Killing the Angel publishes contemporary fiction, essays, and poetry that will grab a modern audience. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
JR: One big thing I look for is specificity, whether it's specificity of age, culture, geographical location, and so on. I like when characters come from a specific place, and I really get drawn in when that place is not only reflected in exposition but in who they are as people. Same with poetry--I like when the focus in a poem is specific and nuanced. My interest is also piqued by clear yet elegant language. Finally, as basic as it sounds, I look for easy engagement with the piece. Do I want to keep reading? Am I intrigued early on? Those are the pieces I'm interested in publishing.
SQF: What common mistakes do you encounter that turn you off to a submission?
JR: For me, it's a literary turn-off when poetry reads like a vague, personal diary entry. I think great poetry can come from personal experience, but it's important to bring the reader into the specific experience using rich and inventive language, evocative imagery, and a fresh perspective. I'm also turned off by unnecessary profanity that doesn't add meaning to the story or move the story forward.
SQF: Do you provide comments when you reject a submission?
JR: Sometimes. In many rejection letters, I'll include one or two reasons explaining why the piece wasn't accepted.
SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog?
JR: If it reads as a polished, stand-alone piece appropriate for print, I would be open to publishing a submission from a personal blog. When I initially set out to establish a literary magazine, I had no idea that the community that emerges around the publication would become one of the most rewarding aspects of the endeavor. As such, we have become very interested in helping to promote our authors in their larger careers (see the "Beyond KTA" portion of our website), so if we did publish something that was originally a blog post, we might even post a link to the original post on our website.
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?
JR: Authors should know that pieces are often rejected simply because they are not a right fit for our publication. Many of these pieces would be the perfect fit for a different publication, but not for KTA. If an author truly believes in the piece, keep on submitting to other places. Along those lines, I don't mind getting questions back from authors.
We are a new, annual publication still feeling our way through this zany world of publishing, and our response time can be up to several months. If a deadline has passed, our submissions system will continue to accept pieces, but we won't start reading them until the current issue goes to press. Check out our website [http://killingtheangelmagazine.wordpress.com/] for specifics on that.
Sometimes an author submits simultaneously and a different publication accepts the piece before we do. In these cases, we really appreciate it when the author emails us and withdraws the submission. If we liked the author and were planning on accepting the piece, we'll probably ask if the author has any other work he or she would be willing to submit.
Also, know that we feel extremely honored when we receive your submissions! It always means a lot that you would like to have your work represented by us.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
JR: Are you looking for a particular type of writing?
While we definitely have preferences when it comes to quality, we're open to all kinds of writing on all kinds of topics. One of the reasons I started a literary magazine in the first place is because I saw the variety of work my different writing peers were producing, and I thought, why not have one place that publishes writing that's simply good, diverse, and compulsively readable? That's my goal for KTA. So bring it on! Funny, sad, happy, thoughtful, conventional, experimental, writing that dances across boundaries and genres... bottom line, if you have a good story to tell, and it's well-told, we want to read it... so kill your angels and get writing!
Thank you, Jessica. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 6/14--Six Questions for Anupama Krishnakumar and Vani Viswanathan, Editors, Spark