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 1,675 editors.

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

A: I organize all of my stories into spreadsheets so I can keep track of titles, authors, length, genre, and other important details I need. I read stories in the order I receive them because my goal is to make sure I have my selections made within a specific period of time. I tried to read at least five to ten per day. This is also in between doing other business work for Tell-Tale Press. However, stories are my top priority. Therefore, they get the my strongest attention. If I have to set aside something else for later to get through stories, I will do so.

A: At Zimbell House and our imprints, Temptation Press (for erotica) and Chipper Press (middle-grade), our acquisitions process is the same. A team of reviewers each do a rough read through of the submission, then fills out a recommendation form. This form goes over every aspect of what goes into a quality piece of writing. Including what level editorial help it needs. These forms are turned into our Publisher and she then makes a decision on whether to move forward or decline the submission.

A: Although I used to print out everything we were seriously considering, I regret to say those days are gone. I read most things on my desktop or tablet now. I've even worked on items on my phone as the Submittable platform's mobile version gives me access to my templates and most of the features I need, and I can answer emails on my phone.

A: Reading and responding to 10-20 email submissions a day.

Cyril Wong, Founding Editor of SOFTBLOW, 17 June 2019

A: We try not to drink before 6:30pm. We don't try very hard.

A: I'm usually pretty focused on the next book/author coming out. The editing is the most time-consuming. Next most time-consuming would be the interior layout. We're lucky to have fabulous freelance designers. The physical product has looked really good, in my opinion. Unfortunately, reading submissions happens sporadically on weekends. We're just starting to get help with reading so I hope to be better about response times going forward.

A: I get a submission and first note author name, title and date in my files -- if I don't do this first thing, I might forget completely! Then I read the story. I usually know immediately if something is a good fit or not, but on occasion, I will have to spend some time mulling over a piece. From there, it's the response -- I like to let submitters know, whether their piece was accepted or not, it was read with care.

A: I'll open up the email and check for new submissions. They'll be downloaded int my computer. Then 'reading day' comes around and I'll start with the first one. I'll either send an acceptance or pass it on to Robin Patterson. Once I get Robin's feedback, I'll either send the request for rewrites or the rejection.

A: There is no "typical" day since there is so much to do, every day, seven days a week. Some days are focused on reviewing new submissions and working with our readers as they do their primary reviews of the work. Some days are about making choices among finalists for the winning manuscript. Some days are about working to update our blog site or our website, to list the semi-finalists, finalists and award winners. Some days are about working with those who have won our awards in order to prepare their manuscripts for publication. Some days are working with our interns and the university supervisors of their internship programs. Some days are about book publicity and working to raise awareness of our published titles and our wonderful writers. But most days, all of these activities are juggled, the hours are long and the "to do" list never completed. But lest you imagine that this is a complaint -- it is not. There is really nothing better than being fully engaged with that which you are deeply passionate.

A: I try to read first in, first out. One of my goals is to reduce our queue time for the submission process, so if we're in a submission period, I'm checking the new submissions and assigning them to readers who have room/time to read that week. I've asked our first readers to have their assessments for their assignments in three weeks or less. As the stories go through the editorial process, we endeavor to respond as quickly as possible. As a writer, I live for the "no thank you" from editors who take the time to write some personal words of encouragement, so I've been trying to include personal notes in about 20% of the declines for fiction.
The real tragedy of publishing is that we get about 500 submissions during an average call for fiction, and we can publish less than 2% of them, so the most painful part of the process is trying to figure out the 8-10 stories we can publish that issue. We end up absolutely loving about 50 of them, and usually because it takes so long to get through all of the stories, we lose quite a few to other publications before we can respond. That destroys me, particularly because we've usually been debating between two great stories and then suddenly, in like two days time, both of them are withdrawn because someone else got to them first. Our loss, their gain, but still, it stings about once a week.

Wendy Wimmer, Fiction Editor of Witness, 04 June 2019

A: I do my meditation, try to create an open mid and heart, and start reading!

Wayne-Daniel Berard, Co-Founding Editor of Soul-Lit, 03 June 2019

A: Coffee fuels our team so getting the first cup of coffee is essential.
A huge part of my day is basically talking to the NRM writers and sharing creative juices and brain farts (or sharing memes). My team dubbed me 'Alexa' because other than being the editor, I'm in charge of playing music so I'm totally grateful to whoever brought Spotify into this world. I do lots of tasks in between reading submissions like researching artist profiles, editing writers' works, keeping up with our social media presence, etc.
My favorite thing to do is probably procrastinating. Ha!