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Editor Interview: Prospective: A Journal of Speculation

This interview is provided for archival purposes. The listing is not currently active.

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

A: Good Shit and Poems

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

A: Angry Robot, Bank Heavy Press, and Bartleby Snopes.

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

A: Chuck Wendig, the 65 people Loyal Stone Press has published since February 2012, Neil Gaiman, my husband Travis Stout, he is far more successful than I am, and my writing partner Nicole Dominguez, we write works for stage and screen, and it is nice to have a creative outlet that does not involve editing literary fiction and poetry.

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

A: I am focused on quality rather than quantity. Our journal is based upon the number of submissions. Some months it may be thirty pages, other months it will be sixty, it just depends on how many submissions we receive and the types of submissions. I choose work that makes sense as a whole not just individually. And, if there is not enough material, I will re-open or commission work to make sure a journal is ready for print.
Also, my business model is more of a co-op. We operate on a royalty share. The more books we sell the more money an author can potentially make. I also offer author copies at a discounted rate to sell at readings and in their local markets, as we have contributors across the globe, thanks to Duotrope. By making the author the distributor they get the commission that would have gone to Amazon or Createspace, so basically, Amazon.

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

A: Read your submission before you send it to me.
Put your name on your submission, this last round I had to track down three accepted poems because the poets did not put their name on their manuscript.
I'm old school, I like paper, I like writing notes on paper. I take things more seriously and slow down when they are on paper instead of a screen. So, when you don't put your name in your manuscript, it doesn't matter if it is in the title of the attachment, when I print it out your work is by anonymous.
If you think its too weird or off topic, it's probably not. We use theme very loosely and the stranger and the more humorous the more likely we are to print it.
We err on the side of humor more than the side of grandeur. Anything that is too heady or heavy or overly-emotive or takes itself too seriously will probably end up in the slush pile.
We publish serious poems and fiction but they tend to be focused more on the beauty of language, story, character, and plot development than the emo kid in the corner who says shit like, "I write my poems in my own blood because these are my words, and it's not real unless I bleed on the page" then cries about how there isn't good music anymore and how he is a minion of Satan. There are plenty of places that will publish that sort of thing, but me personally, unless you are saying something new about goths, cutters, emo-Dashboard-Confessional-Lovers, or writing satire about the whole situation, I'm probably going to pass.
We publish a lot of literature that could be considered sub-cultural but really it's about honesty. If something feels trite or forced, probably not going to keep me reading, but if something feels like a real honest moment, no matter how ridiculous, it will probably make it into the magazine.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: No typos.
Follows guidelines.
Um... yeah... that's about it.
It's not that hard. Proof read your shit and follow the guidelines. If you can do that you are off to a great start, and better than 50% of submissions I get every three months.
Following guidelines shows editors that you actually give a shit about getting your work published.
Also, they exist for a reason.

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

A: They don't put their name on their GD manuscript.
Or, they don't send their manuscript as an attachment.
I had two poets, whom I've published frequently, who have followed guidelines in the past, throw some random poem in an email and say, "hope you like it"
Lucky for them, I did like it, and lucky for them, it fit in the issue, and lucky for them that I have published them before, because otherwise, email, delete.
We really are loyal at Loyal Stone Press, we want to help people grow, and unlike many other journals if you have been published with us before, your chances of being published again increases instead of decreasing.
Meghan Heritage has been published in every single issue of the journal. She was in the very first issue "Werewolves and Other Bitches" and for my birthday last month she sent me a submission for the next issue "Surrender the Sasquatch and No One Gets Hurt". We love her work and as long as she keeps sending in quality submissions we will find a home for them.

