decomP publishes prose up to 3000 words, poetry, art, and solicited book reviews on a monthly schedule. decomP does not accept genre fiction, interviews, letters, etc. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story and why?
JJ: In no particular order, my top three are a likable protagonist, compelling plot, and interesting use of language.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?
JJ: The top reason is that a story simply doesn't mesh with our aesthetic. Another big reason is that a story isn't arresting enough to hold our interest. Lastly, some contain too many mistakes to warrant serious consideration.
SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?
JJ: I think every editor has their pet peeves—mine are comma splices, certain spellings ("alright" instead of "all right," etc.)—but I've learned to accept these stylistic choices. I mean, fiction allows writers to bend and break rules. As long as everything in a story seems intentional, I'm fine.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a story?
JJ: Most of the time I don't. The only time I do is when I think I can legitimately help improve the story to the point that it's "ready" to be published. I know a lot of writers like to receive personal feedback, but I'm one who prefers to receive a form rejection. Either way, time prevents us from being able to give suggestions. Currently, decomP receives about ten submissions per day.
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?
JJ: Like I said, most of the stories we reject just don't fit in with the magazine's usual content. I don't mind when authors reply with questions if we've sent them a personal response. If we sent them a form rejection, however, then it's best for them to move on by submitting something else.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
JJ: How many submissions will it take before I get a story accepted for publication in decomP? Not sure, but if you get rejected, keep trying. Rarely does a new submitter make it in on the first try. Some need five. Some need twenty. Some need fifty. Just stay the course. The same goes for all other publications out there.
Thank you, Jason. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 1/7 -- Six Questions for Jennifer Dawson, Editor-in-Chief, Flash Me Magazine.