Rejecting and Accepting
How do we choose?
We realize that folks who submit to us do so in good faith that we will treat their work with respect and care. This we do! Because this is such a small venture, and we all work for little-to-no pay, we cannot respond individually to those submitters that we reject with detailed explanations of why their work did not make it into the issue.
However, we would like to provide some insight into our process, so we created this page for you:
Round one of the Process
We have a small group of anonymous, volunteer readers who are very familiar with the publication and our mission. We meet before the submission period begins to get on the same wavelength about what kinds of submissions we are looking for. Each Circle member has a variety of reading/creating talents and has specific "wishes" for what they would like to see, but we are aligned on how we choose.
The Circle's Process
- Submissions come in and Allison anonymizes them and puts them into folders by category in Google Drive. They are labeled with a submission number only. Your bio and personal information are not given to the Circle.
- Google Forms are created that correspond with the submissions we receive for voting purposes at the end of the reading period. The Editrixes do not know who voted for which submissions, as the form anonymizes the votes.
- Over the submission period some Circle members read on a rolling basis, while others wait for reading week.
- We have short conversations/notes inside the Google docs about submissions. These conversations are typically focused on issue-related topics (theme, our inclusiveness policy, etc.).
- At the close of the reading period, Circle members, Annie and Allison, all vote on the submissions they would most like to go into the issue. This creates our "short-list"
Round two of the Process
Once the short list is created, Annie and Allison meet to discuss each submission. Allison compiles them all and adds the personal information back in. We have a LONG discussion about each one, our theme, how to stay consistent without being redundant and who we'd like to see submit again and the kinds of acceptance/rejections we will send out.
The Editrixes' Process
- Gather all short list submissions.
- Look into who is submitting. While we cannot "vet" people super thoroughly, we like to have a basic idea of who is submitting and how they operate in the world. This is why we ask for your social media, websites, etc.
- Discuss who must be cut from the short list. In an ideal world, we wouldn't need to cut anyone from this list, but because of budget concerns, we have to keep our contributor list tight so we can afford contributor benefits.
- Because everyone who makes it to the short list "fits" with the publication pretty well, we have a discussion about whether of not those we reject might fit better with another issue -- as is often the case. If so, we let those folks know in an individual email on rejection/acceptance day. This is the only individual feedback we provide during this process. All other responses are more general.
- The next day, we reject and accept. Those who are accepted will receive two notifications from us: one that tells them which pieces we've selected and another to the issue's "cohort" giving information about how we move forward in the process.
What are we looking for?
Answering questions about the elusive "Why didn't this Make It and that did?"
There are a lot of factors that go into our rejection and acceptance process, especially because we employ a group-selection process, but these are the primary questions we begin with to select/reject:
- Does the submitter meet our profile for who we publish? We have lots of information on our website about who we publish and who we do not.
- Did the submitter follow all submission directions closely? Sometimes we bend the rules on this a bit if there's only a slight error in submission. For instance, if we need a higher quality image from an artist. However, if there are multiple errors in this process, we often cannot take the time to ask the creator to correct them. For instance, if you send us a submission with no personal information, no bio, etc. we cannot even consider your work for publication. Nor can we begin the rejection/acceptance process ahead of time, so the piece sits in slush before our process even begins. We really recommend that submitters follow directions for any submission, at any publication, carefully, as it's the best way to "get in" the door.
- Is this submission ready for publication? Lots of times we see pieces that are beautifully begun, but need more time/workshopping/polishing/etc. While we do not have an option for this right now, we hope to be able to provide support for pieces like this in the future. If pieces like these are rejected, they typically will see one of our rejection letters that encourages submitting again in the future.
- Is this submission right for our publication? Very often we receive pieces that don't fit with our publication. They would (and will!) likely be accepted in other spots, but don't fit in with us. We're a niche publication, we know that and we stick to our mission and our niche. We recommend checking out one of our digital issues before submitting so you know what kinds of things we publish!
- Does this submission fit with the theme? We get a lot of lovely pieces that don't fit with the theme of our issue. We understand that folks will interpret the theme differently, and that we will have a concept about what the theme is and is not that cannot necessarily be articulated. We encourage these submitters to try us again in the future!
- Does this submission fit with the developing aesthetic for the issue? This is a very difficult point in the process to describe and/or explain, because it's largely based on editorial intuition and aesthetic/artistic direction choices. Sometimes a piece will make it all the way to the short list and it doesn't fit with the other pieces, or it is redundant to one of the other pieces in some way and then we must make other considerations.
We hope this answers any question you may have about our process. Our last piece of information to impart is that we cannot answer specific queries about "why" things do or do not make it into the issue. This publication is a labor of love for us, and everyone who participates in this project has full time work, families, and individual artistic endeavors. We treat our submissions with a lot of love, but we cannot give the time to that type of feedback.
Thank you so much for trusting us with your work. The vast number of submissions we receive are amazing and we wish you all the best finding homes for your work.