The Blotter publishes short prose, ultra-short fiction to 500 words, poetry, photojournalism/essay and "monthly columns that go beyond or beneath the pabulum you're expected to enjoy." Learn more here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
GS: The "surprise" factor in a piece - something fresh in the author's approach to a subject, characterization or image, because that's entertainment. Clarity of thought, because not all literature has to be cryptic and exclusive. Love of putting words together, because if the writer isn't having fun, how can the reader?
SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a submission?
GS: We often look past the professional submission rigamarole, because that's a great way to find the authors that turn us on to new things, but we sometimes receive stuff that, if we were to place it in our pages, would evoke a different response than the author's original intent. We want to avoid an author's sincerity being misrepresented by us as sarcastic wit.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
GS: Yes. Writing in a vacuum or among worshipful friends and family is not always the most productive path. We feel that there are kernels of worth in any piece that can be mentioned to help in the growth process every writer is going through. We talk to those first, and then explain what other aspects of a piece prevented our considering it. It is not our intent to be pretentious or preachy: a submitter can take it or leave it as they wish.
SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog?
GS: Sure. Good is good.
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?
GS: Writing is a learning process. So is editing and publishing. None of it works as well without communicating back and forth.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?.
GS: "What is your favorite thing about this business and your least favorite thing?" Fave = seeing some terrific work coming completely out of the blue. The kind of things you can't believe aren't already snapped up by world-class publishers and on best-seller lists. Least fave = seeing very good 'zines and journals go by the wayside either because financials didn't jibe or because interest waned.
Thank you, Garry. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 5/14--Six Questions for Athena Dixon, Editor-in-Chief, Linden Avenue Literary Journal