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Editor Interview: With Painted Words

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

A: Imagery inspired fiction

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

A: Every Day Fiction, Shock Totem, Apollo's Lyre, Niteblade, Crossed Genres, Fantasy, Shimmer ... and the list goes on.

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

A: Susan Cooper, Tolkein, Pratchett, John Connolly, Robin Hobb, and many, many more.

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

A: Every edition of With Painted Words is inspired by unique and beautiful imagery - we try to see if the adage of a picture painting a thousand words is true or not ... so far, so good, in that we have been lucky enough to have thousands of beautiful words inspired by equally beautiful imagery.

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

A: Read the guidelines and look at the image prompt :o)
... after that it is simply a case of letting your imagination go, making us care about your story/poem and hooking us from the first sentence.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: There isn't one. Each and every submission is unique and different. That said submissions that follow the guidelines and are obviously inspired by the prompt image are a very good start.

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

A: The two biggest ones are:
1 - going over the word limit. A thousand and one words is STILL more than a thousand ones, you know ;o)
2 - sending work that was obviously written without looking at the prompt image. With Painted Words premise is very simple - work has to be inspired by the current image and has to be less than a thousand words. Simples (as the Meercat says).

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

A: I care about the person, their biography and even their previous publications ... however I care about the work submitted much, much more. I only read the 'bio' information after reading the work and it never plays a part in my decision to accept (or reject) a submission.

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

A: I would love to say that I always read every piece right to the end, but I can't do that. There are times (thankfully few and far between) when you just know that a piece isn't going to work out - no matter how much editing, or rewriting, is put into it; this usually is either because it is a very obvious cliche/trope (I discounted twenty-seven pieces, recently, which were all VERY obvious fanfics from the Twilight universe!) or because it isn't even vaguely linked to/inspired by the imagery.
In all other cases, all pieces are read to the end before a decision is made.

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

A: When it comes down to a very close call, and the editorial team are on the fence / torn about a final decision it normally comes down to me (Jay) making the decision ... and this is either done on the basis of the bribe offered with the piece (I am partial to Cherry Coke and Cadbury Creme Eggs, for the record) or a 'gut instinct' type call. Normally the piece that you initially liked the best, or thought had the most going for it / best hook, turns out to be so.

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

A: You mean on top of working full time, having two young children and teaching martial arts? To be honest the time set aside for reading submissions is one of the quietest (yet busiest) times for me - I print out all the pieces that haven't been automatically rejected and read them 'old school' ... in a comfy chair, cup of coffee beside me, and a pen to jot down notes.
The criteria for acceptances gets whittled down along this process until only a handful of pieces are left and, usually, these are the ones that will get published.
Thereafter it is a case of contacting the writer's, suggesting the edits (or asking for some re-writes) and updating the site to reflect the final publication ... then starts the rolling process of 'pimping' the new issue and 'shilling' the upcoming one while constantly being on the look out ofr new and interesting artists to inspire the writers.

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

A: For With Painted Words - as an online publication with only an annual print anthology - technology is vital. Our whole process (apart from the fact that I personally like to read the final submissions on paper - my own, personal quirk) is electronic from the publication itself, to the submissions, to the advertising - everything is via the good, old web.
Most of our original fanbase / subscribers was via LiveJournal, which is also where I first became friends with the inaugural artist, Chris Howard.