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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 1,900 editors.

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

A: My day varies depending on where we are in the editorial process. I am also the Executive Director for the Center for Healthcare Narratives, and this is where I spend the majority of my daylight hours. Please See Me editorial goes in waves. For example, during Submission periods, I'm reading what comes in and triaging to my Section Editor(s) to make their job easier. Once submissions close, I will read fiction and nonfiction I've flagged for deeper review in the evening, and pass on the pieces I'd like further evaluated by my Guest or Section Editors. I also manage our grants, our administrative needs, as well as oversee our website and social media, so I'd like to get FT Section Editors for Fiction and Nonfiction on board soon.

A: We read year-round, online, via Submittable. All of our editors do so without compensation, and in addition to their full-time jobs, so it's a labor of love. As Editor-at-Large, I read everything, all genres, so submissions for K'in are an ongoing part of my daily and weekly schedules. I tend to work on a genre at a time, reading for several hours at a sitting, making notes for the genre editors, as well as coaching our K'interns. We will often make notes to ourselves, or to alert other editors, to come back to a work for a second or third, or even fourth read. We also have a private editorial discussion group for all of the staff where we regularly share questions or insights. It's always the best when an editor is really excited about a submission and virtually jumps up and down in the group, telling us all to go read it :-)

A: We receive anywhere from 800 to 1000 submissions during the two-month general submission period each year. Submissions are assigned to a first reader, who votes yes or no and writes comments for other readers to see. A second reader repeats the process. If the two readers disagree with their votes, a third reader breaks the tie. Submissions with two yeses get a "Hold for Further Review" email from me while two no votes get declined. I send all held material to the editorial collectives (one collective is poetry, the other is prose, and they meet independently of one another). The collectives get a week to read each held submission packet before meeting in person to discuss. I conduct the meetings and take notes. Editors may vote anywhere from "No" to "Maybe" to "Yes with revisions" to "Unequivocal Yes" on each piece, and our discussions are fluid and feminist. We are there to listen to each other and respect the (sometimes strong) feelings of others; it very rarely comes down to majority rule and is more of a discussion of what we think works for our publication or what would resonate with our readers. I then send emails: Anyone who was accepted gets a rundown of our publishing timeline and our publication rights information, and anyone who was declined gets detailed notes on what we thought of their work. It's a busy time for the journal!

A: Well, I certainly do not receive barrels of submissions everyday. In fact, I do not even receive submissions every week. As an editor, I spend time creating critical cartoons, as well as the front and back cover aquarelles for each issue. I am not a salaried editor. So, being an editor is not a job for me, but rather a passion, something I do not for a salary.

A: Full-on, intensive, exhausting, relentless, mind-boggling. Ultimately - eight weeks on - satisfying.

A: Fiction on the Web has a staff of one: Me. I usually get at least a dozen submissions a week (sometimes lots more). I squeeze in reading time whenever I can - during a lunch break at work, or while waiting for my daughter's dance class to finish, or in the evening at home. I try to get back to authors within a month, and usually much faster, but sometimes life gets in the way and my reading pile overwhelms me. (A typical week of submissions is about 60,000 words!) If I like a story enough to publish it, I'll copy edit it, format it for the web, and schedule it for publication. I also schedule social media and email about the story.

A: I'm the anonymizer, social media, and other design oriented editor. I promote the journal and try and make cool stuff to make us look cool. I respond to emails and DMs. When our call ends my day to day will get much busier with reviewing works.

A: My team reads and comments on submissions and then bring ones they think are worthwhile to my attention. The review process doesn't formally begin until the submission deadline, though some cursory reading is done during submission periods. The team's dispersed across the country, so all communication happens electronically and by phone.

A: The three of us have a well-balanced work flow that covers all aspects of running a journal: design, author communications, PR, etc. The heart, of course, is reading submissions, and we each have particular reading habits, whether, for example, to read as soon as possible after a sub comes in, or to wait until several have arrived and read all at once. Of course, habits are linked to time and how much or how little is available.

A: Every day is different depending upon whether we’re open for submissions or not. When we’re not open for submissions we take a lot of time planning and discussing potential new services, marketing activities and social media campaigns. All our submissions are read by the senior editors and by at least one other guest reader. Work is scored, requiring a minimum score to progress to the longlist stage. We sometimes invite experienced and well-published guest editors to select the shortlist – sometimes it’s down to The Phare’s founding editors.

A: It's usually just me reading submissions, and some days I'm more overrun than others.

Mark Reynolds, Editor of Bookanista, 03 March 2021

A: We remove all distractions and take the time necessary to evaluate our submissions.

Leann Denman, Editor-in-chief of BOMBFIRE, 02 March 2021