Friday, March 3, 2017

Six Questions for Jo Simmonds, Editor, The Fiction Pool

The Fiction Pool publishes flash fiction to 1,000 words, short stories to 2,500 words, and poetry to one page. Read the complete guidelines here.

(Ceased publication)

SQF: Why did you start this magazine?

Jo Simmonds: I worked as a volunteer reader for PANK magazine a couple of years ago and really enjoyed it. I wanted to see if I could start a quirky rebellious online magazine which had a mainstream atmosphere.

As a writer seeking publication in literary journals I also wanted to find out what it is like from the other side of the desk as an editor. There's no substitute for first hand experience in my view and I learnt a great deal from the first moment I began publishing.

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


  • A great first sentence with a good hook.

  • Different in some way to stand out next to other journals online.

  • Well written and edited. If it's ready to go it will save me time.

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


  • A bad covering email - my name has been misspelt or no biography has been included. Only in truly exceptional circumstances will I look past that.

  • Any of my guidelines being flouted.

  • Poorly written or edited stories or poetry.

  • People not even looking at one story on the site to research before submitting. I can tell!

  • If I have just published a flash featuring a lonely girl in a bad relationship I may not want to publish another one for a while. 

  • If you don't do social media I won't reject on this basis but it may be a deal breaker if I'm not sure about your submission. 

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

JS: No. I send a regulation email which is the same in all cases bar those submissions I consider to be exceptional but misplaced.

SQF: What magazines/zines do you read on a “regular” basis?

JS: Mslexia, The Lonely Crowd, Structo, PANK magazine, and The Incubator amongst others. Although I work part-time and I'm volunteer editor on this magazine so my reading time has been reduced.

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

JS: I wish you had asked me what advice I would give to writers. I wish I had said be determined and never give up if you are getting the slightest hint of success. And most of all, I wish I could take my own advice!

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

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