Friday, March 27, 2015

Six Questions for Jordan Webb, Editor, Tryst

Tryst publishes horror fiction focused toward a female audience. The magazine includes poetry, flash fiction to 750 words, and short stories. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Jordan Webb: Horror is such a diverse topic. Though there is plenty of horror written by female authors, and starring female leads, horror still tends to feel incredibly masculine most of the time. Women and men have different fears. A lot of fears cater to both men and women generally, reaching a diverse audience. It takes more than simply a woman protagonist or author to really take a fear subjective to women and then boldly lace it through an incredible story.

Woman and men can write stories like this, both can star in them, and both can enjoy reading them. We just want to find those stories and give the world a chance to discover them!

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


  1. We expect the fiction piece attached to the email and not pasted into the email’s body, per the posted submission guidelines. Documents typically contain better formatting than email bodies and having an attached document provides us with some organization. This is a way for us to easily separate the author and their information from the poem or story itself. Additionally, it tells us that you took the time to read our preferences instead of just sending out bulk submissions to any emails you’ve collected.
  2. We absolutely adore author bios. Readers want to know about the person behind what they’ve just experienced and it’s just something that is really great to have.
  3. Most importantly:  Entertain us. Give us something fun to read that leaves us satisfied.

SQF: What most often turns you off to a submission?

JW: When a piece we receive still looks like a draft, it becomes something we are not willing to publish.  We all make typos sometimes. I know I have written quick emails from my phone before and when I went back to check what I had sent, I cringed. Who knew you had to correct your auto-correct, right? There is a level of understanding with basic typos, however if the work itself is not polished, if there are multiple grammar and spelling errors, then we cannot publish that piece.

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

JW: Our responses may be delayed until we 100% make the decision to not publish a piece. When we do send our responses, the comments or feedback we provide may vary from submission-to-submission. If we feel there is something constructive that we can contribute without offending the author, then we will mention it, but ultimately it all boils down to respecting the author. The author knows their vision and they’ve spent time working on and crafting their story, we don’t want to undermine that in anyway. Sometimes if the pants don’t fit, they just don’t fit and there’s no reason to try to alter them if they’re still a nice pair for someone else’s legs.

SQF: What scares you?

JW: Competition with other magazines for your submissions is our biggest struggle. We’re still “up-and-coming”, so our compensation is primarily bragging rights at this time. We are offering contributor’s copies of our first print collection of short stories when it is released, however that is still a work in progress.

I’ve submitted my own work for publication before. I know first-hand an author’s primary objective is to get paid for their work if they can. Our goal is to grow and to reach a point where we can offer money incentives for sending submissions to our inbox! Right now, though, we’re just not there yet.

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

JW: Of all your magazine’s published content, which piece stands out and sticks with you as an “editor’s choice” and why?

Oh, great question! I am so glad you asked! We received a flash-fiction piece one day that just made me all tingly and happy inside to read. I loved it, hands down. The decision to publish the story was pretty much made, but I had my mother read it just to confirm that it was the right choice. My mom and I have very different reading tastes, so she rolled her eyes but indulged me anyway.

Towards the end, the ending that absolutely stands out in my mind still, she just gasps really quickly and shrieks. Hit with a train she never saw coming. Her mouth was hanging open as she turned to glare at me for making her read something “like that”.

Physically seeing a reaction from another reader, especially one reading a story outside of her norm, confirmed to me that giving the go-ahead to post “Feather-Brained” by Joan Koster was definitely a great decision. Perfect ending, five stars.

Want to read it for yourself? Great! I thought you’d never ask. Here’s where you can find it.

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

NEXT POST: 4/3—Six Questions for Sheldon Lee Compton, Editor, Revolution John

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