Sunday, March 31, 2013

April at Six Questions For. . .


4/02—Six Questions for Kerri Farrell Foley, Editor, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine
4/05—Six Questions for Jean Glaub, Casey Mills, and Rachel Bondurant, The Editors, Treehouse Magazine
4/09—Six Questions for Beth Wodzinski, Publisher, Shimmer Magazine
4/12—Six Questions for James R. Gapinski, Managing Editor, The Conium Review
4/16—Six Questions Robin Silver, Editor-in-Chief, Far Enough East
4/19—Six Questions for Jacob Denno, Editor, Popshot Magazine
4/23—Six Questions for Christine Chesko, Editor-in-Chief, Snail Mail Review
4/26—Six Questions for Sara Rajan, Editor-in-Chief, Literary Juice
4/30—Six Questions for A.J. Huffman, Editor, Pound of Flash

If you stop by, leave a comment for the editor/publisher. If you’re an editor or publisher and would like to participate, or know of a publisher who might be interested, please contact me at sixquestionsfor@gmail.com. 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Six Questions for Kate Brown, Fiction Editor, The View From Here

The View From Here ceased publication 11/1/2014.

The View From Here publishes "most forms of short adult fiction, with a 5,000 word limit." Read the complete guidelines here

KB: As The View From Here is now only online, for stories over the length of 2,000 words, I would recommend you look especially hard at what we've published before and whether you think you can hold the readers attention in an online setting. I do pick out longer pieces, but most tend to be around 2,000 words or under. I'm especially keen to publish more flash fiction. We are now open to simultaneous submissions. 


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

KB: I want to be moved. It doesn't matter whether I laugh or cry, or both, I want to feel a basic human emotion (and revulsion doesn't count - there have been a few of those). I read so many submissions that start out well but leave me feeling unfulfilled. 

I want to disappear into the story and feel as if I am living inside it - and with that, to have the feeling that the writer felt that way too, when writing it. 

I'm especially keen to encourage writers who are doing something daring, who are making a leap into the unknown, and in doing so are telling me some kind of truth - a sense that the writer has quite possibly felt exposed whilst writing the piece. 


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

KB: A lot of submissions are boring. Narrative tension hasn't been considered, or isn't understood. Two other common problems are that stories are derivative, or that they are autobiography, poorly concealed. Please think about whether what you are sending me is actually a story or not. 

A lot of submissions are first drafts at best. They need to read like well-oiled machines for me to want to publish them. 

A lot of authors haven't read the magazine, and don't even realise that the work they're submitting isn't suitable. 


SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important. 

KB: Character creates plot as far as I'm concerned. It's the actions of the characters that make things happen, or if they're dealing with external events, then it's their responses to those events that guide the story along a particular path. 


SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in The View From Here?

KB: Research your market well. Read the magazine. A lot of submitting authors haven't read it. 

Proof-read. If, for example, you introduce an important character twice by mistake, I will not feel a need to publish your story. This has happened. 

The following advice may seem obvious, but often writers seem not to ask themselves these questions: 

Why am I writing the story I'm writing?

Is it a story worth telling?

What do I hope to achieve? What impact do I want my story to have on the reader?


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

KB: That we all submit too early. Even experienced authors do it. I have to admit that although I find it irritating as an editor, as a writer I find it slightly comforting to discover I'm not the only one who does it. So I trying to teach myself patience. 


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

KB: What do I do if I receive serial submissions from a writer? If you submit a story and I reject it without specifically encouraging you to submit another story within a short time, please leave it at least a month before submitting again. Sometimes people seem to see rejection as a bare-knuckle challenge rather than taking it to mean anything. If you submit another story the day after rejection I will possibly cast an eye over it, if I get another the next day, you're heading straight for the bin. 


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

NEXT POST: 4/2--Six Questions for Kerri Farrell Foley, Editor, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Six Questions for Kathy McEathron, Fiction Editor, Sleet Magazine


Sleet Magazine publishes fiction, flash fiction, poetry, interviews, and irregulars (cross-genre works). Read the complete guidelines here.

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

KM: It tells me something about the human condition, sentences are concise and move the story along, there is a balance and a beginning, middle and end. 


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

KM: The writer tells too much so that as readers we aren’t inspired to use our imaginations. 
Details are incorrect; if you mention specific things to a period of time or setting they must be correct so the story is authentic. 

We didn’t care about the characters.  We want a reason to like or dislike a character. 


SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important. 

KM: Character is more important than plot.  The right character can make us believe anything is possible.  Action or drama for its own sake isn’t interesting; it’s the love that gives us a reason to keep reading.


SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in Sleet Magazine?

KM: Read your story out loud; make sure each sentence, each word pushes the story forward.


