Skip to Content

Editor Interview: Pushing Out the Boat

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

A: Poetry, shortstories, art

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

A: Granta; BBC International Short Story Award collections; Waterstones - the Shortlist; New Writing Scotland; Poetry Society Poetry review; Poetry Scotland; The Poetry Library Southbank Centre; Poetry Magazines Online.

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

A: John Steinbeck, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Leo Tolstoy

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

A: The magazine is praised for its attractive, uncluttered layout, the written word laced with visual artwork (our USP). Being the literary magazine of the North East of Scotland, we set great store by including stories and poetry in Doric, the unique and rich dialect of the area, alongside literature in standard English and Scots. We also welcome, indeed encourage, contributions from all over the world

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

A: Look at the guidelines on our website []. Avoid wordiness, sentimentality, cosiness, sensationalism. Thoroughly check your work before submission ie spelling, punctuation, layout, internal consistency. Our team are all volunteers - we don't have time to tidy up. For short stories make sure the start is strong or you may lose your reader. Likewise don't disappoint with your ending. We value originality: if you choose certain themes eg childhood, midlife crisis, death, you are likely to be up against a lot of competition in a similar vein - we try not publish two pieces on the same theme. If you send an excerpt from a longer piece, make sure it stands on its own.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Not a word wasted; original subject matter; well presented.

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

A: Sloppiness of preparation, repetitive subject matter, lack of clarity and flow. Most of all, ignoring the instructions in the Call for Submissions!

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

A: We require only brief contact details in the covering email. As the selection is 'blind' we ensure the author/artist name is deleted before forwarding the attachment submissions to our selection panels (prose, poetry, art). This is essential to prevent bias or favouritism. Once work is selected, we ask the contributor to provide a short biographical summary for inclusion in the magazine.

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

A: We have at least three reviewers on each selection panel. The approach depends on the individuals in each panel: most will read each piece to its end.

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

A: Borderline pieces may be sent back to submitters with suggestions for improvement (rarely). We also use a consultant editor for 'disputed' selections.

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

A: This is a question for our panelists, who have an intense period (approx a month) to read large numbers of submissions and then finalise their selections. NB our editor does not particiapte in the selection process.

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

A: Our magazine uses electronic technology for all submissions, plus selection, copy editing, magazine layout and preparation for printing (the only part of the process where we produce paper!) We provide examples of past editions on our website, utilise social networks and we are actively pursuing online publication. So you could say, yes, we feel it's very important.