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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.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,650 editors.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: No. Cover letters aren't necessary and won't affect your chances of publication. I just need your name (as you would like it to appear on your byline if published) and your e-mail address and submissions.
A: We do read cover letters carefully, mostly to see if you're a student. We do like to know if you've had previous publications, but we're equally excited about first time writers. Be yourself in your cover letter.
A: We are far more concerned about your article idea and the quality of your writing than we are about your past writing credits and your personal life.
A: A minimal cover letter, possibly with affiliation, suffices. Our principle is to publish beginning scholars alongside the work of experienced and well published ones.
A: We try our best to read all submissions blind. We do read cover-letters and previous publications do matter, but we only consider such materials after we've decided that a manuscript is worth publishing.
A: Frankly, we don't give a damn about previous publication experience. Cover letters are welcome, though not obligatory. A hello is nice!
A: Not really; in fact, the person reading the submission usually doesn't see the cover letter. The only one who can see it is me (the Editor/Publisher).
A: Cover letters are okay, but they should be short and sweet. 100-150 words, tops. Under 100 words is even better. I like to know where in the world you live (just city, state, country). I don't need your life story or why you decided to write. A few publication credits that you're proud of are fine—interesting, but I don't pay much attention to them.
A: No. We provide a template for what we'd like to see in our emails which authors typically follow, but we aren't checking word for word. The basic thing we are looking for is respectful communication. Previous publication credits let us know what publications you align with ideologically. Otherwise, we are looking at the quality of the work. Like I mentioned: established or new--we can tell if your work aligns with us.
A: We are open to submissions by all kinds of authors, regardless of gender, nationality, ethnic background, age, experience etc. Although we are always interested in getting to know the authors who submit to us, cover letters or previous publishing credits don't really matter to us; all that matters is the writing itself.
A: Yes. The credits do not matter, but they help get our attention.
A: We want to know the author's name, pen name if any, mailing address, email address and telephone contact. We ask for a short bio and a hi-res photo with submissions. That is the only information we require. If the writer is a member of a professional writer's organization and wants to list that, it is an indication that they understand the process and will interact with us professionally, but is certainly not required. The same can be said for previous publishing credits.