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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 1,925 editors.

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

A: Our editor read all works to the end with great detail to see what was working and not working in a piece. At times we also take more days or weeks to re-read stories that impacted us. Sometimes it's not enough to read a story once to get the full impact of every small detail.

A: our readers look for reasons to accept a piece, rather than reasons to decline a piece... but that said, sometimes you know instantly if a piece is up your alley and conversely when it's not, even when reading with an open mind.

A: This varies, but is ultimately up to the discretion of our slush readers. Some prefer to read a whole piece and some prefer to read just the first few pages. We don't require our slushers to read an entire piece. If it doesn't grab us right away, we probably won't be interested.

A: I always read all the piece before making a decision. Some pieces I have offered edits when I notice something that takes me out of the work.

A: I can usually tell my the first page or two if I'm going to accept or reject it. If I'm not interested in a piece by then, I'm not going to keep reading because I know that readers of our site won't be interested either.

Julia Nusbaum, Editor-in-Chief/Founder of HerStry, 04 September 2021

A: It really depends on the piece. As the editor, I may read a story that I feel is a great fit for our publication within the first paragraph, or it may take reading the whole story before I decide to accept a submission. Any written work is read fully before publication so as to give the writer time to make possible edits. We will absolutely work with creators to make sure their work is publication-ready.

A: Our editor can usually tell within a couple of chapters.

A: Generally, I am able to tell what works and what does not from the first two verses of a poem or paragraphs of a fiction or nonfiction work. However, I do not base my judgement on that. I make it a point of duty to read till the end of pieces before making the decision to bin.

A: Right up until the point when it becomes clear that we either wouldn't be able to sell it, or that it wouldn't get enough attention on the editorial side for the finished product to really shine. Sometimes that happens in the first ten pages, sometimes only after I've read the whole thing twice. Usually somewhere in between.

A: All of it unless there are obvious problems (guideline violations, formatting issues, not publication-ready, etc.) within the first couple pages.

Jessica Spruill Waggoner, Managing Editor of HeartWood, 19 August 2021

A: Yes, we read every piece to the end, and often multiple times. I like to look at the possibility of a work so if it's 90% there, I take time to consider how I can work with the writer to make it 100% and ready for publication. We are pitched great concepts all the time, so our editorial process also puts faith in the writer to submit something clean, compelling, and unique.

A: We have no set amount of reading of a story.
If the writer can't spell and doesn't know or and grammar properly, about a paragraph will get read.