Friday, December 16, 2022

Six Questions for Christina M. Rau, Editor-in-Chief, The Nassau Review

The Nassau Review publishes flash fiction to 100 words, short stories/creative nonfiction to 3,000 words, poetry to 50 lines, and artwork. “We welcome work that is innovative, captivating, well-crafted, and unique work that is traditional as well as pieces that cross boundaries of genre and tradition.” Issues are themed. Read the complete guidelines here.

SQF: How did you become involved with The Nassau Review?

Christina M. Rau: The Nassau Review has been a literary legacy for Nassau Community College since 1964. With the passing of our long-standing Editor Paul Doyle, I applied to my department committee to take on this volunteer position. Since 2011, I've been Editor in Chief or Poetry Editor for every issue.

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

CMR: I have only two main aspects I look for in each submission. Firstly, I want a unique point of view. We offer themed issues, and a fresh, interesting take on the theme stands out. Secondly, professionalism is helpful. Community college professors have little spare time, so reading through clean submissions that follow guidelines makes the review process smooth and enjoyable. After that, all the student interns and editors dive into the nitty gritty of each piece.

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

CMR: A submission that comes through that doesn't meet the guidelines and/or the theme is a huge turn off. We are very open creatively, so the biggest turn off deals with this practical side of the submission process.

SQF: What do you look for in the opening paragraph(s)/stanza(s) of a submission?

CMR: To echo the previous response to the top two things I look for, I want a clear voice. I want a piece that says, "Hello, this is who I am, and I know what I'm doing here; please join me for the ride." I want a first paragraph to show the rest of the piece will fit the theme and weave its way to the end without my being able to know exactly what will happen. I want a first stanza -- actually a first line -- to offer tension through imagery, not only visually but also in the way it sounds.

SQF: Many editors list erotica, or sex for sex sake, as hard sells. What are hard sells for your publication?

CMR: Hard sells -- which are hard passes -- are submissions that use an overabundance of foul language without developing a character that necessitates it. Also, any pieces with hate for hate's sake, sex for sex's sake, or any other clear attempt at simply trying to get a rise out of someone aren't going to make their way into our journal.

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

CMR: What is our stance on fees and paying writers? The craft of creating is work. Sometimes it is tedious, and, hopefully, most times it is enjoyable. We do not charge a fee to read. We offer a writer award to two submissions every year (which is based on the budget of The Nassau Community College Foundation. So far, we've been able to continue to offer it annually). I am working on a plan to offer this award to four submissions, one from each genre, in the future. A further goal is to be able to pay all the contributors. Writing is work. Know your worth.

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

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