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Editor Interview: The Cincinnati Review

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

A: Stories, poems, essays

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

A: In addition to publishing talented emerging and established writers, The Cincinnati Review is unique in that we also publish a full-color art portfolio in each issue. We've also published a special edition graphic play and commissioned Art Song collaborations with composers. In addition to publishing the scores, we've featured audio and video of the songs on our website.
We're working on having e-book versions available for all of our issues. Other new and exciting things coming up in late 2017: a weekly online flash feature (miCRo) and short plays/drama in the journal itself.

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

A: Get feedback on what you write before you submit it, and make sure to accept or reject any track changes. Every week we have a piece that includes track changes!

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Our ideal submission varies widely; it's best for writers to read what our genre editors have said on our website about what they're looking for:

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

A: Sometimes people email submissions to us instead of using our online submission manager, and sometimes they mislabel the genre as they submit their piece online.

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

A: We don't need to know too much about the person submitting. A short cover letter including a list of the work submitted and a *brief* bio is welcome, but not required. We read everything that comes across the transom; we don't screen based on previous publication credits.

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

A: We always read each piece to the end, though stories/essays/poems that start off poorly most often end without an improvement in skill. Still, we read the pieces as we'd like our own to be read: through to the end.

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

A: The process most often is this: a volunteer reader gives the piece an evaluation and forwards it to our assistant/associate editors. Those editors do additional screening, and if they like something, it gets forwarded to Managing Editor Lisa Ampleman and/or the genre editor. Often when a piece is accepted, at least four people have read it.

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

A: Each day, I (and the other editors) have a variety of tasks to do; sure, we're reading submissions, our main priority, but we're also communicating with contributors and submitters; copy editing and/or proofreading the issue; communicating with our typesetter/designer; writing blog posts or working with social media; training graduate students at the University of Cincinnati on publication work; sending out single issues or subscriptions (we don't have a fulfillment service right now); or otherwise doing the tasks necessary to keep any office going in the business world. We have two permanent employees, both who work part-time, and three graduate student editors during the academic year, as well as our team of 10-20 volunteer readers. We do a lot with a small number of people.

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

A: It's vital; staying up-to-date with technology can save editors money and time and help them connect with readers and submitters. We have an online submission manager, we try to keep our social media up to date, and we've added e-book versions of our most recent issues in the past month or so.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: We're in the process of updating/changing our process a bit, but we do edit all pieces for correctness, clarity, conciseness, consistency, and conformity to the Chicago Manual of Style and our house dictionary, all while retaining the author's voice and style. This editing always includes a mechanical edit and will sometimes include substantive editing as well. We have just begun to send our authors the copy edited piece with track changes and queries before we send it to our typesetter (recommending they read it in Simple Markup in Word when possible). After typesetting, the issue is proofread by the entire staff and the authors, and they can fix any mistakes or typos then.

Q: Do you nominate work you've published for any national or international awards?

A: Yes; that's important to us. We want our writers' work to live on beyond our pages. We nominate/send issues to the Best American series, O. Henry Awards, Pushcart Prizes, Best New Poets, etc. etc.