We call ourselves editors, and we take this role seriously. We edit. We edit almost all the pieces we accept, and we edit most of the pieces we reject. This is what sets us apart from other magazines, and this is what takes most of our time.
We have already sent out all our acceptances for issue 2, but we have not yet sent out all our rejections. If you know how other magazines operate, then you know that they tend to send out rejections first, acceptances last. Obviously, we receive some submissions that require an automatic ‘no,’ but we are happy to say that this is not a majority of our submissions. Why? Because we believe in helping make writing better and in helping writers improve their craft.
So, if we edit almost everything, how do we determine what goes in the issue and what gets edits and encouragement? It comes down to the degree of edits we do. The pieces we accept need few edits–usually on the level of the line (cut a word or sentence, or reword a line, or replace a word).
The pieces we don’t accept but do edit, those are full of potential, and honestly, a lot of fun to edit. These are pieces that require more work. Often this is in the form of restructuring (reorganising the flow of the piece, ie: changing the orders of paragraphs or stanzas), or in changing the form (ie: a lineated verse piece into prose-poetry). Or, sometimes, it’s the opposite–the form and structure are great, but the content doesn’t serve it as well as it could (too many inactive verbs/gerunds/adjectives/cliches). Either way, our model is to point out what is working in a piece (so the writer knows to keep doing it!) and what needs more work to make the piece shine.
And what have the responses been so far? Positive–overwhelmingly positive. We have received only one response from someone who did not appreciate our feedback. But besides that one person, most of the writers that we rejected 1) responded to our rejection letters (an uncommon occurrence), and 2) thanked us for our work and commitment to their pieces. Hey, as long as it helps other writers improve, we’re happy to keep doing what we’re doing.
If you are one of the submitters who has not yet received a response, then don’t worry–we do respond to everyone. All our yeses are confirmed, but if you haven’t heard from us, it means we see potential and are excited about your work and will get it back to you with our suggestions for improvement. We will keep doing it our way, because we believe this is what’s best for writers and the community–we are here to support each other!