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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 1,550 editors.
Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?
A: Please review our query guidelines and follow them closely. It makes it much easier for us to review queries if all the information we need is available to us. Also, please make sure you've polished and edited your work a few times. While we do our best to provide feedback on queries we reject, your likelihood of acceptance is much higher if you provide a manuscript that is clean and smooth.
A: Read an issue--or at least read the writing of the writers in our issues. (We list all contributors on our website.)
A: Send us your queerest, bravest, strangest work, the work that scares you a little as you write it.
A: Read a back issue or two. We're not looking for any specific themes or topics--only well-crafted writing. Send us sentences that make us read them twice--not out of confusion but admiration.
A: Read past winners, especially those from the most recent 3-5 years, because editorial staff and tastes may have changed. Do a little research on this year's guest judge. Read the judges' essays from previous years, because we always give advice on common problems with the submissions. Be extra conscious of racial, gendered, class, body type, and mental health stereotypes (we list our pet peeves about these in the judges' essays).
A: Read past winners, especially those from the most recent 3-5 years, because editorial staff and tastes may have changed. Do a little research on this year's guest judge. Read the judges' essays from previous years, because we always give advice on common problems with the submissions. Be extra conscious of racial, gendered, class, body type, and mental health stereotypes (we list our pet peeves about these in the judges' essays). Don't gratuitously sexualize or exoticize your characters. A strong ending to a story doesn't have to tie up all the loose ends, but it should feel as though a central question has been settled, a definitive change has been made, or an important moment in time has concluded.
A: We are looking for fresh writing and art submissions from emerging and established authors. Since we don’t use guiding themes to choose work, we look for a strong clear voice or vision with a keen eye toward the intended audience, word craft and fluidity of language, composition, and universal themes that resonate with many readers.
A: Read our submission guidelines at https://vastarien-journal.com and make an honest assessment of whether or not your work resonates with the vibe there. It would perhaps be an easy mistake to think we're simply looking for horror fiction, poetry, essays, and visual art in general. We are not. We're looking for such things as they intersect with the types of subjects, themes, interests, concerns, emotions, and issues laid out in those guidelines and discussed in our response to the previous question.
A: Read the guidelines and follow them. We only want to know about your contemplative practice/practices in your cover letter.
We don't want any recounting of how and where you've published, exhibited, etc.
This is clearly stated in our guidelines, yet we receive many, many submissions from people who clearly haven't read them.
A: Write literature, and make sure the overall storyline is not so transgressive that there is not one glimmer of hope to be found somewhere. Study classic Horror literature. Read Arthur Machen, Poe, Dickens, Le Fanu, Gilman, Stoker and, yes, even Lovecraft and Bradbury.
A: Read back issues. Seriously, many of the rejections I send out are because the aesthetic doesn't fit our magazine. We don't really do rainbows and unicorns and happy baby stories.
A: Look at our website to determine if you have had an experience related to the theme of one of our upcoming issues; if so, send us a query outlining your proposed article.