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Editor Interviews

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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.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 2,000 editors.

Q: How much do you edit an accepted piece prior to publication?

A: That varies greatly. Anywhere from no editing at all to working with the author on a complete rewrite.

A: Aside from clarification, a basic spelling/grammar pass, and changing the font, we alter the work as little as possible, and always in collaboration with the author.

A: We do limited editing. If we notice a typo, we will confirm with the author before correcting it. If there are many editorial issues, though, we're more likely to decline the submission than to edit it. We receive many more submissions than we can publish, so it is up to the poet to proofread carefully before submitting.

A: We edit for grammar and for clarity, though we'll contact authors with any major language or plot changes. Authors are not contacted about edits if they're purely grammatical in nature.

A: We line edit and proofread but unless a piece is already pretty well written, it will never get to that stage. Our edits are final. Once you hit submit, your piece is ours to edit should we decide to post it.

James Bloom, Co-editor of Memoirist, 28 April 2022

A: We only do light editing (copy editing and proofreading only). If the piece needs more work, we send it back to the author to redo.

A: We really try to limit our editing to correcting an occasional typo or making one or two suggestions for changes (all subject to the author’s approval of course).
We expect works submitted to us to be pretty much ready for publication and we really want writing which is unique and authentic to the author, not edited to a particular formula or house style.

A: I take a very light touch to most stories. Generally just a quick line edit, coupled with some formatting and such to make it match our style. I do that without bugging the authors.
If anything is larger than that, I contact the specific author and let them know I'm making tweaks that go beyond general edits. For example, I cut the opening scene of a story once because it was a direct copy/paste from a later scene in the story and added little to the intro. That's an outlier, though.

A: Sometimes, not at all. We work with the writer to clear up confusion, cut down excess words, and consider reader sensitivity.

A: If the submitted poem works, the poem works and I leave it as is. If a submitted poem comes close, I will suggest rewrites or edits that will make it acceptable. Sometimes, that includes substantive work. More often, it is minor line work or a different choice of words. Copy editing and proofreading is performed as a matter of course. The author gets final say.

A: We go through each accepted article line by line dozens of times before publication. This includes before AND after the article gets put into the final layout for the journal. I usually see most of the articles first, do line by line edits, send it to the next person on the editorial board, they add more edits, and so on. And then we get together, consolidate our edits, and then set up a meeting with the authors. We meet with them and go over the edits, see what they find acceptable or not, send them off to complete the edits that were agreed upon, and then start the process all over again with their newest version. Even our most solid submissions go through three or four rounds of edits and changes. Usually it is minor stuff, but sometimes we are meeting with authors and realize that the article could really benefit from an extra paragraph on a particular theory or a few more citations to back up a claim.
The main point though is that the author is meeting with us every step of the way and gets a chance at final approval. They are never caught off guard when the issue finally comes out.

A: A lot of attention has been given to brazenly raw writing in the previous issues. To receive a work that says something crucial to the forward movement of social justice with an authentic voice is incredibly attractive to LEJ!