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?
- 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?
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