Editor Interview: anderbo.com
This interview is provided for archival purposes. The listing is not currently active.
Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less.
A: A poor man's New Yorker?
Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most?
A: Anderbo time-shared an office with Open City Magazine; I observed and admired them. I'm also a fan of M.R. Branwen over at slushpilemag.com and I'm an admirer of (and participant at) Fictionaut. There's also a new, mainly-print, journal called HOT STREET that's just starting up, and might be worth keeping an eye on.
Q: If you publish writing, who are your favorite writers? If you publish art, who are your favorite artists?
A: My own favorite fiction-writer is Herman Melville. For poetry, I'm big on Elizabeth Bishop and Mark Strand, each of whom, like myself, happens to have a Nova Scotia connection. Anderbo is the home of several poems of the recently-passed Samuel Menashe, whose live-readings of his work I especially admired. Jimmy Breslin is a favorite nonfiction writer of mine.
Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material?
A: We don't publish issues, we continuously add material -- and we never archive. We have over 200 poets, almost 100 works of fiction, and almost 50 works of creative nonfiction on the site.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Read a few of our stories and/or poems and/or "facts". For fiction, we want a story to start with either a little bit of action and go quickly to some background, or start with some brief background and then cut to some action. We want to know who the story's protagonist is, and what his or her "conflict" is, within the first half-page. Then we want the rest of the story to narrowly follow whatever its beginning is, keeping the protagonist securely in the reader's mind at all times.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: For stories, we like to see very protagonist-centered work -- not "situational", with a bunch of characters interacting. A story-length of 1500 to 2500 words is also very desirable to us.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: We don't really publish flash-fiction, and still we receive submissions of it. Not that we aim to exclude it, but most of the ones submitted to us seem to lack the kind of concentrated nourishment that we think our readers would be looking for in very-short stories.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: We're neutral on cover letters; we care only slightly about past-publication credits. In any case, we're especially excited when we are the very first publishing venue ever for a writer's work.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: It varies -- one of our many editors (we have no designated Fiction Editor) will screen a story; if at some point in that initial reading he or she feels that the other 30-plus editors should take a look, it's distributed to them for (optional) reading and response. Then we more or less go by consensus. But it's true that if it's already hard to get past the first paragraph of a prose submission, then, by the time you then make it past its first page, you'll start ro ask yourself as to just how much patience or energy should you allow yourself to expend by persisting to the submitted piece's very end?
Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?
A: If there seems to be a general feeling among the participating editors to accept the story, but we have some editing requirements, we contact the writer with our suggestions or concerns. If the story subsequently gets adequately revised, we either just accept and publish it, or re-distribute it for further comment before finally deciding.
Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?
A: We at Anderbo rarely meet up; all our submissions are electronic, and I believe that at least 99% are read by our editors only on-screen. Personally, maybe one in a hundred submitted stories I'll print out and read over coffee somewhere, and probably I'm not the only one of our editors who does that. But then it's back to going online for any editorial communication. Not that it's such a great virtue, but we run a nearly paper-free operation at Anderbo.
Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies?
A: In a practical sense, the hard-copy book or journal or magazine or newspaper is already as obsolete as the vinyl LP-record is -- especially when it comes to the time and costs devoted to manufacture and, especially, distribution. We're not really so high-tech as we probably should be, but we do use Facebook and Twitter to spread the word about the work we publish. (Facebook and Twitter are also especially attractive since they're cost-free.)