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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 2,050 editors.

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

A: No matter when submissions are received, I generally set aside time in the last week of the month to read, and I get through four or five manuscripts in a single day of reading. In a given month, I may only have two or three days for reading and responding to submissions, so there are frequently submitted manuscripts that I don't get to right away.

A: My days are spent at my day job, but depending on where I am on the project, my evenings are usually spent working on some aspect of the project. Then there's advertising on other projects, reading submissions, networking...there's always something to do!

A: It's a biannual publication, so I read year round and build the new issue as I go. I take the poems I want as I read. I'm always surprised that the number of poets I end up with falls within a range similar to previous issues. Almost always, I return to the submission for a second look before making the decision.

A: See previous answer. All our staff and readers are volunteers, so we're working on submissions whenever we can around our jobs as teachers, librarians, communications professionals, etc. Our editor-in-chief also teaches an experiential editing class for students at the College of Wooster every semester. We have a Zoom editorial meeting once a month and are in regular email/Slack contact about submissions and other planning.

A: I am a full-time writer so I limit the number of times Pure Haiku is open to submissions. When the site is open, I simply file all the submission emails in a folder. When the submission window has closed, I create a document with all the submissions in it and assign a number to each entry. I then read the submissions not knowing who has written them. Once I've eliminated the haiku that don't meet my requirements or simply don't work for me, I create a shortlist and the artist and I select our favourite poet for the featured haiku writers' slots. Then I start scheduling posts and once everything's scheduled, I contact all the entrants. This process usually takes between 2 - 4 weeks, depending on how busy I am with book launches / promotions / first drafts.

Freya Pickard, Curator of Pure Haiku, 11 September 2022

A: Submissions are generally read on a daily hour-long commute on the subway. The pieces that hold attention despite the many distractions make it into the ‘Maybe’ pile.

A: As EIC, I have a more administrative task list than when I was fiction editor, and my primary focus is to make sure nothing is falling through the cracks. While the EIC of Invisible City is always the final person to read and vote on a piece before acceptance, I like for the genre editors to have the freedom to create their own aesthetic within the larger IC aesthetic. That said, I still love going through submissions as they come in. It’s a wonderful feeling to find something exciting in the pile.

A: Every day is different, particularly because I run the company while editing the magazine. So, when I get the chance to assess pitches when I'm not paying writers or talking with insurance brokers or approving social media posts, I'm always delighted! Unfortunately, because there is so much involved in running a magazine business, pitches can go for weeks without being read, and then I'll do a mass read when I get some good, clear time to devote to reading. So, please be patient! I'm trying, I promise :)
I read through the submissions in our pitch inbox, and I will always know within a minute or so whether I'm interested. Then I move the shortlisted pitches into a separate file and have a fellow editor look through them for their comments. Usually we have a pretty similar assessment of the stories that will work for us. Then, I reach out to the selected writers to let them know that we would like to publish their story. We provide writer guidelines and a freelance agreement, and once they have evaluated the information, including deadlines and worth length etc., they will let us know whether they would like to proceed. And then we get to work!

Gemma Peckham, Editor-in-Chief of Oh Reader, 04 September 2022

A: I open email submissions eagerly, hoping to be wowed. If I really like them I print them out for a better look. I try to keep on top of submissions in that year's window so I don't get a pile up and end up late with rejections. So I'll try to deal with a couple each day.

A: As I have a day job and an active home life, I often fit in editing in the cracks and crevices of my day. I may be editing late at night before bed or during a quick lunch break. In light of this, I have no problem taking a little longer to put out anthologies - quality is important to me over speed.

A: Reviewing submissions takes less of our time than working with the authors we have signed. They are our priority.

A: After submissions close, two weeks of my every spare moment is spent with my spreadsheet and a daily goal of reading a certain number of pieces. You are either a no, yes, maybe, or podcast/newsletter option. It's me, a cup of tea, my laptop, with non-distracting music in the background, and my reading glasses. I make notes on the plot of each story to remember them by. When it's all over I go back to evaluate the maybes. That's my method. After that it's sending out contracts, getting them signed, paying everyone then sending fiction off to the copy editors, and I start formatting the new issue, while writing my own columns and letter from the editor.