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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.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,550 editors.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: If it is a long piece, we usually know after reading around 40 per cent of it. We read poems in full.
A: Rejections are always difficult as they can occur for different reasons - if a piece is too obtuse or all over the place, then I am not going to read all of it, I am going to do my best to persevere but if it becomes a struggle then there is no way I can justify publishing it, so there is not much point in reading it all. If something on the other hand is well-written but we are unsure if it suits our genre, I will read it closely to the end, and send it to others to look at, before we make a decision. If something is too long, we will look at it as a literary work, and consider whether we can perhaps split it over more than one issue, so in that case we would also read it to the end, before making the decision to offer serialisation.
A: While I often feel I know whether a piece is right for us early on, I read all pieces through to the end.
A: Mandy: You've got to hook me from the start. I'll try to make it through the first page, but if the story starts slow, I probably won't make it to the second page.
Dusty: Like I said before, if I trip over typos, misspellings and/ or grammatical flubs on the first page, I probably won't get to the second one...
A: We always read the whole piece. Just because the beginning doesn't catch you right away doesn't mean the story isn't good. Since we like to work with artists, we want to read the whole thing so we can provide good, knowledgeable feedback,
A: We read every single piece in its entirety before making a decision. It is an honor to be trusted with your words, and its important to us that we give every writer our full attention and consideration before making the final call.
A: That depends. We certainly try to give the piece the benefit of the doubt—if we know fairly quickly it’s not for us, it’s usually because of something like a sexist miscue—your speaker or narrator has objectified a woman’s body, for instance, or fat-shamed a character, or made racist assumptions about immigrants—and done none of this in an ironic way. We understand satire, we get unreliable narrators as a trope—but that’s not what’s going on in these pieces. We don’t usually make it to the end of those submissions.
A: We are generous with our submissions. We read what's sent to us.
A: We read every piece to the end.
A: At 250 words or less, Dead Housekeeping essays are so short that we read them in their entirety.
A: I read every piece to the end with the exception of work that is obviously racist/violent/misogynistic etc. I believe firmly in reading every submission all the way through even when I can tell midway that it won't be right. The person took the time to create and submit that creation to us, the least that I can do to honor that is to read the entirety of their creation.
A: We do our best to review as much of a piece as possible before making the call because some books have rough starts but smooth out later in. However, if something is written poorly, we can usually tell within the first couple pages if it is for us or not.