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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication? Learn more.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,950 editors.
Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?
A: Typos or grammatical/spelling errors only and only with the author’s/artist’s permission. We may ask an author to consider making specific changes before accepting a piece.
A: Very minor edits only for punctuation, misspellings, etc.
A: Each piece goes through at least one round of editing. I will do the edits on some of the books, and I contract editing out to a person I trust for other works. It all just depends on what is going on at the time and how much time/money I have at my disposal. As far as what gets edited in each piece, it depends. Generally speaking, each book will go through line edits, copy edits, and proofreading. However, there have been times that a book has gone through substantive editing. The author reviews and approves all edits that take place on their piece.
A: It entirely depends on the type of submission we receive. Sometimes, it's flawless and fit for publishing in our anthology but other times it requires substantive editing and minor changes. Submissions with major changes are often discarded since we cannot afford the time to do the edits.
Once we're done with our editing process, we wait for the author to approve the final edits before including them in our anthologies.
A: I may have edited a poem once. If I felt that a poem needed a lot of editing, I wouldn't accept it in the first place. I suppose there could be a wonderful poem, with one or two confusing spots, which could be addressed rather than rejected. Sometimes a writer is so immersed in creating the thing that they can no longer see the first for the tress.
A: We focus on accepting pieces that have already gone through developmental and/or substantive and line editing. While we may make some suggestions on these types of edits when we get to that stage, as a small press, we have to focus on mostly finished work, rather than work that still needs to go through a few more drafts. If we read a book we're really excited about the potential of, but that still needs editing, we'll suggest the author work on those changes (with an editor, or a critique group, or beta readers, or on their own) and resubmit when they've revised.
We do copyediting and proofreading over the course of publishing—usually copyediting before the ARCs and proofreading between the ARCs and final version of the book.
A: I do look at spelling and the position of the lines, but I don’t touch the content of a poem as that’s individual to the writer.
A: How much we edit an accepted piece varies greatly, but the authors always get to approve the final edits.
A: Again, it varies wildly. Every work goes through some editing, and it may be very mild, to correct errors and align the work with the magazine's style or it may be major, including expanding or cutting the length to improve the story. That's a big decision on my part for which I have to consider both the work and the writer's wishes. Some people don't want to be edited and I understand that, so if I'm considering a major edit I reach out to the writer and explain that I'd like to accept the work if such and such is done and often, here are my suggested edits. So far, I've received nothing but gratitude from writers who recognize I'm trying help their work shine as much as it possibly can and that's very gratifying to me personally, that they recognize the value I'm trying to add.
A: We give pretty detailed edits on essays and fiction, but always with the author's consent. I've had a few pieces that I've done very little with, and recently one where the author more or less rewrote the entire piece and it ended up great. I think the thing to remember is that we are looking for reasons to publish your work. We try to see the best in it, or what it can be. Sometimes it doesn't work. We used to do multiple rounds of edits with writers, but we learned if it's not working after the first one, it probably won't work with more effort and just ends up getting frustrating for everyone.
Even if we reject an essay or short story, we want to let the writers know why. We are all writers too, and we want to be the editors we wish we were submitting to.
A: We have a copy editor on staff (Steph) who will help an author turn the story into the best version of itself. We understand the publication process is collaborative, and authors will have the right to reply to edits, but at the end of the day, we, as the editorial staff, will have the final say as to what we publish.
A: Reed Magazine prioritizes pieces that need little to no content editing. We query authors about content edits, and otherwise copyedit using the Chicago Manual of Style.