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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 2,000 editors.

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

A: That varies. Anywhere from the title alone to multiple readings of the same piece in its entirety.

A: Every submission that follows the guidelines gets a skim from top to bottom. If anything grabs us we'll read with more focus. We only want work that immediately grabs us.

A: We generally read all submissions, often more than once, but if there is a turn-off early in a poem, we may stop reading it before the end. Turn-offs include things like sexist or racist language or imagery.

A: We read all submissions from start to finish before making decisions, so long as they are within our length requirements. We can consider longer pieces, depending on the quality and quantity of other pieces we're considering, but typically won't read pieces that go over our stated length limit.

A: Our publishing arm, Dogberry Ltd., is interested in submissions of either full length memoirs that are well written and preferably have an element of humor or light touch, or in humorous literary fiction or narrative Non-Fiction. We can tell from your first chapter whether you are our type. We will normally only consider a book manuscript from you once we've seen fit to publish one of your short pieces on Memoirist.

James Bloom, Co-editor of Memoirist, 28 April 2022

A: We read every piece to the end, usually several times, before making a decision.

A: Unless there’s something really objectionable in the content, we read absolutely every word before rejecting something and it will usually have had 2 or 3 pairs of eyes on it if so.
Often you do know very early on whether something feels right for us or not, but sometimes you can be completely surprised by the end of a piece – for better or worse!

A: If people follow the submission requirements, I always read the first 450 words at the very least and give feedback on that. Beyond that, it depends on the story. I will always stop where the story loses me and let the author know where that was in feedback.

A: A minimum of two readers consider each piece, along with a department editor. Readers and editors consider our long and short lists for every contest and issue. Guest judges make final calls for contests, and our department editors and EIC give final approval on staff selections for the issue. No one person has the power to accept or decline, and that's the beauty of Five South — our taste isn't based on one opinion, but collective consideration.

A: Whether it goes to our review board for peer review or it goes straight to the editors for non-peer review, the entire paper gets read without exception. Not every section of any paper is going to be equally as strong as the others, so it is quite unfair to judge a paper based on a few paragraphs. If someone is not very strong as writing a literature review but has extremely well collected data for their study, then you miss out on a potentially wonderful paper just because you stopped reading at the literature review and rejected it. Every submission is read from beginning to finish. We send each peer review article out to two reviewers that best match the subject area of the paper and they give feedback and comments within the paper itself, as well as on our graded rubric sheet. Reviewers grade the submissions based on timeliness of topic, innovation, clarity/organization, writing style/APA use, precise topic focus, and scholarly rigor. Each section is scored 1–5, given comments, and then we have a summary/recommendations section where reviewers give their thoughts and offer a final decision. If there is not a clear consensus between two reviewers, we send the article to a tie breaker reviewer. Authors who submit are given any and all comments made by reviewers within a single document/email that we provide them for ease of access where we explain the final decision to them.

A: It depends on the submission, sometimes it takes reading through the entire piece, sometimes you know within a paragraph or a minute or two of viewing or listening.

A: Every piece is read in full, and those who are selected for publication are contacted before or by an agreed date.