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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 1,900 editors.

Q: Describe the ideal submission.

A: An ideal submission is creative, raw, on theme, follows our guidelines, and teaches readers something about a patient or provider experience that engenders empathy. We want our readers to feel something from the pieces we select. Ideally, every piece, whether a poem, essay, flash fiction, short story or digital art, presents a narrative that changes how the reader sees some thing or some one in the healthcare environment.

A: All the technical stuff: Follows the guidelines. Demonstrates an understanding and control of the craft of the genre submitted. Demonstrates an understanding and control of pacing, tension, voice, and sensory detail. Is error free in terms of mechanics and grammar.
In terms of content, we're looking for work with real heart, humanity, interested in the range of individual experience. But we understand that human experience doesn't always follow the rules, or fit in a box, so we love writing that that blurs the lines between forms or. genre.

A: Make me laugh, make me cry, or make me sit and stare at the wall for thirty seconds while mouthing "wow" to myself. I am always looking for work that uses all the words necessary and no more.

A: We're not looking for the perfection :) Our hearts sing with joy when we work with talented and professional writers and artists.
Simple as that -- talented and professional :)

A: Well, the ideal submission is something I rarely ever receive: poems/essays/art of personal experience dealing with intellectually corrupt poets, artists, cultural council apparatchiks, librarians, editors, journalists, professors, etc. From time to time, poets, writers, and artists ought to bite the hands that feed. After all, carrots usually serve to co-opt, castrate, and corral.

A: Short modest covering letter, poem titles listed, each poem under one page, every line delivering something, no typos. Someone who’s clearly read the magazine and guidelines. That’s always a good start.

A: To me there are many ideal submissions. I want to support young talented creatives who make phenomenal and underappreciated works.

A: Properly formatted cover letter (name and title of submission[s], relevant prior publications, other experience in writing, closing), .docx/.doc/.pages format, Garamond/Times New Roman/Times, 12-point font, content within the parameters prescribed.

A: Our guidelines say it best: We hope authors will take advantage of our refusal to define what we publish, and send us un-name-able bits and pieces. A fiction that has no shape but feels complete and leaves a hole in your stomach; a nonfiction layered in obvious lies; a recipe that works like a poem. But if you’re looking for a home for a sonnet or a realist short story, or any piece that happens to wear a traditional outfit, we want to see it. If the writing is fresh, artful, and engaging, if we’re moved (to cry, to clench a fist, to laugh), we want it.

A: One that speaks from the author’s heart, that demonstrates vulnerability (though openness does not always mean sadness; a submission that makes me laugh out loud can be meaningful). It’s about being able to feel what a writer is writing. And that it addresses the theme as well as our guiding questions.

A: One that grabs us in the first few sentences. We read so many submissions that we need it to stand out almost immediately. Also a submission that follows our guidelines, no pdf’s, no indented paragraphs or dialogue.

A: Thoughtful, in-depth reviews and interviews or a great short story.

Mark Reynolds, Editor of Bookanista, 03 March 2021