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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 2,200 editors.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: Simple: send a brief cover letter describing the book and anything interesting or relevant about the author, and attach the manuscript. That's it.
Don't send short stories or novellas -- we only publish full-length novels (generally 60,000-80,000 words, though sometimes we've gone a bit lower or higher). You're wasting your time sending us a 20,000-word story or a 200,000-word one.
No works in progress or pitches of things you haven't written yet but could -- we have our hands full just dealing with the 1,000+ completed manuscripts we get each year.
We're not looking for series -- just individual standalone novels that knock our socks off. Nothing wrong with series, they can be wonderful, I've loved many myself, but...we only publish a few books each year and just don't have room in our teeny-tiny line for another series.
We aren't looking for serial killers, fantasy, cozies, legal thrillers, spy thrillers, thrillers of any other sort really (if it feels like Dan Brown or Jason Bourne it might be terrific but it's not for us), anything conspicuously 21st-century (hacking, social media, Covid, Ozempic) -- just good old-fashioned hardboiled or 'noir' crime fiction.
Don't send a sample chapter from the middle of the book. If your opening chapter isn't good enough to hook a reader, you need to write a new opening chapter.
And if our answer is no, as sadly it will be in 99.9% of cases, please don't respond with, "Why? I thought my book was exactly the sort you publish. What's wrong with it? Can you give me a better idea of what you ARE looking for?" We just have to say no the vast, vast majority of the time, which means we'll probably have to say it to you. Apologies in advance. If it happens, don't be discouraged. Another editor might fall in love with your book and do amazingly with it. But we can only go for 1 in 1,000+, and that means saying no to 999+. It's nothing personal.
A: For general submissions: You are an emerging writer (have no more than one full length book) and you submit a RANGE of 3-5 poems per submission. The title of your submission is your name and the first poem's title. You have a third-person bio at the end.
For theme submissions: You are an emerging writer (have no more than one full length book) and you submit 1-4 poems that fit the theme. The title of your submission is your name and the first poem's title. You have a third-person bio at the end.
A: The ideal submission is an effective one. When our editors read submissions, we're looking for language that affects us emotionally, or perhaps makes us do a double take on our perceptions of something. These works can be anything from personal revelations to descriptions of the physical world. Whatever it is, poetry or prose, we seek experiences translated into words.
Our art preferences are a little more subjective, but any visual media that catches our interest has a high chance of publication!
A: My sister wrote a story when she was 12 and I was 11 called Eyeball Invasion. It's still funny if I do say so.
Don't afraid to get weird is all I'm saying. And humor will get you places too. Ideal is something strange, peculiar and new.
A: A dark story that doesn't ignore hope, with a great hook, tension and wonder throughout, original and fresh, ending with emotional impact.
A: We love stories that tackle taboos by openly sharing personal experiences that you've processed, and of which you have made meaning.
The ideal submission is your true story, told in your voice, titrated with humour and artistic expression, to help others remember that they are never alone in their own painful, hard moments.
A: Story, story, story. I can put up with a lot of bad spelling, stylistic anomalies, poor grammar, and other fol-de-rol if I get a really good story. That means a well wrought plot, sympathetic characters, and interesting episodes.
A: clearly resonant with our overall mission as well as the theme for that particular issue and beautifully crafted.
A: Send us something so beautiful, it makes us cry.
A: A million-dollar tip.
A: The ideal submission is a complete research paper, with a perfect use of the language and norms of quotation. For us is very important that the papers dialogue with the pairs around the world working on the same subject. If the paper lacks references to other researchers working in the same field, the paper is not going to be received in the dialogues that are occurring in the world.
A: We love short works. This would be something that gets to the point quickly.