Editor Interviews

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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you? Learn more.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,675 editors.

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

A: We are equally interested in reading an emerging writer's or an established writer's book. But we are also interested in who writers are, what are their interests and their creative profiles. So we like cover letters but ultimately it is their books we are most interested in; we pick the prize winners solely on the merit of their writing.

A: With the current submission period, writers and authors are required to fill out a form, so that serves as the cover letter. But yes, I do want to see previous publication credits as I like to see an author's experience. But I have also published authors that have limited or no experience, so having previous publications does not guarantee being selected.

A: We don't need a cover letter, just a brief paragraph stating the name/genre/word count is helpful. We do ask for a brief bio and previous publication credits do make a difference, although a good story is a good story. We haven't rejected anyone simply because they didn't have previous publication credits. Where it comes into play is when we're on the line about a story -- those previous credits can tip the scale.

A: A brief biographical note is generally adequate. List of previous publications would definitely help in further research into the author's literary styles, audience reception and the like.

A: Cover letters don't really matter for anthology calls-there isn't time to slog through them. They do for novels. Previous publication credit means that the writer should know how to follow guidelines. What more important to know is the author's social media following.

A: We do ask for a brief bio from contributors, though we aren't as concerned with credentials as we are with content. The bio just gives us a snapshot of who you are, and what brought you to us.

Rebecca Valley, Editor-in-Chief of Drizzle, 04 July 2019

A: I do care about cover letters. I want to know why this work matters - not only to you, but to the world. Include a brief list of your previous works that illustrate your style, and how this work fits in or differs from them. We don't actually care how many books you've sold - we want to know what makes your work unique, powerful, and interesting. If a list of works helps to illustrate that, great. If not, we don't actually need that list.

A: Only poems and bio matter.

Cyril Wong, Founding Editor of SOFTBLOW, 17 June 2019

A: Lists of previous publication credits are tedious.

A: I personally think cover letters should be extremely short. The description to the book should be akin to a logline for a screenplay. I would always include a couple of recent comparables. And then always include a brief bio below the signature.

A: Cover letters aren't a big deal to me, and previous publication credits absolutely don't matter. I'm interested in stories!

A: We don't care much about cover letters or publishing credits but I would like to know how they came to be researching your topic and the background that makes them want to share their knowledge. But I would as easily accept a PHD writing about what they did their thesis on, as a beginning tarot reader writing about how they overcame their fear of the "Death" card.