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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: Describe the ideal submission. Learn more.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,700 editors.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: A fresh take on a story. A good mix of dialog and narrative with a definitive story arc. Stories MUST have a purpose for being written.
A: The ideal submission is between 500-5000 words on a topic of holistic health interest, that is well-written and researched.
A: I got into this because I'm a writer and a reader. If i recieve an intreguing story that pulls me along as I read it, then I'm going to want to publish it. Also, the submissions guidelines on our website are there for a reason. You'd be amazed how many people submit without having read them at all.
A: An entrant should not submit more than 5 works for each category.
All works for a particular category should be in a single MS Word document. Only photographs and biography should be separately attached.
A: If I could describe the ideal submission, I'd be home by now.
A: Personally, I like to find submissions that make me think "I wish I'd come up with that idea". I'm a huge fan of dystopia and I love those that carry a message with them too. I like stories that are going to make me ask questions and not always give me the answers.
A: An ideal submission adheres to the submission guidelines. The cover letter is succinct and unique. The bio is brief with a hint of the author on a deeper level. The submission is edited, in the proper page/word count, and a note of gratitude is tucked into the email.
A: A book of between 50 and 60k words about likeable or relatable detectives solving a murder. The book will be written in third person but mosly follow one main protagonist. It will form part of a series of at least three books. It will be set in a real location in the present day. The book will convey the atmosphere of the location but not contain much in the way of regional dialect. The plot will be ingenius but not completely confusing. The detectives will solve the murder by good police work, finding and deciphering clues and collaring the killer.
A: Something that's a bit strange and weird, a touch of the uncanny but with a whiff of the welcoming and familiar. A little bit of action, a little bit of mystery, a little bit of romance. Authors like C.L. Moore and Leigh Brackett were able to deliver that sort of thing in spades--there's nothing we'd love more than for something along the lines of The Bright Illusion or The Moon that Vanished to come across our desk.
A: I don't think there is such a thing. Submissions often require editorial input to help intensify the work. The ideal is a piece that doesn't require any input.
A: An ideal submission will be beautifully written, which means that the piece comes for moral and physical necessity, while still allowing for love, the most important need of all.
A: A story that takes us somewhere we've never been. We've likely never been where you live. You may think it's boring, or same old same old but to us it's all brand new. As for content: a clear beginning, middle and most importantly - a clear and concise ending.