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Editor Interview: Split Lip Magazine

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

A: Voice-driven writing

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

A: American Short Fiction, Booth, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Ecotone, Indiana Review, Kenyon Review, New Delta Review, Paper Darts, Public Space, Redivider, Wigleaf, Zyzzyva, and so many more.

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

A: A crowdsourced list from our editorial staff: Jami Attenberg, Dawnie Walton, Diane Seuss, Chris Gonzalez, Raven Leilani, George Saunders, Lorrie Moore, Joan Didion, Kazuo Ishiguro, Alissa Nutting, Juan Martinez, Lindsay Hunter, Joy Williams, Claudia Rankine, Amy Hempel,Chen Chen, Allegra Hyde, Jen George, Morgan Parker, Cathy Linh Che, Terrance Hayes, Frank O'Hara, Larry Levis, Adrienne Rich, Anne Carson, Zachary Schomburg, just to name a few.

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

A: We publish five pieces a month. One story, one flash, one poem, one memoir, and one piece of cover artwork. Our less-is-more approach allows us to spend time with each contributor editing and prepping their submission for publication. In addition to our monthly web issues, we also publish in print every other year. Our dedicated Social Media/Marketing Coordinator promotes all contributors and work equally, and we believe in promoting our contributors long after they publish with us.

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

A: Everyone says this, but please read something from our archives. We favor interesting, voice-driven work over polished but ultimately boring work. Our editors are willing to take risks and we love discovering new voices. Oh, and proofread, proofread, proofread. A couple of typos won't make or break a submission, but we want to see that you've read and revised with care.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: Setting, character, voice, and plot. Maybe there's humor or an experimental form. Maybe there's a musical influence or a robot or a dragon who loves Doritos. We love to see layers of meaning and writing that makes us think about what it is to be human. We love moments of wonder. Whatever it is, we want to move and be moved.

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

A: Although we only accept one poem at a time, we often receive multiple poems. Submitters often submit in more than one genre at a time and/or they submit immediately after receiving a rejection. We ask that submitters wait one month before submitting agin.

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

A: We like cover letters, but keep them short and sweet. It's helpful to address the editors if you can. A short list of publication credits is fine. We like to know who you are and where you're coming from.

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

A: All of it. Although we can usually tell if a piece is a good fit for Split Lip from the first few pages, we prefer to give all submissions a fair chance.

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

A: Editors work together to make final decisions. We take a team approach at Split Lip. Each piece is read by multiple members of our staff. If we see potential but have concerns about a piece, we will often contact the writer to assess their willingness to work on edits.

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

A: Reading reading reading. Everyone on our staff reads a ton of submissions! We do a lot of chatting about submissions over submittable. If a genre team loves a submission, we send it to our “Acceptance Committee,” where the full board of editors considers and discusses it. We edit all of our prose pieces, so a lot of my time is also spent line editing, reviewing editorial notes, or emailing with contributors. And, of course, there are many administrative tasks that I won’t bore you with! Except the paying writers part! Once a month, the day our issue drops, the first thing I do is pay our contributors. This is one of the most fun parts of the job, aside from sending acceptances and promoting our authors!

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

A: The most important. What's the point of publishing if no one reads? At Split Lip, we believe in promoting work through various traditional and creative marketing strategies. We run active social media accounts and are constantly assessing our tactics.

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

A: Depends on the piece, but we often provide substantive editing. Multiple editors read and edit a piece prior to publication, and we work collaboratively with the author to ensure everyone is happy and proud of the final product.

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

A: Yes, as many as possible.