Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Ten Commandments from an Editor

I’m not big on urging or teaching how to get published but I have some advice for you.  I’m prompted by my experience editing (which means producing, beginning-to-end) the Long River Run members-only journal of the Connecticut Poetry Society.  Our guidelines are a little lax so some submissions are going to be awkward if not downright strange; yet I come to some rules you ought to follow.


1.  Follow the guidelines.  If it says “forty line limit” don’t send forty-five lines and ask me to shorten it for you.

2.  If the limit is one poem don’t send three and ask me to pick one.

3.  Don’t send me a second email with a only the few changes you want me to make in the first one.

4.  Don’t use a cute, rare, illegible font.  Times Roman 12pt is fine.

5.  Although I respect your need to protect your brilliant work, don’t send me something I cannot edit.  I am an editor and if I have to cut and paste an image from a pdf and then have to sweat over it to make it look like the other pages sin the book I might leave it out.

6.  Send electronic copy as an attachment if possible.  Email programs do strange things to your work.

7.  If you cannot send an electronic copy, send a typed copy.

8.  If you send a handwritten copy, make it legible!  I am not a seer.

9.  Include all your contact information so that when you violate these commandments I can give you a chance to redeem yourself.

10.  Don’t email me after the deadline asking if it’s too late to send something—it is but it’s better to send me a poem I can ignore than to piss me off with a message that wants an answer before sending me a poem I will ignore.


I’m sure there will be more commandments—I’m no Moses. But these are those I was given last night as I assembled the first draft.

So long for now.

No comments:

Post a Comment