Editor Interview: The Adroit Journal
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Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: Writing that lives.
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: Some of our favorite publications include Best New Poets, Black Warrior Review, Birdfeast, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, The Kenyon Review Online, Linebreak, Pleiades, Salt Hill, and more.
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: Writers: Terrance Hayes, Richard Siken, Tarfia Faizullah, Ocean Vuong, Franny Choi, Fatimah Asghar, Danez Smith, Laura Kasischke, Bruce Snider, Lorrie Moore, Valeria Luiselli, Anne Carson, Stephen Graham Jones, Selah Saterstrom, Roxane Gay.
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: Through our global staff of more than sixty emerging writers of various ages, the journal really aims to eclectically present what we see as the future of writing -- what we want to write, and what we want to publish. Therefore, I do think that we have a very specific aesthetic and taste (especially for poetry), and I highly encourage submitters to read current & past issues of the journal before submitting. In addition, we allow for submitters to continually send us work so long as more than eight poems or three prose pieces are not in consideration simultaneously from the same author (where many other publications typically limit submissions to every six months, or once/twice a reading period). We truly believe that every writer has something we'd love to read and consider, so we choose to let prospective contributors send us as much as they'd like.
Basically: Read our issues because we have tastes more specific than "good writing," and -- if at first you don't succeed -- try, try again.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: 1. Read our current & past issues to get a good idea of our tastes.
2. If at first you don't succeed, try, try again!
3. We love it when people send word docs, rather than PDF's. It's much more convenient for our editorial staff, when there are slight changes we want to make to a piece.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: The ideal submission has a cover letter with a third person biography included, and contains quality writing that is proofread and adheres to the content and format guidelines on our website.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: Popular mistakes include:
1. Not submitting work individually as per the guidelines on our Submittable website.
2. Not proofreading (or incorrect grammar).
3. Not including third-person biographies (which is certainly forgivable, but is still a slight hassle should we choose to accept your piece).
4. Addressing us as another journal in the cover letter. (Always good to double check your copy and paste!)
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: We generally appreciate (as previously mentioned) a cover letter and a short third-person biography, for potential use on our website. That said, publication credits matter little to us at the end of the day. After all, a substantial amount of what we publish is composed by emerging writers. Also, as emerging writers ourselves, a lot of us have witnessed the influence that first publication can have on a writer's self-esteem and subsequent publication opportunities. We want to be that (although, of course, we also love good work from established writers).
If you've got good work, send it. We'll let it speak for you.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: While we strive to read all of every piece out of respect for the author, we can generally recognize whether a piece will be a good fit for the journal within a few stanzas (for poetry) or a few paragraphs (for prose). So, to answer your question, we do read every piece to the end, although we tend to have a pretty good idea of our opinion about the piece before we reach the end (isn't that human, though?).
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: For pieces on the border between acceptance and 'close call status,' we generally argue a lot on our little Facebook staff group. This could take a while. Alternatively, we sometimes argue about which piece is a better fit from a given author. Usually, if we have been holding onto your piece for a while, it means you are under extra consideration. That said, in some other cases, we will read a piece and immediately know it's the right fit.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: I want to write a song and name it "Life (feat. Submittable Notifications)".
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: The Adroit Journal uses both Duotrope and Submittable, as well as Facebook and email to communicate with staff and contributors. In other words, we feel that using modern technology is crucial to publishing in this day and age -- after all, we are stationed all over the world!