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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 1,550 editors.
Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process?
A: They confuse "queer content" with gay sex. While that is an aspect of the queer experience for some, there are so many other forms and content that we look for.
A: Our word limit is a recommendation, not a demand; so is our poem limit. I get too many stories in double-spacing despite asking for single, which tells me I'm part of a blanket submission and they probably haven't read our issues (and therefore know what we're looking for); that said, most stories we publish come to me with double-spacing. We don't care about (and often don't read) cover letters; the writing will always speak for itself, regardless of whether the writer is unpublished or well published. The "submissions process" isn't critical; great writing will get published even if submitted by pigeon and scrawled on a napkin.
A: Please make sure that the version you send us is the one that you want judged. We don't generally accept revisions to winning entries, and we prefer not to spend extra time making corrections to entries during the judging period. For the Margaret Reid Prize, since we define "traditional forms" very broadly, please specify whether you'd like your poem considered for this category or the unrestricted Tom Howard Prize category.
A: Please make sure that the version you send us is the one that you want judged. We don't generally accept revisions to winning entries, and we prefer not to spend extra time making corrections to entries during the judging period.
A: While we actively seek regional artists and writers, we are not specifically looking for art and writing that focus on Fredericksburg. If a piece is strong and its setting is in our region, we consider it an added bonus, but it's not a requirement. It seems, at times, that contributors try to force the Fredericksburg themes (Southern culture, historical wars, battlefields, the Rappahannock River, etc.) and it hinders the natural perspective of their work. In other words, if it's a natural fit, fine; if you're trying to make it fit because you think it will give you an edge, rethink that idea.
A: We receive an unfortunate number of submissions that are sent to our email address, as opposed to being sent through the submission portal at our website. Our website contains a clear submission link, along with a clear notice of when we are (and are not) open to submissions. All submissions should be sent through there.
A: Including information about previous publications, Pushcart nominations, exhibitions, etc. in the cover letter.
A: Most usually it is obvious that he has not studied the guidelines, which are there for a reason. I'm not at all demanding like many publishers are. It should be a simple thing to read a few guidelines and follow them. For example, when I say that evil should be depicted as a counterfeit of good and I receive submissions with Satan worship shown in a favorable light (this has actually happened), it's evident at that point that my guidelines have not been considered.
A: Not knowing our magazine and what we publish. Typically, I can tell if submitters have read past issues or not by the type of work they submit.
A: We are not looking for opinion pieces per se, or for students to investigate an area of interest that they then plan to write about for the magazine.
A: We only publish short fiction and poetry but receive a surprising number of creative nonfiction submissions.
A: Their submitted work is well beyond the word length described on our Submit page. Also, it can be clear from a submission the writer hasn’t looked at the work Sunlight publishes. We don’t accept submissions that are religiously or politically charged. In addition, we want well-crafted essays, not blog posts. The best way to approach our submission process is to review the pieces we publish.