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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 2,000 editors.
Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you?
A: We love hearing about the lives of our submitters; it makes sorting through submissions feel much more human. Of course, we don't want your entire life story described in pages and pages of detail, but a little bit of information about your life will never hurt your chances with us. As for what we ardently recommend you include, a short cover letter is sufficient. Include the name of the story, its genre, length, and a few previous publication credits if applicable.
A: I am not particularly interested in cover letters as I read submissions before I open their associated emails. The magazine requires a short biographical statement and a profile image so I expect these to be attached or included, but otherwise I am happy with a brief hello. I've rejected submissions from well-known established names then accepted work from writers with no publication credits. The submission should speak for itself.
A: We always like to see a bit of flair and personality when someone submits—who are you? Why do you write? If you have a strange background, even better! We actually prefer someone who doesn't have a literary background—that's far more interesting most of the time. And we DEFINITELY love when unpublished people submit to us; let us know you're unpublished in your cover letter. We're big champions of trying to bring unheard voices up to the microphone, and usually look more favorably on someone who has zero publications and submits a great story compared to someone who's in the New Yorker and submits a great story. This is a community, and everyone deserves to have a seat at the dinner table. Of course, what matters most is the story or poem's quality. It begins with that. The cover letter is just the spice on top of the main course.
A: I prefer not to know anything about the submitter. I, too, can be influenced by a writer's bio. I prefer to read the work, then ask for a bio if the submission is suitable for the podcast.
A: We love reading short cover letters from our contributors about who they are and where they're from. Cover letters and publishing credits (or lack of) do not influence our selection process, but it's a nice connection to those poets who submit their work.
A: All submissions are read blind. However, previous publishing credits should be included as part of the manuscript, if the work is a collection of poetry or short works (I.e. if the poems or short works have been previously published let us know where and when in the manuscript). We are thrilled to publish debut authors but also happy when we have a new work by a more established one.
A: Cover letters can be informative, but it’s the work that counts. Though, I do like hearing the thinking behind why authors decided to submit to us and what their expectations might be. What’s most important is how well authors can communicate and work collaboratively with Arteidolia Press.
A: The work stands alone! I don't need to know anything about the person submitting, I just want to read the work.
A: It’s really the work that speaks to me. I don’t care where an author has been published. Since we do get lots of international submissions, I do like knowing where authors are from and how they found out about swifts & slows. Sometimes cover letters can feel too much like a sales pitch. I do appreciate it when submitters share comments about swifts & slows and mention what actually drew them to wanting to submit to us.
A: We don't need to know anything about the writers because the jury read anonymously. So we don't ask for a bio or credits; it doesn't matter. LISP is open to all writers from around the world and at any level of their careers.
A: Of course an impressive publication history is---well, impressive, but this ultimately doesn't give any priority over how quickly we review/respond to your work over other submitters, and because submissions are read blind, no one will know. We respond in the order submissions are sent. And as a publication catered towards young/emerging writers, our goal is not to build an exclusive, gated writing space for already-established writers.
A: A very brief bio is appreciated, although this does not influence our selection of accepted work.