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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 1,825 editors.

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

A: This depends on the individual editor. We have a team of first readers who review all submissions, then their comments are passed along to the final editors. Editors may skip over any piece that received three "no" votes from our first readers, but most editors choose to read all submissions anyway, just in case. That said, due to the volume of submissions, many judgements must be made quickly. I suggest all writers read Sven Birkerts' essay "Submission Guidelines" ...

Philip Memmer, Executive Editor of Stone Canoe, 13 August 2020

A: trampset editors read submissions on a rotating basis, and each editor likely has their own process, so one can't make a blanketed statement. I can say that each editor takes each submission seriously and really wants that submission to be a good fit. Whether they are able to determine that from the first page or not until reading all the way through likely depends on which editor(s) are reading at the moment.

J. Edward Kruft, Editor-at-large of trampset, 09 August 2020

A: I can usually tell within the first few lines but I've been surprised, so I read the entire poem to give each one a fair chance.

A: We always read the submissions in full. Which is not to say an inclination to reject doesn't start early on. We just like to give the work a chance in case revising it becomes an option.

A: We have a small team of readers who read at least the first few pages of each piece, if not each piece entirely. There are some submissions that we can tell right away aren't ready or don't fit what we are looking for. Also, we have a few sets of eyes, including at least one genre editor's, hit each submission before rejecting it, understanding that judging creative work is subjective.

Melissa Wade, Editor-in-chief of phoebe, 07 August 2020

A: That varies. I always read the entire first page. Sometimes I know right away that it's not a good fit. Oftentimes, I'm compelled to read the entire piece. Sometimes I get to the end and it still doesn't seem to fit. I then take time to think it over and decide if I want to ask the writer if they're open to making revisions. Sometimes if a piece feels close, but not quite there, I will work with the writer to help improve the piece.

A: I can generally tell by the introductory email if I will be able to work with a potential writer. I read every submission to the end, and if a piece isn't right I will reply with often extensive feedback.

A: I read it if we are going to use it but I can't read every submission if we are not going to use them. No, it doesn't require us to read the entire thing to know it's not right. But we read many, many many articles every day!

A: After all the poems have been submitted, the reading process begins. Members of a selection committee read each poem several times. Some poems are immediately accepted or rejected, others are placed in a holding file to be read again when the selection committee is in doubt.

A: I read *almost* every piece to the end. If a submission includes subject matter that does not meet our guidelines, such as implicitly or explicitly condoning violence, assault, racism, homophobia, abuse, etc., I do not finish reading the piece. At that point, I know it's not right for us.

Diana Smith Bolton, Founding Editor of District Lit, 26 July 2020

A: We can generally tell an obvious rejection on first glance, but we read every single one to the end regardless.

A: I generally read every submission through to the end. I only don't if it's very obvious from the off that it's not going to be right for us.