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 1,550 editors.

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

A: All our editors work day jobs because Antiserious does not make money. Which is why it takes us time to go through the submissions. We try to plan as early as we can. We try to read our submissions as and when we have time, sometimes a lot in one burst of enthusiasm.

Debojit Dutta, Founder and Editor of Antiserious, 18 May 2018

A: Before I go to the day job I will run through all of the previous night's submissions, sorting and filing, and writing any emails that need to be sent. My day job doesn't allow for me to be online, so in the evening I will catch up online with any new submissions, queries, and chase any replies that don't seem to be coming in. Later on, I will take myself offline and work on covers, spreadsheets of the works in progress, and the first rough drafts.

A: Dusty: Working from home presents some time scheduling challenges, but I try to keep my workload balanced. Editing duties (reading submissions, communicating with authors about works in progress and actually editing stories) takes up the lion's share of my day, but as a writer myself I also squeeze a couple hours of writing into my day somewhere, whether that is poetry, flashes, or work on my own next novel. Then with the few hours left over, I play with my grandkids and maybe stuff a couple hours of sleep in.
Mandy: I work from home with three young, homeschooled children, so my day is compartmentalized into mommy mode, Editor-in-chief mode, and if there's any time at the end of the day maybe a little Star Wars binge watching.

A: I have a day job in the city so I usually come home from that, read some submissions our acquisitions team has accepted, check the publication schedule, set-up new pieces on the site, etc. We have such a strong team of individuals working on the site that it makes my job a lot easier.

A: Our review process is collaborative and discursive. We read submissions independently and meet to discuss them as a group with our notes. We come to consensus by listening, by trading opinions and ideas, and sometimes by advocating or arguing hard for a piece. We have a rule in our review process about backing our preferences up with our fingers—we have to be able to point to specific places in the piece that support our assessment of it, whether we’re endorsing it or rejecting it. After we’ve accepted a few pieces for each issue, then we are also discussing how well pieces “fit” with other pieces; often acceptances and rejections are not just based on our evaluation of quality or how well a piece matches our aesthetics—it’s a matter of whether or not it has an obvious place in the narrative we’re creating. It could be a great poem that we all really like—but we just can’t figure out where it would go in the collection we’re curating for that issue.

Linda Dove, Faculty Editor of Moria, 20 April 2018

A: Our editorial team is tight knit, and I'm in touch with everybody about the pieces in Submittable. I'll get a text that says, "read this, it blew me away"... if I'm slammed I'll just text back, "take it" and then read it as soon as I can. Most of us are in Atlanta, and we sometimes meet up and read, or I'll meet with a genre editor and go through some pieces literally on the editorial table.

A: You don't want to know.

Sarah Clark, Managing Editor of Anomaly, 07 April 2018

A: Our team reads the piece out loud, we generate some warm and some cold feedback, then we simply take a vote. People may choose to abstain from a vote if they are aware of ownership.

A: I just read them as they come in, mostly in the evening. I carefully pair each submission that we publish with a photograph/image that speaks to the spirit of the piece. That part probably takes the most time, as I agonize over getting the accompanying image just right. I believe that each contributor deserves a beautiful presentation of their work.

A: When I receive a submission, I look over the query letter first. I see if the author followed our submission guidelines and evaluate the author's writing ability in the query. If the query looks good, I move onto the synopsis. While the synopsis is valuable to me to get a snapshot of the book, I don't judge it too harshly because they are very hard to write and write well. Mostly I look for quality sentence structure and if the story is interesting. Finally, I review the chapters submitted with the book. During this process, I am looking for quality of writing. Does the author use too many adjectives and adverbs? Do they use passive voice? Is their grammar, punctuation, and syntax good? Are their characters interesting? If the answer to those questions is the one I'm looking for, then we move on to requesting the full manuscript and review that to make sure the writing is solid throughout.

A: Every morning, I wake up, eat breakfast, take a shower, and read a few submissions. If any are exceptional, I'll read them a few more times later in the day (or the next day, after I've let the stories gestate). If I've had to sit on a story for more than a day, it gets a "kind rejection," which is more or less an encouragement to submit more work and a notification for the writer that they made it through round one. Submission fatigue is very real, so I never read more than five submissions per day--usually less.

A: I'm not active in the judging of this contest, so the best way to get a feel for the process is to read our interview with the judge and their comments on past years' winners.