A Peek Behind the Editorial Curtain

So now that you’ve submitted your story, what happens next? Other than shaking in your sneakers at the idea of fearsome fanged slush readers ripping it apart even as you read this.

Your manuscript has been whisked away into our submissions software and is headed toward potential storydom.

….I have an odd compulsion to sing the “I’m a Bill Song” at this point but I’ll spare your bleeding eardrums…

All those hundreds and hundreds of manuscripts land in a big electronic pile in our submission sorting system. Only myself, Suzanne the Editor in Chief aka She with Great Power, and our slush editors can see your identifying information and cover letters.

And what cover letters they are… Wowza.. I really did NOT need to know about Bernie your seventh grade goldfish. But we’ll save cover letters for another blog day.

Suzanne, aka She with Great Power, assigns all that slush into two piles. Each pile is assigned to one of our slush editors, either Anne, Sabrina, or Chris. All the personal information gets scrubbed away and each story gets checked to make sure it fits our guidelines.

Now on to the serious slushing work… the slush readers extraordinaire are assigned stories by their respective slush editor. Usually at least two readers, sometimes three, are assigned to each manuscripts in addition to the slush editor.

Now remember, the slush readers are reading anonymous manuscripts. It could belong to their neighbor, a stranger across the world, or a best selling short fiction author. But the slush reader has no way to know. They read. And vote:

YES: fireworks, love, sparkles, and send this baby into the next round (winnowing… More on that later)

MAYBE: it’s a good story but no fireworks. Or maybe not their personal cup of tea. More like a gin and tonic when you really wanted a lemonade.

NO: ahhh…. The infamous no button…. Guess you’ll have to keep reading this blog to find out why the No button gets pushed…

Each slush reader votes. If there’s a tie, Anne or Sabrina is the tie breaker. Feel free to bribe them with plushy robots. They totally dig cute ‘bots. Just FYI…

The YES’s fly off to winnowing. The NO’s and any MAYBE’s left hanging around are rejected.

Next up: Round Two. Winnowing aka Where She with Great Power Flexes Editorial Muscle.

Much love!
Anna

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