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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 1,925 editors.

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

A: It really depends on how ready we believe your story is for publication. Sometimes we just do simple line edit and proofreading. Other times we go more in-depth just in case there are missing details in a story that we feel is necessary for the reader to know.

A: if a piece needs major work we sometimes recommend the author to revise and resubmit. we might suggest edits here and there but generally we don't tinker too much with an accepted submission. we do offer a donation-based feedback service, and will waive the donation if a piece we believe in needs a little extra TLC to get it publication ready, especially if that author is from outside the traditional anglosphere.

A: This depends on the piece. For a magazine essay, there may be limited editing. But a full-length book will likely receive a developmental edit and copyedits if needed. We always work with our authors on edits and they have the ultimate say. We consider publishing to be a collaborative process.

A: I don’t provide substantial editing. If I feel a piece needs that, I would decline it and tell the writer that. If there is a line that stands out in a bad way, a subpar word choice or a typo, I am happy to correct it and select the piece. But I’m not here to rework a piece for a poet. If it is a draft, it is a draft and should be worked on by the poet before resubmitting.

A: We do line edits. We check for grammar or spelling errors. Nothing we accept ever needs huge edits. If it does need something beyond a few line edits we consult with the author. But because we are a small team, we tend not to accept things that need big edits. We just don't have the capacity to make those changes.

Julia Nusbaum, Editor-in-Chief/Founder of HerStry, 04 September 2021

A: We are committed to editing with an equity lens, ensuring that any edits are for clarity and not stylistic in nature. We are committed to never altering a writing style, the intention of a piece, or change the voice in any way.
We do provide copy editing, but all potential edits are suggested only. The author approves the final edits. The only ones we will insist on are spelling and factual edits.

A: We do our best to work with an author on any edits that need to be made before publication. If a piece needs too much editing, we would ask that that creator revise on their own and resubmit at a later date.

A: We line edit and proof read but also contextual and historical fact checking is really important. An author has to pay a lot of attention to those details to be successful in Holmes writing and our editor is a six time, award winning Holmes writer in his own right so there's lots of help on that front.

A: Very little. Sometimes, we don't have any edits to make at all! Other times, it's a few grammatical fixes, or formatting and diction suggestions. I correct grammatical errors with the author's permission. Generally, we try to stray away from altering the original piece too much, unless the submitter sends in a revised version which we usually welcome with open arms.

A: Expect at least a few rewrites. Even the most polished work needs to transition from being a manuscript meant for an editor's eyes, to a trade book meant for readers. And we do tend to accept fixer-uppers that need more work, provided the components of a commercially viable version are already there.

A: In most cases, we treat writers' work with a light hand. We'll treat a piece with proof reading and grammar and style edits. We may, at our discretion, perform some line edits. However, if we think a piece requires substantive edits, we will work with the author to ensure their vision and voice is maintained. Remember, we're writers, too, and in an ideal world, every piece would get full author approval before publication. However, we just can't dedicate the time and resources and have to rely on our editors' expertise and discretion for edits that don't change meaning, vision, or voice. Of course, if a writer expresses a desire to review edits before publication, we usually can accommodate; however, this is not a matter of policy and is always at the editor's discretion.

A: Hopefully not at all. Only if our editors absolutely love a piece will we volunteer to copy edit it before publication. We may ask for a revision & resubmission if it would require too much time & effort.

Jessica Spruill Waggoner, Managing Editor of HeartWood, 19 August 2021