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

A: For the journal.
Just send in your work, that's all that matters.
If you work is accepted then we need more information.
For a single author publication.
A query and a writing sample.
I need to know what your project is.
I need to know how you write.
I need to know if you have realistic publishing goals.
I also need to know if you can take notes.
The best way for any new author to get to know me as an editor is to submit to the journal. You will see the way I work, you will get to know my aesthetic, and you will get to see if we are actually a good match.
All stories need the right editor.
We all bring different life experiences to the table and different literary connotations. There will be words that some of us hate. I know several female writers who hate the word "moist". My writing partner and I get in arguments about the word "pussy". She hates it. I love it. And, because she hates it, I love it even more, and will find ways to slip it into scripts, especially scripts where she could potentially play that part and have to say the words "moist" and "pussy" on the same page. It may be slightly evil, but when you are writing on spec you've got to keep your spirits up somehow, and tormenting the ones you love in a relatively harmless way is sometimes the thing you need to help you keep going in the freelance small press life.

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

A: I read until I can't read any more. Until my brain force quits. I fall asleep. Or I start thinking about what I am going to make my husband for dinner.
I generally can tell by the end of the first line if I am going to publish something.
I generally cannot tell until the end of the page if I am going to reject something.
On multiple occasions I have offered publication on the condition that a writer work with me to edit the piece. There is a poet we have published three times. The first three submissions needed work. The first two were on contingent publishing. This last round she sent in a submission and I sent her an email saying, "Congratulations, I have no notes". In the past year this poet has learned how to craft a clean submission. I don't know if that ever would have happened if I didn't offer her contingent publishing. And, I think if you have a good idea but it's a little rough, I would rather work with someone who is willing to learn, than just throw it in the slush because it's not fully polished.

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

A: If I am unsure about something I will send it to a secondary reader.
All single author publications will at some point go to a secondary reader, either before an offer is made or we go to print.
The journal typically is decided by my eyes alone. When we started I had a business partner that was to be the co-editor, but within the first month his school schedule and my relocation to Seattle from Long Beach made it nearly impossible to collaborate, so I set out on my own, and we're still going. (I use the royal We because the journal doesn't exist without submissions).

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

A: Wake up, let puppies out to pee, feed puppies, check email, check facebook, drink tea or coffee or coke, eat something(sometimes), work on stuff.
I am Loyal Stone Press, so I do everything. My staff consists of me, and sometimes my writing partner and sometimes my husband, and sometimes a writer friend who is bored and wants to read a manuscript. But, basically, it's just me. And, I'm not just an editor.
Today, I drove my husband to work, came home, worked on the new website for Loyal Stone Press, emailed contributors about the site and the next issue. Talked to my writing partner, read some stuff to her, we started outlining our next project. Went to the optometrist so I could get cleared for a Canadian Drivers License, it's weird up in the great white north. Came back, outlined some more with my writing partner. Blow dried my hair, put make up on and drove to an audition for a student film in Montreal. Well, I drove to Lacchine because I had bad directions, thanks Google Maps, and then three hours later arrived at the audition when I got un-lost. Had a good audition, even though they had already broken down the camera and I did a cold read with the director, so we will see if I am shooting a short film in two weeks. Picked my husband up from work, drove home, did the dishes, cooked us dinner, and we ate in the office while I updated the website, promoted shit on twitter and facebook, and answered 12 questions from Duotrope for two hours, while our dogs ran up and down the hallway.

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

A: You have to.
This month I have taught myself to edit movies on my computer, and build websites.
What we had in July and what we have now are leaps and bounds away from each other.
I feel like an asshole for not figuring this stuff out sooner.
It's really not that hard. And most if not all of it is free.
It just takes a little patience and you can have amazing results.
Regarding POD, I publish exclusively through Amazon. Because it is just me, utilizing their book keeping and sales tracking is a life saver, trying to figure out the royalties is a whole other headache, but that I can distribute directly through them and they track everything has made this possible. When I first started out I was printing everything, from my house. I was building paper and staple chapbooks while trying to have a life, it doesn't really work out very well. Also, I am still owed money from books I sent in early 2012, Amazon would not stand for that malarky. You live and you learn, and someday I hope to get reimbursed for the books I fronted, but I won't cry about it if I never see that money. Sometimes that's the cost of doing business. Also, the cost to quality ratio on Amazon is amazing.