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

KM: I think writing is mostly difficult and solitary, through Sleet Magazine I learned there are thousands of other writers struggling with the same things that I am.  When I read a story, I know the author spent many hours thinking and writing and mostly, I feel honored to have the opportunity to read their work.


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

KM: How do you know that you made the right decision in selecting one story over another?

Sometimes I know right away that I want to publish a story.  There are others that we really agonize about.  We make mistakes; we can only publish a very small number of pieces that are sent to us.  We may reject a story that should win an award.  

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

NEXT POST: 3/29--Six Questions for Kate Brown, Fiction Editor, The View From Here

Friday, March 22, 2013

Six Questions for Todd Pederson, Poetry Editor, Sleet Magazine


Sleet Magazine publishes fiction, flash fiction, poetry, interviews, and irregulars (cross-genre works). Read the complete guidelines here.

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

TP:
  • Proficiency—a demonstration of craftsmanship.  A poet who pays close attention to the imperatives that guide our art: meter, rhyme scheme, line and stanza breaks, imagery, simile, metaphor, etc.
  • A moment of surprise—a line or image that is unexpected.  A published poem should contain at least one moment so lovely or unforeseen that the reader must pause and compose his or herself before they continue.
  • Risk—a sense of poetic courage, or that the poet has challenged him or herself in order to make their voice unique.  There are a lot of poems that sound just like other poems; I prefer a writer who endeavors to make his or her work, or voice, entirely their own.


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

TP:
  • Linear narrative—Poetry can be a story, but not necessarily one with a clean beginning or conclusion; a poem should be less concerned with time than a sense of timelessness.  I enjoy poems that don’t answer questions or leave breadcrumbs to follow down the page.  I’m not looking for a poet who walks me from point A to B; I want a poet who throws me to that place, or makes me fly.
  • Lack of focus—Although I am not looking for clean narrative, I do enjoy poets whose work conveys direction.  I don’t need a solution or conclusion, but I do want a poet to point me somewhere.
  • Grammar—If a poem has too many grammatical errors, it will be rejected.  One, or maybe two, errors are understandable, but a handful suggests a poet who didn’t proofread their work before submitting it to SleetSleet sees a lot of poems, most of which are grammatically correct—be one of those writers.


SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important. 

N/A.


SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in Sleet Magazine?

TP: Have enough courage to take one or two risks.  I’m interested in work that stands out from the milieu, or mishmash, of poems that all sound and look alike.  I am far more predisposed to consider a weaker poem that seems new and fresh than a competent poem that echoes a poem written by another applicant.


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

TP: Be distinct.  Voice is the element that drives our art; voice is what a reader encounters ahead of image, rhyme scheme, etc.  I can attenuate my voice and art so that it joins into the poetic tapestry, or I can create work that engenders surprise and is noticed.


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

N/A

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

NEXT POST: 3/26--Six Questions for Kathy McEathron, Fiction Editor, Sleet Magazine

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Six Questions for Susan Solomon, Editor, Sleet Magazine


Sleet Magazine publishes fiction, flash fiction, poetry, interviews, and irregulars (cross-genre works). Read the complete guidelines here.

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

SS: We look for heart and we look for craft, and this applies to all genres. We always hope for politeness, but that is an extra.


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

SS:
  • We reject work that glorifies violence. 
  • We always reject “mass marketing” type emails from people who are sending their work to every publication under the sun and pay no attention to something as simple as which genres we accept.
  • We reject stories that are really not stories. 


SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important. 

SS: I do not think in those terms. One of my favorite short stories of all times, Charles Baxter's "The Old Fascist in Retirement" didn't even have a plot. But bad dialogue will absolutely kill a story. Dialogue must exist for a reason.


SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in Sleet Magazine?

SS: Just send us good work; it’s that simple. Don’t worry about explaining your work in a cover letter.


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing? 

SS: People want to be heard, including me. And I’ve learned how drastically subjective this whole process is! Sometimes we fight it out amongst ourselves. It makes me realize that my work is just part of the big mix like everyone else’s and can be loved or hated or overlooked, or a million other verbs. And please, I want to shout it from the hills that no one should take rejections personally.

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

NEXT POST: 3/22--Six Questions for Todd Pederson, Poetry Editor, Sleet Magazine

Friday, March 15, 2013

Six Questions for Martin Hooijmans, Founder/Writer/Editor, The Story Shack


The Story Shack is a daily flash fiction (up to 1,500 words) platform that celebrates the collaboration between writers and illustrators. All accepted authors are linked up with an illustrator, who goes on to create an accompanying art piece for the story. Learn more here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

MH: The Story Shack originally started as a personal portfolio website, an incentive to output at least one short story each week. When I began collaborating with an illustrator friend, Lars de Ruyter, I noticed how much artwork actually adds to the story and how it can even show a different interpretation of it. This sparked the idea to expand The Story Shack into the daily platform it is today. Currently, I work with a pool of fourteen very talented illustrators, who deliver work every two weeks. All of them illustrate voluntarily, and it's amazing to see the time and the passion they invest in this project.


