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Editor Interviews

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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: Describe the ideal submission. Learn more.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 2,050 editors.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: We don't have an ideal submission, because I never know what I'm looking for until it lands in my lap. But I will say, the authors we pick up are almost universally in complete control of what they're doing with language - whether that's laying each word like a carefully aligned paving stone, or reinventing the road like an MC Escher illustration. Words aren't just the medium to deliver the story. They're a vital part of the experience.

A: The ideal submission is an email with an already-formatted .doc or .docx file with 50 or more poems, contact information (phone number, mailing address), a short description of the collection, and an author bio including previous publications (if any).

A: The manuscript is formatted well, the title is good, you've taken the time to proofread it for misspellings or errors. You've read the submission requirements, and done what's been asked.
A cordial message explaining yourself and your work. As equally important as any of that, in my opinion, is when you get rejected, you respond back.
I can't even begin to explain how bad of a taste it puts in mouth when I thoughtfully consider an individual piece or collection, and with equal amount of care weight response to the piece, only to have the person never respond back. It's not personal.
Although it is a bit obvious to me when a rejection isn't handled well.

A: One that follows the guidelines.

A: The ideal submission follows our guidelines and suits our theme, and then offers us a beautifully written new view of something (an animal, an interaction with nature, a human impulse).

A: The ideal submission will follow our semester's theme (see our website to see what this semester's theme is) and really showcases something different.

A: The ideal submission would be set out exactly as detailed on the Submission Email Page.
The subject line would contain SUBMISSIONS - CURRENT THEME - YOUR NAME
You would then clearly indicate your First Name and your Last Name and provide me with your email address in the body of the email.
Then you'd paste into the email your 5 superb 5-7-5 haiku on the current theme in a plain font that's easily readable without any flourishes or asterisks etc.
After that you'd provide me with one social media link that works, the name you want to use for the copyright and a brief, one-sentence introducing yourself.

Freya Pickard, Curator of Pure Haiku, 11 September 2022

A: Submissions that follow our guidelines are ideal.

A: Our publication is staffed by MFA students at the University of San Francisco, so "ideal" will vary as editors and readers move in and out of their positions. Our overriding sensibility is omnivorous. We've been described as experimental in our tastes, but we also enjoy well-crafted work that follows more traditional arcs or forms. Send us your best, and send us your misunderstood.

A: Something strange or sinister or electric or complex or experimental. Something that strikes us. Something that makes us want to go back and read it a second time and then a third.

A: The ideal submission tells us a bit about you as a reader and as a writer (have you been published? If not, can we see some samples of your writing?). Tell us why you're writing this story, and why you're the best person to write it. Then, give us a concise overview of the story. We love to see a great title that pulls in a reader from the get-go. We want a compelling concept, a strong outline, and a clear understanding of the focus of the piece. How will it start and end? We don't need excessive detail—just give us a good summary in a paragraph or two.

Gemma Peckham, Editor-in-Chief of Oh Reader, 04 September 2022

A: Neatly presented with a short cover letter that shows the poet has read the website and maybe even some of our publications! I want the poetry to give me goosebumps and introduce me to fresh use of language.