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 1,750 editors.

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

A: We read the whole piece and publish almost all submissions that adhere to our guidelines. We also offer slight edits for clarity.

A: I read every piece right to the end of the bibliography. You never know.

A: All of it, unless it contains something which I don't like, for example sexual violence.

A: We are committed to reading every manuscript in its entirety before coming to a publishing decision. This can cause our submission period to be up to a year, though typically we try to keep it to less than six months.

A: it depends. Sometimes the first few lines will hook me in. Sometimes I need to read the whole thing. I make stacks (electronically). One is absolutely and a quick decision. One is maybe; something in the middle, read it all kind of thing. One is no and I can tell right away, first couple of lines.

A: To be honest, as experienced poets and editors, it's true that sometimes we can tell right away that a poet isn't quite ready to be submitting their work. However, our reading process ensures that it's rare that a submission is not read in its entirety by more than one editor. We've published poems that two or three editors pass on before another editor will choose it to champion at the table. We love the flexibility of this process, and we love the feeling that this extra attention means that we find excellent work that may have been going unnoticed, even by other publications.

Jan Bottiglieri, Managing Editor of RHINO Poetry, 06 January 2020

A: We read every word of every submission we receive and often discuss the work with other team members before accepting or rejecting it. The only exception is work that contains harmful language, that is blatantly intended to offend or oppress identity groups (i.e. racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.). Harmful behavior and language are not tolerated at Turnpike.

A: It depends. Sometimes you can tell from the pitch that it's just not right for Claret Press. It's not about the writing. It's about the topic or the approach. If I do read the submission, then again, it depends. Sometimes as much as 10 pages. Sometimes the whole thing.

Katie Isbester, Editor-in-Chief of Claret Press, 06 January 2020

A: I have instructed the slush readers to only read as much of a story as they need to get the sense of it. A poorly written story, or one that is too dark for us or otherwise fails to meet our needs will be evident pretty quickly. No need to waste their time on a story if it is immediately apparent that we won't publish it. Once they send stories to me for my consideration, I will read the entire story. Partially, this is because I don't feel I can properly judge a story that I have not completely read, partially this is because I have a psychological quirk that I cannot stop reading a story until the end. I have read some terrible novels to the end because of this. If anybody knows a cure...

A: We have two editors who read and they have their own style. If they see immediately that the guidelines haven't been followed, they won't read it. For the most part, they read to the end -- unless it's just too hard to get through due to grammatical errors, poor writing, etc.

A: We try to keep the process simple. Every editor reads every piece and leaves comments and critiques. Then we make a democratic vote on whether to accept the work. Sometimes a few edits are necessary before we are happy with publishing. In that case, we run any alterations by the writer before we accept the piece.

A: We read through to the end of each piece, but don't let that make you comfortable. It's best to immediately dazzle without too much of a slow build.

Genna Rivieccio, Editor-in-Chief of The Opiate, 28 December 2019