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

MH: First off, The Story Shack is an e-zine that places an emphasis on the visual. Even though I will never turn down a strong, well-written story, I love reading writers who paint with words. Experience has taught me that stories with interesting visual elements result in more interesting illustrations. Second, I like writers who take chances with their work, who are not afraid to tread into uncharted territory. Originality is a definite plus. Finally, it's important that a story moves me in a certain way. When a tale leaves me with a smile, a skipped heartbeat or a hint of a tear, I know it's a good one.


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

MH: While I'm a patient guy who will read pretty much everything he receives, failure to adhere to submission guidelines always makes me cringe a little. When work is sent in unusual, undesired formats, I know I will lose a lot of time reformatting it later, and that is a definite turn-off. Another turn-off is that some writers do not properly edit their work before sending it. This ranges from little typos to poorly formatted dialogue. All these problems have nothing to do with the actual narrative, but they have everything to do with respect towards an editor. Submission guidelines are there for a reason.


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

MH: It depends. As a standard procedure, I don't provide feedback, as this would take up too much of my time. I simply thank the writer, encourage him or her to continue submitting the story to other publications and ask to send other work whenever he or she feels like it. However, sometimes I receive a story that truly entertains me and takes me in its grip, but then disappoints in the end. I can't accept it, but I also don't want the potential to go to waste. So in a case like that, I will provide feedback to the writer and ask for a re-submission.


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

MH: I've learned that there is still much more to learn. I've learned about the importance of developing and maintaining an own writing style. And I've learned that becoming a good writer means you have to work long and hard on improving your craft.


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

MH: A question I noticed somewhere on this blog: 'Do you publish work that has previously been published elsewhere?'. The answer is YES. I have no problem at all with this, as long as I know where it was published. In my opinion, on this vast web, chances that readers of The Story Shack will have read the same story over on another site are close to none. Apart from that, I believe gifted writers need as much exposure as they can get, and I'm very happy to help out.

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

NEXT POST: 3/19--Six Questions for Susan Solomon, Editor, Sleet Magazine

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Six Questions for Mandi M. Lynch, Editor, Ink Monkey Magazine


Ink Monkey Magazine is published once or twice a year, and is dedicated to the advancement of quality writers everywhere, regardless of genre and subject matter. The majority of the work published in Ink Monkey is fiction. While we prefer works of 500-3,500 words, we will consider any submissions under 8,000 words. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

ML: 
  • Characters - I need to care about whoever the story is about.
  • Story Line - What's going on? Does it make sense? Will my readers want to know this story?
  • Is the piece polished? If there are lots of issues to fix, I'll just reject it. I don't have time or desire to copy edit drafts. 


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

ML: Not being able to follow simple submission guidelines. I thought that making them simple was helpful to the submitter, but you'd be amazed how many people can't handle contact info and a bio. Also, hard indents, extra spaces between lines, etc. Again, if I have to fix a lot of stuff, I'm more inclined to reject it. I don't have time to do your job for you. If you don't know what terms like "hard indent" mean, Google them. Learn a few things about formatting. Somewhere along the line you're going to find somebody who requires a lot of very specific formatting, and you're going to need to know this stuff!


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

ML: It depends on why I'm rejecting it or how far it makes it in the slush pile. Generally, if you get a response that says "your story isn't right for us" it's because I can't quantify why I don't like it.


SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog? 

ML: If it's on your personal blog, I don't care. If it's been on another person's blog or an eMag or whatever, then I consider it published.


SQF: What do you want authors to know about the submissions 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?

ML: Don't be a jerk. I get thousands of submissions a year, but if you start a back and forth in email where you try to convince me, with all my years experience in every aspect of this business, that I don't understand or if I could just see __ that I'd like it, I'll remember you, and that's not a good thing. 

Writers spend a lot of time pouring their heart and soul into things and then forget that submitting and getting accepted is a business. If I reject you, there's a reason. Most of the time, if I've rejected you, it's because you really weren't good enough this time to get in. Please remember that I know my readers. If I tell you it won't work for me, don't argue the point. 

As for the second part of this question, "polite" is the key word. I don't mind answering a question about that piece. But I won't teach you to be a writer, I won't "just look over this" and tell you what I think, and I really don't have time to continue the dialog for long periods of time. I'm sorry.


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

No response

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

NEXT POST: 3/15--Six Questions for Martin Hooijmans, Founder/Writer/Editor, The Story Shack

Friday, March 8, 2013

Six Questions for Sam Bellotto Jr., Editor, Perihelion Science Fiction


PerihelionSF publishes "hard" science fiction, that is science and/or technology must be integral to the story. No fantasy. No horror. We also publish science and science fiction related non-fiction. We are a paying market. Read the complete guidelines here.

