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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 1,875 editors.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: Thoughtful, in-depth reviews and interviews or a great short story.
A: The ideal submission provably demonstrates that the person doing the submitting has taken the time and care to come correct.
A: Well written, interesting, and proofread.
A: One or two paragraphs explaining why the story is right for Next Avenue, why you would be a good person to write it and the types of people you'd plan to talk with (if it will be a reported piece). If you have not written for us before, include links to samples of your work.
A: We admire work that makes us think and feel, so the perfect submission would do both. It would look at the world in a way we've never considered. It would also be different from work we've published in recent issues.
A: Ideally, the writer would have done the following before contacting us:
1) Read our submission guidelines closely.
2) Kept our theme in mind (helping busy moms improve their wellbeing) when crafting article ideas.
3) Included writing samples.
4) Submitted an error-free submission.
A: The ideal submission meets our guidelines, exhibits an understanding and execution of craft, and is in line with our mission statement of publishing and holding space for socially conscious work.
A: Something that moves us to laugh, cry, or feel wildly emotional about! Something that we know will connect with everyday moms across the board.
A: I think the best example is Adam Coday's work in TSWIHV. I never met the guy in real life, but he offers his best work for many of our submission calls (and I admire him for that.) He found a way to express a sense of delicacy between the human mind and mother nature. It's fascinating stuff.
A: The ideal submission involves a character encountering the supernatural. It could either be a first encounter situation, or maybe this person has seen it before. This protagonist is challenged and perhaps endangered, but is ultimately changed by it. The character may realize the limits of their morality, or may discover that they had a darker nature than they intended.
We prefer most submissions like this. However, we also leave room for a few traditional horror and fairy tale stories. Sometimes, things just go bad. Audiences need to be reminded of the risk, or the "hero's journey" tales will become too familiar.
Last, we really do NOT like submissions in which a character seems to have "all the answers." If you want to see the limits of someone knowledgeable, check out Larry Kay's "In the Overmorrow, the Offling." In that story, main character Xiomara has an instinct for what's going on, yet she still must experiment and test every exorcism or ritual she performs. She knows she doesn't know, except that magic makes for terrible science.
A: The ideal submission is one that reflects a submitter’s understanding of what SAND publishes and that follows the guidelines to the letter. It’s also nice when submitters address their cover letters to the editors who will be reading their submissions.
A: Tight. Interesting. The writing flows, but isn't excessively wordy--say what you need, then get out.