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 1,600 editors.

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

A: If there appears to be a typo or line breaks are necessary to fit a piece on the page, we will make those decisions -- carefully. Many times we will contact the author and discuss issue we have together. Our editing of other's work is minimal.

A: We typically don't provide much substantive editing after we've accepted a piece. Substantive editing will usually come in the form of a Revise & Resubmit request prior to acceptance, in which case we'll provide the author with feedback on what we felt wasn't working.
After acceptance, we do line and copy edits, and if the copy edits were fairly straightforward, put the piece up on the site for the author to preview as it will appear. If the copy edits require a little back and forth, the proof will only happen after those are final.
The author approves all final edits, and sometimes we'll even offer them a choice regarding the image that will appear with the story.

A: We will edit for clarity, as needed, but always include the writer in our discussion. We’ve made editorial suggestions to add or delete a comma or to change or add a word or phrase for clarity.

Robbin Farr and Judith Lagana, Founders and co-editors of River Heron Review, 14 September 2018

A: We hardly edit at all. We may ask for some line edits, but we are seeking polished pieces that have been worked over and where the effort has been made to submit a high quality piece. The author can approve, but we retain the final say if we feel the edits are essential for publication.

A: Very minor changes if ever. If I feel adjustments should go beyond editorial license I will alert the writer. Unlike other publications Ariel Chart has a Return Category which is different than Accept or Reject. We use it for good poems that have boring titles or good poems that have a mangled word or line. Once corrected the poem might be Accepted.

Mark Antony Rossi, Editor in Chief of Ariel Chart, 07 September 2018

A: We provide as much editing as each piece needs to be the best it can be. That means some pieces will only need basic copy editing, while others might require more substantive editing. The editing process is a journey we go on with the author; it's a back and forth process to arrive at a finished product everyone's happy with. And of course, we won't make a change without the author's consent.

A: I do a great deal of editing on most pieces. I check every word of every quotation, and I make sure the citations and bibliography are formatted correctly. I make minor corrections for typographical errors, grammar, and sense without specific consultation with the author, but the author does get to approve final edits on a page proof.

Janet Brennan Croft, Editor of Mythlore, 07 September 2018

A: When we accept a piece, it isn't based on potential, but artistic realization. Edits vary a bit, but are usually minimal.

Matthew Pitt, Editor-in-chief of Descant, 05 September 2018

A: Quite substantial copy editing.

Chirstoph Pieper, Editor-in-chief of Mnemosyne, 05 September 2018

A: Some pieces need nothing. Most pieces need at least a careful copy editing (not just proofreading, but good copy editing). Some pieces get a deep-dive editing--addition or subtraction of whole scenes, development of ideas--if the work and writer shows they have it in them and we believe in the piece. Of course, the author gets full ability to approve or disapprove any edits, so nothing gets a final acceptance if we're not comfortable publishing the piece as submitted--but our experience as editors and writers has been that everyone on all sides views the publication process as a collaborative effort.

A: Each issues' images are themed and created by each artist alone. We develop the interview in close collaboration with each artist in an effort to publish "most of the words and all of the meaning."

A: This depends entirely on the piece. Some authors are meticulous stylists, while others would clearly benefit from an editor's ear and eye. If that's the case, I engage the author in a conversation (usually, but not always, before accepting the piece), and try to get approval for any substantive change I want to urge on them. But more often, I ask writers to consider feedback and make the change and choice themselves. In production, I copyedit for the small stuff, someone else proofreads and formats for the journal's style, and the author sees page proofs for any further changes.