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

SB: The primary ingredient I look for is what I describe as “a honking good story.” The writer needs to tell me something that I haven't heard before, and it better be interesting. I don't like the kind of post-Hippie introspective prose being sold way too much these days as science fiction. Well, it ain't. I didn't like it when Afros and bell-bottoms were all the rage. I don't like it now.

I like good writing, crisp writing, careful writing. An abundant use of adjectives, metaphors, and $50 words – purple prose – isn't going to produce a sale. Keep the poetry for poems (which we don't accept, by the way). The best writing is clear and economic.

The best writing is also organic; it comes from the gut. Keep the narration to a minimum. Let the characters and circumstances tell the story. If I can't get the image out of my head of the author pitching me a story as opposed to reading a story, I won't buy it. 


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

SB: It's not really science fiction. It's mainstream fiction that takes place on Mars or in a spaceship. Mars could easily be substituted with New Jersey. The spaceship could as easily be an ocean liner.

It's been done too many times before. Yes, there are hardly any truly original plots around. That's not an excuse. It's how you twist or embellish a traditional plotline that makes the old stuff new again.

It's cluttered. Unnecessarily complex plots develop plot holes. It may be nice that the heroine has a boyfriend, but does his presence advance the story or merely add a few pages of snappy relationship banter? Character development is important, but don't take a time out from the narrative to do so.


SQF: Which of the following statements is true and why? Plot is more important than character. Character is more important than plot. Plot and character are equally important.

SB: Plot and character are equally important. We don't buy too many character studies. On the other hand, if the characters aren't fully fleshed-out, or believable, that will invite a rejection.


SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission in Perihelion?

SB: You might have better luck with a story between 2,000 and 4,000 words, tightly focused, imaginative. Make sure the science is integral to the story. Space stations are futuristic, but if the story can be told as well on board a bullet train, it probably is not for us. 


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

SB: Too many people think you can become a writer the way you can learn to ride a bike. It's genetic; it's a talent you are born with. You can work and study to polish that talent, but if it isn't there to begin with, like the vein of ore in the quarry, you'd be better off, and happier I think, in another career. We're not all writers. We're not all baseball players. We're not even all good cooks. 


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

SB: Everybody seems to have their own definition of science fiction. How do I define science fiction? I'm still rather fond of the concept I grew up with: that a science fiction story explores the relationship of science with the human condition. “Hard” science fiction involves scientific elements that may not exist yet – time travel, cyborgs, extraterrestrial commerce – but are at least plausible.

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

NEXT POST: 3/12--Six Questions for Mandi M. Lynch, Editor, Ink Monkey Magazine

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Six Questions for Jeremiah Walton, Editor, Nostrovia! Poetry


Nostrovia! Poetry is a small, independent online press that publishes poetry through anthologies, contests, blogs, and various other platforms.  The goal is to promote poetry for everyone, but specifically the youth.  Learn more here.


SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

JW: Nostrovia! Poetry isn't a magazine. It's a mixture of publishing mediums meshed together to promote poets and writing in general but with a focus on the youth. I started the website with the focus entirely on my writing. Nostrovia! is the title of a poetry collection that I ignorantly attempted to publish through a vanity press in 2011, my Junior year of High School. I surrendered to them this year, after a long battle that lead to a pricey defeat and have taken the project into my own hands. It was a lesson I learned well. In late 2011, Nostrovia! Poetry began offering a blog form of publication to writers. It simply grew from there. 

Nostrovia! Poetry's mission is to rid the youth of their preconceived concepts regarding poetry. My peers label poetry as the "squawking of heart broken old men". I am not demeaning the literary merit of a love poem by stating this but simply saying that my generation's stereotype of poetry is unworthy of the craft.  


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

JW: I look for authenticity, power, and originality. I want your unique perspective on your personal world. I want your poem to be powerful, even if that power is projected in a subtle way. Experiment, create something new for me to read.


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

JW: When a submitting writer does not read the submission guidelines. I too often receive emails with the subject line "Poetry Submission," but they do not specify what publishing platform they are submitting to, whether it's blog or anthology, zine or nano.     


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

JW: I try to but don't for all. If I feel the piece of writing has some merit, then I will respond with encouragement and constructive criticism but also remind them that this is only my opinion, and there are thousands of other people who'd feel differently. 


SQF: Based on your experience as an editor, what have you learned about writing?

JW: I've learned that publication depends on the editor's taste. When submitting writing, it's best to seek a home for your work that seeks writing similar to your individual style, and the editor is the gatekeeper that decides if your work is allowed in. 


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

JW: "Do you publish writing previously published on a writer's blog?'

Yes. Great writing is great writing, and it needs to be shared.


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

NEXT POST: 3/08--Six Questions for Sam Bellotto Jr., Editor, Perihelion Science Fiction