Editor Interviews

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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted? Learn more.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,625 editors.

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go through before it is accepted?

A: After our first filter, things get harder. Our next step is to select a long list of 10% of the entries, and by that stage we're already losing stories we think are very accomplished. There's always a temptation to make the long list a really, really long list. Then, we filter the long list down to a short list of twelve. I've learned that one can agonise over this for days and that, sometimes, we just have to go with our instincts. It's hard to lose a really good story, but ours is only one competition, and the stories that don't win with us will often find success elsewhere. Once we've determined the shortlist, the three judges independently rank the stories 1-12; then we add our scores together and the top three positions are determined by whichever stories have the lowest total. This means that the winner may not have been the first choice of any of the judges. I'm not sure whether it's the best way to do it, but it does put an end to our arguing!

A: In addition to consideration of craft, we consider whether or not--and how--a piece engages in conversation with our theme and other accepted works; there are frequently good works that are simply not a good fit for our journal.

Valentine Conaty, Editor in Chief of Bomb Cyclone, 13 February 2019

A: We have 2 or 3 editors read a piece before acceptance. Then we work with the writer on any edits that may be needed.

A: We read individually. We discuss our reviews over breakfast. One of us reads again. We check out the cover letter, if it was included. We email a happy message.

A: Were guidelines followed?

A: The finalists go to a distinguished judge. If I receive a New and Selected ms that I like, it goes to one of our advisory board.

A: All submissions are read by at least two members of our editorial team who make a call based entirely on their totally irrational, subjective whims.

A: Sometimes if we are on the fence about a piece, we share it with each other to get some feedback before making a decision. For me, sometimes I will sit on a story and think about it, and decide later.

A: We take our reading process seriously. The writing we select goes through two-to-three reading cycles before it's accepted.

A: With the poetry, I generally get enough responses to the prompt/theme that a cohesion is established. Then I can afford to take a few poems that are not necessarily related. With the artwork, I tend to look for a good pairing. I receive much less artwork at this time and sometimes have to go hunting for it.

A: Since FLRev publishes all the poems together, one after the other, we try to keep sequencing in mind. Sometimes, just by chance, we get a few poets who have tackled the same topic, or who have used similar words, and we like to publish them together so that one poem flows into another and the issue dovetails nicely. We very rarely take all three poems that a poet sends; we usually try to take one or two from the three-poem batch. But we occasionally have a poet who hits our "trifecta."

A: N/A