Editor Interview: Contemporary Literary Review India
Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: New writing, new writers.
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: Granta, Tank, London Review of Books, The New Criterion, The Times Literary Supplement etc.
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: R. K. Narayan, Salman Rushdie, Raja Rao, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, James Joyce. In fact there are many.
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: We promote new authors and new concept in writing. In many cases, we work closely with the authors and guide them how to grow on writing in addition to simply publishing their writing.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Read the submission guidelines carefully and in full. Most of the queries are answered for what and how to submit.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: Adhere to the submission guidelines in full. This helps the editorial staff to process the submission faster. In many cases, we find that there are some missing documents or materials. We have to ask the authors for them, that makes the submission process slow and tedious. Many submissions are rejected because of this.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: They miss out the required materials. Some miss out abstract, some others bibliography and some even their biography. While all these are written as required materials on the registration form clearly.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: Yeah, of course. Cover letters help us know what the category an author has sent to. Actually, different categories may require different materials. It is advisable that the authors must go through submission guidelines properly. They must include a good biodata with a recent photograph.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: Generally, a few paragraphs in prose category, and a few stanzas or lines of poems are enough to say whether the writing should be read in full. If there are too many grammatical mistakes, or I would say a piece is not well edited, we reject it. If the material is well edited, we read it in full. Second factor for selection is on topic whether the author has created a material worth reading or it fits into our aim.
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: We have certain editorial guidelines that are in line with COPE. Additionally, we have strong editorial policies for processing the writing. Some examples are whether the writing is an original work and is not copied from somewhere. We check for plagiarism. If your writing has already been published elsewhere we consider it duplicate, even though it is your own. There are such other factors.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: Well, there are many people who work on the submissions. Most often I work in collaboration with my section editors. We need to download the submissions and create a document. There are many rounds of mechanical and technical things that go on until the release of an issue. We take out print even of the online version.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: That is very important. Given the fact that everything is going digital now, publishers must also adopt to modern technologies. Faster the better, I believe. In our case, we use PKP that’s an open source journal management system. There are many like this now. In this system, authors can submit their writing directly to the dashboard of our journal, no need to send through email address. For online edition, the writing that we publish can be read online as HTML pages and downloaded as PDF or even as MOBI. At the same time, we publish a digital edition of the issue. Post release, we promote the writing on various social networking sites including Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, blogs, and others. For print editions, our issues are available as paperback copies, POD and in digital forms.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: Actually, there are many rounds of editing on a selected piece, though we do not do substantive editing. In fact if any writing needs substantive editing, we send it back to the authors and ask them to carry out this requirement. Moreover, there are at least two to three editors working on a piece. First, all the editors edit a piece and send it to the Chief Editor with their comments. The edited paper is shared with the authors to approve the changes without which we reject a piece.
Once the authors approve, the final proofreading takes place and the writing is forwarded for publishing.