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Editor Interviews

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Read all the editors' answers to Duotrope's interview question: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process? Learn more.

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Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 2,225 editors.

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?

A: Sending less than 3 poems or more than five poems and, again, pasting them into the body of an email. Our editors are not paid for their work in reviewing submissions, so please be respectful with the submission process. You can do so by writing a brief cover letter, letting us know a bit about the work you're submitting, and placing these poems together into one document.

A: They tend to ignore the word limit.

A: If a piece is rejected, the writer or artist who submitted the work will receive a declination email that states a period of time after which we can accommodate another of their submissions. Many individuals will neglect to read that email and subsequently violate the terms of the declination by submitting work back-to-back. The imposition of the time window referenced in the declination email allows us to respond to all contributors quickly. Unfortunately, submissions that are presented before that window has closed can interrupt our review process.

A: Our rules for submission aren't very strict, but occasionally we have people who want to submit works over our word count limit, which is firm, so we unfortunately have to turn them down. It's always a shame when that happens.

A: Sometimes I get serial submitters who send pieces constantly, despite a request in declines to only submit work once every three months. It's also clear when people have not read the guidelines.

Lynn Mundell, Founder, Editor of Centaur, 02 May 2024

A: Proselytizing, prescribing, or otherwise promoting a particular spiritual outlook.

A: Not wrong--but our ability to edit poetry is very limited! Unless something truly obviously excellent comes across the editing desk, it will usually be rejected. This is due to my own shortcomings as an editor--not you!

A: Mouthing off about the anthology in the submission. Nothing spells auto-reject like, "I'm going to be cute and critique your entire process with my submission." I'm open to that sort of thing, it just tends to be done badly. When it's done well, it can make me mad because we believe in the idea from the get-go. My anger at a given piece seldom leads me towards the humility to accept it.
Also grotesque violence, sex, those sorts of things. If you're doing that, submit to a pornographic anthology or a brutalistic one. I'm generally more interested in the virtue of humanity.
It's much harder to write, for instance, a joke where the punchline is virtue. Same with poems. Patience will stir me far much more than some screed. Kindness will move me much more than rudeness. Joy and forgiveness will move me more than bitterness. It's not that those things aren't accepted or done well, it's just that they're a harder sell.

A: We see many submissions that are not Horror-first. Sub-genres are fine. Even multi-genre pieces are fine (Though please, no westerns). But Horror should be the main genre.

A: It's a good idea to read the submission guidelines before submitting anywhere.

A: Not having any idea about what we publish.

A: People love that we do not charge reading fees