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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 1,550 editors.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: Ideal submission includes a cover letter with a short bio and doesn't tell us too much about the submission or anything else not related to the work attached (yes, email attachment). An ideal submission is also one that is patient and can wait for attention.
A: A 3000-word alternate history story which can stand alone irrespective of its universe, and which tells a story from start to finish, with some sort of twist involved on a familiar subject, or which addresses a less familiar subject in an open and accessible fashion.
A: Writing and ideas that take us somewhere we've never quite been before, perhaps literally--into lives or experiences unlike many--but by its treatment of more familiar ideas or themes as well.
A: Both in unison: Standard Manuscript Formatting!
Dusty: Yeah, cleanly formatted presentation, and proofed work. If I trip over typos, misspellings and/ or grammatical flubs on the first page, I probably won't get to the second one...
A: I'd like to use our mission statement for this one as I think it describes the exact submissions we like to receive:
NYMBM is a home for art that nurtures the spirit and spirits that nurture art. Our focus is to give artists the opportunity to explore creative freedom, the opportunity to be truly vulnerable, and the opportunity to tell stories that have the ability to connect us with one another by breaking social barriers to get to what really unites us: truth and experience.
A: The ideal submission makes us laugh, cry, cringe, or smile; it makes us feel something, and it makes us feel like we've gotten to know you as a human on some level.
A: It has a clear vision of what it is and what it wants to do, even if it gets messy (we like messy, we like complexity!). It presents a strong voice. It surprises us with its turn of phrase, its use of words, its reversals. We let it take us where it wants to go because we haven’t figured out where that is yet. Its pacing is adept and strategic, not incidental. Its ending is something we immediately want to discuss with whomever happens to be in the room with us when we finish reading the piece. We remember it a week later, a month later, a year later.
A: The ideal submission, the IDEAL, is something that unintentionally interacts beautifully with the visual art and the other pieces around it. That isn't expected. We end up having to reject quality work, but the best submissions are ready for print.
A: The ideal submission is well planned out. The piece clearly portrays a certain emotion and gets the reader involved with the piece in a succinct way. We tend to love pieces that get straight to the point and use words purposefully.
A: The ideal submission is written by someone who has made themselves familiar with our mission. We are delighted when authors can give us a vivid and realistic glimpse of the now-dead person in action. The person being remembered should come through clearly, and their how-to almost always has followable steps.
A: Heart. I tend to believe everyone has a poem or story in them. I don't privilege the place that that comes from. Although I am committed to the voices on the margin, the one's most often over looked and left standing outside, I try and open the space up to all walks of life. I do believe there is a good poem but I don't believe it's the only poem. All too often a good poem, (however you would measure that, and I'm not really sure how you would) is more often an indication of educational opportunity and training and while we publish those voices as well, we strive for the other voice too, the one's who have not had that opportunity of higher education and creative training. I should also add we aren't interested in racist, homophobic, misogynists or overly violent work. We do not want work that diminishes others. We're trying to talk up to people, not down.
A: Something that excites us. We look for works that make us go, "Oooh, now that's interesting." It's an important part of the whole process. In addition, the ideal submission is within our guidelines for word count and is professional in nature. While we look at many genres, our editors' favorites are alternative history, fantasy, literary fiction, and science fiction.