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 1,725 editors.

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

A: As Prose Editor of the 2019 edition, I only made line edits. One story I changed a word, approved by the author and another story I struck a line which repeated the following thought. . . sort of a tell - then show sort of thing. This year, as Editor-in-chief, I imagine I will first listen to my Prose and Poetry Editors, then read over the material to see what it needs. Ultimately, we are students on a deadline and sometimes that dictates how much "Gordon Lish" we can channel. I also carry a philosophy of respecting the author's voice. Our theme this year (2020) is "Identity." How ironic, then, would it be to completely re-write someone's work?

A: This is also something we thought we'd have more time for. Very seldom have we accepted a piece with the intention of working with a writer to edit it. More often the work we accept is in a ready-to-publish state. In our first three issues, we've probably worked with writers to edit their pieces three or four times. We also provide feedback to rejected work (if the paid submission option was selected) so that provides a lot of time spent on offering general feedback on structure, pacing, language, etc.

A: Once for the CafeLit web site. This is a simultaneous copy-edit / proof read. Twice if it's for one of our anthologies - a copy -edit followed by a proof read. Three times for novels and single author collections: structural edit, copy / line-edit, proof-read. In fact, we proof read each full book three times. This is done by the author, the original editor and one other editor in-house.

Gill James, editor-in-chief of CafeLit, 02 October 2019

A: We absolutely give every piece a solid viewing. If we choose a piece that may need some basic editing, we will send a letter of acceptance along with our request for light editing and the author of the work can take a moment to re-edit or take our suggestion. We never have received much resistance to any editing preferences.

K. China Myers, Senior Editor of Duende, 29 September 2019

A: We do not edit the writers' work. Every once in a great while, we'll have a story that we think might be improved with the removal of a paragraph, etc., but that rarely happens, and we always work with the author to make sure this is acceptable. We expect the work to be ready for publication when we receive it. Of course, we proof the stories before publication, but we do no substantive editing.

A: That depends very much on the piece and the situation, in the past we have done substantive editing, copy editing and there's usually some degree of proofreading needed. We do our best to adhere to a Galley-Proof structure where our authors have the chance to double check our layout and lettering choices but sometimes the production schedule and sheer number of contributors can make this challenging.

A: I think it really depends on the piece. Some need a lot of editing. Some are pretty solid when they come to me, but every piece generally gets a couple of comments.

A: We expect that multiple edits have been done PRIOR to submission. We will correct for spelling and grammar if accepted. Anything more detailed we will ask the author to correct and will work with the author for this.

William Gensburger, Editor and Publisher of Books 'N Pieces, 19 September 2019

A: If a piece requires too much editing, I will not accept it. I only accept well-written articles on interesting topics. If edits are needed, I will delete what does not belong in the piece and ask the writer for clarifications/additions. Authors must approve all final edits.

A: All of our stories go through a line edit, and a copy edit. They are edited by either myself or Sam, and then again by one of the other authors in the book. All edits are added in google docs which allows us to mark all edits as their made and comment in the document. Then the author goes through one last time and either agrees or disagrees with the edtis that have been made. At this point Sam and I do 'The Big Day' of edits and go through all of the comments (taking the author's opinion into account) and make an executive decision on all of the edits and suggestions and comments.
If a story needs significant rewrites, however, we likely won't accept it. If there are hundreds of errors in a story, it's unlikely we ever made it to the end of the story. Most of our books include 20+ authors. If a story is taking half of the editing time required, then its taking away from the other stories and needs to be put aside.

A: Basic proofreading is what I do mostly. Like I earlier said, most of my submitters are seasoned writers so I proofread and set/align the works for publishing.
Only on a few occasion do I provide substantive editing and the author gets to see whatever changes in the published works.

A: We generally do no editing, or very very little.