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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 1,650 editors.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: A poem of 12 to 36 lines, written in a traditional form, with subtle rhyme schemes and good meter, a poem that explores a spiritual theme without being overly didactic or simplistic.
A: We're drawn to pieces that have a clear voice, a sense of place, and interesting structure.
A: We only accept query letters (no on-spec submissions). Please do not send an email that says, "Can I write for you? What do you need?" Review our guidelines before contacting us. Make sure your query is typo-free and never, ever write to us in abbreviated texting format (i.e. "Can i write 4 u?").
A: A close reading of one or two literary works in the way that opens up to the history of ideas and situates them in this history.
A: We're looking for a poetry collection that hangs together as a collection rather than one that is simply a group of poems by the same author written in a variety of styles and about a variety of themes. Send us a book of well-crafted poems with a distinct and consistent voice and one which has some pressing reason for being.
A: The ideal submission offers deep introspection into how your spiritual practices and beliefs inform your vocation, sustain your commitment, and nurture your sense of connection.
A: The ideal submission is a short story or essay that has no typos, misspellings, grammatical errors, or punctuation errors, and that grabs the reader within the first two pages and holds the reader's interest all the way to the end. There are surprisingly few submissions that meet that description.
A: Short (flash) fiction or prose poetry up to 2200 words that is fearless, risky & lets the language itself, rather than the overarching goals / intent of the author, lead the way. I like to be bewildered by writing that raises more relevant and vital questions than provide answers. I don't want to know where you are going from the first line. Or, the opposite of everything I just said.
A: Generally all editors collectively respond to work which is guttural, politically charged, and creative.
A: Imaginative, unpretentious, well-crafted, gripping
A: There is no such thing. There is only excellent work; that is what is ideal.
A: Our ideal submission is one which follows our guidelines to the letter, tells a compelling story and evokes an emotional response from our editors. Sounds easy, but it isn't.