Thursday, December 10, 2009

Six Questions for Barry Basden, Editor, Camroc Press Review

Camroc Press Review publishes micro prose (up to 550 words) and poetry "that moves us to joy or sadness or anger or any other real emotion that illuminates the human condition." New stories are posted on a rolling basis. Read the complete guidelines here. Click on Submission Guidelines in the upper right corner.

SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story and why?

BB: I'm primarily looking to be pierced emotionally by submissions. That's the reason CPR exists. I couldn't get emotional rushes from my own work often enough, so I'm looking for it from others. I'm also looking for pieces that surprise and delight me in new and immediate ways with perhaps an undercurrent or subtext that adds depth and richness. What I'm really looking for is work that illuminates the human condition, work that binds us together with emotional truths.

SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?

BB: I don't like rhyming verse, tired images, or lack of focus. Also, if it's so experimental or esoteric I can't understand it, I have to pass. Nor am I big on nihilism or ennui. The work has got to touch me.

SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?

BB: Some arrive so full of exotic symbols I can't read them. Obvious grammar problems, typos, and misspelled words also tell me when authors don't think much of their own work. I've also had to reject otherwise fine work because the author would not compromise on format I couldn't accommodate. That's always a real disappointment.

SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a story?

BB: I often provide comments for several reasons. I'll suggest other markets if I think a piece might be better placed elsewhere. I may make an editorial suggestion if I think a slight tweak would make the piece right for us. Finally, I ask writers to try us again when I think they may have something more suited to our needs.

SQF: I read a comment by one editor who said she keeps a blacklist of authors who respond to a rejection in a less than professional manner. I'm sure you know what I mean. What do you want authors to know about the stories you reject and how authors should respond? Along this same idea, do you mind if authors reply with polite questions about the comments they receive?

BB: I don't mind corresponding with authors as long as it's productive. After all, they are my favorite people and without them, CPR would have nothing to publish. I've never blacklisted anyone. It's all about the work.

SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?

BB: Do you have enough content?

Not really. That's why we do reprints. I also run a small trot line of blogs I enjoy and beg the authors to send us something or let me reprint a blog entry I find particularly moving. I'm shameless that way and have fortunately ingratiated myself with a handful of bloggers who let me browse their archives and put up whatever I find interesting. For that I'm extremely grateful, because I absolutely love this stuff.

Thank you, Barry. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.

NEXT POST: 12/14 -- Six Questions for Kimberly Brown, Flash Fiction Editor, Apollo’s Lyre.


  1. A hand-made trackback since I can’t figure out how to do it the auto way. :)

    I linked this article at my blog:

    from the desk of a writer

  2. Thank you for posting this, by the way. I love your blog; interviews with the 'insiders' is so important, IMO.

    All the best,