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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 1,625 editors.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: Every piece is read in its entirety. I often have a feeling within the first few lines, but I make no decisions without a thorough examination of each piece.
A: Each year I'm joined by two other judges, and we all do this on a voluntary basis. We don't have that much time and last year we received over 600 entries. It would be dishonest to say that we read every entry carefully. Our first filter reduces the field by 50% or so, and we do this by eliminating those stories that have serious grammar, formatting, and syntax problems. These problems are often evident by the time one has read a paragraph.
A: Out of respect for the writer, we read the entire piece prior to making a decision currently. Sometimes you know a piece isn’t right for our publication, but we still give it a full read at least once before making a decision to pass or take further steps.
A: One of us reads a couple paragraphs and knows if it resonates, and the other one of us reads 50-100% each time.
A: The stories are 42 words each. So, we read all of it.
A: I read about 1/3 of each manuscript before passing on it. If I am still reading to the end, it is a finalist.
A: This varies from piece to piece. We really do try to read submissions all the way through whenever possible. Although we might potentially bail on longer pieces if it becomes abundantly clear that they're not a good tonal fit for the site.
A: I can tell whether I'm interested in a piece from the first few sentences / paragraphs. If I'm interested, I read the ending, and then I read the middle. I don't read every submission to the end, but I'd say I at least scan most of them.
A: A well-crafted poem, short story, or essay should arrest our attention early on and keep it until the end. If a written work takes until the end to grab our attention, we can expect it will have the same effect on our readers and that they will not likely read the text to the end.
A: As we are talking stanzas rather than pages, I usually read to the end in hopes of a turn in the poem that will redeem the rest. I can tell pretty quickly whether the poem is going to be successful.
A: Ah, now you know why we cherish short poems. Yes, we always read the whole poem, several times, and we take into consideration the submission as a whole. I like the fact that when I'm on the fence about a particular poem, my associate editor, Karen Neuberg, can offer insights and input that will lead me to see a poem in a different, and possibly more favorable, light. Two heads are indeed better than one in the poetry biz, especially since we usually agree. If the poem makes us laugh, cry, or dance on the table, we give it a big thumbs-up.
A: We read it all!