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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 1,625 editors.
Q: Describe the ideal submission.
A: (see previous answer)
A: Here's a previously published story that I would have loved to have included in the anthology. "When We Were Starless" by Simone Heller in Clarkesworld Magazine. http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/heller_10_18/
I'm finding enchanting story submissions that I never could have dreamed up, so I dislike pointing people in any particular direction.
I thought I'd be getting stories from people who looked at the IDA website (http://www.darksky.org/) and let the issues spark their story ideas. For instance --
Light pollution is increasing at 2% per year. If this goes on . . .
From space studies, like this -- Astronauts have trouble sleeping on the ISS because the sun rises ever 90 minutes. What is the Circadian rhythm adaptive process when the visual cues are gone?
From animal research -- The increase in artificial light in the nighttime ecosystem causes disrupted migration, predation, nesting, foraging, mating, etc.
From exoplanetary observations -- Lots of weird planetary orbital configurations to pick from there.
Consider setting the story elsewhen, in a far future or distant past.
Consider stories with a wealth of diverse characters.
Consider stories not set in ordinary America (except I'm fond of Pittsburgh stories).
CliFi (climate change fiction) is a useful way to storify the issues of anthropogenic global warming. Can't we come up with entertainment that an activist can use to bring these dark sky issues to the public?
A: First of all, the submission must have a good abstract, because this is usually the starting point to see if the manuscript is appropriate for the journal and to find potential reviewers.
The ideal article is well argued, takes a novel approach and presents a wealth of new (archival) material. It is a clear contribution to the field of the history of science, and even has a potential impact beyond the field (in other disciplines, but also outside of academia).
Finally, all the formal requirements are in order: the submission contains all necessary information, includes print-quality illustrations and the manuscript is formatted according to the Centaurus style.
A: I love a story that is well-written, clever, creative, and entertaining. If you can surprise me, even better!
A: The ideal submission would begin with a cover letter that catches our attention. We believe in building relationships with our contributors, so a cover letter that gives us a glimpse of the kind of person you are gives you a high advantage over a submission that states the bare minimum. We love humour and emotion and honesty and vulnerability and humility. An ideal submission would closely follow our guidelines - from properly formatting the subject line, to including the submission within the email and not as an attachment. We worked very hard to clearly spell out our expectations. Those who pay attention and follow instructions will rush to the front of the queue.
A: Formal greeting. Brief introduction. Probably a couple of lines about how the author found out about the blog. A couple of words about the pieces and the techniques that were used.
A: It takes what I know of the short story, the essay, or the poem and expands that definition without sacrificing the other core elements of craft.
A: Written for women by women about your daily thoughts, life, and ups-and-downs. We want to hear it all. Be unapologetically you.
A: I'd rather not give even more fodder to writers for self-rejection. The Ideal submission gets a story to me, and follows the sub instructions. ;)
A: The ideal submission is one that makes us feel. A manuscript with heart is what it takes to win us over.
A: Writing or art from an emerging artist within a marginalized community who's work will challenge our readership to deconstruct their existing assumptions regarding a traditionally taboo subject
A: An ideal submission might start with a warm greeting, or at least "Dear Editors." The submitter would perhaps mention a poem or two that they enjoyed in one of our issues and they might tell us a bit about themselves. Most importantly, the poems would be well-crafted, surprising, delightful, moving - even awe-inspiring. There would be no typos. They would have followed the guidelines perfectly and included a third person bio.