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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 1,750 editors.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: I don't need to know anything about the writer. The writing speaks for itself. If I publish their work, I include a short bio. If I publish their work multiple times, I will get to know them naturally.
A: We seriously consider the quality of the cover letter and answers to our twelve Manuscript Submission questions in special regard to clarity, completeness, conciseness, correctness, as well as number and quality of previous publications. The Editor-in-Chief and Publisher personally call all writers of manuscripts we are interested in publishing before contracting. We favor writers who are comfortable with and adept at presenting themselves and their works before the interested public.
A: Only the writing matters. I do prefer a little conversation in the cover letter/email, but do I care where you've been pub'd? Not really. I don't include bios, ever. It's the writing.
A: We like cover letters, because we are genuinely interested in our poets! That said, they're not required. A long list of previous publication credits and awards isn't going to help you and, to be honest, I often skip those. Include just a few of the publications or achievements that you feel best represent who you are as a writer. Let us know if you're a previous contributor, and don't be afraid to tell us if you've never been published before.
A: We ask for submitters' publishing names, pronouns, brief bios, titles of pieces, and genres of pieces. Cover letters are never necessary with our publication. Previous publication credits matter to us if they matter to you - you may include them in your author bio, if you would like.
A: A list of previous publications matters because it demonstrates a professionalism. The writing could be anything from comic books to blogging to dry academia. It shows that the author can sit down day after day and write, accept critical feedback and make changes, and respond to the readers.
The cover letter is a good idea because it forces authors to reduce the story to 2 or 3 sentences, while also making it sound incredibly interesting.
A: Cover letters are only interesting after the fact (if we have any interest in publishing the story). We are much more concerned about the quality of the story submitted. No, previous publications aren't all that important to us: we have published well known authors and we have published first time authors. Again, the quality of the story is the most important criterion.
A: Cover letters matter to us but not so much their publishing history. We don't care if you've been published all over the world (though that is impressive) or if this is your first time out there (congrats). We do care about why you've chosen us and/or the theme. We want to know about you in that way. The quality of the work you submitted will speak to us in ways credentials can't.
A: Not much. We generally do a quick search to make sure our potential contributor isn't a xenophobe. The last thing we want to do is publish work by an author who regularly posts Nazi propaganda on their Twitter feed. Otherwise, we welcome all, new and old, aspiring and established, unknown and exalted.
A: A quick introduction is sufficient, no need to get elaborate unless you want to. We enjoy knowing where our writers are geographically based (location is still everything, isn't it?), as well as what motivated them to start writing in the first place.
A: A brief account enough---not the intros that are longer than their submissions!
For us, current content should speak for itself, not the previous credits.