A few authors were less than thrilled with our recent listing of readers’ negative comments, worrying that their work may have received similarly rough treatment. (Rest assured, any author who takes the time to read our blog, or who can even identify us by name, is far too competent to write submissions that are that bad.) I have no background in the literary world (I’m a programmer), so I have no concept of the point at which transparency becomes garish to writers. Whaddya know–I’ve found that point.
The forthrightness of our readers extends not just to submissions that they don’t like, but also to submissions that they adore. Sometimes a submission will strike a chord with a reader, validating the task of minding the slush pile. They’re effusive, funny, and often sweet. Here are some of my favorites, with the hope that transparency of happy comments is rather better received:
It’s worth noting that a positive review from a reader certainly doesn’t guarantee publication in our pages, given the enormous volume of submissions we receive. (We’re on track to receive 10,400 during this reading period, in which time we’ll have published 160. You do the math.) But our readers wade through hundreds of submissions every week, not for the money (there’s little to be had), but for the opportunity to be part of the literary community, and for that rare but wonderful occurrence of discovering a new and talented voice.