Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Revise and Resubmit

In academic publication, requests to revise and resubmit (R&Rs) are the norm, but they are far less common in creative publications. Two journals, Versal and the Georgia Review, have asked for revisions on each of my pieces that they've accepted for publication--revisions I'm thankful that they requested because they improved each piece. The vast majority of my creative publications, however, have been accepted--or rejected--as is.

Last year, Trillium requested R&Rs from some of the pieces that were submitted early on. There were a few difficulties, though: 1) the writers we work with are relatively inexperienced and more likely to take offense at a revision request, 2) we editors couldn't always agree on what a piece needed, 3) we tended to ask for too many revisions, which became overwhelming to the writers, and 4) we suggested our revisions using MS Word's "track changes" feature which many writers didn't know how to use and that tended to allow too strong of an editorial voice.

I don't want it said that the work we publish is more the editors' than the writers', but I also realize that much of what we publish could be improved if I were able to give our writers a few basic craft tips. Thus, I am conflicted. Do we ask for R&Rs this year or not? Our job is most assuredly easier if we do not, and yet are we serving the writers at this school as well as we can if we skip this process?

Perhaps, too, R&Rs force an unequal treatment of submissions. After all, artwork is always accepted or rejected as is. Is it fair to ask more of writers?

Still pondering this one...

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