SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a story and why?
- I like a story that is unique because my hope is to make our mystery section different from every other.
- Good writing, great story--I think that one is obvious.
- Where possible a California connection of some kind--whether it be that the author is from CA or the story is set there. However, we are quickly expanding that so if you don't fit those guidelines check us out anyway.
SQF: What are the top three reasons a story is rejected, other than not fitting into your answers to question one and why?
- Too graphic. We are located in the San Joaquin Valley and a lot of our readers are located here. Overall this valley tends to be a little conservative. Of course again for a great story, rules can be bent.
- Just not a right fit. Read some of our stories and articles to get a feel for whether yours might
- Too long. On the internet people have a short attention span.
SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a story?
- Bad grammar/spelling.
- An unnecessary use of bad language or graphic sex. If the story can convince me it's needed, I'll overlook it. So make me believe it's really needed to tell your story well.
- A rude writer. If your email communication with me is rude, then I won't even look at your story.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a story?
LLH: Some yes. We don't have time to go into a lot of detail.
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?
LLH: We need each other--so respect is key. Just because I reject one story, doesn't mean I won't consider another. And I have no problem at all with an author politely asking about comments.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
LLH: Is it important that the author of a published story participate in promoting it's publication?
Answer: I think that in this day and age of the internet it is very important that the writer is willing to take part in promoting their published story whether via Facebook, Twitter or their own email lists. If we work together we can both succeed!
Thank you, Lorie. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
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