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What Do Editors Want?

"What do editors want?" is a question (and at times plea) I often hear from writers. Before I became a lit mag editor, I was equally stymied. Why did one editor accept a piece and another reject the same piece? When they rejected my work were editors saying (with what I presumed was perverse glee) that my writing was no good and I should give up? Why should I read all the journals where I submit? Who has the time (ahem, money) for that? How do I know when my work is ready to send out for publication? How do I know which journals I should send my work to meet my goals for my writing? 

 

These questions (and their imagined answers) make up a murky terrain, the miles between what editors want and what writers think editors want. This terrain forms the foundation of my course, Lit Mag Love. In the course, I use my experience reading, rejecting, accepting, and editing writing for a lit mag. Although I learned a lot since I started editing with a journal in 2010, I didn't want to assume my experience was universal. So, I also interviewed several lit mag editors about their journals and submissions to verify my ideas and those interviews ended up doing double duty by also appearing on Room magazine's website. 

Throughout the #LitMagLove interviews, I had such pleasure talking with other editors, exploring that murky terrain of assumptions writers make about their journals, and then hearing from writers who told me it cleared a lot of confusion up for them.

Earlier this year, I rebooted the #LitMagLove series and yesterday Room posted my most recent interview with Liz Johnston from Brick.

In addition, I rounded up some common advice the editors shared in a guide called What Do Editors Want?