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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.
Here is a small sampling from our recent Editor Interviews. We have interviewed over 1,750 editors.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: People send us lots of work about birds! While we love bird imagery and are always excited about interesting and well-composed bird art, we rarely publish writing about birds. When we do publish writing that includes birds, it's got to be truly above and beyond! Otherwise, it gets lost among the flock.
A: Good writing still requires a fastidious approach to scholarly detail.
A: we require notes bridging to our mission and/or the issue's theme for both poetry and fiction
A: Believe it or not, they forget their payment. Maybe they don't want it.
A: Submitting previously published works (e.g. self- or internet-published); immature, inappropriate, salacious or street-wise narration; "flash in the pan" works that are not enduring; writers who simply want one book published for vanity purposes (we entertain non-solicited manuscripts but consider a writer's interest in becoming a full-fledged professional author as one major acceptance criteria).
A: Submission deadlines and following the general submission details. The Submission page is pretty clear. Also, not understanding the content. I received a ton of what I call butterfly and unicorn poetry. That's not HLS. We are gutter, base instinct, recovering junky, low brow, angry poets.
A: It can be frustrating when a submitter clearly didn't read the submission guidelines. Ours are pretty typical, and we try to keep the process easy. Sending multiple submissions during the reading period, or sending more than the number of pages we ask for, isn't going to help you get noticed in the way that you hope.
A: Submitters often do not provide all of the information we request in our guidelines, including publishing names, author bios, titles of pieces, etc., or they do not attach their submitted work in the proper document format. These details are crucial for us in the publishing process, as it ensures that we have all of the necessary information to properly review the work and to post it online.
A: They don't include their writing cv and any skills or contacts that they have to help with the marketing.
A: We use an anonymous submissions system in order to ensure that the slush readers show no favouritism. This means that there should be no markings identifying the author of a story on the file of the story that is submitted to us. Unfortunately, this frequently happens. (In the submissions portal there is a space for the author to write an accompanying letter: they can identify themselves all they want there.)
A: This isn't something we see a lot of but it's something I definitely feel submitters need to be careful about: having the wrong publication name in the cover letter! We do see and can easily tell when a submitter hasn't taken the time to read our guidelines! Typos happen but when it happens in every line, it's a turnoff.
A: Honestly, we regularly receive pieces that are over 300 words. As a writer, I get it. There are millions of magazines, each with their own submission guidelines. But still, it's a rejection that didn't need to happen.