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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 1,600 editors.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: A brief bio on a cover letter is fine. A note if you were referred by someone we already published or know.
A: We read the cover letters, but they don’t play a role in determining their submission status. We don’t favor writers/artists with multiple publication credits over individuals who are just starting to publish, and vice versa.
A: We like a brief bio with submissions. Fine if the bio contains previous publication credits; the most recent or most significant are sufficient. Since our publication is affiliated with a school, we have a soft spot for students and teachers.
A: Previous publication credits or cover letters are not required. We accept published authors and artists as well as those who have never been published before. The only piece of official information we require is your name and email so we can contact you about your submissions. The only additional note is that because we do accept reviously published material, if a certain piece has been published before in another magazine, please note the name of the piece and the magazine where it was published.
A: Keep your cover letter short and to the point. Include your website in place of a long biography.
A: Although it contributes little to our decision of whether to accept or decline a submission, for us the cover letter is important. We ask that the cover letter from both writers and artists contain a short professional biography (up tp 150 words) for publication with the submission in the event it is accepted. We also ask that submitters include in the cover letter any links to personal and commercial sites where their works are available in order that we might more effectively promote them. We ask our artists to include a description of the submitted artwork, including title, medium, and size.
A: For our contests, we don't read cover letters at all during the first rounds of reading. However, once we narrow it down to potential finalists, the cover letter becomes more important, and a more experienced or more often published author may have a bit of an advantage if it comes down to a choice between two writers for one remaining finalist slot. That's because it is sometimes easier to work with a more experienced author, and that author may already have an established audience or platform.
A: We read the piece first without regard for cover letters. Later, it can be helpful and interesting to learn a little more about the author. But above all we are very friendly to authors who have never published before.
A: It's always exciting to read about where the poets submitting to our journal are from and how they live their own unique poetry lives, how poetry has fit into their lives, whether it be by publishing, MFA, no MFA, coming to poetry later in life, coming to poetry early in life, the places that have influenced their writing, what they do for a living, etc.
A: Everyone who submits should include a cover letter, but often, writers will send their entire publication history in that letter, something like fifty-plus previous publications. Here's the thing: we don't care about past credits. Keep it brief. Most of our staff reads blind anyhow. We only care that the work we're reviewing works for us.
A: We read submissions blind. While identity is important, we follow Baldwin's words, Identity would seem to be the garment with which one covers the nakedness of the self: in which case, it is best that the garment be loose, a little like the robes of the desert, through which one's nakedness can always be felt, and, sometimes, discerned. This trust in one's nakedness is all that gives one the power to change one's robes. We look for pieces of exploration, not explanation.
A: Previous publications are fabulous! And so is making new friends and learning about others. But really, your story will say more about you than any cover letter or list of prior pubs. We are so happy for you and your achievements - but we think your story itself is the most important part of your submission.