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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 1,875 editors.

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

A: We sometimes receive product-placement proposals from bloggers outside books and publishing, which always baffles me. Read the website and see what we do!

Mark Reynolds, Editor of Bookanista, 03 March 2021

A: Proving by their submission that they have never looked at what we have published before.

Leann Denman, Editor-in-chief of BOMBFIRE, 02 March 2021

A: They fail to follow the guidelines. We ask that they number the pages and add their name. Often there is a title missing for a submitted piece.

A: Submitting headlines rather than fleshed-out pitches; submitting ideas that are not focused on people in their 50s and 60s.

Richard Eisenberg, Managing Editor of Next Avenue, 28 February 2021

A: Sometimes we receive submissions from folks who identify as men, and we only publish work by people who identify as women or as non-binary.

A: 1) They send me a completed article. (We prefer that writers pitch article ideas first.)
2) They forget to include writing samples.
3) They send a generic pitch letter.
4) Their article ideas have nothing to do with our magazine’s focus (mom wellbeing).
Because we’re a top-ranked site on Google, I get a lot of pitches every week. The writers who stand out are the ones who take the time to read our submission guidelines.

A: They don't read the guidelines.

A: Nothing, really. Just be sure to proofread your work and if sending photos, be sure to send captions - names, location, dates, etc.

Darlene Pistocchi, Editor-in-cheif of ScreaminMamas, 20 February 2021

A: We do not stop at poetry and personal essays about mental health. We enjoy reading any form of writing as long as it is in the field of creative non-fiction.

A: All kinds of things! Early on, writers didn't understand what we meant by "shared universe." So we got stories that pictured San Cicaro as a dystopian hellhole. One in particular stood out, in which the Nazis had somehow seized control and were enforced by the KKK.
Besides that, other rejections happen when writers grab too much control of the city. Many submitting authors treat San Cicaro as a game of Monopoly, and want to write huge swathes of the infrastructure. We'd rather something small be well developed. A mom and pop store, a tiny museum, your indie coffee shop. This goes for plots too. For example, we don't want a huge gang war of vampires versus werewolves. Rather, we'd prefer like a series of strange crimes, and the police are assisted by a forensic consultant or insurance investigator. The suspect turns out to be a vampire, and the consultant kills him before disappearing, insinuating the kill was to "clean his lord's house."
We love a hint of mystery. Answers bore, questions intrigue.

A: I field all the submissions myself, so I'll push back on a submission if the attachment is wrong. Don't put your name on it--we review everything anonymously--and make sure the document is called something related to your title!

A: Not understanding what kind of work we publish. Not following submissions guidelines to the letter.