Editor Interview: The Waterhouse Review

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

A: Stuff we love .

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

A: New Writing Scotland is a fine barometer of quality Scottish fiction and poetry. We love how publications like Fried Chicken & Coffee and Right Hand Pointing are edited and put together.

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

A: GAVIN: Fiction-wise, I'm a big fan of Bret Easton Ellis, Alice Munro, Douglas Coupland. However, in terms of a perfect short story, it's hard to see far beyond Lawrence Sargent Hall's "The Ledge". Favourite books I've read over the last couple of years would include "Room" by Emma Donoghue and "Pygmy" by Chuck Palahniuk simply for the refreshing ways the stories were told.
HELEN: I always liked the work of Adrienne Rich, who passed away this year. I thought she gave a unique perspective to feminist themes in her work, which sometimes runs the danger of appearing tired and cliche in the hands of inexperienced poets. I also like the work of Howie Good, Gordon Mcinnes, and Katie Moore all of whom we have published in the past. Gordon and Katie especially have a sense of humor about their poetry that I find refreshing in a form that quite often comes across as taking itself far too seriously.

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

A: I think we're unique in that we're a transatlantic publication with our editors (for the moment) on either side of the Atlantic. It makes us more open to different voices, because we get the points of view of both American and European writers.

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

A: Best piece of advice we can offer is for authors to read three things. One, their own story or poem before submitting. Two, the guidelines. Three, an issue of the magazine to see what it is we like. We're not necessarily saying you have to copy the exact styles of something we've published, as they vary widely. We're just saying consider if your writing would make sense alongside the stories and poetry that we publish, if it would fit in some way. Also, if you like the stuff we publish, we'll probably like the stuff you write. If you don't, we're probably not the place for you.

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

A: Word count. We're fairly loose in terms of an absolute ceiling, but anything over 2,000 words has less chance of impressing us. Anything over 3,000 words will probably annoy us a little and we'll complain about you. Also, we're a lot more receptive to submitters with very personable cover letters. We don't care where you've been published, but we do care if you say hello, use our names instead of just "Editors" in your greeting. We're people too, not just a magazine.

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

A: We typically read it all, and we read it together, via Skype. For poetry, I (Helen), will read the submissions aloud, since we get a better feel of the rhythm of the poem, and how the reader will connect with it that way. So, for poets, make sure you read your own work aloud before you send it to us, because you know we'll be doing the same thing! Oh, and stories well over our word count, we tend to skip over. So the person who sent us their novel ... yeah, I'm sorry. We didn't read it.

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

A: HELEN: For me, it's raising three kids, managing three blogs, and trying to get some of my own writing done. I do check the submissions daily, and we'll read whatever came in that day. We pride ourselves in having a very short response time. We're writers too, so we know how it feels to wait months to get a yes or a no.

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

A: Modern technology is very important to us. We're a web publication. We only accept electronic submissions. Skype plays a vital role in our reading process. A significant number of submissions will come to us thanks to Duotrope. Waterhouse Review wouldn't exist as a purely paper-based publication or if it did, it would be far more inward-looking, far more parochial. Maintaining a presence on social media is also invaluable for building a connection with our readers and writers and spreading the word to new corners. These are exciting days for the small publisher.