Editor Interview: Wordrunner eChapbooks

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

A: original collections

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

A: Summerset Review, Solstice, Story Glossia, One Story, Prick of the Spindle, Prime Number, Glimmertrain

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

A: Alice Munro, Allegra Goodman, Annie Proulx, Maxine Hong Kingston, Michael Chabon, Barbara Pym; and from previous centuries, Henry James, Fyodor Doestoevsky, Edith Wharton, Henry Fielding, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens. Our poetry editors' favorites: Bob Hicok, Czeslaw Milosz, William Matthews, Emily Dickinson, Jack Gilbert, Heather McHugh, e.e. cummings, Langston Hughes, Anne Carson, Matthew Zapruder, Ai

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

A: There aren't many opportunities for writers to publish a collection online (aside from self-publishing or blogging). We focus on small collections by one or two authors in each issue, aside from the annual themed anthology which features several authors. All work is edited carefully (we work closely with authors, who have final say). This is an electronic publication, essentially a web site, that is well designed with easy navigation between pages. When appropriate we enrich the material with hyperlinks. We also include a pdf of the e-chapbook, which can be downloaded and printed. We charge no fee for submissions. Authors receive a token payment, $65 for a collection.

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

A: Read submission guidelines carefully, as they change from issue to issue. Give us your best. We're looking for original, engaging writing. Do include a list of contents. An interesting title helps.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Can't stop reading it. The stories or chapters or poems are connected somehow, either thematically or through characters.

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

A: Too few pages or poems for a collection (or mini-collection). Or, despite instructions in guidelines, submitters put their name and bio in the manuscript. The readings are blind.

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

A: Nothing for the first rounds of reading. At the very end, when we have narrowed the selection, we'll look at the cover letters. Ideally, one should not be swayed by a list of publication credits, but in a pinch, it can make a difference.

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

A: This varies. Some pieces are clearly unsuitable at the outset, but we'll still read a few pages, to be sure. Some get read straight through before being rejected because we have found something better.

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

A: We read prose pieces that are “contenders” several times and then print them out and discuss them. Poetry contenders are further evaluated by our poetry editors.

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

A: We all have day jobs. The editor hat goes on at night and weekends. It's a 3-month cycle of reading and more reading, deciding (the difficult part), writing letters, working with the author/s on any revisions, designing and building the echapbook (website), researching hyperlinks, and finally promoting it (email to subscribers via mailchimp).

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

A: Quite important. We could not afford to publish were it not for the Internet and the web authoring technology. Nor would we be able to reach as wide an audience.