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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication? Learn more.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,675 editors.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Please read past works featured in the publication before submitting, and don’t be offended if editors respond quickly (they are simply efficient).
A: Read the guidelines and read some content. It's free. Good advice for any publication, we reckon.
A: Please read the guidelines! And write musically. I love little unexpected moments and beautiful language.
A: We are looking for whole articles, so you don't have to query. Please read the guidelines for word count and the magazine for subjects we are looking for. And don't be scared to hit that 'send' button. We work with first-time authors and artists all the time. All citiques are sent with love because we have also been on the other side of that 'send' button.
A: Read widely! Read everything you can get your hands on, from litmags to novels to screenplays to ad copy on the subway. Write and edit like mad! You've probably heard it a thousand times before, but it bears repeating: Your job is not over after you've finished your first draft. It's only just begun. Got rejected? Submit to three more places. Got accepted? Submit to three more places.
A: Read the work we've already published. Familiarize yourself with our organization --- know who we are and what we do, know our mission. Be sure that you follow the guidelines completely. There is nothing that will have your work declined more quickly that being careless in your submission materials. It immediately signals that you are both unprofessional and rude. Be patient. We read all our submissions thoroughly, and they go through three rounds of evaluations. This takes a long time, but seems essential to us, in order to give the deserved respect to our writers. Because of the length of time our evaluations take, we not only allow simultaneous submissions, we encourage them -- because as writers ourselves, we know how essential it is to submit often and widely. Our only request is that, if your manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere while we are still in review, you notify us and withdraw your submission immediately.
A: It's a cliche to say that you should send us your best work, but seriously, send us your best work -- and I mean in all ways. No typos. Formatted properly (regular 12 pt font, double spaced, 1 inch margins, your name and contact info on the first page, for the love of god include a word count somewhere). I intentionally don't read the cover letters until after I've read the piece and try not to look at the author's name, but when I'm done and if the work has impressed me, the next thing I'm going to do (or maybe by the fourth page) is look at the cover letter and see what it says, so include some basic bio stuff. If you've never been published before, it's okay to say that -- trust me, we WANT to be someone's debut publication! Likewise, I don't really care where you got your MFA. I mean, include it if you want to and are proud of the work you've done (you should be!) but if you've had more than, say, eight literary journals publish your work, that's more impressive to me and I don't care where you got your MFA. Also, editors change frequently and it's confusing, but we're still seeing people address by name fiction editors and EICs who haven't worked for the magazine in years and years. If you're not 100% sure if that editor is still working there, leave it off and just address your cover letter to the Witness editors. And goodness gracious, please change your copy/pastes -- I can't tell you how many times we've seen cover letters addressed to Tin House, Ploughshares and the like. I also see really long cover letters that describe the short story in a blurb, or even worse, a two-paragraph synopsis. This isn't a novel -- your short story should tell me the rules itself and need no introduction.
A: Go for it! We welcome a wide variety of spiritual poetry (with the exception of rhymey doggerel and the proselytistic).
A: We get lots of emails every time we open our submissions bucket. Other than connecting your story with the quarter's theme, we encourage people to make a short description of their fiction story. If it catches our attention then there is a BIG possibility for your work to be prioritized, read and accepted. Although, you don't need to worry because we read every single email.
A: If you are unpublished, enter the Impress Prize for New Writers, if published, then look to see what genres we publish in.
A: Read the guidelines and read several of the poems on the website. Order a copy of a past, printed issue.
A: We only publish students (graduate and undergraduate). Please let us know in your cover letter where you're attending school.