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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 1,725 editors.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: I read all pieces completely before rejecting. Sometimes, however, it is obvious after the first line or two that I'm not connecting. I generally put it away and try again another time, in case it's me. If I've decided not to publish the piece for ANY REASON. . . I do one complete and final read through to make sure that there isn't something that can be tweaked, or if I'm just not connecting to it. If I decide that there is nothing WRONG with the piece, I just don't care for it, I'll throw it to my team to double check me. Finally, we hold on sending rejections right away, at least a month, then make a final list. If the piece sneaks in at the deadline, the window is shorter, but the process is the same. Every piece gets a full read through even if I have to initially put it away.
A: We read everything to the end, but we generally know very early if your work is a perfect fit for us. Even if a story with a weak beginning picks up halfway through and delivers an excellent end, a reader isn't (often) going to give a story the same kind of time an editor will. Work on your beginnings! They're critical to capturing our attention, but also our readers' attention.
A: As our submissions are on the short side we tend to read all of each submission. If we have a long story and I'm not grabbed by it after the first scroll down I may reject it.
A: I read every piece to the end. I give that courtesy to every submitter. At Duende, we are very dedicated and we have enough editors to hold ourselves accountable to read every entry in full.
A: Almost every piece is read to the end, unless there are just so many problems happening that it's painful to get through. But this seldom happens. In general, I have a sense that the piece is right for our magazine within a page or two.
A: A piece we ultimately select should leap off of the page and excite us in one way or another. We give a piece a chance but we can generally tell within 400 words if we want to put it on our internal shortlist.
A: I read every piece that comes into the Blue Tiger from an ESL writer, and I try my best to write back each ESL writer who submits.
A: We read the whole story. Often we make comments regarding things that made us decline. We also offer a paid critique service that is very reasonable and very in-depth, often resulting in resubmissions and often acceptances.
A: I can usually tell from the first page whether the piece is right for me.
A: Usually the whole thing. The only time we reject a story before completing it is if it will require a huge number of edits to make it work. That said, as we recieve more and more submissions for our calls for submissions, we are starting to judge stories earlier in the piece. If the ending of a story is excellent, but the beginning of the story gives me no reason to get to the end, then the story is flawed and the reader will struggle to get to the end to experience the excellent ending. It the reader is struggling to get to the end of the story, then I am reluctant to publish it. But we will always read at least 25% of a story before making a decision. I once published a story which was about 10 pages long. Most of the story was excellent. But the beginning was terrible. And it had no bearing on the tale at all. So we cut the first three pages and published the rest. If we'd stopped after a page or two, that excellent story wouldn't be in one of our books.
A: Most times, I read to the end or close to the end. If the write-up is tedious to edit or the concept vague, then I reject it.