Since we started TLR over a year ago, I’ve made it a practice to send encouraging notes to a fair percentage of fiction writers whose work we do not accept. For at least the next month, I’m making it a policy.
Now when you submit a short story or flash fiction to us, you can select an option to get Editor’s Feedback on your submission. There’s no extra fee. I’m also going to commit to sending most rejections within one month of receiving the submission (stories held for longer periods of time should be assumed to have moved into a higher round of consideration).
Why do this?
- Writers deserve more than form rejections, more than a generic, “We liked it, try again,” despite what many journals say about the number of submissions they get being too many to respond to. If not from an editor, feedback should at least come from the person who read and rejected the work. The technology to do this exists, so why not use it?
- Since it will be constructive and not derogatory, such feedback may occasionally help writers improve their stories.
- I already make notes on just about every story submitted, so why not share?
- We charge more; we give you more. Yeah, the Fiction submission fee is six bucks. For Flash Fiction it’s four bucks. That’s more than most journals. Although the money goes to pay our contributors, that’s small solace for those whose work is rejected. So for those fees we make these commitments: the editors read all submissions themselves—no first, second or other readers involved; we accept stories only from the unsolicited submissions, and never solicit to fill our pages. Now I’m adding this perk to the Fiction side. I hope it helps make the fee worth it.
- By the way, six bucks can be a hardship for some. If that’s honestly the case, email me and I’ll see what we can do.
I’m going to commit to this for one month. There are some rules that I’ll ask submitters to comply with, and if they do, I’ll make the Feedback Option a permanent feature at TLR.
Please also note that this option is for fiction only, at least for now.
Here’s what you’ll see on the Fiction and Flash Fiction submission pages on our site:
NEW (beta): You may select the option to have Fiction Editor Joe Ponepinto comment on your fiction or flash fiction submission. There is no additional fee involved.
Joe’s comments will be his honest, professional assessment, based on the portion of your submission that he has read before making a decision to accept, reject, or hold for further consideration. He commits to reading at least 3 pages of a short story, or the entire work if it’s flash fiction, before making that decision.
His comments may be a couple of sentences to several paragraphs long, but will always be constructive in nature, and never intentionally derogatory.
Please note that a positive comment is not a request for a revised submission. If that is desired, Joe will specifically ask for it. In those cases you will be instructed where to send the revision to avoid paying the submission fee again.
By selecting the “Yes” option, you agree to accept Joe’s comments as the editorial opinion of one person, and nothing more. His comments may or may not agree with feedback you have received from other editors, writers, or family members. You agree also to not to respond to the comments, ask for further comment, or attempt to engage Joe in a long, boring conversation regarding your submission. You may curse Joe out for rejecting your story, but you agree to do so privately, without communicating those sentiments with him.
If you do not select a Feedback Option, Joe will not comment on your submission.