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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 1,700 editors.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Know why your poem stands out. You can choose whether it's a strong sense of place, an innovative format, lyrical writing, or a poignant narrative, but know why you're writing it, and what sets it apart.
A: Read some past contributors but don't feel you have to be like them or have a similar style to submit. Also, send in more than one poem.
A: Ask yourself three questions before you submit:
1) Have I truly proofread my work? (You'd be surprised how many submissions are rejected just based on severe typos in the first few sentences.)
2) Does my work effectively engage the reader from the first page, or does it take 20 pages to get to the meat of the story? (We publish short stories and flash, so if your story doesn't get started until page 20, that's probably where it should start.
3) Does my work demonstrate empathy? (That sounds vague, but any true writer should know what we mean by that. We will never publish something that is clearly written without an audience in mind. Nor would we give a chance to a story that isn't sure what it wants to say or even how it feels about its characters)
*Bonus: Unless your piece is a work of staggering genius, please do not send us stories about funerals, mid-life crises, or bourgeoisie relationship drama. You wouldn't be the first, or even the 1,000th writer to send us that plot, so please try to be original.
A: Read the magazine before submitting to avoid wasting time and energy.
Read widely. Finish your work before submission.
A: Read previous issues, challenge the power structure, innovate in the form of your storytelling.
A: We publish regional poetry. Although we interpret "Texas-themed" very broadly, we look for some connection to Texas be it geographic, iconic, or cultural. Try to avoid stereotypes. Texas is a very diverse state with many deeply rooted traditions. We strive to highlight the eccentricities without resorting to tropes.
A: Let the theme swirl around in your head. Don't go for the obvious. Be creative.
A: Be sure to send your best work. Not everyone does. Not everyone sends work in a finished state. Since our move back from web publication to print publication the editorial bar for Southword is much higher. Submissions are rejected in the first instance by clumsy use of language and bad craft - only after that particular hurdle is passed do we give consideration to how interesting your subject matter is. That elusively difficult thing to define - original voice - is also very important.
A: Despite its 20-odd years in existence, Qwerty is, ultimately, a youthful magazine. We're always looking for work that defies convention and expectation. We love enthusiasm and concise cover letters. We particularly encourage submissions by writers and artists from intersectional and under-represented communities.
A: It's said all the time but I have to repeat the advice to read the publication first. We're pretty consistent in style and format. The website has clear instructions and explanations of what we offer and how we publish. Sign up for the updates and a monthly newsletter if you'd like to make it easier on yourself. It amazes me that people submit and once accepted ask questions about well, how do we find you, when are you in print, etc. Those answers are on the submissions and in the guidelines. If you don't know what we're doing, why are you submitting to us?
A: A connection to Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont is required for NNER publication. But "place" can be defined by the author. Place can be woven into a memory or an idea. Place can represent the tension between past and present. Send us your best and most daring writing. Take creative risks. Rip up the map. Lose the path. Take us to an edge of the edge. Lead us into the center of a dappled forest. Spin us into an unexpected realm.
A: Eyelands Book Awards is open to all writers and poets, regardless of nationality, age, gender, sexuality etc. The advice I would give is send us your best, something you are really proud of, a book that is well crafted and bears your personal mark as a writer. We love books and we read all submissions with appreciation and genuine interest. We are also writers ourselves and we are aware of the long process and hard work that goes into the making of a book and this is something we always keep in mind when we read submissions.