Let’s Tour the Submission Process!

Good day, everyone!

Do you folks like Mr. Rogers? I do, and one of the things I always loved about Mr. Rogers when I was kid were the times when he took us on a tour of a crayon factory, or an art studio, or any place that a kid likely didn’t get to go. I liked how accessible the world became in such a short period of time, just because now I knew how crayons made it into my hands, or how you could use potatoes to mimic a printing process.


Now, I’m no Mr. Rogers, but because I’m someone who enjoys knowing how things work, and other people do as well (hello documentary category on Netflix!), I thought it might be fun to give you all a look at our current process for submissions. So I asked, Chelsea, our managing editor, to help me give a tour of our process, since she is incredibly organized and takes efficiency to a whole new level of amazing. If that’s not your bag, no worries, I have this video here of bunnies being adorable. THAT is everyone’s bag, right? So, scroll down for process, click above for bunnies. Ok! Off we go!

  • First, when your submission comes in, Chelsea, our incredibly organized managing editor logs it on a shared Google doc. Next, she sends you a confirmation email. She sends these by hand, so don’t worry if you don’t get one immediately; it’s not an automated process. Sidenote: we’d like to move to a submission system like Submittable offers, once our budget allows.
  • After your submission is confirmed, there are three rounds of reading. For the first round, each piece is assigned to two of our five first readers. (Thanks, you guys!) If both of of the first round readers like the story, it gets bumped up to our two second readers. If they too like it, it comes to me for the third and final round. We may hold submissions in this round until close to our publication date as we try to fit the issue together.
  • So what happens if neither of the two first readers want to bump it up? We send out a rejection email. If one reader does and one reader doesn’t, it will be sent to a third first reader as a tiebreaker. A bump vote from the third reader bumps it, and a no vote rejects it.
  • When the story is in my hands (hurray!), I read through the first time as someone reading it for pleasure, not as an editor. One, because I just love to read new stories, and two, so I can put myself in the shoes of our future readers. On second or third pass, I read some notes, and I make some notes. Under consideration is not just whether I like the story personally, but what our other readers loved about it, what they didn’t. I look at how impactful the story can be, by virtue of style or content. Additionally, will the story fit with the others we are considering? Is the story one that can set the tone for the whole volume? From there, I decide if we will or will not publish the story, and then I write back. At this time, it is my intent to offer a personal acceptance or rejection to any story that makes it into my hands.


If you stuck with me, thank you, and I hope you all found this little tour interesting and insightful, and please, keep those submissions coming in — we love reading them!


Until next time,
Let's Talk About Process!

Ani King

Editor in Chief



4 thoughts on “Let’s Tour the Submission Process!

  1. Thank you for sharing! Submitting can work can be scary, especially if I don’t know how many people are reading it and what their process is like. Knowing that a longer wait from a specific magazine means my story is moving up through a series of readers makes me less anxious about the wait time. In the case, a longer wait can be a good thing.

    1. Hey Sara, glad we could provide some insight into our process! I will say that in my experience a long wait can be an indication that the story is moving along, or that the staff readers are backed up, or a number of things, so when you submit, have confidence in your work, don’t self-reject (I mean it, don’t do it!), and keep writing.

  2. I appreciate this glimpse into the submission process.

    If a piece is self published, either as an audio recording or on a personal blog, does this count as published work?


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