What Do Literary Journal Editors Want: The Duotrope Interviews Offer Answers

The website Duotrope, which tracks literary journals and magazine submissions, has a nifty editor interview page of almost 500 publications.  From asinine poetry and The Zombie Feed Press to The Carolina Quarterly and Triquarterly.  The interviews focus on about ten questions.  Here’s an example interview with J.T. Barbarese, editor of StoryQuarterly:

Q: Describe what you publish in 25 characters or less. [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: Literary fiction
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: What other current publications (or publishers) do you admire most? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: Publications whose editors read (and/or contribute to) StoryQuarterly.
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: If you publish fiction, who are your favorite fiction writers? If you publish poetry, who are your favorite poets? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: We don not publish poetry, flash fiction or unsolicited non-fiction. We publish writers both new and established. Admired writers: of fiction, Austen, Murdoch, Woolf, DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O’Connor, Pynchon, Nabokov; also Allison Weir, Louis Menand, Greil Marcus, Joseph Epstein.
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: What sets your publication apart from others that publish similar material? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: The editor personally oversees and screens all submissions; our editorial group is constantly changing, and we are committed to compensating our contributors as generously as possible. We also make the work we publish available online in two formats (PDF and MP3) and will continue to do so. We also welcome interviews (query first).
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: What is the best advice you can give people who are considering submitting work to your publication? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: Read it first.
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: Describe the ideal submission. [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: There is no such thing.
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: What do submitters most often get wrong about your submissions process? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: Read the submissions guidelines before submitting. Work of an excessive length (over 10,000 words) is discouraged; novels or novellas, unless queried in advance, are rejected unread; flash fiction is neither encouraged nor seriously considered. We only accept submissions through our website, i.e. any and all surface-mailed submissions are shredded or returned unread. Submissions in formats other than MS or Macintosh Word may be unreadable; do not send zipped files or files in HTML format. Do not email work directly to the editors. Cover letters are encouraged.
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: How much do you want to know about the person submitting to you? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: Cover letters are useful but not indispensible. We publish writers both with and without extensive publication histories.
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: What additional evaluations, if any, does a piece go though before it is accepted? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: Every piece that makes it though the initial screening is read by a constantly changing group of editors and interns, each of whom records a comment. The process is time-consuming but valuable.
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Q: How important do you feel it is for publishers to embrace modern technologies? [ See other editors’ answers to this question ]

A: Important but not essential. POD is, with few exceptions, a consumerist reflex, unreliable and far more expensive than it appears and rigidly restrictive of the curiosity of readers by limiting the availability of books to those who already know of their existence. Our experience has proven that traditional publishing is still cheaper than POD. (Furthermore, serious readers — in contrast to consumers — are ruminants, like to look around, don’t always know what they’re looking for.)
—J.T. Barbarese, Editor-in-Chief on 10 May 2010

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s