiction writers whose styles we personally enjoy include Emily Dickinson, Nikki Giovanni, Dante, Stephen King (who should, arguably, be on every horror enthusiast’s list along with Poe), Lewis Carroll, and Richard Wright. Our favorite artists include Claude Monet and Salvador Dalí. Even though each of these individuals is an icon with an internationally celebrated brand of artistry, we want our journal’s contributors to feel comfortable introducing us to their own unique style.

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

A: 7th-Circle Pyrite adopts a contributor-first mentality. Specifically, it recognizes that there would be no publication at all if not for the courage of those who choose to present a submission. This mentality means we prioritize the respect of writers’ time and efforts; that respect manifests through quick response windows to submissions and inquiries, crafting personalized feedback where appropriate, and even offering suggestions of other publications for contributors to submit to if their work is incongruous with our themes or preferred style.

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

A: Before submitting work, be aware that you have already achieved success by building up the courage to embark on a publication journey.
This is important, especially if a submission results in a rejection. Many writers will see a rejection as only that: a dismissal of their hard work, much of which is a reflection of their personal values and experiences. However, I believe that, for every person who submits work, there are 10 people who wanted to, but decided against it because they were too afraid. In other words, be fully aware of your value in the literary community, because that value will remain indisputable both before and after your interaction with us.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: I’m generally not a fan of using nebulous, ornamental language to describe ideal submissions, but in service to succinctness, a work that is ideal is anything that makes us forget that we’re in a physical world, bound to five senses. An ideal poem, story, essay, or art piece transfers the mind to a place where the proscriptions of our physical world are much less imposing. Or it could explore our actual world, but focus on what the eye can’t see. The goal should be to make readers forget about the everyday—the mundane—even if only for a short while.

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

A: If a piece is rejected, the writer or artist who submitted the work will receive a declination email that states a period of time after which we can accommodate another of their submissions. Many individuals will neglect to read that email and subsequently violate the terms of the declination by submitting work back-to-back. The imposition of the time window referenced in the declination email allows us to respond to all contributors quickly. Unfortunately, submissions that are presented before that window has closed can interrupt our review process.

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

A: Anyone who submits work to the journal can reveal as much or as little about themselves as they’d like. Some submit cover letters, others don’t; both are perfectly acceptable as long as all of the submission guidelines are followed. A person’s background, location, publication history, and other details have no influence over a publication decision. My curiosity does, however, enjoy when people share what compelled them to submit to the journal. That information can sometimes reveal what motivates them as a writer or artist, which I find interesting on a human level. But again, that has no bearing on a publication verdict.

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

A: Poetry is always read in full. Short fiction and essays are read in full too, but with the key exception of work that appears not to have been edited. If there is an immediately evident (within the first two pages) abundance of mechanical errors, it is unlikely that the entire work will be read before a rejection is sent.

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

A: I evaluate each submission myself several times before an acceptance is sent. Sometimes this evaluation process occurs over two or more days, giving me the opportunity to view a piece from different angles, so to speak. An acceptance from our journal always means that the work was read, read again, and likely again and again, and was adored each time.

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

A: It’s like being twisted in a kaleidoscope! (In a good way!) The submissions we receive are often very successful in transporting my mind to another universe entirely. By the end of the day, I feel as though I’ve visited the universes of so many different imaginations.

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

A: Various modern technologies can provide a publication with the wingspan it needs to soar higher, reaching larger audiences. However, I don’t feel the technologies themselves are absolutely necessary as they relate to publishing practices. I believe people who want to engage with the literary community will seek out the community; even publications that make use of no forms of technology will reach the audience it’s meant to find.

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

A: If a piece that is being eyed for publication requires a very small number of mechanical or structural edits, the author will be made aware of the suggested edits and given the opportunity to either accept or contest them. If any of the edits are contested, we’ll work with the author to find a solution that preserves their style and voice. Suggested edits may be presented in the body of an email or in 7th-Circle Pyrite’s pre-publication edit form depending on the edits’ complexity. If more substantive editing is needed, the author may receive a declination email that contains an invitation to revise/rewrite and resubmit the same piece.

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

A: Yes, 7th-Circle Pyrite nominates work for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology.