Editor Interviews

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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you? Learn more.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,775 editors.

Q: What is a day in the life of an editor like for you?

A: We read through to ensure initial quality: if OK then the submission is logged and shared with the other co-editor. When we have a sufficient body of submissions to decide upon, we read very thoroughly, make notes, then confer over long meeting where every submission is talked about and views compared.

A: Usually I will spend at least an hour or two each day, corresponding with authors and reading their submissions. There's often quite a bit to wade through, and often much of it isn't very good, but then when you find that gem, this makes it all worthwhile.

A: The first thing I do when a submission appears is I read the entire piece and I make initial notes on what stands out to me, if anything, what seems to work and doesn't. if I'm liking it, I put it aside. The next day I read through it again, looking deeply at the story, the meaning of the story, and other more technical things. If at the end of that I can survive reading it again- I usually accept it. If not, I usually have a good idea as to why it won't work and I can tell the author what I liked and didn't like.
If I don't like it on the first read I wait a couple of days and try again. Sometimes I find I've changed my mind about a piece, so it's always good to read things twice. Then it's a matter of deciding of the pieces I like and work well, which ones I have room to fit in the magazine. Sometimes I really like reading a piece and it's well written, but there's simply no place for it to fit in the issue or the next three issues so I have to reject it. I always try to remind people it's not the end if I reject something, it just means it wasn't a good fit for me or the magazine and there's plenty of opportunity out there to find someone who will accept and publish it. I don't like to see people discouraged.

A: I read and sort a lot of email. I also send a lot of email. All of the editors participate in regular discussions online. When we get close to publication, much of my day is spent proofing, doing layout, and communicating with contributors.

A: Given our incredibly fast-turnaround times (48-hours for every submission) efficient communication is key. Our editors first read through all the new submissions individually on the day that they are sent, and assign one of three labels: Accept, Decline or Uncertain. In the cases where all the editors agree on a piece being accepted or declined, we proceed accordingly without further discussion. In the cases where opinions are mixed, we discuss our differences on the following day (second-day from the submission). If we are still at odds, we vote, and the majority's decision holds.

A: Right now, we do everything over email. So, I generally take the emails that come in and group them into a folder for submissions. We generally have an Accepted, Maybe, and Rejected folder that we work with beyond the initial one. This lets us move submissions about as we compare the results from our individual reads. Would be nice to have a submissions software someday, aha.

A: We are a small publication, but growing really quickly. In fact, probably faster than we would like. As such, there is a lot of putting out fires. Right now I spend a surprising amount of time balancing between doing grunt work, and setting up systems to automated or off-load that grunt work to others. I would say only 10% of my time is actually spent reading submissions any more. By the time they get to me, they have been pretty well vetted and I'm just giving them the final read to make sure we are on track with our mission.

A: I collect all submissions received during the submission period, print out every story, poem, and art work, and with pen in hand, I read everything over a week's time. This first reading will identify those that should receive a second reading and those that aren't ready for prime time. Then, I have two other editors individually read the first set, further narrowing the field. I collect all remaining choices and make final decisions.

A: As editor, I assign submissions to readers most versed in the subject being addressed. Essays can go through as many as three revisions before being accepted.

A: Reading—editing—evaluating.

A: Reading submissions, keeping up with upcoming book releases, and writing lots of emails. For me particularly, I communicate a lot with my other editors and with student interns. Working with students is perhaps the best part of my day!

A: Morning coffee on the lanai while reading or editing submissions. Email exchanges with the authors and other editors. More coffee, some video gaming, and an evening with my Lady.