August 22, 2011

The Manager

The First in My Series of Behind the Scenes Action

A file transfer request landed in my fancy Words In Here email account.

It was from head editor Megan Garr, who found time between climbing and fighting off testosterone-filled idiots to send me something special:

A zip file, filled to the brim with videos explaining our purpose built submission manager.

I was receiving training materials because soon, strikingly soon, our submission manager opens.

Begin the flood.

Worry set in.

Those first couple weeks.

Reading day-in and day-out.

Raccoon circles under the eyes.

Coffee and coffee.


But after watching the videos and familiarizing myself with the submission manager, the stress was quashed.

Our editorial team–although lacking interns–is deep enough to make the whole process workable.

How It's Done

The head editor for the team (poetry, or in my case fiction), picks out a random ten stories which she/he then sends to an editor.

Throughout the reading process each editor has a partner.

If at any point I or my partner are overwhelmed by too much backlog, or if a story is good but not our cup of tea, we can pass on. This prevents rejection due to matters of individual taste or over saturation.

If there is a story that impresses us we pass it on to a second reader with our personal notes on the piece attached. Why is this story good? How does it fit into the Versal canon?

The second editor agree, or disagrees. We chat about it. The story is either rejected or moved on to the next stage.

If the story passes the second reading the entire editorial team for that genre (poetry or fiction) reads the piece. If everyone likes it, the whole editorial team (poetry and fiction) discusses what to do next. Good enough for the magazine? Or a very personal rejection letter?

So very democratic.


I don't think we're reinventing the wheel here, but there's no need to. A well organized reading process not only keeps stress to a minimum, it also ensures the highest quality out of the journal.

September 15th, 2011. Here it comes.

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