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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 1,900 editors.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: While we appreciate learning more about submitters—including their publication history—in the end, we care most about the energy and quality of the writing. However, we do find cover letters to be helpful tools for creating a more inclusive and expansive catalogue, which our journal is committed to now more than ever.
A: I do like cover letters. Tell me about your day. I've mentioned before though - your previous publication credits don't mean anything here. What matters here is the submission at hand, and is it coming to the right magazine. Most folks who have read this far already know there's another magazine they'll submit exactly the same material to that will accept it. And that's good!
A: We love reading about our potential contributors! We don't require a cover letter but it's always lovely to get one.
Previous publications aren't important to us at all, we read the submission before we read the email and we judge based on the piece itself, not the prior publications.
A: Cover letters do matter to me - but not essays. Essays of personal achievement or poem explanations actually put me off!
I would love to have a reason why you want to be published by FOTW Press and where you have been previously published (your top 3).
You can chat about a FOTW book you've read and enjoyed as extra if relevant.
That's it: let the writing do the talking!
A: Our submission questionnaire is pretty extensive! We ask a lot of questions about the author, the story, the reader, and marketing ideas. We don't care about cover letters, in fact, there is no place on the form to add a cover letter. There are plenty of spots to list previous publication credits, but those are not as important as the ability for the author to describe their work in a way that intrigues us and also have a good sense of her readership. The very last question on the form asks for the full manuscript.
A: If someone belongs to a marginalized group, we want to know about it. We also like knowing if you're a brand new comedy writer, or if you're young. Most of the editors don't see the cover letter before we read the piece and only look at it later.
A: Cover letters aren't that important to Furrow.
A: While a cover letter is nice, we do not require one. We do ask for a short bio, and a short list of previous publications does inspire confidence that the writer is professional in his/her/their approach, and that the piece will likely meet submission guidelines. That said, we have published plenty of first time authors and artists and enjoy working with talented, emerging writers and artists too.
A: A standard fifty-word bio is fine, but we would like a sentence or two on how the writer sees their work fitting K'in's aesthetic and ethos.
A: For me personally, no. I don't read cover letters until after I've read the submission, and even then usually only after I've decided I like the work. Some of the editors in our collectives like to read bios and publications first, though.
A: we appreciate brief cover letters, as we appreciate any kind of polite communication and personal approach.
when we accept or reject the submission, though, we look at the writing, not the credits.
A: As for cover letters, yes. As for publication credits, no. Certainly, I am interested in getting to know contributors, including their age, job (or no job), education (or no education), travel experiences, and especially dissident experiences. Again, I am not interested in publication credits.