Maelstrom is a print journal publishing edgy poetry, short fiction (to 5,000 words) art, photography and book reviews. Read the complete guidelines here.
SQF: What are the top three things you look for in a submission and why?
Christine L Sostarich: I like a personal touch to submissions. Just as writers hate form responses, I dislike form submissions where it is obvious that my name was just inserted into a form letter. Sometimes people forget to change the name, that's embarrassing. I like work that is humorous, has a twist, things that might make you uncomfortable but ring true, unexpected surprises. As far as the writing goes, I love to see attention to language. Words are sensuous. I like to see writers take advantage of that.
SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?
CLS: Trite phrases and cliches will stop me reading in my tracks. I don't want to hear about another azure sky or burning soul, and if there is a knife in your heart go to the hospital, don't tell me about it.
SQF: Will you publish a submission an author posted on a personal blog?
CLS: Yes, I will publish submissions from personal blogs.
SQF: What advice can you offer new authors hoping to publish their first submission (in Maelstrom, or in general)?
CLS: Don't give up. Getting published is often just being at the right place at the right time. It's easy to get discouraged when submissions aren't answered for months and sometimes not at all. Keep writing, keep submitting, it will happen.
SQF: What magazines do you read regularly?
CLS: I like to read The Cortland Review, The Atlantic, and any small press magazine that I can get my hands on.
SQF: What one question on this topic do you wish I'd asked that I didn't? And how would you answer it?
CLS: I wish you might have asked, "Which one of these 6 questions do you wish that I had not asked." To which I would have replied, "This one." But seriously folks, I guess I actually would just like writers to know that editors are people too, and we have lives and most of us do this as a labor of love. Many of us are in the same boat with you trying to get our work published somewhere. In that vein, when you feel like cursing us out for not loving that awesome thing that you wrote, please remember that we are rooting for you but we all have different tastes. We want to love your submissions. Rejecting people sucks.
Thank you, Christine. We all appreciate you taking time from your busy schedule to participate in this project.
NEXT POST: 2/14-Six Questions for C. L. Blacke, Fiction Editor - Maelstrom