Editor Interviews

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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it? Learn more.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,600 editors.

Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?

A: All of it.

A: We usually read all, or almost all of each piece, even though we can usually tell if it isn't right for us quite early. Admittedly, if it's likely not for us, the full readthrough may be more of a skim than a deep read, to ensure we haven't missed something important about the story that might improve with a good edit.

A: We read every submission in its entirety multiple times. We read individually, and together. We read each piece silently and aloud.

Robbin Farr and Judith Lagana, Founders and co-editors of River Heron Review, 14 September 2018

A: I usually read the whole piece, even if I know from the beginning that it probably is not going to be something I want to include. I feel an obligation to writers to have their work be given full attention, since they took the risk to submit. And once in a blue moon I get surprised and find a piece where I realize I actually love it and want to publish, because it comes together in a way I wouldn't have suspected.

A: The staff are required to respond if a work is rejected so the entire work must be read.

Mark Antony Rossi, Editor in Chief of Ariel Chart, 07 September 2018

A: I almost always read each piece in its entirety, because one of our missions as a magazine is to provide detailed feedback to our submitters, regardless of whether we select them for publication. It would be difficult to give quality feedback if I read less than that, and that wouldn't be fair to our submitters who put themselves out there.

A: everything (it is also additionally read by two reviewers)

Chirstoph Pieper, Editor-in-chief of Mnemosyne, 05 September 2018

A: Most of us probably root for a piece longer than we should. The least I've made it through is about three pages in, but even pieces with problematic beginnings, if they show any spark, I'll keep reading, and this is true of most of our staff. Every piece gets at least two preliminary readers, and if there's any interest by either reader, it will go up to a genre editor, who can then bump it to the editorial review board where final decisions are made. Every piece gets a fair shake--usually several. Nothing gets rejected blithely.

A: We do not publish writing but are open to some hybrid forms, provided the visual art is predominant.

A: Every single submission is read, all the way to the end, by an editorial staff of six, and by me. If any one of us likes anything about the essay, we discuss it at weekly editorial meetings. I make a preliminary decision either to say no at that point, or to hang on to it. We review those again a month or so later, sifting through and making decisions again. Any piece that survives this process is then sent to a group of consulting editors and readers. I try to send essays to readers that I think are best for the piece, but our readers are pretty diverse in how they respond to work. Sometimes I get the full range of responses back to a piece! If any one of them, or of my staff, makes a strong argument for an essay, I'm usually, eventually swayed. I also usually share redacted comments from the consulting readers with authors, and sometimes ask authors if they're willing to re-visit the essay with the comments in mind. Often this results in a revision I'll accept for publication. We like working with authors to make the piece the best it can be. I should add that if a piece of writing is racist or homophobic in its depiction, or cluelessly ignorant in its choices of language, I know immediately I won't publish it, but I read it to the end nonetheless.

A: Every piece is read to the end as there might be some fantastic arguments buried within an otherwise plodding narrative which we can help to tease out.

A: We read all the poetry submitted. As to prose, the first couple pages must hold our interest enough to continue. Work that is poorly proofed receives less attention.

Lee Gould, Editor of La Presa, 21 August 2018