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 1,650 editors.

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

A: I sort submissions into my "to read" file each morning. Then I typically read and reply to the oldest 5-10 submissions in my file. If a work is accepted for publication, I will send an acceptance letter to the poet or writer, edit the work, and schedule it for publication. Some days also involve updating the website or sending payments to poets and writers.

A: Often, I'm reading submissions late at night, waiting for that magical moment when you know a piece is right for your publication. The submissions that stand out are those that have a confident voice and an interesting perspective.

A: I not only publish WritersWeekly, but I also own BookLocker.com, which is one of the top self-publishing services firms. In addition, I live on a sailboat, and homeschool our two youngest children. Needless to say, my daily tasks are far too numerous to list in this small box. ;) I blog about living and working on a sailboat here: https://writersweekly.com/category/news-from-the-home-office

A: My own research in the morning, journal matters in the afternoon. Teaching schedule takes up time from both.

A: All our editors are also writers. Our lives are filled will words. Each editor takes the pile of most recent submissions and independently makes a list of those that he or she feels is worth publishing. Those manuscripts have, in effect, made the first cut. Then the two lists are compared, and the overlapping choices make the second cut. After that, we rank our choices, and we usually publish one or two manuscripts with the highest ranking.

A: I'm not sure what you're looking for with this question. We get a lot of submissions--for the current issue, 1,461 short stories and 382 essays--and I try to keep things moving along as quickly as possible, so that people don't have to wait months to hear from us. (If it has been months, the piece is probably shortlisted and awaiting further evaluation.) I assign stories and essays to readers at the Assistant Editor level; the Fiction and CNF Editor also read at that "first reader" level, and so do I, if I think things are piling up too much. How many stories/essays each reader reads per week varies; I encourage people not to let the mss. pile up, but to spread out the workload over time.

Vivian Dorsel, Editor/Publisher of upstreet, 24 April 2019

A: I have a day job in a museum. So I do that & then come home exhausted & try to do everything else & then read submissions.
I read submissions online through Submittable. I try to read 3 - 5 per sitting, alone in a quiet room. I read slowly. I notice typos and inconsistencies. I notice goofy formatting. I notice language that stops me in my tracks.

Dominic Caruso, Publisher of is this up, 23 April 2019

A: As executive editor I do a first read through of submissions. After this I forward submissions to our assistant editor who does an evaluation. This is where we decide to give an immediate accept or reject. If you've made it this far you will be forwarded to our prose or poetry editor. Art and sound submissions are evaluated by me.

Mauve Perle Tahat, Executive Editor, Founder of TERSE. Journal, 09 April 2019

A: We are always hopelessly behind, and then we read and read and catch up. When something strikes one of us, we consult the other two.

Peg Boyers, Executive Editor of Salmagundi, 26 March 2019

A: The three of us are ESL teachers by day, so we teach Korean college students how to use the present progressive tense and what not.
Regarding our roles as editors: we three read each piece and keep notes in a shared document. Then we meet once a week or so to discuss the submissions and discuss the merits and fit of each piece and make a decision.

A: I'm a medical content provider (continuing education products, pocasting, textbook chapters, blogs, patient advocacy columns, admin/moderation, etc.) for most of my day, so swapping the writer's hat for the editor's hat only happens quarterly, but it's great fun and a welcomed change of pace. I find that 99/100 of the writers I work with are happy with the process from beginning to end and I'm genuinely thrilled to put their work out into the world. I do ALL the things, by the way--I manage submissions, make selections, write acceptances and rejections, decision each page of each issue, do all the proofing, galley management, and digital publishing, as well as the promotions, etc. Yes, it's a lot, but most writers I work with appreciate it, fortunately. I've worked in publishing since the days of typesetting (1980s) and love the entire process.

Tamara Sellman RPSGT CCSH, Editor, curator, producer of Vitamin ZZZ, 16 March 2019

A: I usually sleep with a novel, a poetry book, and my diary with me. The diary has the names of the submitters and their pieces of work. The novel these days is Miriam Darlington’s ‘Owl Sense’, the poetry collection is Willa Carrol’s ‘Nerve Chorus’ — my days begin with reading a few pages from each. After which I get on with Gmail read several submissions, mark which pieces to simply reject, and which to keep for further reading. And it’s later in the month that I again select 4-5 pieces from all the ‘to be read again’ ones. So, sometimes the days are just hectic — more so when the writers submitting to us don’t know what they’re submitting (yes, it’s quite a common phenomenon!)