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Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Monday, May 07, 2007

Literary Magazine Editor Inside Secret

This weekend I attended the Conversations and Connections Conference at The Writers’ Center in Bethesda, Maryland -- the nation’s oldest literary center of its kind.

It was a great conference, packed with more than thirty editors from literary magazines and journals.

Some of the secrets revealed were common sense, others just good refreshers. Read several issues of the publication before submitting, follow submission guidelines, make sure the work you’re submitting is its polished best.

But here’s something that may be new to many writers: most initial decisions are made in the first couple paragraphs.

Many writers know Noah Lukeman’s book The First Five Pages, which explains that the majority of book manuscripts are rejected within the first five pages. It’s important to grab a reader and keep them reading.

So it makes sense that most short story submission are rejected within a couple paragraphs -- a half a page or less.

As you prepare your submissions for literary magazines and journals, ask yourself this: are you hooking the editor within the first two paragraphs?

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