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Editor Interviews

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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.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,825 editors.

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication?

A: Please make sure you meet our eligibility requirements. If you are not a current or past resident of upstate New York (which we define very loosely as "that part of NY which is not NYC or Long Island"), please do not submit. If you have called upstate NY home, though, we'd love to hear from you... send your best work! For poets and artists, we also suggest sending some variety within your submission, if possible, to improve your chances.

Philip Memmer, Executive Editor of Stone Canoe, 13 August 2020

A: Just go for it! We are an eclectic and diverse group of editors who rotate through reading submissions. Have something to say and say it well. Proofread. Please don't send us a draft.

J. Edward Kruft, Editor-at-large of trampset, 09 August 2020

A: I would say first that poetry is worthy of your devotion and hard work. Writing a poem can take a long time. Don't think you can just sit down and dash it off. It is a craft as well as an art, and as a craft you have to devote yourself to learning how to use its tools. The best way to know what I'm looking for is to pick up a back issue for $4 (TOS, POB 5276, Conneaut Lake, PA 16316) and study it. At least study the samples on my website

A: Always read the submission guidelines thoroughly, especially with respect to the word limit. Reading several already published pieces in your genre will also help you determine whether your work is right for us.

A: Write so to pull in your reader immediately, not with pure shock value alone, but by cracking into the true substance of the piece right away--the character's desire and struggles.

Melissa Wade, Editor-in-chief of phoebe, 07 August 2020

A: Please read the site first. If you don't have chronic illness, you probably shouldn't submit unless you have a really good reason for doing so.

A: Be clear and passionate about the topic you wish to cover, and be sure it relates to sustainability, the environment, or ethics.

A: Give us the most authentic, genuine sense of you as a writer! We receive so many fantastic works of writing that demonstrate mastery of language or mirror the writing styles of certain authors, but we are most drawn toward those that share a unique perspective. This can be manifested in a variety of ways from experimental form or structure in poetry to fragmented narrative structures in fiction but we care about works that clearly showcase the author's passion for writing. When you pick topics or themes that resonate with your own lived experience or what fascinates your imagination, it shows.

A: Read the website, and be sure to check what has already been published about the geographic area or specific topic. We have been publishing for twenty years and so we have a lot of stories already published. Try to think of a unique way of presenting a place, to really capture what's in it for the readers, and remember it's all about them, not about your personal trip. And don't submit without great photos, these are a huge part of our whole package, the photos are as important as the text.

A: We only accept family friendly poetry. Some of the poets bring their school age children to the festival to hear the anthology poems read aloud. The material submitted must be acceptable for all ages. We encourage a diversity of forms and styles that are enjoyable to read to an audience. Serious and humorous poems are both enjoyed.

A: Edit your work carefully for presentation, intent, grammar, punctuation, and layout before sending to us. We lean a bit conservative in terms of writing style (not content!), so we want to see that you're thoughtful about line breaks, verb tense, and other choices. I do provide editorial feedback to writers, but if the piece needs developmental editing, it isn't right for us.

Diana Smith Bolton, Founding Editor of District Lit, 26 July 2020

A: Read the submission guidelines carefully. Do not send work "in progress," i.e., work that still needs editing. Do not submit cliche phrases or thoughts. We are looking for mostly narrative poetry with clean (not florid) language and a particular observation or revelation that is not obviious from the title. For art, anything goes, but no nudity or potentially offensive images, please.