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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 1,775 editors.
Q: If you publish writing, how much of a piece do you read before making the decision to reject it?
A: We read all submissions all the way through.
A: It varies. Sometimes, you can tell right away whether or not a piece will be accepted. Other times, it doesn't click until the very end, or several reads later. If you're lucky, you'll just catch us on a day when we're in the mood for whatever you're writing.
A: In all honesty, sometimes you can tell fairly soon that the writer isn't ready to be published at Short Fiction and we don't spend the time to really go beyond the first page or so. Since every single submission gets two pairs of eyes on it from among our editorial board, we hope we're pretty well insured against missing something spectacular.
A: I read the whole submission at least once before I make a decision.
A: We read every piece all the way through before making the decision to reject. If we like a poem, it will be read by multiple editors.
A: We always do our best to read through the whole submission, especially when the submission is poetry or short prose. In the case of multiple pieces sent in a single submission (e.g. multiple poems sent together) we make sure to read all the pieces, even if we feel that the first few might not be a good fit. For example, there have been quite a few instances where we have accepted only the fourth or fifth poem from a group of five.
A: I personally read every submission we get from the first word to the last word. If I’m leaning towards a rejection earlier in the piece, I still read on to the end in all cases.
A: It depends. Some pieces I'm not sure about, so I stick with it and read the entire piece to make sure. Others pull me in and I don't even notice I've been dragged through pages of story, and there are even a few that I've stopped reading a few pages in because I could tell it wasn't right for our books.
A: The whole thing. Every time. It's the least we can do. That said, the reading usually goes in a few phases. By the end of the first paragraph we know if this person can actually write. By the end of 500-1000 words we know if they seem to be setting us an ethical problem. And in the last 500-1000 words we know if they actually did set up an ethical problem for the character in a way that gives the readers some discussion points when they finish.
A: About 10% of the submitted work shows itself early to be either 1.) off theme or 2.) heavily sentimental or 3.) didactic screed. Most submitted work is read completely.
A: Each essay or creative response--if meeting the basic requirements--is reviewed by three members of our editorial board with the final decision given to the editor.
A: The editor-in-chief generally reads all pieces to completion. He’s obsessive that way. :-)